Visa processing and immigration related issues have decreased the amount of Indian tourists travelling to Kailash Mansarovar via Humla. China has implemented strict processes due to which the pilgrims have returned from the border Hilsa.
15 thousand Indian pilgrims made their way to Mansarovar through Simikot in the previous year whereas this year the number is expected 10 thousand only. As per the information from Simikot Airport, 3000 pilgrims travelled Mansarovar from third week of Baisakh to third week of Jestha.
Chinese government has made the travelling process stricter due to which the number of pilgrims is plummeting. This issue should be addressed by the government, said the business personnel.
Previously, Indian pilgrims used to get visa approvals from the Chinese embassy at Nepal and India. Many of them used to generate visa through a trekking agency at Nepal but now the Chinese Government has stopped issuing visas from Nepal. Pilgrims are now only allowed to enter the pilgrimage site with Chinese guide. This restriction has been troubling Indians due to inappropriate communications and behavior which Indians are complaining about. Moreover, China has also implemented age restrictions as travelers above the age of 70 are prohibited.
Helicopter operators including Simrik Air, Fishtail Air, Manang Air, Kailash Helicopter, and Altitude Air are not getting the significant business due to decreasing travelers. Previously, the helicopter operators used to have tough time carrying enormous pilgrims travelling to Kailash Mansarovar.
Simikot Airport recorded highest ever flight movement on June 9, 2017 which was 268 due to increasing flow of tourists for Kailash Mansarovar. The 268 flights consisted of 135 takeoffs and 133 landings out of which 32 flights. But this year the airport will be unable to generate significant revenue due to less number of tourist.