POKHARA, June 9: Trekking agencies in Pokhara, who lost business due to bandas and strikes in the last week of May, have something to cheer about. Number of Nepalis taking the service of trekking agencies has doubled this season.
Agencies said trekking culture is becoming popular among Nepalis and that they have started to embark on short treks in small groups.
Officials of Western Regional Chapter of Trekking Agencies´ Association of Nepal said the number of local domestic trekkers has doubled this season compared to same period of last year.
Hira Bahadur KC of Sisne Rover Trekking said his company handled around 120 Nepali trekkers in May, up from 60-65 recorded in the same month last year. “The number of Nepalis trekking independently is also on the rise,” KC said.
Shushil Paudel, proprietor cum guide of Welcome Treks and Expedition, said Nepali trekkers were seen in large numbers particularly in Round Annpurna, Ghorepani and Mustang trekking.
Thanks to increasing number of Nepali trekkers, some trekking agencies in Pokhara have started specializing on this segment. Ganesh Bhattarai of Boomerang Eco Hiking has been organizing hiking and short treks for Nepalis to destinations like Shanti Stupa, Lwanghalel, Pame and Sarangkot.
“We used to get only a handful of domestic trekkers till a few years ago. The number today is overwhelming,” Bhattarai said, adding, “Though Nepalis these days are going on short treks, they will eventually go on trips of longer duration.”
Growing trekking culture, availability of short trekking package, increasing urbanization are some of the reasons behind growing fascination of Nepalis toward trekking, according to entrepreneurs.
“Though we don´t have official figures, almost all trekking agencies in the city are seeing growth in the number of Nepali trekkers,” Som Thapa, president of TAAN´s Western Regional Chapter, said.
Nabin Shrestha of Kathmandu, who was on his way to Dhampus when Republica caught him, said has been enjoying trekking for the past three years. “I travel to at least one new destination every year,” he added.