NAMCHE BAZZAR – The Khumbu area of Solukhumbu, which was crowded with tourists some time ago, is now deserted.
During the tourist season, airports, hotels, lodges, camping sites, squares, roadsides and scenic spots are deserted as the season draws to a close.
According to one of the tourism entrepreneur, from Namche the tourist arrival was normal in the previous years, but the less number of visitors is worrying this winter.
The Sagarmatha National Park Office in Namche has officially confirmed a 30% decline in tourist visits to the Sagarmatha region this year.
According to Manoj Kumar Mandal, the information officer at the Park Office, 1,920 tourists visited the Khumbu area last year, whereas only 1,329 turned up this year.
Of the total, 455 were domestic tourists, and 1,465 were foreigners last year.
However, this year, the Khumbu region welcomed 120 Nepalis and 1,209 foreigners.
With the increasing cold, the Khumbu region has recently become bleak, attributing the decline to the dipping mercury, as stated by the Park Office.
This region typically experiences a tourist season for six months in a year, with peak times during the Nepali months of Asoj, Kartik, and Mangsir.
During the peak season, up to 1,000 tourists visit the Khumbu region daily.
However, at present, there are hardly five to seven tourists, according to information officer Mandal.
Laxman Adhikari, Ward-4 Chairman, noted that tourism entrepreneurs are currently idle, and even locals have left villages to escape the cold.
Sujan Kumari Bardewa, Chief of the Area Administration Office in Namche, mentioned that places like Lukla, Namche, and Khumjung are now dismal, with limited movement of people. Many have descended the hills to escape the brutal cold.
Bardewa added that public offices also record a negligible number of service seekers.
Tilak BK, a teacher at Khumjung Secondary School, explained, “As winter begins, people leave for warmer places, including Kathmandu, and some even embark on religious visits to Bodhgaya, India.”
Most of the Khumbu people choose to stay in Kathmandu during the cold winter months.