By Siraj Khan Nepalgunj, Sept. 24: With Buddha Air offering daily flights between Pokhara and Nepalgunj, the number of tourists visiting Banke and Bardiya has increased. According to local businesses, the flights have enticed Indian tourists to use the city as a transit to Pokhara and have also enabled tourists in Pokhara to come to Nepalgunj to go to Bardiya, Rara and the far-western district. “Indeed, the direct flights have increased tourist activity in the city and have provided much-needed boost to the livelihoods of the local people devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bhim Kandel, president of the Hotel Entrepreneurs’ Association of Banke, said.
“The planes have shortened the travel time from Pokhara to Nepalgunj from 15 hours to just one hour,” said Krishna Prasad Shrestha, chairman of the Banke Tourism Promotion Forum. “This will prove vital in developing tourism in the area.” Shreeram Sigdel, president of the Banke chapter of the Nepal Association of Tour & Travel Agents (NATTA), said that the regular flights had made the tourism entrepreneurs of the region happy and excited and hoped that they would continue long into the future.
Buddha Air began operating direct flights between Nepalgunj and Pokhara from August 2. At first, the airlines offered three flights a week but a rise in demand forced it to operate one flight a day. To cater to the increasing number of tourists, the airlines has also begun offering tour packages. The airlines offers a tour package of two nights three days for people travelling from Pokhara to Bardiya at a cost of Rs. 10,999 and a similar package for those coming to Nepalgunj from Pokhara at a cost of Rs. 13,499.