Why local tourists in Nepal are treated as Unwanted Guests ?

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Viewed from Manang.

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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7 COMMENTS

  1. Same happened on Everest Trek. There were rooms available in Pangboche at 11pm at Sunrise Hotel. But was looking for foreigners and ask to search other place and then didn’t receive any calls.

  2. This is not the complete picture however.. You are talking about just a few scattered instances at hotels or restaurants and localized or individual discrimination. This happens everywhere in the world and not just Nepal and I think that you pay less at the hotel too than foreigners ( this doesn’t mean that it’s OK to cancel your booking).

    I believe in fairness to “all”. In America everyone pays the same prices.. Everyone. And spouses can get a 10 year visa and have the right to work. There is no extra fees for foreigners.

    Foreigners who are married to Nepali spouses are treated as second class citizens/ Dalits even if they are millionaires. And can do nothing without their spouse there with them at government offices etc.

    We can own nothing in our own names.. Can’t get a work permit in many cases to support our families if we need to.

    Have no long term visa opportunity ( US you can get 10 year visa for spouse with work privileges) and we have to pay a lot of money just to stay with our family in Nepal each year or two.

    When a restaurant or hotel quotes a price it is always cheaper for the Nepali.. Always.! I have found that when my wife negotiates it is about half to a third less than what they charge me as a foreigner and that is from private companies.

    We pay the higher rates for almost everything in Nepal and that is mandated by the government at all public venues.

    3X higher prices for airline flights than Nepalese.
    3-20X higher for museums, parks, trekking permits, elephant rides, rafting etc.
    To ride the cable car recently it was $20 for me and $200 for my wife.

    Nepal is very discriminatory against foreigners and while occasionally there are issues like those mentioned here in this article it is very little compared to the people you are trying to say get so much better treatment than you do as Nepalese..

    Namaste

  3. Ok, so now waiting for an article showing how foreigners married to Nepalis, leaving here permanently are overcharged at every step, starting from gov. offices, taxis to trekking routes and hotels. Let’s see if the author can emphasise with ‘the others’, if publication really look at bigger picture. Cheers!

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