Impact of COVID-19 on Tourism in Nepal

9 Oct 2022 hillaryadmin

Covid Impact on Tourism

Introduction

Nepal is known for its beautiful terrains, rugged mountains, and vibrant culture. With its hospitality and friendly nature, Nepal is also a popular tourist attraction. 

Tourism in Nepal is one of the most critical industries and an integral part of the country’s economy. The nation has huge tourism potential, and all efforts must be put in place to enhance it through proper development plans, facilities, and policy implementation.

However, the global pandemic has become a serious threat to the tourism industry in Nepal. Following the outbreak of Covid-19, the tourism sector has gradually declined. As a result, there has been a drastic reduction in tourists visiting Nepal. However, it is hoped that the industry will return to its previous level upon its normalization.

Impact on tourism in Nepal

The impact of COVID-19 on tourism in Nepal was immense, and it has caused a huge loss to the industry. The government had planned to attract 2 million foreign visitors with the “Visit Nepal 2020” campaign. But this failed due to a lack of awareness about the disease among people outside Nepal. As a result, 230,085 visitors came to the country in 2020, down significantly from 1,197,191 in 2019, as per statistics on tourism in Nepal.

Nepal faced a loss of 14.37% due to travel restrictions around the world. This resulted in the cancellation of many tour packages by foreign airlines as well as a reduced number of domestic flights operated by private airlines during this period.

The Recovery of tourism in Nepal

Nepal’s tourism industry is beginning to recover. A total of 126,000 tourists visited Nepal before November 2020. In November, after COVID-19 spread, over 26,487 tourists visited Nepal. However, these numbers are still not enough compared to pre-pandemic days when around 1 million tourists were entering Nepal every year.

The tourist numbers are gradually increasing. But it’s still far from what it used to be before 2017-19, which was about 80% higher than what we saw after the pandemic spread.

As per regulation issued by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation, all those who have negative PCR tests will be reinstated. On the other hand, quarantine is not needed for fully vaccinated tourists.

The Bounce Back

The tourism industry has been hit hard after the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. Many investors had to abandon their businesses and return home, causing a massive loss to the country’s economy. However, despite this economic crisis, Nepal is still hoping for a rebound in tourism numbers soon.

The bounce back from COVID-19 was not easy for Nepal. But with time and effort from all stakeholders involved in the sector, things are looking up again. In addition, the government has announced to invest more in various programs to boost domestic tourism by 2023 and 2024, respectively. 

At the same time, private companies are also trying to recover lost revenue due to this pandemic outbreak. It’s all to ensure people tour around safely without worrying too much before they leave home again!

Government Initiatives on tourism in Nepal

The government of Nepal has already taken a clear interest in the tourism sector. After the minimization of the pandemic, it announced that it would be putting forth some new plans. This would help develop and increase tourism in Nepal. A lot of things need to be done here, including promoting Nepal as a tourist destination, improving its infra system, and so on.

Tourism-related businesses received NPR 4.95 billion from the government. Moreover, Gautam Buddha International Airport, a brand-new international airport, has opened. Similar to this, Pokhara will soon open its new international airport. It will significantly advance Nepal’s tourism sector.

The Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) made an agreement to promote travel between Nepal and India.

1,000 temporary jobs are intended to be created for persons employed in the tourism industry under a Memorandum of Understanding between the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN).

The Nepal-Bangladesh Tourism Promotion and B2B Exchange Program and Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) have partnered to promote each other’s tourism destinations. As a whole, the government is trying to make tourism one of the main contributors to the economy.

Guidelines For Foreign Tourists

To help you better understand the impact of COVID-19 on tourism, we have compiled a list of recommendations for foreign tourists.

