61,000 int’l tourists visited Nepal in past seven months
August 8, 2021 05:15 PM NPT
POKHARA, August 8: The spread of COVID-19 has crippled Nepal’s tourism industry as the flow of international tourists to visit the Himalayan country has come to an almost halt. Although the flow of tourists looked promising in March and April, the following months have seen very few tourist arrivals. In such unprecedented times, tourism entrepreneurs are worried as the hopes of tourists arriving in Nepal have started to fade.
According to Nepal Tourism Board, as many as 61,049 international tourists entered Nepal in the past seven months of 2021. Of them, 8,874 tourists arrived in January, 9,146 in February, 14,977 in March, 22,450 in April, 1,468 in May, 1,143 in June and 2,991 in July.
According to Maniraj Lamichhane, spokesperson for the tourism board, although the tourism sector was recovering from the pandemic, the threat of a third wave has stopped the flow of tourists.
However, the calls for information from tourists who want to come to Nepal have increased lately, Lamichhane said. The risk of a third wave has halted their plans to travel to Nepal for now.
“The fear of contracting the virus has stopped the flow of tourists despite their want to travel to the country,” he said. “Also, despite the resumption of flight services, the prices of air flights have increased due to limited flights,” he added.
Tourism entrepreneurs have started to get anxious for their business as there is no money to be made at the moment. The COVID-19 pandemic has seriously affected the sector. Tourism business operators fear that the ripple effects of the current situation will last longer than expected.
“We have been expecting domestic tourists as there is no chance of reservations from international tourists at the moment,” central member of the local hotel association, Bharat Raj Parajuli said.
“The risk of a third wave has made it difficult for businesses during the seasonal period. At a time when one expected to earn some money, the risk of a third wave has stopped those chances,” he said.
According to Gopi Bhattarai, Chairman of Pokhara Tourism Council, the situation is out of control. The condition of the tourism sector is unimaginable, Bhattarai said. “The current state of foreign countries which have already administered two doses of COVID-19 vaccines to their citizens is also facing a rise in infection cases and is getting more dangerous. Under such circumstances, the tourism sector cannot even hope for international guests,” he said.