As Sandeep Poudyal trudged along the last stretch of the track leading to Manang, a village in the Nepalese Himalayas overlooked by the towering Annapurna range, all he could think about was the warm bed and hot food waiting in the hotel he had booked for himself and his five Nepalese friends.
But when he arrived, after trekking for nearly nine hours, he was told the hotel was fully booked. Poudyal later learned that his rooms had been given away to foreign trekkers. Two days later, it happened again in the next village on the trail.
“How is it OK for me to get kicked out of a hotel? I booked rooms and they got cancelled because ‘better’ guests came. That is not acceptable … The whole system is geared towards foreigners. As a Nepalese [tourist] I’m seen as an unwanted guest,” says Poudyal.
This is one story of disappointment shared in one news report. There are many incidents where local tourists feel unwanted. Not while traveling only, but if you go in some cafe or restaurant, the first priority is given to foreigners.
Recently, I went in one cafe in Newroad. I ordered some cake and coffee. Manager didn’t respond well though. Immediately, group of some foreigners entered in. I looked at security guard. One who even didn’t notice when I entered there was quick enough to greet and solute the foreign guests. Even the manager arrived at their place and ordered waiter to take their order.
One thing I don’t understand is that we also pay the same amount as foreign tourists or consumers do. Then why we are treated so differently. It’s true that we should prioritize our guests, but while traveling we are also guests, aren’t we?
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