Kathmandu: With the beginning of the spring season, Nepal is all prepped up for climbing: bookings are ongoing, and with the flaring Covid-19 pandemic under control, its pristine mountains are all set to be conquered. Rafting, trekking and other tourism adventures are also expected to attract a good number of tourists.
Hopes are high. Tourism is craving for revival. Experts and stakeholders are confident that this year will witness an exciting number of tourists. As the country’s economy is seeing its downfall, the attractive number of tourists is expected to cushion the economy that has suffered due to the pandemic to some extent.
The tourism sector hit hard by the pandemic is slowly on the path of revival. In March, the tourist arrival surged by 180.5 percent in comparison to the corresponding period of last year.
The data shows as many as 42,006 tourists arrived in Nepal in March. Last year, Nepal saw a footfall of only 14,977 tourists in the month of March.
A total of 17,661 tourists arrived from SAARC countries, and 11,277 from European countries. Among the SAARC nations, India tops the list as the largest source of tourists with 15,013 arrivals to Nepal. Only 431 Chinese tourists visited Nepal in March this year.
According to the Department Of Tourism’s data up to April 5 2022, as many as 45 teams (366 members) have been permitted for spring expeditions this year.
Last year, the tourism sector was about to revive, but a new variant of the pandemic brought tourism activities almost to a halt.
With the arrival of spring, the number of tourists from different countries is gradually increasing. As quarantine and PCR tests are not mandatory anymore, stakeholders and tourism entrepreneurs are expecting a high number of tourist arrivals in the season.
Santabir Lama, president of Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), informed that the bookings for mountain climbing, including for high mountains, are satisfactory. “Now, the quarantine is not mandatory. That’s why we hope for a good number of tourists this year,” he said.
NMA provides permits for the expedition of a total of 27 mountains.
Shishir Khanal, general secretary at Nepal Association of Rafting Agencies (NARA), said that the number of bookings is better compared to that of 2019. “At present, PCR and quarantine are not mandatory. So, the number of bookings for rafting in Karnali, Tamor, and Kaligandaki is the same as of 2017,” he added.
Mingma Sherpa, chairman of Seven summits, said that bookings for mountain climbing have increased this year. As many as 200 climbers will climb Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Kanchenjunga, Makalu and Amadablam through our company, according to him.