Foreigners allowed to come to Nepal starting from Saturday

file photo; Tourists enjoying sightseeing at Chitwan National Park. Photo courtesy: Nepal Tourism Board

Quarantine is mandatory

Kathmandu: Starting from October 17, the Nepal government has allowed foreign tourists to visit Nepal. However, despite lots of requests from stakeholders, the government has made quarantine mandatory for tourists.

Nepal government has started visa services for tourists coming for mountaineering and trekking activities. However, tourists coming to Nepal will have to stay in hotel quarantine for seven days.

All the tourism activities have been halted for last seven months in the country due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The government is about to allow foreign tourists to visit Nepal to keep the economy afloat despite the epidemic. Tourists will be allowed to come for mountaineering and trekking in the first phase.

Strict adherence to health safety standards will be made to prevent them from becoming infected. Tourists have to stay in quarantine for seven days before going to the destination. The government is confident that the safe return of tourists for mountaineering and trekking will send a positive message. After that, other tourist destinations will be ready to open for tourists.

Tourism industry is one of the worst affected areas. As per the authorities the tourism sector has incurred a loss of around Rs 40 billion in last seven months. The hotels are deserted as there are no tourists even though the government has allowed them to operate from September 20.

Although it has been said that the country is ready for the hospitality of tourists, it is not suitable for sightseeing now as the covid-19 infection is spreading rapidly.

Therefore, there is a fear among the stakeholders that if the infection is confirmed to the tourists coming to Nepal, it may send a more negative message to the world. Thus, the fact is that the government has opened visas do not mean that tourists should come in large numbers.