The number of tourists in 2017, according to Annapurna Area Conservation Project’s (AACP) statistics, is higher by 22.47 percent than in 2016, which saw 22,102 foreign tourists. The project keeps a record of tourists that visit the circuit via Lamjung. In the month of October alone, 6674 tourists visited the trekking route.
AACP has said the tourist arrivals in the last two years have been encouraging as tourism numbers had plunged after the devastating earthquakes. Another reason for the plunge in tourism number was the unofficial trade embargo imposed by India during the peak trekking season (Sept-Nov) in 2015.
-Annapurna Circuit, the world famous trekking route has witnessed a spike in number of tourists passing through Lamjung route. In 2017, the trekking route was visited by 27,068 foreign tourists—the highest in 21 years since tourist record keeping was started.
According to Binod Gurung, president of Tourism Entrepreneurs Committee, during the tourist season in 2017, almost all hotels in Manang were fully occupied. “There was even shortage of room during the peak season,” said Gurung. “This has given much needed boost to our businesses battered by the earthquake in April 2015 and trade embargo imposed by India after that.
Several surveys and studies were conducted to convince potential foreign visitors that the Annapurna Circuit was safe. An assessment report prepared by Miyamoto International immediately after the earthquake showed that structural earthquake-related damage in the Annapurna region was very limited—3 percent of total buildings and 0 percent of bridges. Subsequently, the tourist arrivals increased by 38 percent in 2016 compared to the arrival in the 2015.
The conservation area is spread over Manang, Mustang, Kaski, Myagdi and Lamjung districts in the Annapurna range of the Himalaya and is Nepal’s largest protected area. The Annapurna Conservation Area is famous for its circuit treks and Annapurna and Machhapuchchhre base camps. The conservation area can be entered through Besi Sahar in Lamjung or Pokhara.
Tourists usually visit the Thorong La Pass, Larke Pass and Kanla Pass during the circuit trek. The Tilicho Lake, located at the highest altitude on Earth at 4,900 metres, also draws tourists in droves.
The area also offers close-up views of Mt Annapurna II, III and IV along with Gangapururna, Julu peak, Pisang peak, Mt Nilgiri and Tilicho peak along the Great Himalayan Range.