Since the government of Nepal have decided to reopen the country for trekking and mountaineering activites to interantional tourists, some trekkers and mountainers have started to enter the country from last October, 2020. Foreign tourists now can travel to Nepal by air with conditions for trekking, tours, and mountaineering after several months of lockdown due to Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic.
Speaking to the press today, the tourism minister of Nepal has confirmed that the decision to remove the quarantine requirement for foreign tourists was taken by the cabinet meeting held on 18th March 2021. Based on the News from the Kathmandu Post, tourists coming to Nepal have to submit documentation or cards as proof that they have been vaccinated.
However, the decision for Visa-on-arrival is yet to be made; some rumors say that the government is also planning to implement Visa-on-arrival for foreign tourists. As of now, all the foreigners except diplomats and foreigners of Nepalese origin, should obtain a tourist entry visa from the Nepalese diplomatic missions abroad, else should have a pre-approval/recommendation letter from the government authorities of Nepal for ensuring via on arrival.
Until now, a week quarantine in a hotel in Kathmandu was mandatory for foreign tourists including 5000 USD travel insurance. Moreover, tourists are also required to take a PCR test on the fifth day of the hotel quarantine on their expenses and they will be allowed to travel if the test comes out negative.
Mulling over the global pandemic Covid-19 situation, the government of Nepal (GoN), as per the decision of 25th November 2020, 25th December 2020, and 24th January 2021 has provisioned the following conditions for the foreigner’s arrival in Nepal:
1. The following passengers and their family members can obtain a visa on arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport without any pre-approval letter or recommendations.
2. All the foreigners except mentioned above without a prior visa of Nepal should obtain a tourist entry visa from the Nepalese diplomatic missions abroad, else should have a pre-approval/recommendation letter from the government authorities of Nepal for ensuring via on arrival.
3. The entry/exit points at the land border remain closed for all the foreigners until further notice, except for those with a pre-approval/recommendation letter from GoN.
4. All travelers must have a COVID-19 negative report (RT-PCR/Gene Xpert/True NAAT or equivalent obtained within 72 hours before they depart from the first port of embarkation (72 hours is not counted from the transits or layover), children below 5 years accompanied with parents are exempted of submitting such report.
5. Issuance of tourist entry visas from Nepalese diplomatic missions abroad is resumed as usual.
6. As per the GoN decision dated 24th January 2021 all passengers from the countries with the new COVID-19 variant (SARRS-COV-2 VUI 2020/12/10), as the first port of embarkation or transits are provisioned to follow the enlisted quarantine and health protocols:
7. All the travelers are subjected to follow the health and security-related protocols of GoN.
8. TD and emergency passport holders are not eligible to get a visa on arrival at the entry points.
– Updated on 10th February 2021 by the Department of Immigration (DoI)
Nepal has opened its doors to foreign tourists after restricting them to enter the country for several months as the country battled the Coronavirus (Covid-19 Pandemic). All kinds of tourist visas have been restored, and now international tourists are free to fly into the country for trekking/tour activities. But, land border-crossings are still closed, according to the KathmanduPost.
However, the health and security-related protocols that have been prepared earlier are to be followed by every foreigner including seven-day mandatory hotel quarantine.
(Check below to know the health and security-related protocols prepared by the government of Nepal)
Due to the present scenarios of an uncontrollable rise in the number of Coronavirus cases, the Nepal government has pushed back the date to reopen the country for tourism. The government’s earlier decision to reopen tourism from mid-October has been shifted to mid-November (17 November 2020), following the same protocols updated on 25 September below.
Tourism entrepreneurs have demanded to come with a solid plan rather than keep changing. Also, demanded to waive off 7 days mandatory quarantine and COVID insurance. Because this kind of unclear decision from the government on reopening the country to tourists would give a negative impression and difficult for tourists to plan the trip for the next fall. The autumn season is the best time of the year for trekking in Nepal. Trekkers would love to come to Nepal during the autumn (September, October, and November) season for Everest Base Camp Trek, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Langtang Valley trek, etc. Also, the biggest festivals of Hindus such as Dashain and Tihar fall during the same season.
Nepal has officially decided to resume tourism from 17th October 2020. Tourists now can fly to Kathmandu from 17th October for trekking and mountaineering. Although, every tourist arriving in Nepal must follow the protocol issued by the Ministry of culture, tourism, and civil aviation for the safety and protection against the risk of Covid-19.
According to The Kathmandu Post, after the decision of the government on Monday to allow domestic airlines as well as long-distance public/tourist transport services from 21 September 2020, the government of Nepal has also announced to re-open mountaineering and trekking destinations to the domestic and international trekkers.
The government of Nepal has also lifted the restrictions on foreign tourists’ entry to the country following the proper government health protocols although international flights have been allowed to operate since 1st September 2020.
The foreign Minister cum government spokesperson Mr. Pradeep Gyawali told the media that domestic flights, all long-distance public/tourists transport, and international tourists (for trekking and mountaineering only) have been allowed to resume following the health protocols to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
Good news is right after the government announced to reopen tourism, a jumbo team of Royal Guard of Bahrain including a prince has arrived at Tribhuvan International Airport on 16th September to climb the Lobuche Peak (6119m) and Mt. Manaslu (8163m).
The officials say that the government has now lifted restrictions on foreign tourists coming to Nepal for trekking and mountaineering activities and there is a discussion in the cabinet about re-opening the country for foreign tourists touring around Nepal on a trial basis. This means we can expect the decision of reopening the country for foreign tourists for all types of activities is soon to be made.
View of Annapurna including Fishtail from Ghorepani Poonhill
The government has also decided to increase the frequency of international flights and passengers, however, it depends on the situation of how the Covid-19 cases take place, and the type of protocols that will be imposed by the government of Nepal.
We expect the tourism of Nepal will bounce back soon and everything goes back to normal. Stay safe and healthy!
This article was first published on 16th September 2020 and updated on 12th February 2021.