50 percent cancellation in Nepal-Tibet tour package
KATHMANDU, May 17: Tour operators selling packages of Kailash-Mansarovar and trekking packages of that region say as much as 50 percent bookings have been cancelled after the Chinese government imposed new provision for issuing permits to Tibet without prior notice.
A recently published notice on Tibet Travel Permit (TTP) states in order to get TTP, a minimum group size should be five and they should be of same nationality.
There are also restrictions on age limit which bars people above 65 to get the permit. And TPP must be obtained before applying for Chinese visa.
An official of Association of Kailash Tour Operators of Nepal (AKTON) said the new Chinese decision which came with the beginning of the season for Kailash-Mansarovar tour, had caused the cancellation of around 50 percent. “More than 30 percent of the booking consist the group with less than five members and other 20 percent consist people above 65 years leaving our guests with no option than to cancel the booking,” the tour operator said.
The cancellation of the packages not only cut down profits of tour operators but has also hit the tourism industry as the tourists coming under such package spend at least 4-5 days.
According to operators, more than 100,000 tourists go to Tibet via Nepal. Most of the tourists traveling under 15-days Kailash-Mansarovar package are Indian pilgrims mostly above the age of 65. The package cost ranges from Rs 136,000 to Rs 240,000 depending on the mode of transportation.
Mohan Lamsal of Makalu Adventure who is predicting the cancellation to cross 70 percent said, “Had we received the notice in advance we wouldn´t have taken the booking," Lamsal who is also general secretary of Trekking Agencies´ Association of Nepal (TAAN) said along with the tour packages the attraction of tourist was increasing in trekking package to Everest Advance Base Camp Trek from Tibet side.
“More than 95 percent of such packages are sold by Nepali operators and such last minute notice is likely to ruin our impression leaving bad impact in tourism for future as well,” added he.
Meanwhile, officials of AKTON, TAAN, Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATA), Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), Nepal held meeting on Monday to discuss on the issue. Tourism entrepreneurs have also sought help from Nepal Tourism Board and Nepal-China Chamber of Commerce and Industry to help resolve the issue.