Over 177,000 tourists visit Annapurna area

GANDAKI, MAY 16: As many as 177,182 foreign tourists have entered the Annapurna circuit, the popular trekking destination, in the past 10 months. According to the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), the highest number of 35,265 tourists visited the area in the last Chaitra (March-April). ACAP chief Dr. Rabin Kadariya informed that 79,232 tourists from South Asian countries and 97,950 tourists from other countries visited the area during the period.

The months of September-October and April-May are considered the best time for trekking in the region. Although most Indian tourists visiting Muktinath and other destinations use the surface route, tourists from other countries prefer trekking, he told RSS. “Domestic and foreign tourists throng the Annapurna area during the main tourism season,” said Dr. Kadariya, adding, “Tourism in the area is returning to the pre-COVID-19 status. Lately, there has been a huge inflow of tourists from third countries.”

ACAP maintains records of only foreign tourists visiting the Annapurna circuit trekking route. He said that the number of domestic tourists coming from Mustang and other places through the surface route could not be ascertained. The Annapurna circuit trekking route has been a favourite of tourists from many countries.

According to him, 191,558 tourists from 173 countries visited Annapurna in 2023. This is the highest ever. A total of 181,000 tourists visited the area in 2019. Millions of domestic and foreign tourists visit Annapurna base camp, Mardi Himal, Lwang, Gandruk village, Tilicho lake, Thorangla, Upper Mustang, Muktinath area, Ghodepani of Myagdi, and Punhil tourism destinations every year.

The Annapurna circuit route is considered one of the best destinations in the world in terms of attractive places including glaciers, tourism-friendly infrastructure, favourable climate, hospitality service, and facilities of the locals, he shared. Short, medium, and long trekking to the Annapurna region can be carried out through the Kaski, Lamjung, Manang, and Myagdi routes. Stretched over 7,600 square kilometres, the Annapurna Conservation Area covers 89 wards of 16 local levels of Kaski, Lamjung, Manang, Myagdi, and Mustang. The Annapurna region is rich in natural beauty, biodiversity, mountainous life, and diverse culture.