KATHMANDU, Jan 19: Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and tourism-related organizations have suggested to the government to resume the visa-on-arrival service for tourists.
The board has demanded that the visa-on-arrival service should be resumed from all the border points of Nepal, be it by air or land.
They have proposed that the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation revise the ‘Visitors Protocol’. Stating that it seemed necessary to review some of the conditions as the news about Nepal being shut for next tourism season is deteriorating the country’s image as a tourist destination, the board said that the protocols for tourists need to be revised.
“In case of tourists entering Nepal by air, a negative report for COVID-19 produced within 96 hours from the first point of embarkation should be made mandatory,” the board said, “But this rule does not apply to children under the age of five.”
NTB has said that passengers from countries other than India should be tested for COVID-19 again in Nepal and if the report is negative, they should not be forced to stay in quarantine. They have suggested that swabs of the passengers should be collected at Tribhuvan International Airport and the report be published within 24 hours.
In the case of Indian citizens, the rules remain as per the "Nepal-India Travel Bubble" agreement.
Tourism entrepreneurs have suggested that all Nepal-India border points should be opened and tourists should be allowed to enter Nepal with a negative report for COVID-19 infection. Tests should be carried out on the tourists and if they test negative they should not be quarantined.
In case of COVID-19 vaccinated tourists, PCR report is not required but they need to show their vaccination certificate. For such passengers, PCR test of COVID-19 is not required in Nepal again and quarantine is not required.
Tourism entrepreneurs have also urged the government to let all tourist destinations in Nepal open including all activities including hotel, travel, trekking, hiking, restaurant, spa, rafting, paragliding, homestay, adventure activities, tourist vehicles, party palaces, nightclubs and other activities adopting health standards.
According to the proposal, for the convenience of tourists, if hotels and hospitals feel the need, they can collaborate to operate a COVID Care Center in each province within Nepal.
Those entering Nepal need to have travel insurance and follow the guidelines set for tourists visiting Nepal. “Tourists need to have a tour schedule, date of arrival in Nepal, itinerary prepared by tourism organizations as per their travel plan,” the criteria proposed by the board states.
If an individual is a free traveler, s/he is required to have hotel booking confirmation. If the above mentioned evidence is presented by any tourist, the board has demanded that Department of Immigration directly issue a tourist visa.