CHICAGO -- A dozen Nepalese tourism officials, in the midst of an
eight-city tour to meet with U.S. agents and operators, considered
aborting their trip when the news broke that the Nepalese crown
prince reportedly had killed himself and several family members.
The delegation of hoteliers and tour firm and tourist board
officials decided to continue the trip to respond to questions and
provide reassurances for the future, said Pradeep Raj Pandey, chief
executive officer of the Nepal Tourism Board.
Violent demonstrations and clashes with police in Nepal followed
the deaths, but Pandey said he believes the unrest will be short
Meanwhile, the State Department issued a public announcement
urging U.S. citizens to defer travel to Nepal.
It said demonstrators have disrupted traffic throughout
Kathmandu, making travel between the airport and hotels and guest
houses "very difficult, if not impossible."
The delegation's discussion among the U.S. trade related only to
future business, mostly in the fall. In summer, the rainy season,
Pandey said, visitors typically come from India and some from
Europe. Americans cluster their visits in the spring and fall, he
Nepal attracted nearly 36,000 visitors from the U.S. last year
-- 80% through the trade, Pandey said.
About 85% of U.S. arrivals are leisure travelers, and nearly
half travel to the Himalayan kingdom for trekking or
Pandey said the delegation's goals were to stress that there is
more to Nepal than mountains and to lure Americans for cultural
activities and summer events.