KATHMANDU, Nepal–The number of international tourists going for rafting has sharply dropped down this year.
Rafting entrepreneurs said decrease in adventure tourists and failure to address safety issues by various rafting companies led to distraction towards the rafting among foreigners. Likewise, mounting pollution in the river and lack of publicity, skilled manpower and reluctant to follow international standard also caused decline in the adventurous business.
Nepal Association of Rafting Agents (NARA) said though countries like India, Japan, Turkey, Dubai have even started rafting by making artificial rivers, many tourists were opted for other countries due to unhealthy competitions among the entrepreneurs.
A company that offers rafting service charges $30 for foreigners while the domestic one have to pay Rs 2, 000 per package which include lodging, food and transportation.
According to NARA, among more than 100 rafting operators only around 10 percent follow the international safety norms, has trained manpower and provides better services of lodging, food and transportation.
Though the slim activities of foreigners frustrated entrepreneurs, they are however astonished with the whooping numbers of domestic ones. “There has been drastic rise in number of domestic tourists preferring rafting”, Tuesday’s daily newspaper Nagarik quoted Chandra Bahadur Dahal, the president of NARA as saying. The percentage of domestic tourist has gone up from 50 percent last year to 80 percent this year, according to NARA data.
Nepal is the second richest country in terms of water resources.