NTY’11 plan may hit by US Travel alert
At a time when the country is all set to launch Nepal Tourism Year – 2011 on Friday with an ambitious plan to bring one million tourists in the year, the United States has warned its citizens of the potential risks of traveling to Nepal and urged caution when traveling in Nepal.
“US citizens are urged that they should obtain updated security information before traveling and that they should be prepared to change their plans on short notice,” the State Department in a travel warning.
It said it remains concerned about the security situation in Nepal.
The State Department alert also advised the travelers about the continuing possibility of political demonstrations, unrest, and concerns about travel in Nepal by road and air.
“US citizens who choose to visit or remain in Nepal despite this Travel Warning are encouraged to enroll with the U.S. Embassy through the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Nepal.” The new alert replaces the Travel Warning for Nepal dated June 15, 2010, to update information on the security and political situation in Nepal.
The US also added that it still considers the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) as a ‘Specially Designated Global Terrorist’ organization under Executive Order 13224. “Its inclusion on the “Terrorist Exclusion List” pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act, remain in effect,” the State Department said, adding, these two designations make Maoists excludable from entry into the United States without a waiver and bar US citizens from contributing funds, goods, or services to, or for the benefit of, the Maoists.
“The US Embassy in Kathmandu continues to monitor the political situation in Nepal closely and advises US citizens that the potential remains for spontaneous demonstrations and political unrest, which could escalate into violence,” it said.
The State Department said that there has been an increase in the number of fraudulent schemes perpetrated against tourists. “These schemes involve requesting the traveler’s assistance, particularly financial assistance, in establishing shipping routes, or business contacts with the United States or other countries, involving jewellery, antiquities, or carpets, promising huge returns.”
Tourism entrepreneurs said that such advisories had adversely affected the tourism industry of the country. “It sure will have a negative impact on Nepal Tourism Year – 2011 campaign,” Asok Pokharel, President, Nepal Association of Tour Operators (NATO) said. The NTY- 2011 working committee member Suman Pandey also echoed the same.
“We will try our best to prove the US observations wrong though the travel alerts initially have a negative impact on NTY -2011,” he added.