Silver line in tourism of Nepal

Kumar Rupakheti

This week I read somewhere that tourist arrival in the month of February has increased than the previous month in Nepal. It is a positive sign for all the concerning bodies. In this year, 2021 January, I met some Arabians who landed in Kathmandu to enter China.

The first reason for their arrival here was the air connectivity between Arabian countries to Nepal and from Nepal to China. This country became a transit point, immediately when China opened their country for foreign workers and business people who used to live in China pre-Covid-19. China opened its borders only for those people who have already spent a week in quarantine and done PCR to prove COVID-19 negative in any transit country. So, Nepal became their chosen country. It became like a filtration channel for such people. Therefore, Nepal got the arrival of visitors who flew from Arabian countries, especially from Dubai to Kathmandu.

It had created a touristic atmosphere. Some empty tanks of tourist vehicleshad filled their tanks, some hotels broomed theirs rooms and cleaned kitchen utensils. That number of tourists paid 7 days hotel accommodations, food and transfers of airport-hotel-airport was the relief package to our tourism entrepreneurs. Now the vaccines of covid-19 have already started in many countries, many people have taken that and felt much stronger and their fear of covid-19 is vanishing.

Many foreign workers in Arabian countries started to search for some possibilities to get some relief after long working months and lockdowns. Nepal government changed the protocol of tourist arrival, the tight of immigration rule is softened for vaccinated people and the quarantine mandatory is removed. It is the reason some tourists started to search for possible flights to Kathmandu. It is the reason the number of new tourists arriving in Kathmandu is increasing this month.

Mr. Adnan and his two friends, aged 66, 59, and 56 got vaccines in the month of January in Saudi Arabia. They had not gone anywhere for the last 12 months. They are Europeans, working in Riyad who wanted to go to Europe or any other place for a holiday, but the second and third phases of Covid-19 stopped their plans. They found flight and easy protocol of Nepal Government for tourists like them. They decided on their trip in the last week of February and landed here on 1st March. They are spending two weeks in Nepal. They are doing the Everest Base Camp trek and some sightseeing in Kathmandu valley. When I took them for a sightseeing tour in the world heritage places of Kathmandu, they became like a celebrity. People watched them, shopkeepers asked their arrival date, nationality, and duration of staying in Nepal, even itinerary too. Those Nepali who are engaging in tourism found them as a silver line in a dark cloud.

I don’t know if the Nepal government has prioritized the tourism workers in the vaccination program or not. But it is very essential. If our tourists should be vaccinated, why not the involving manpower? If done so we can claim Nepal as a safe, and tourist-friendly destination even in this pandemic time.

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