Nepal has just reopened its doors to adventurous mountaineers looking to scale the nation’s awe-inspiring Himalayan peaks. However, there are some changes due to the pandemic.
According to The Associated Press, for now, tourism will be focused on those who want to trek the mountains in an effort to control arrivals.
Any person looking to climb mountains in Nepal, the home to some of the world’s most impressive peaks, including Mount Everest, should get a visa ahead of time and arrive in the country with a negative PCR test (taken within 72 hours). Then, there should be a hotel booking for quarantine purposes. Quarantine is required for at least seven days, as per the Nepal Tourism Board. Travelers are also required to have insurances that would cover a minimum of $5,000 for each person, just in case they contract coronavirus. Tourists must take a second COVID-19 test on their 5th day in the country at their own expense.
They are not reopening the nation for all tourists and only trekkers and mountaineers who have taken previous permits, said Rudra Singh Tamang, Nepal’s Department of Tourism director. They are only opening to a sector that they know they can manage and handle.
Apart from the mountaineers, any helpers, cooks, porters, or guides supporting them should take coronavirus tests. Also, they must prove that they haven’t been in a place with confirmed infections in the past two weeks.
Tamang said that they are working hard to revive Nepal’s tourism industry that was badly devastated by the pandemic, but they are not taking any risks or chances.
Nepal, which lifted its first nationwide lockdown back in July, has 176,500 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 37,000 active ones.
Mount Everest empty as coronavirus takes on Nepal and its Tourism
Nepal’s economy has taken a huge blow from the lack of Everest climbers. Remittances also plunged as infections spread. The crowds of tourists in the previous years were proof of how fast Nepal’s tourism had grown, now becoming a lifeline for the nation. Last year, tourism gave Nepal over $2 billion. Nepal is one of Asia’s poorest countries.
The coronavirus pandemic has stopped all of that. Himalayas’ trails are deserted, including those that lead to Mount Everest’s base camp. According to immigration officials, less than 150 climbers have arrived during the fall season. You can get a lot more articles such as this one on Quikmaps website.