October 18: The government has lifted a ban on arrival of tourists which was in place since the last seven months due to coronavirus pandemic.
Although the country has been recording high number of daily infections, the government has decided to welcome international tourists in Nepal for trekking and mountaineering effective from October 17.
The government had earlier decided to allow foreign tourists on condition that they produce PCR test report while entering the country. But it will take at least a month for the arrival of all kinds of tourists.
For the time being, special attention has been given to tourists opting for trekking and mountaineering but they have to remain in hotel quarantine for seven days. They have to undergo PCR test again after completing the seven-day quarantine before they can visit different places of the country. This is likely to affect the arrival of tourists, argue tourism entrepreneurs. Tourism entrepreneurs however have demanded that tourists should only be quarantined for three days and then retested before they begin their tour.
The government has also decided to resume the on-arrival visa service, which was closed since March 18.
Citizens from all other countries except Iraq, Nigeria, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Somalia, Cameroon, Liberia, Ethiopia, Palestine, Afghanistan and Syria can obtain on-arrival visa upon landing in Nepal.
The tourism industry of Nepal has remained closed since the lockdown was first announced on March 24 this year.
Although the government has lifted a ban on arrival of tourists, President of Hotel Association of Nepal Shreejana Rana says they are not expecting the anticipated numbers of tourists right now.
She stated that the hotels are ready to welcome both domestic and foreign tourists but argues that the visitors are not likely to arrive anytime soon because their health security is of greater concern at the moment.
According to Rana, seven-day quarantine for tourists is quite lengthy. She added that they have urged the government to reconsider its decision regarding this issue.
Nevertheless, she said that the government’s decision to welcome tourists by adopting safety measures was a welcome move.
“Although the government has decided to allow the entry of tourists, we are skeptical that the foreigners will visit Nepal in the same numbers as before because the rate of infection is rising here,” said Rana, adding, “Right now, we have to focus more on domestic tourists rather than international tourists.”