Tourism during Covid-19 in Nepal


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North America
August 4th 2021
Published: April 7th 2021
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Tourism during Covid-19 in Nepal




The government of Nepal now has totally lifted the lockdown implicated on the entire country amid the outbreak of the COVID-19 phase-wise and since 22 July 2020. National and international flights resumed and almost all institutions have begun operating in a normal mode. All the educational institutions are being re-opened, temples and trekking trails are awaiting visitors eagerly.

Moreover, the declaration for the operation of all domestic and international flights from 17 August 2020 and the preparations to allow foreigners to visit Nepal from mid-November by following required safety protocols has given a boost up to the tourism industry to come out of the sagging spirits of entrepreneurship.

In a bid to revive the hard-hit tourism industry, Nepal announced that all the foreign tourists having COVID-19 negative reports should quarantine themselves for seven days only from October 17. Foreign trekkers and mountaineers wishing to visit Nepal from October 17 may walk free after staying in quarantine if they produce a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) negative report, said an official at the Department of Tourism, Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation.

The move came after mounting pressure from travel and tourism entrepreneurs to open up the country’s tourism sector for international visitors, as the industry is passing through a complicated time due to a months-long lockdown. Within the expanse, the pandemic could not have come at a worse time for Nepal’s tourism industry, which has almost entirely shut down since the outbreak.

The government had declared 2020 as the Visit Nepal Year, announcing a national campaign with an annual target of achieving 2 million tourist arrivals. With the country’s borders closed to adventure-seeking mountaineering crowds, the direct actors along in the tourism value chain (tour operators, trekking agencies, mountain guides, and Sherpas) have lost their only source of income.

After 8 months of complete lockdown, Nepal has welcomed tourists back to its resorts and hotels, after publishing a comprehensive sector reopening strategy aimed towards building trust and credibility among potential tourists. Tourists can be assured that the Government has put into place strict safety and hygiene standards to ensure the safe reopening of the country to tourists from around the world when travel restrictions begin to ease.”

The report urges governments to design universal social protection as well as policies that support greater productivity, skills development, and human capital. In that effort, securing international and domestic financing will help governments fund crucial programs to speed up recovery. Travelers will also have to do their bit by preparing to deal with the uncertainties while ensuring that they comply with changing regulations that help countries manage fluctuations in the number of COVID-19 cases, which will undoubtedly arise as borders open up and the world becomes more mobile again.

Entry Protocol for Mountaineering Expeditions and Trekking in Nepal, 2077

This protocol has been issued by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation, for the safety and protection against the risk of COVID-19 for foreign tourists visiting Nepal for Mountaineering Expeditions and Trekking, as per the following terms and conditions:
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• All tourists coming to Nepal for mountaineering and trekking must acquire a visa before arriving in Nepal.
• In the case of countries where visa provision for Nepal is not available, expedition teams or trekkers can coordinate with Travel and Trekking agencies based in Nepal for an arrangement of prior approval to enter Nepal.
• For prior Visa approval, the Nepal-based Agencies must submit all prescribed details of the client/s and relevant details to the Department of Tourism (DOT) for Expedition teams and the Nepal Tourism Board for Trekkers, for a recommendation of Visa to the Department of Immigration.
• For tourists arriving in Nepal as per point 1, the visa shall be provisioned at the point of entry by the Department of Immigration.


Tourists entering Nepal must present the following documents at the entry point;
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• RT (Polymerase Chain Reaction: PCR) Negative taken within 72 hours before departing the home country
• Visa or prior approval document (ref point 1) for entry to Nepal.
• A hotel booking for at least 7 days quarantine in Nepal.
• Insurance of at least 5,000/- (Five thousand US Dollars) against COVID-19 per person.
• After entry to Nepal, tourists must stay in hotel quarantine for a minimum of 7 days.
• Tourists are required to take a PCR test on the fifth day of hotel quarantine at their own expense and shall be allowed to proceed for expeditions or trekking on obtaining RT PCR Negative.
• As per Article 3, for tourists who test RT Positive for COVID-19, Quarantine shall be extended till he/ she obtains RT PCR Negative test report.
• Expedition or trekking teams must provide insurance coverage of a minimum of NPR 100,000/- (One lakh Nepali Rupees only) against COVID-19 to team members from Nepal prior to obtaining permission for expedition or trekking.
• While in expedition or trekking in Nepal, health guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Population of the Government of Nepal must be duly followed.
• Other conditions and criteria to be followed by the tourist shall be as per regular updates from the Department of Tourism. The concerned agency must provide detailed information on the same to tourists before the expedition or trekking.


Operational Guideline with Health Protocols for Tourism Sector by Nepal Tourism Board are;
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Hiking & travel protocols

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• The group shall not hand out sweets or other things to kids or locals while trekking or at camp. Although it’s certainly possible to keep items brought from home virus-free if there was a virus outbreak in a village it might be linked to the trekking group.
• The group shall maintain distance from other trekking groups and villagers.
• The group shall not invite other people into dining, kitchen, or personal tents (serve tea or snacks to locals outside all tents).
• The group shall not enter villagers’ houses; have encounters with villagers except at a safe distance.
• Only Namaste, no hugs or handshakes with anyone at any time.

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Long teahouse treks protocols

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• All clients shall have single rooms, (wherever applicable) except for couples or people who have traveled to Nepal together.
• All groups shall maintain social and physical distancing as per protocol from other trekking groups, lodge staff, and locals.
• Follow protocol guidelines for shopping, interactions with locals as on camping treks.
• The guide shall advise clients to only shop from local shops where safety guidelines are being adhered to.
• The guide shall advise clients to strictly follow health protocols in lodges (coughing into elbow or shirt, wearing a mask, not handing common condiment containers without clean hands, not touching door handles without clean hands, not using any common towel, etc).
• The guide shall ensure that the lodge owners and staff are maintaining their property as per established guidelines.
• The guide shall make sure that the kitchen facilities and rooms in the lodges are lean, sanitized, and sterilized.


So what do we need to do while traveling to Nepal during this pandemic?
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• All visitors may need to carry a certificate confirming that they are not infected with the coronavirus.
• All flights from and to Nepal will be operated by following special health and safety protocols.
• All foreign visitors will be exposed to a thermal-gun temperature check on arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airportas well as all-important entry points of most places like hotels, banks, shopping malls, hospitals, etc. If you show any signs of being infected by the coronavirus, you will be checked by an expert medical team and advised accordingly.
Nepal Holiday Treks & Toursstaff including mountain leaders and the whole crew will wear masks including the hotel staff where you will be residing.
• You will be required to carry hand sanitizer and masks with you all the time and maintain physical distancing while interacting with people.
• You will be expected to be in regular contact with the trekking office to know ground situations, even when you are on the trip.



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• You shall do your shopping only from local shops where safety guidelines are being adhered to.


Conclusion

After the long pause, tourism is expected to re-vitalize soon. The government officials, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, and concerned authorities are dedicated to bringing the tourism industry to its original form.
Following the safety measures, trekking and tour-related activities are being organized. The popular treks of the Annapurna and Everest region are already been opened and the number of trekkers is increasing each day. https://www.nepalholidaytreksandtours.com/blog/tourism-during-covid-19-in-nepal/

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