Hospitality industry in Janakpur in wait for boom, concept for package tour stressed « Khabarhub
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Hospitality industry in Janakpur in wait for boom, concept for package tour stressed


30 August 2023  

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JANAKPURDHAM: Janakpurdham remaining as a significant place of pilgrimage for Hindus carries a seven-decade old history in the context of commencement of hospitality service.

It is being developed as a ‘hub for hotels’ in recent days. While the ancient town in Madhesh province has the history of entering the hospitality industry through the establishment of Dharmashalas aimed at catering to pilgrims, it has recently witnessed the emergence of advanced hotels as well.

Now, around 200 hotels of small and big investments are in operation in the city and their accumulated capital is around Rs 10 billion.

Notably, this surge in hotel development has contributed to direct employment opportunities for approximately 5,000 individuals.

The data of the Cottage and Small Industries Office, Dhanusha shows a huge investment in the hotel industry in Janakpur.

The details from the Janakpurdham Chamber of Commerce and Industry support the reports of growing number of hotels in the town each year.

However, hoteliers are not excited due to limited hospitality business. Chamber president Jitendra Kumar Mahaseth said though the town sees a surging investment in hospitality industry with the hope that its market would expand, the scenario is something different.

This prominence is attributed to its historical connection with the sacred marriage between Sita, the daughter of King Janak of Mithila, and Ram, the crown prince of Ayodhya, India.

The market is limited and the business has remained stagnant, leaving investors disappointed.

Chamber senior vice president Manish Raman Shah expects the State support for the hospitality business here to report a boom.

State’s support is expected in infrastructure development and in creating favarouable atmosphere for the industry, so they could contribute to Nepal’s economy in a qualitative way.

Hotel Entrepreneurs Association, Janakpur president Surendra Bhandari also complained that hotels in Janakapur are not giving the expected returns.

Janakpurdham is a renowned religious site for Hindus, holding significance not only for those within from home but also for the Hindus around the world, including India.

The emergence of commercial hotels here gained momentum with the improved accessibility facilitated by the Mechi-Kathmandu roadway, the development of the East-West Highway, and the introduction of aviation services around 2024 BS.

This prominence is attributed to its historical connection with the sacred marriage between Sita, the daughter of King Janak of Mithila, and Ram, the crown prince of Ayodhya, India.

The city, rich in religious and cultural heritages, has been attracting people with the touristic sojourns since the ancient times.

People’s movement to Janakpur within from home and across the southern border has been a tradition since generations.

Hotelier Vijay Jhunjhunwala said hospitality business was initiated in Janakpurdham targeting pilgrims.

“Janakpurdham is synonymous with religious tourism as this land serves as ‘centre of faith’ for millions of people worldwide. The town’s entry into the hospitality sector was driven by a yearning to serve the pilgrims.”

As he said, Gopal Dharmashala has played a pioneering role for launching the hospitality service in the town.

The facility was opened targeting pilgrims to the Janakai Temple from India some seventy years ago in 2009-2010 BS.

The service was available at a very nominal cost. A Marwari family from Kolkata, India, had first launched the hospitality initiative in the town by establishing the Gopal Dharmashala, paving the way for the subsequent growth of the hotel business in Janakpur.

The emergence of commercial hotels here gained momentum with the improved accessibility facilitated by the Mechi-Kathmandu roadway, the development of the East-West Highway, and the introduction of aviation services around 2024 BS.

‘Hotel Everest’ is the first commercial hospitality house in Janakpur and it was established around 2024 BS.

Now Janakpur is home to over 60 luxury hotels when some of them meet the standards of star hospitality facilities.

A boom in touristic activities is vital for the hospitality industry to see a rise. Giri said there should be increase in people’s purchasing capacity to see vibrancy in hotel business.

They are of three star ranking. The total accommodation capacity of these hotels is around 1,000 people simultaneously.

Jhunjhunwala who himself is a hotel owner hoped the possibility of opening of more hotels in the next five years provided that there is improvement in nation’s economic scenario.

