The start of the spring trekking season is usually a goldmine for Nepal’s tourist industry. In a normal year, Nepal earns up to $700 million from the tourist industry which provides direct employment to 1 million people.
With the Covid-19 pandemic halting travel worldwide, Nepal’s once-resilient tourism industry faces an anxious wait for the return of some semblance of normalcy. Yet, even with growing rates of vaccinations worldwide, Nepal’s full-reopening to foreign tourists hinges on a complex web of factors.
One concerns arrival restrictions. While the Nepali government eased restrictions on foreign visits last December, various visitor requirements still deter many. Foreigners are allowed to fly to Nepal, but require a visa from an embassy abroad before being allowed in.
Similarly, visitors are required to show proof of a reservation at a designated hotel for a one-week quarantine, which may be 10 days if travelers are arriving from countries with new virus strains. Yet, even with Nepal’s Covid-19 cases declining to low levels, these regulations help provide an added layer of security to protect the country from infected visitors.
Another involves vaccination rates in Nepal and abroad. As one of the first countries in the region to initiate a rapid vaccination program, Nepal hopes to expand on its inoculation drive to include the bulk of its population, not just frontline workers and medical staff.