US Department of State issues one month Nepal travel alert
The US Department of State alerts US citizens traveling to or living in Nepal to the upcoming Constituent Assembly elections scheduled for November 19.
“US citizens in Nepal are strongly urged to avoid demonstrations, political rallies, or large crowds during the election period,” said the travel alert that expires on December 19.
October and November are the peak tourist seasons. Last October saw some 22.3 per cent increment – compared to a year ago’s October – whereas last November witnessed some 12.6 per cent increment – compared to a year ago’s November – in US tourists arrivals via air, according to the statistics compiled by the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB). However, the Travel Alert could hit the already declining tourist arrivals – compared to the last year – not only from the US but from across the globe.
“Although most of the major political parties in Nepal are in agreement regarding the upcoming elections, some parties have declined to participate, and have indicated that they may seek to disrupt the election process,” read the alert. “Accordingly, despite efforts by the government of Nepal to ensure security during and in advance of elections, there is an increased risk of violence during ‘bandhs‘ – strikes that disrupt transportation and commercial activity – as well as at political rallies and demonstrations. There is the possibility of spontaneous protests during this and any election cycle remains.”
The Alert has suggested the US citizens in Nepal to strongly avoid demonstrations, political rallies, or large crowds during the election period. “In addition, US citizens are advised to exercise caution during any travel taking place during a bandh – strike – as most vehicular transportation is not permitted during ‘bandhs’ and confrontations between motorists and protesters could occur, especially at major intersections.”
It has also urged the US citizens to monitor the US Embassy website, and the local media.