Despite measures, Thamel’s night life plan put on hold

  • But entrepreneurs say they’re ready to keep shutters open all night long
- GAURAV THAPA, Kathmandu

Jan 6, 2016-

Plans to run Kathmandu’s tourist hub Thamel around the clock have hit a snag as local administration has asked for more time to do homework while sine qua non for a proper night life are lacking.

Hopes of partygoers and tourists were high as Thamel entertained them throughout the night of New Year’s Eve. But Kathmandu District Administration Office has said it needs more time for inspecting the physical underpinning of the area. 

On December 28, newly-appointed Chief District Officer Ram Krishna Subedi had told local businessmen that Thamel does not have adequate prerequisites, including security, and asked to in mid-January for an official decision on the matter.

But entrepreneurs say they are ready to keep their shutters open all night long. President of Thamel Tourism Development Council Ram Sharan Thapaliya said works on developing infrastructure are ongoing. 

“We have installed 30 closed-circuit cameras around the area, footage from which is under surveillance from police,” he said. “Works are underway for installing solar lamps.”

According to the council, around 4,000 traders currently run 18 types of businesses in Thamel. Diner’s restaurants operate till 10pm, dance bars and live music restaurants till midnight while discos open till 2am. 

“Around 300,000 people, who are directly employed by these establishments, will be benefit if the opening hours are extended till 4am,” Thapaliya said. “Some 1,000 homeowners will also benefit as this will increase in their property value.”

Tourism data shows more than 80 percent of foreign tourists who land in Kathmandu visit Thamel. Of late, locals have outnumbered foreigners as prime customers in Thamel at night.

But there are challenges to overcome. Thamel is considered a main destination for prostitution and drugs in the Capital. Also, Nepal has no proper mechanism to prevent people under “legal age” from entering bars.

Tackling these issues, tourism experts say, will go a long way in landing more tourists in Nepal. 

Around 800,000 foreign tourists visited Nepal in 2011 but the number plunged by more than half in 2015. Tourism entrepreneurs believe adding nightlife to Valley’s attraction will bring back tourists.

Published: 06-01-2016 09:12

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