Hawkers are hassles for tourists, but less so in Nepal
By CK Khanal
Kathmandu, May 12: Many foreigners visiting Nepal appreciate the people as friendly and helpful, but they often deny talking with them even during their free time.
If one tries to speak with a tourist at any tourism destination of the city area, the answer of more than 90 per cent tourists is, ‘no thanks’.
Tourism entrepreneurs and tourists said the denial to speak with local people was due to the visitors’ social culture, and more apparently, due to the habit of many Nepalis present in the streets who are ready to extract money from tourists in different ways.
Tourists walking in the streets of various tourist areas including Thamel of Kathmandu face hassles from hawkers and agents of hotels, restaurants, spas and trekking agencies.
Most of the tourists said that they were already informed about the possible hassles in streets of Nepal from different kinds of people and also the ways to escape from those people by their friends and travel agencies.
“I had heard from my friends who have already visited Nepal about the people that follow tourists in streets to extract money, therefore I did not feel strange about it,” said a German visitor Benjamin Lappan.
He, however, said that the hassles that tourists had to face in streets of Nepal are negligible as compared to hassles confronted in other developing countries.
“I am here as per the recommendations of my friends and have got detailed information about do’s and don’t’s in both city and rural area,” he said.
While walking around Thamel, many people approach me offering various services but one needs to just neglect them saying ‘no thanks’ with smile, he said.
Lappan said that mostly European visitors feel strange while some people follow them offering something in the streets. In Europe, the customers have to approach to ask vendors asking for their goods, he added.
Nabaraj Pokharel, of Octopus International Trading in Thamel, said that hawkers and agents of other businesses had compelled the tourists give a cold shoulder to the people who approach them and want to talk with them.
He said that travel agencies, some guides and some guide books disseminate information to the visiting tourists about what to do and not to in Nepal.
He said that some travel agencies and guides provide some exaggerated information for their own benefits. Guides mostly suggest visitors not to deal with street people with a motive to take the tourists to some shops to get commissions from the store owners.
He said that the government should take initiative to control hawkers and agents to make Nepal’s all tourism destination tourist-friendly.
Sameer Gurung, president of Thamel Development Council (TTDC), said that the TTDC was coordinating with the tourist police to make Thamel a hassle free place for tourists.
He, however, said that their attempts to make the area a tourist-friendly had not materialised due to unhealthy competition among tourism entrepreneurs in Thamel.