Nepal bill ban concerns tourism industry

Nepal has banned the use of large denomination Indian currency notes in a move which tourism officials say may be detrimental to the industry.

According to a notification in the Nepal Gazette, people will not be able to carry bills of 200, 500, or 2000 rupees, local media reports.

“The decision is a big setback particularly for cash-driven industries like tourism,” Basanta Raj Mishra, a senior tourism entrepreneur, was cited as saying. “We were optimistic that the government was taking initiatives to make the Indian currency, the denomination of at least INR500, acceptable in Nepal targeting the Visit Nepal 2020 campaign.”

“The major impact of the decision will be on the casino industry, hotels and restaurants,” he added.

India is the biggest source market for Nepal’s casinos, with operators betting on the rapid expansion of the middle class in that country to help fuel growth. Casino gambling is banned in most of India.