China issued temporary travel restriction to Nepal
27th Dec, 2016 | Tourism Mail Crew
KATHMANDU,Dec 27: China has reportedly issued a temporary travel restriction on its citizens visiting Nepal and asked its travel agencies and airlines to cancel all travel plans and bookings made until January 10 with immediate effect.
The travel advisory has been circulated to the travel and tour operators and airlines in China by the Chinese government, but it has not been published in the Chinese government’s website, according to Nepal-based travel agents.
Senior Nepal government officials, who came to know of the latest Chinese measures, said the move is aimed at restricting Tibetans from visiting India via Nepal to participate in the 34th Kalachakra Initiation scheduled for January 3-14 in Bodh Gaya, India. Dismissing any other reasons behind the move, they said there are indications that tourism traffic will resume after mid-January.
Some sources said that the move was taken some 15 days ago by the Chinese authorities in various provinces in China. Visitors from the northern neighbour are valued as they have helped to give a fillip to Nepal’s tourism industry after arrivals from the traditional European markets started trailing off due to political instability and a wobbly economy.
On December 25, 2015, Nepal had announced free visa for Chinese tourists, giving them the same treatment accorded to Saarc visitors, in a bid to revive flagging arrivals hit by the 2015 earthquakes and subsequent trade embargo of India.
The free visa fee scheme was implemented in January this year. According to the Department of Immigration, Chinese tourist arrivals dipped 28 percent to 33,991 in the first six months of 2016. However, travel trade entrepreneurs reported that arrivals started to jump sharply after key Chinese airlines connecting Nepal started to increase their flight frequency since September.
With the rumors roaming around, The Nepalese authorities on Monday made it clear that no travel restrictions were issued to Nepal by the Chinese government agencies as reported in local media.
"We have not received any information officially and unofficially from the Chinese side about the travel advisories issued to Nepal by any Chinese government agencies or tour operators. The media reports are baseless," Jayanarayan Acharya, director general at the Nepal's Department of Tourism, told Xinhua.
Following news reports published in Kathmandu-based media, Nepalese Ministry of Foreign Affairs had instructed its Beijing-based embassy to verify the reports and enquire whether such restrictions to Nepal were issued by the Chinese government.
After making an inquiry with the Chinese authorities, the Nepalese Embassy communicated to the government that no such travel restrictions were issued by China, officials said. Meanwhile, a senior official at the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu termed these reports baseless.