How COVID-19 hit tourism in Nepal?
On March 12, 2020, World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID as a pandemic. Following the WHO decision, countries around the world adopted lockdown and social distancing as the primary method of preventing infection. Since then, socialization has been a major challenge.
How COVID-19 hit tourism in Nepal? The first COVID case was reported in Nepal on January 13, 2020. Soon after, the Nepalese government declared a nationwide lockdown beginning March 24 and a suspension of all international flights beginning March 22. For the past two and a half years, Nepal has been under lockdown in various modalities as every year new variant of coronavirus hits again and again.
As previously stated, limiting socialization is the most effective way to prevent COVID infection, this has hampered tourism in every nation in the globe. Similarly, tourism in Nepal has struggled since the outbreak of coronavirus. The Nepalese government has repeatedly lifted the lockdown and decided to reopen tourism, but each time, another lockdown follows.
In the year 2020, Nepal launched the Visit Nepal 2020 campaign with the goal of attracting 2 million tourists. However, shortly after the inauguration ceremony, Nepal was forced to abandon this campaign due to a pandemic. The cancellation of such an ambitious campaign represents a significant loss for Nepal’s tourism industry.
The entire Nepalese economy is heavily dependent on tourism. The pandemic has highly affected Nepal’s tourism industry. Tourism has been a source of income for the people who live in tourist areas for many decades. Since 2020, small family-owned hotels, restaurants, homestays, and other small businesses have not seen a single tourist. Local tour guides and potters have made no money. The failure of tourism in Nepal has heavily impacted this group of people. During the pandemic, they are just unable to finance themselves.
Similarly, travel agencies, hotels, lodges, restaurants, and other highly invested businesses have suffered significant losses as a result of the pandemic. Many businesses are forced to close because it appears impossible to sustain themselves for an indefinite period of time as the pandemic continues.
Everest Base Camp Trek Few tourists visited Nepal after the government provided on-arrival visa on September 23, 2021, for vaccinated tourists. This appeared to be a revival of tourism in Nepal, but disappointment soon followed as another variant of coronavirus, omicron struck. Last year, tourist arrivals have dropped to their lowest point since 1977. According to the Nepal Tourism Board, a total of 150,962 visitors entered the country.