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Monday, November 01, 2004

What a pity  

Nepal is a world of its own.
With a backdrop of tall, white mountains, dominated by Everest, it sits on the southern slopes of the Himalayas, and is the most stunning country imaginable with timeless trails traversing the mountains, clean air, white water, mountain streams, glorious views and friendly people.

What a pity that the US State Department considers it necessary to urge US citizens to defer non-essential travel to Nepal in view of continued security concerns in the Himalayan Kingdom. US State Department Travel Warnings. Some other Western governments, including France, Italy, Australia and New Zealand, have also revised their travel guidance and are advising their nationals against non-essential travel.

The issue has been highlighted by the increase in violence in Nepal but although the British Foreign Office has warned that there is a high threat of violence from Maoist rebels, including bombing and shooting in public places and tourist areas, it has so far stopped short of warning British travellers to avoid Nepal.

Trekkers are considered to be at particular risk and are advised to remain on established routes and to only walk in groups with reputable trekking agencies. Maoists have been demanding money from people, though we know of none that have been hurt and there is even a report of Maoists giving trekkers a receipt for 'liberated funds'! It should be noted however that some tour operators consider the situation in the region to be too dangerous and they have suspended their operations in the country.

What a pity that modern politics has found its way to what many regarded as the last paradise left on earth. Nepal is a desperately poor country and most Nepalese would probably consider their lives to be far from idyllic, losing tourist revenue will add to their burden; constructive help is surely needed to assist the country find a just solution to its problem, otherwise we will all be the losers.

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