I have just spent a wonderful month touring Nepal, seeing Pokhara, the Annapurnas, and Royal Bardia and Chitwan National Parks. Apart from the scenery, I think the most special aspect of your country is the forbearance of the Nepali people. Even though the hotel businesses are nearly collapsing in Pokhara, the staff still have a ready warm smile when they greet their guests. Even though the hotels in Royal Bardia National Park have to pay "protection money" to the army (under threats from the local Major) the lodge owners still greeted me warmly. Despite the political disturbances and uncertainties in Kathmandu, all the restaurant and hotel staff still semed positive. I would like to wish the propects for peace in this great country.
. I don't mean to play spoilsport in this great effort everyone, especially in the tourism industry, is making to loosen visa regulations to allow people from abroad visit more easily. I realise the great contribution visitors make to our impoverished economy. But is it only me who realises the total contempt with which we Nepalis are treated when we try and apply for entry into one of their countries? Every one of us who tries to apply is treated like a prospective illegal immigrant no matter what our credentials are. At least visas are granted for our country on payment of the said amount. And in their currency I don't think it is much at all compared to the visa fees we have to pay for their countries. I know I can be debated by someone else's view of the "economics" rationale and that of ground reality but I do think there also exists this small aspect of 'national dignity'.
. It was high time someone said something about the travel advisories issued by foreign embassies about Nepal. I\'m glad that you have picked up this sore point in your hard-hitting editorial ("Tourism vs Terrorism", #135). The terrorists have won if we punish the tourism industries of our countries. The advisories serve no purpose other than to prevent the governments of some countries from being sued by their citizens. They aren\'t effective against terrorists, because let\'s face it, they can strike just about anywhere. They just spread panic. Meanwhile, the economies of countries that depend on tourism are devastated, pushing them further into poverty, thus aggravating the very problem that probably triggered terrorism in the first place.
Can these countries be slightly more intelligent about advisories?