Adventure seekers can soon travel to Nepal for trekking and mountaineering, with the reopening of the country’s mountains, including Mount Everest and Mount Kanchenjunga. This news comes as a nationwide lockdown was lifted, allowing for tourism activities to be held again.
Despite the uncertainty of the ongoing pandemic, the Himalayan country has decided to allow certain travelers in from October 17 onwards in a bid to boost its struggling tourism sector. Previously, borders were shut ahead of the busy spring season which usually see mountaineers flock to the peaks. As such, some 200,000 sherpas, guides, and porters were affected.
Tourism ministry spokesperson Kamal Prasad Bhattarai was quoted by Kathmandu Post to say: “We have opened, but only for trekkers and mountaineers. Tourists intending to come for other purposes like leisure and pilgrimage will not be allowed for the time being.”
Travelers will be subjected to new guidelines issued by the tourism ministry, including having to apply for a tourist visa at a Nepali embassy or consulate in their own countries. Visas on arrival will no longer be issued at the country’s Tribhuvan International Airport. In addition, those without access to relevant diplomatic missions will have to submit a special request to their travel operators in Nepal. Trekking and mountaineering permits will then be issued, as recommended by tourism officials.
That’s not all—upon receiving a tourist visa, travelers will have to take a PCR test for COVID-19 no more than 72 hours before boarding their flights. Once they have arrived in Nepal, they will have to show a medical certificate showing that they do not have the virus, proof of COVID-19 insurance coverage, as well as a hotel booking for mandatory quarrantine. Finally, they will have to undergo another PCR test at the end of their self-isolation. Only those who test negative will be allowed to continue their travel.