It may take 2 years to return to the pre-Covid-19 status
The Government of Nepal aims to bring in half a million tourist this year. Tourism industry in Nepal has been badly hit by coronavirus pandemic. The situation is expected to be partially over soon. Thus, Nepal will be able to receive half a million tourist by end of 2022.
Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Prem Bahadur Ale has assured full cooperation from the government side for this to happen. A national level committee has been constituted for this purpose.
This was discussed in the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation on Friday. Minister Ale mentioned that coronavirus pandemic affected tourism industry is now in the recovery process. He recalled that Nepal received the lowest number of tourists in the year 2021 in the records of last 32 years. He added that the government has taken this with priority. The number of tourist arrival in the year will be expected to hit double in the year 2023. Raja Ram Giri, coordinator of the committee said that tourism industry will be presented in a new structure to re-establish in the international tourism market. Within a month, interactions programmes will be organised to discuss on extensive revival of the industry, he said. In the meeting, private sector representatives put voice for revival packages to implement urgently. AchyutGuragain, president of Nepal Tour and Travel Association (NATTA) said that Tourism Act of the country has been aged of 3 decades. It needs to be revisited for reforms to match contemporary contexts.
Sirjana Rana, president of Hotel Association Nepal (HAN) said that tourists come through surface routes should be equally treated as the tourists come through areal transportation.
Bhawana Rana, immediate past president of Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that tourism entrepreneurs whose business had been badly hit by coronavirus pandemic required boost their will power. Thus, the government sector should focus to address well to the industry and the visitors.
In mid-June last year, the government estimated that it will take two years for the country’s tourism industry to return to its pre-Covid-19 status even if the pandemic impacts are to subside immediately. A projection launched by the National Planning Commission said the country could take two years to welcome as many foreign tourists as it would see regularly before the pandemic. In the fiscal year 2019/20 (mid-July to mid-July), the country had recorded 1 million and 197,000 foreigners for tourism purposes. Although the government had announced the ambitious Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign with a mission of attracting at least two million tourists, it was called off in the third month citing the pandemic. In the fiscal year, 2020/21, the country since mid-July 2020 received around 230,000 foreigners.