9 March 2021, Galkot
A tourist destination popularly known as Australian Camp at Annapurna Rural Municipality-6 in Kaski district is deserted for almost a year for lack of visitors after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Though the tourism activities are gradually taking their pace in Pokhara city, this popular destination for hiking is yet to lure tourists. Trekking entrepreneurs said that Covid-19 immensely impacted the tourism activities here and they are expecting the visitors in the site from where the tourists can enjoy the majestic views of Machhapuchhre and Annapurna peaks.
Australian Camp is also a trekking route to Annapurna and Mardi peaks. The trekking route starts from Phedi of Hemja in Pokhara and goes along Dhampus and to Australian Camp, but the distance is further shortened recently, thanks to road access upto Dhampus village.
Manager of Australian Camp Guest House and Restaurant Hari Bahadur KC, who is running this business for two decades, said tourists did not visit the area at all after the outbreak of coronavirus though almost 300 foreigners used to visit every day in the time of peak tourist season. He said that he never faced such a poor business record in his 20 years long journey. “Now, we don’t have workers here. All the staffers are laid off for lack of business,” he added.
Hotelier Shiva Devkota has also the similar stories to share. “The business is zero now. I am expecting tourism revival here,” hopeful Devkota said.
Located at the height of 2,050 metres from the sea level, the site was a pastureland in the past. Chairman of Annapurna Rural Municipality Yubraj Kunwar said that publicity programs have been unveiled to bring in domestic tourists though arrival of foreigners is likely to be delayed for some times due to Covid-19.
Chairman Kunwar argued that tourist arrival would go up even in Australian Camp once the situation returns to normalcy.