  • Before booking a tour to Nepal, it is essential to consult with your travel insurer about whether or not it is advisable for you to cancel or postpone your trip. If so, they will advise how long this should take before they can rebook tickets and assist with alternative arrangements if necessary.
  • If you are planning a holiday in Nepal during the winter months (November–January), we recommend that tourists bring proper clothing and gear:
  • Wear gloves when entering buildings where there are several people around; especially in public places like airports and hospitals where there may be infectious diseases present;
  • Avoid overcrowded buses/taxis whenever possible;
  • Be aware of changing weather conditions such as heavy rain/thunderstorms, which could cause power outages;
  • Check with local authorities about road closures due to landslides, etc. before traveling abroad

Nepal Travel Advice & Safety

Nepal is an amazing country that offers a wide variety of breathtaking sites, cultural experiences, and culinary delights. However, it is essential to be aware of the dangers that may exist in this culturally diverse country.

Below are some tips for your Nepal travel:

Nepal Visa

There are options for visa-on-arrival. For information and conditions, travelers can contact the nearest embassy of Nepal.

Vaccination Certificate on Arrival

No longer required as a pre-departure COVID-19 (PCR) test for travelers who are fully immunized to enter Nepal.

Removal of COVID-19 Restrictions in Nepal

Only a few places might advise you to keep your distance from other people and wear a face mask.

Trekking and Mountaineering Permits 

Nepal has issued permits for mountaineering and trekking. As a result, you can contact your tour operators and adjust the timing of your visits.

Currency Exchange

In rural locations, ATMs are rare. Keep enough cash on hand to satisfy your necessities. So, use banks and ATMs in major places to exchange foreign currency for NPR.

Stepping Into The New Normal

The new normal is a time to rebuild and restore trust. In this context, it means that people need to be confident in their ability to travel safely, which requires having a clear understanding of how COVID-19 affects them and what they should do about it.

Traveling to Nepal has become an adventure. But, it is no longer just about the physical thrill and adventure. It is also about safety, confidence, and trust. The new normal in Nepal is a safe one, and this can be seen everywhere you go. The bounce back from COVID-19 has already begun, and people are returning to the roads again as if nothing happened!

Final Say

Nepal is a culturally diverse country and has been popular with tourists for many years. The tourism industry has always been a major source of revenue for the Nepalese government. However, due to the outbreak of COVID-19, tourism has taken a huge hit, with visitors avoiding Nepal or canceling their tours. 

Nepal’s tourism industry still has a long way to go before rebounding to pre-pandemic levels. But it will recover, and it will be up to the government and industry leaders to make sure that it does. No matter how minimal, tourist arrivals are a crucial source of foreign income for Nepal. Much of this goes to support local businesses, hotels, and restaurants in the tourism sector and beyond. 

Suppose the Nepalese government wants to ensure that its economy thrives in the future. In that case, it needs to do whatever is possible to inspire confidence in tourists.

FAQS

Is Nepal safe to travel to in 2022?

Yes, Nepal is safe to travel to in 2022. The COVID-19 pandemic has been minimized over for a year now, and the country is doing well. There are still some cases of COVID-19 in Nepal, but they are no longer at dangerous levels.

Nepal has had a long history of civil unrest and political instability, but it’s now on a path to stability. The country has made progress in healthcare, education, and economic growth.

Overall, we expect Nepal will continue to be a great place for travelers in 2022 and beyond!

Is Nepal open for tourism?

Nepal’s pandemic outbreak has ruined much of the country’s tourism infrastructure. Tourists must be cautious when traveling to and within the country, but the nation is open for tourism and appears to be recovering, albeit slowly. Travelers visiting the country should prepare for short-term risks and follow directions from their government officials and travel companies. Overall, visiting Nepal remains a can’t-miss adventure, even following this most recent tragedy.

Can I still travel if I have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19?

Yes, you can still travel if you have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. However, within 72 hours of your arrival, you must have a negative RT-PCR test result to demonstrate that you are COVID-19 negative.

Do I need a visa to travel to Nepal?

Yes, all visitors will require a visa. All the visitors must have a valid passport and visa for entry into Nepal. Additionally, you can get a visa on arrival. The Nepali embassy can provide information and conditions for travelers.

What should I do if I get sick while traveling to Nepal?

If you become ill while traveling to Nepal, please stay at your hotel and contact the front desk for assistance. If you need medical attention, contacting a local doctor or hospital is a must.

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