KATHMANDU, May 13: With prospect of more strikes and political instability in the run up to the May 28 deadline for the country to promulgate the new constitution, travel industry entrepreneurs says nervous visitors have begun cancelling their bookings and those already here are shortening their trip.
The revelations came after two days of general strike on Thursday and Friday which crippled normal life and forced tourists to remain confined in hotels and other sites. Tourism entrepreneurs said such unpredictable situation rattled the visitors and expressed fears it could spoil their business for the entire season.
"Sadly, the strikes and looming instability has already disfigured our projection, pulling it down by 20 percent," said Ashiwini Acharya, senior director sales and marketing of the Everest Hotel.
Some of the travel agents like Sita World Travels said they had observed up to 30 percent cancellation in the number of bookings for the period of May to June while others said they were not too optimistic about the prospects.
The ratio of cancellation was significantly high on Saturday, said Suraj Lamichhane, deputy general manager at Sita World Travels. He said there was tendency of last moment cancellation and the number of cancellation might cross 40 percent.
Tourism entrepreneurs had earlier anounced good business for May to July as they had received sound booking even though those months were regarded as lean season in the past. Despite being a lean seaon, hotels were presently operating with an occupany of 70 percent and were bracing for it to go up in coming days.
Bijay Amatya, director of sales and marketing at Yeti Travels said the strike forced tourists to limit their activities, leaving them stranded at different places. “We were unable to send some groups to Pokhara as per the travel itinerary while those who were planning to go by surface had to fly to places like Chitwan and Pokhara with burden of extra cost,” added he.
Amatya said if situation like this prolongs there were slim chances for the booking to materialize. “Bandas like these are very discouraging, no matter how much promotional activities we carry out,” he said.
“Large segment of tourist come through travel agencies and with the situation like this, such segment will be diverted to other destinations instead of Nepal,” said Acharya, expressing fears that the present negative impression could make it difficult for the industry to recieve encouraging booking for the next few months.