Hotels witness poll windfall

Most rooms booked by foreign journos, observers

Kathmandu, March 27:

With constituent assembly polls just days away, most rooms of top hotels based in Kathmandu are booked by foreign journalists and election observers.

Managers of top hotels said bookings for rooms started from the beginning of this month. Election observers and journalists have booked most of the rooms.

International election observers, including those from the European Union, Thailand and Japan, have booked around 50 rooms at the Hotel Yak and Yeti. European Union has taken up a huge complex of the Yak and Yeti.

Prahlad Kunwar, general manager of Hotel Yak and Yeti, said this is the first time after Jana Andolan-II that hotel entrepreneurs are observing a huge influx of foreigners.

Among the international media, Al-Jazeera team has booked rooms. The team will stay in the hotel from April 1 till 15. Out of 246 rooms, 100 rooms have already been booked.

Over 70 rooms at Soaltee Crowne Plaza are being occupied by delegates of the Carter Foundation. The delegates will stay there for 10 to 12 days.

Greesh Bindra, general manager of Soaltee Crowne Plaza, said all rooms have been booked by BBC and other international media, adding that representatives of these media will stay there from April 6 till April 14. This month, 75 per cent of the rooms are reserved. “Tourist arrival figures in Kathmandu have shot up after the Seven-Party Alliance and the Maoists signed the peace accord,” said Bindra, anticipating a further increase in arrival figures.

Though though booking of rooms is going up during the election period, the election is affecting regular tourists. Most of the hotels are getting calls from the tourists who planned to come to Nepal during this period, said Madhav Om Shrestha, chief executive officer of the Hotel Association of Nepal. “They are asking whether there will be restrictions on mobility during the election. The Home Ministry and the Election Commission are yet to respond to these concerns,” he added.