Kathmandu : Nepal has announced a ban on popular Chinese digital wallets such as Alipay and WeChat, in order to stop the loss of foreign currency earnings from tens of thousands of Chinese tourists.
In 2018, Nepal welcomed 150,000 Chinese tourists and many of them came armed with digital wallets to pay for hotels, restaurants and shops in tourist areas - especially Chinese-run establishments.
Laxmi Prapanna Niroula, spokesman for the country's central bank, said that Nepal was losing out since the actual transactions took place in China instead of Nepal. "We have enforced a ban on Alipay and WeChat Pay because the country is losing foreign currency earnings through its usage. Action will be taken if anyone is found using the platforms."
Even an owner of a local tea shop named Sushil Koirala said that Chinese tourists often ask for digital payment options.
However, the ban may mean the loss of business, which is significant given that tourism is a major source of revenue for impoverished Nepal.
As a whole, tourism contributed 7.8pc to the Himalayan nation's economy in 2017, creating over a million jobs, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.