Mustang, a renowned trekking destination, is unveiling three new trekking routes to cater to the increasing demand from tourists. These routes, identified by the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), offer alternatives to the traditional paths disrupted by road construction.

The newly identified routes include Lupra-Muktinath, Thini-Tilichotaal, and Kokhethati-Sirkung-Sauru-Chokhopani-Chimang-Dhumbatal. ACAP Ranger Sanjok Thakali highlights that infrastructure development, along with promotional activities, is already underway to support these routes.

The surge in road construction, particularly the Beni-Jomsom and Jomsom-Kagbeni-Muktinath roads, has led to dust and disturbances along traditional trekking paths. To address this, tourists have expressed a desire for routes offering serene natural experiences.

Hari Nepali, a local trekking guide, notes a decline in foreign tourists but an uptick in domestic and Indian visitors following road construction. ACAP Jomsom reports a decrease in foreign tourist visits from 29.12% in 2022 to 19.20% in 2023, with a total of 90,365 tourists in 2023, including 18,166 from third-world countries and 72,190 from SAARC nations.

To manage tourism, an entry fee of Rs 1,000 for SAARC nationals and Rs 3,000 for other visitors has been introduced for the ACAP area, covering Lamjung, Kaski, Manang, Mustang, and Myagdi districts in the Gandaki province.

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