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Tourist numbers in Pokhara near pre-covid levels

Tourist numbers in Pokhara near pre-covid levels
These days, tourists can be seen holidaying around Pokhara's popular tourist attractions, such as lakes, caves, wetlands, and the popular Annapurna region in increasing numbers. Their presence here has brought new hope for Pokhara's tourism industry, which has been struggling after the COVID pandemic. The latest data from the Annapurna Conservation Area Project, which maintains data on trekkers heading to the Annapurna region, show tourist numbers getting closer to the pre-COVID era. This is a promising sign for the tourism industry in Pokhara and suggests that the negative effects of the pandemic are on the wane. According to industry insiders, about 80 percent of tourists who visit Pokhara want to explore the region for purposes like trekking and study. The Annapurna Round Trek, Mardi Himal Trek, Muktinath-Mustang loop as well as the Machhapuchhre Base Camp, Annapurna Base Camp and Khumai Dada are some of the popular trails and destinations around Pokhara. "Since most of the tourist areas in and around Pokhara fall under the jurisdiction of the ACAP, our data offer a clear picture of Pokhara’s tourism industry,” Narendra Shrestha of ACAP Office in Pokhara said.

According to Shrestha, ACAP has been working in coordination with local government bodies for promotion of tourism in the Annapurna region.

Autumn and Spring are the main seasons for trekking activities in the region. The autumn begins in September and continues till December or January, whereas the spring begins in March and continues till May. ACAP data show that Pokhara welcomed 129,000 trekkers in 2022, a drastic decline compared to the year 2019 when the city recorded 181,000 trekkers, before the pandemic threw the global tourism industry out of gear. The numbers dropped even further to 18,796 in 2020 and 16,105 in 2021, respectively before bouncing back in 2023. In the first three months of 2023, approximately 33,000 foreign tourists visited different destinations within the region. Data show that around 23,692 visited the region in March alone, indicating that the spring may see a significant surge in the number of foreign tourists.   Tourist arrivals in March (past three years) 2022 - 12,000 2021 - 2,134 2020 - 6,735 Tourist arrivals in first three months of 2023 March - 23,693 February - 6,353 January - 3,457 Arrivals (First three months) of 2019 and 2023

Year Jan Feb March
2019 (Year before COVID) 6,051 7,164 22,174
2023 3,457 6,353 23,692
Source: ACAP/Pokhara