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Tourists barred from visiting Lomanthang for a week

The Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) has barred tourists from visiting Lomanthang for at least a week.

ACAP Lomanthang Chief Santosh Sherchan informed that tourists have been barred from visiting the area for the time being citing safety reasons.

The area above Kagbeni is still covered with thick snow that may cause any tragic incident anytime, he added.

However, locals have dared coming to Lomanthang after the construction of a makeshift bridge over Kowang rivulet, Sherchan. "Though this is tourists season the dense snow blanketing the area has forced us to take the move for safety of visitors".

The snowfall continued for three days around a couple of months ago has caused a pile-up of snow in Kagbeni above area. Some seven tourists who were unable to return due to heavy snowfall in Lomanthang were rescued through helicopter a couple of weeks ago.

A big number of tourists from third countries come to visit Lomanthang to mug up beauty of peculiar terrain, historical palace, indigenous art and culture and natural landscape, according to ACAP sources.

Last year alone 4,100 tourists had visited Lomanthang. "Most of them are from third countries. Number of domestic tourists is nominal", said ACAP Mustang Chief Kuinkel.

Source: THT

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TAAN to develop alternate route in Annapurna region

The Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) is all set to develop an alternate trekking route from Besi Sahar for the Annapurna trekking region.

According to trekking agencies‚ due to motorable roads to trekking destinations‚ most trekkers have cut short their length of stay‚ which normally used to be a minimum of 10 days previously.

“We have planned to develop an alternate trekking route from Besi Sahar which is not linked with motorable roads and trekkers will be able to enjoy their trek throughout the route‚” said president of TAAN Ramesh Dhamala.

“We have planned to develop a more sustainable route with proper infrastructure required for trekkers who want to trek within the Annapurna region‚” he said. According to Dhamala‚ the plan is in the preliminary stage.

“TAAN and Nepal Tourism Board will together discuss on the alternate route and soon come up with a proper plan‚” he said. Earlier‚ trekkers usually had a trekking itinerary of at least 10 days‚ but the length of both treks and stays has gone down due to motorable roads to the trekking destinations. According to trekking agencies‚ trekkers come here for adventure but motorable roads have had an adverse impact on adventure tourism.

The adventure and thrill that trekkers used to get is gradually decreasing due to disturbances caused by transport services in the trekking areas. Earlier‚ tourists had to trek to Muktinath Temple but now there are transportation services available.

TAAN said it will coordinate with local communities to explore new trekking routes for Humla and Upper Mustang. Transportation services have hurt the earnings of locals in trekking regions. The association is also planning to strictly monitor TIMS cards at various checkpoints.

“We are also in planning phase to check visa of the trekker while checking the TIMS card‚” said Dhamala‚ adding that the cross checking system will enhance security for trekkers.

Source: The Himalayan Times

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