RealNews

Domestic Turmoil Hits Backpacker Tourism in Nepal

Insurgency and political chaos in Nepal has severely impacted backpacker tourism during the peak summer season, causing acute economic hardship to small-scale entrepreneurs. Heightened security threats in the country’s rural hinterland have scared away solitary trekkers and individual travelers, although the fall in the number of city-bound travelers has not been that substantial. “The arrival of what we call FIT (free and individual traveler, more popularly known as backpackers) has significantly dropped but the arrival of organized travelers, who come in groups and are linked to some packages, has not decreased,” says senior director at the country’s apex Nepal Tourism Board, (NTB), Subash Niraula. According to figures released by the NTB in early January, tourist arrivals in 2003 were 36 percent lower than 1999, when a record 421,243 tourists visited Nepal. Full Story

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