Nepal reopening for tourism

Is Nepal open now for tourists?
It’s good news that now Nepal reopens for tourism. The new rule is now there’s no quarantine for anyone who is fully vaccinated. And there’s also a visa on arrival for tourists. Due to the covid pandemic, Nepal tourism was the most affected sector with almost zero tourist arrival from the last two years. Not only in Nepal the entire world is in disorder due to covid up until now the covid impact is becoming less. Looking into this the Nepal government has revised the immigration entry protocol for Nepal which is to provide arrival visas for those flying directly to Kathmandu from abroad and no quarantine for fully vaccinated travelers. Visitors need to be fully vaccinated against covid with the second dose 14 days prior to travel to Nepal. Previously, anyone’s who wishes to travel to Nepal has to get a visa from Nepal’s mission abroad and needs to stay for seven days quarantine at a hotel in Kathmandu at their own expense. Those who are partially vaccinated or unvaccinated still have to get a visa from Nepalese embassies abroad and have to stay for 10 days quarantine after arrival in Nepal at a government-approved hotel in Kathmandu. They have to get PCR negative test before they go out and about. 

Is Nepal border open now?
Tourists arriving via land in Nepal either from India or the Chinese border are subject to negative antigen tests at the respective borders from where they are entering Nepal. 

Those who are concerned with Nepal’s tourism industry like TAAN (Trekking Agencies Association Nepal) including all the tourism-related organizations have been seriously talking with the Nepal government to ease the restriction since covid cases have dropped in Kathmandu and the vaccination rate is going up. They put forward the harsh reality to the government that people involved in tourism have lost their jobs, investors are high on loans on hotels, airlines and restaurants and the government was losing $800 million it used to earn a year from tourism before the pandemic. The government’s earlier entry regulations were also criticized by those concerned with tourism which was inconvenient and confusing, detracting potential visitors, and complained of arbitrary visa requirements. But now the news of revised protocol has provoked an overwhelmingly positive response where previously most tourists were discouraged by the convoluted regulations. This boost was much needed for the tourism industry of Nepal which was the hardest hit by the pandemic. 

In 2019, tourist arrival in Nepal was nearly 1.2 million but that figure dropped down to 220,000 in 2020. The figure this year is only 70,000 visitors who were either mountaineers or repeat trekkers, or those familiar with Nepal and have some connections in Nepal. In the present scenario, the tourism industry is well prepared to welcome tourists again. The new uncomplicated entry requirements are the next step in restoring a “new normal” for tourism. Those working in the frontline in tourism sectors are already been vaccinated as well as in popular destinations like Langtang, workers alongside locals are jabbed too. Trekking and mountaineering may soon continue as normal. There was a flow of tourists coming for trekking in Nepal even under the old stricter rules. There have been several expeditions at the base camps of many mountains like Manaslu, Dhaulagiri and Kangchenjunga. But climbing permits for Mt. Everest aren’t issued as yet.

New rules and paperwork to be submitted by visitors entering Nepal as per now are:
– Certificate of full vaccination within 14 days.
– Proof of covid negative report prior to 72 hours before the flight to Nepal
– Copy of permits for trekking or mountaineering whichever is applied as per visitors’ travel plan.
– Proof of hotel booking in Nepal.
– Printed copy of the online form submitted at www.ccmc.gov.np

Rules for partially vaccinated visitors or those already entered Nepal.
– If tested positive on antigen test at the entry points in Nepal, visitors have to stay for 10 days quarantine in hotels at their own expense. When tested negative on the 11th day then only visitors will be allowed to travel, trek or whatever travel propose they have come to Nepal.
– Visitors have to bear all the expenses of covid test, isolation stay or insurance
– Visitors who show symptoms of covid who are already traveling in Nepal need to take covid test immediately and if tested positive need to stay in isolation.
– Travel agencies need to take the responsibility of their clients to strictly follow all the rules and regulations imposed by the government.
– Hotels are responsible for all their guests under isolation or quarantine to follow all the government’s rules and regulations.
– Travel agents or hotels are required to inform the police department if their guests or travelers didn’t follow the government covid rules and regulations.

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