Hotelier Jeevnath Chaudhary said that though Janakpur’s hotels are primarily targeted at catering to religious tourists, they have started adapting to commercial demands in line with changing times.

“Religious tourism is the foundation of hospitality industry in Janakpur. But time demands us to revise our service modality and investment as well, as the town now has a new identity as the capital of the Madhesh Province,” he said.

Another hospitality businessperson Santosh Giri said though the Janakpur’s hospitality service was initially centered to visitors with religious purposes, with changing social demands it needs transformation for its sustainability.

“The business could not rely on visitors on religious trips alone for its sustainability.”

With Janakpur achieving its status as the capital of Madhesh Province, people’s movement here has increased.

The city is accessible by railway and aviation services in addition to motorway.

However, economic boom as per the expectation has been long awaited. As a result, the investors are upset.

A boom in touristic activities is vital for the hospitality industry to see a rise. Giri said there should be increase in people’s purchasing capacity to see vibrancy in hotel business.

Madhesh Province Assembly member Ram Ashish Yadav is of the opinion that if visitors to the town are provided opportunity to be connected to the Mithilanchal civilisation, there will be a ground for the industry to flourish.

Both Jhunjhunwala and Chaudhary said efforts are essential to strengthen the city’s infrastructure sector, to encourage arrivals of tourists and to prolong their stay.

The town should be prioritised for hosting the government and non-government conferences and other events for a boom in hotel business in the town.

Hotel Association’s Bhandari said, despite a soaring number of hotels, the substantive development is long cherished for.

The number of hotels has increased, but the ground reality is worrisome. Though the business of some hotels is not so bad, majority of hotels are facing a myriad of challenges.

They are struggling to sustain, according to Bhandari If the State failed to pay a prompt heed to come with schemes for supporting the Janakpur’s hotel industry, a noticeable number of hotels would be closing in the near future. Chamber President Mahaseth said, “Though the atmosphere of hospitality business is not discouraging in comparison to other sectors, a rise in economic activities is utterly needed for their sustainability.”

Janakpur, the historic religious city, serves as the capital of the Madhesh Province just for some years. It neither has industries/factories nor any major transit nearby to the third country.

Given this scenario, it has been crucial for all the stakeholders concerned to undertake planned endeavours of strategic significance to provide a support to the hospitality industry, according to Mahaseth.

The people concerned here have accused the government of pursuing a policy of imposing high tax on its services, but shying away to realise the need to build tourism friendly structures, providing tourism sportive services in customs office and immigration office, to identify new touristic sites and to carry out tourism publicity programmes and so on.

Currently, visitors to the Janakpur hardly spend two days in the town. If their stay could be extended by at least two or more days, it would be supportive to the hotel business.

Chamber vice president Shah pressed an idea of introducing a tour package targeting Janakpur by identifying and incorporating multiple touristic destinations in the city.

“It takes less than two hours to visit the historic Janaki Temple and Janakpurdham and visitors hardly spend more than one night here.”

Madhesh Province Assembly member Ram Ashish Yadav is of the opinion that if visitors to the town are provided opportunity to be connected to the Mithilanchal civilisation, there will be a ground for the industry to flourish.

It is necessary to launch a tour package incorporating town’s historic civilizations, culture, lifestyle, traditions, and its ancient knowledge to captialise on the town’s potentiality for the development of hotel industry.

This approach is likely to entice tourists to extend their stays, thereby contributing significantly to the overall economic growth, according to him.

The people concerned here have accused the government of pursuing a policy of imposing high tax on its services, but shying away to realise the need to build tourism friendly structures, providing tourism sportive services in customs office and immigration office, to identify new touristic sites and to carry out tourism publicity programmes and so on.

This kind of scenario, they say, is discouraging the entire hospitality business and thus preventing it from witnessing quality development.

“The situation has posed a grave threat for sustainability of hotels in Janakpurdham.”

(Tikaram Sunar/ Niranjan Kumar Shah/RSS)

Publish Date : 30 August 2023 14:59 PM

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