Nepal’s cabinet decided this week to allow domestic flights, intercity buses, hotels and restaurants to reopen from 17 September and foreigners for trekking and mountaineering from 17 October.
The decision was welcome relief to Nepal’s domestic airlines which have had most of their planes and helicopters grounded for the past six months. However, they want the government to lift the restrictions on caring only 50% passengers, because it is not economically viable.
Tourism brought in $700 million in 2018-19, and makes 8% of Nepal’s GDP. Nearly half-a-million NePalis are directly employed in the trekking and mountaineering sector, with 2 million others benefiting indirectly from tourism.