In 1951, the government of Nepal reversed its long-standing policy and began to encourage visitors; before then, mountaineering expeditions had been permitted into the country only under severe official scrutiny and restraining regulations. For mountain trekkers, travel agencies in Ka¯thmāndu provide transportation to mountain sites, as well as Sherpa guides and porters. Tents, sleeping bags, and other mountain-climbing gear are available in Ka¯thmāndu. Travel is difficult; roads are generally poor.
Tourism was first officially included among the country's major potential assets in 1956. There were 463,646 foreign tourists in 2000 and receipts from tourism totaled $167 million. There were 18,203 hotel rooms and a total of 34,958 bed-places that same year.
In 2002, the US State Department estimated the cost of staying in Ka¯thmāndu at $161. Travel elsewhere in the country can be significantly less expensive.