Tourism is major victim of Maoist shutdown in Nepal


KATHMANDU – Buses ferried stranded tourists out of the Nepalese capital Kathmandu on Tuesday and shopkeepers said their premises had been attacked as Maoist protesters enforced the third day of a general strike.

Talks between the Maoist party, which has the largest number of seats in parliament, and the ruling coalition have failed to make a breakthrough since opposition supporters massed in the city at the weekend.

Much of the country has been paralysed as the left-wing former rebels try to force the government to resign in a stand-off that threatens the Himalayan nation’s fragile peace process.

Buses carrying stranded tourists were allowed through Maoist roadblocks to the airport, witnesses said, adding that protesters checked that all passengers were foreigners.

“We have been organising a shuttle bus service for tourists, to evacuate those who want to leave the country,” Sarad Pradhan, a spokesman at the Nepal Tourism Board, told AFP.

“Many have already left the city. The protesters have not targeted tourists or vehicles carrying tourists.”

He said some visitors were stuck on trekking holidays unable to return to Kathmandu, but he was unable to give numbers.