KATHMANDU, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- With the onset of tourist off- season, occupancy rate of Nepal's five-star hotels has dropped by over 25 percent, forcing them to lower rates to about 40 U.S. dollars per room.
"In December, our occupancy rate was 89 percent. In January, until today (Tuesday), it has sharply declined to 62 percent," Rishi Poudel, reservations manager with five-star Hotel Annapurna told Xinhua.
"First, we could not receive new bookings as expected. Second, there were a number of cancellations this month, thus prompting hotels to slash charges," Poudel said.
The occupancy rate in five-star hotels in Soaltee and Yak & Yeti has decreased to around 55 percent, while in Radisson, Sangrila, Hyatt and Everest hotels, it is 45, 43, 47 and 49 percent, respectively.
Recession in European markets, non-expansion of Nepal's tourist destinations beyond Kathmandu and Pokhara and inability of Nepal' national carrier to reach all major global destinations have been attributed as some of the major reasons for the fall.
"We could not make policies to attract tourists in off-season," said B. K. Shrestha, vice president of Nepal Hotel Association. " That's why we are receiving a low number of tourists in January."
The tourist off-season in Nepal generally begins at the end of December and continues until March every year.
"We have to conduct marketing activities at international level to woo tourists in this sluggish period and expand our flight services too," Shrestha added.