Tourist arrival rising in Antu of Ilam

Kokila Dhakal / Ilam, Nov. 28: Arrival of domestic tourist has soared of late in Antu, Ilam district.

Antu hill standing near Nepal-India border is famous for its sunrise views.

During the months of October and November, when skies are clear and open, hundreds of tourists visit Antu daily.

With the ease of the restriction, more than 700 tourists are now arriving in Antu daily.

Homestay operators have said that there had been no fall in the number of tourists despite the fear induced by COVID-19.

Separate rules have been enacted for Antu to run homestays at this time, when cases of COVID-19 are on the rise.

Secretary of Antu Community Homestay Dambar Magar informed that a seven-point code of conduct for tourists and a six-point code of conduct for homestay operators had come into effect.

The code of conduct stipulates that tourists must wear masks, maintain social distance, use designated toilets, bathrooms and taps, and walk, dance and camp only at designated locations.

Secretary Magar also said that homestay, hotel and cottage operators must wear masks, gloves and aprons, provide separate soap, water and sanitizer to guests, among other health protocols.

Even if a code of conduct is made, they say, it is, at times, very difficult to implement.

“Some tourists and homestay and cottage operators are afraid of each other and are aware of health security,” said Rudra Ghimire, a local tourism entrepreneur.

According to Ghimire, local businessmen wash their bed clothes on a daily basis.

The sunrise view is still spectacular in Antu.

In Antu, homestays are operated in 63 houses. Besides, there are cottages and hotels. This year, the businessmen have decided not to increase the charge for their service.

Similarly, domestic tourists have also started arriving at Sandakpur, the highest point in the district, from where the sunrise and mountain ranges can be seen.

According to the Sherpa Chalet Hotel, domestic tourists have started booking hotels in Sandakpur.

Pema Dandu Sherpa, a local ward member, said that there are no Indian or foreign tourists at the moment but there are orders for hotel bookings from other places.

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