More private sector investment in Annapurna Conservation Area may attract spending tourists to support post-COVID economic recovery – myRepublica

KATMANDU, July 29: According to a new report from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), increased private sector investment in the Annapurna Conservation Area could attract more spendthrift tourists to help boost the local economy in a post-COVID market.

The report – Architectural and Cultural Heritage Tourism Products in Nepal: An Assessment of New Private Sector Investment Opportunities in the Annapurna Conservation Area – examines opportunities for investors to capitalize on the region’s triple offerings by landscape, architecture and culture.

The report says the region could attract higher-value tourists who could spend around 20% more if bigger measures are taken to boost accommodation. Although there are over 1,000 hotels, lodges and tea rooms, almost all of them cater to travelers on a budget. In order to attract high-value tourists, the report presented four potential investment concepts: converting old abandoned houses on a street in Tukuche village into boutique hotels; redevelop an abandoned heritage house in Jharkot into a luxury boutique hotel; the establishment of a network of lodges along the Seven Pass Trail in Manang; and the establishment of coffee franchises in lower Mustang and Manang.

“Spending tourists are willing to pay high prices for comfortable accommodation in the Himalayan region, as has been the case in Bhutan,” said IFC resident representative in Nepal Babacar S Faye. “Considering the gigantic losses the Nepalese tourism industry has suffered due to the pandemic, it should create a new roadmap to align with the new reality of the market. It has the potential to attract more high-end tourists, a move that will impact the supply chain and have positive ripple effects on the country’s economy. “

The Annapurna Conservation Area now hosts two main groups of visitors: Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims visiting Muktinath, an important site for both religions, and adventure tourists: hikers, hikers and mountaineers. The Annapurna region has long been the country’s most popular trekking destination, accounting for around 60% of all trekking vacations.

According to the report, more private sector investment is key to attracting higher spending tourists and supporting local communities engaged in tourism. Tourism in Nepal has been the sector hardest hit by COVID-19. An estimated 230,000 jobs are at risk, 20,000 tourist and trekking guides unemployed and 2,600 trekking agencies closed, representing a loss of around $ 460 million to the country’s GDP.

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