Tourism in dire straits, say entrepreneurs

Kathmandu, November 2

Tourism entrepreneurs on Monday said the tourism industry was in dire straits due to the protracted Madhes agitation and no let up in the ‘unofficial trade embargo’ imposed by the Indian government.

Speakers at an interaction held at the Reporters’ Club in the capital, tourism entrepreneurs urged the government and the agitating parties to seek a negotiated settlement to political disputes, saying tourist arrivals to the country had dropped massively due to political unrest in the country. They also said that if the country fails to resolve the crisis soon enough, it would send a negative message to international tourists willing to visit the country.

Nepal Mountaineering Association Chairman Ang Tshering Sherpa said the blockade as a result of agitation in the Tarai had inflicted huge losses to tourism entrepreneurs, who had already been grappling with the effects of the devastating earthquakes that struck the country in April and May this year. He urged the government and the agitating political parties to seek a solution through negotiations.

Thamel Tourism Development Council Chairman Ram Sharan Thapaliya said the blockade and the impact of the earthquake had a debilitating effect on the tourism sector.

Thapaliya further said that the blockade had not only affected movement of people across the country but also tourists who visit the country via land routes. He also said that the fuel crisis resulting from the blockade had affected supply of essential commodities pushing many hotels to the verge of closure. He said the government should create a favorable environment for businesses and industries to run smoothly.

Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents Chairman DB Limbu appealed to the government to creating an environment for tourists to visit the country and also ease supplies of essential commodities.