Kathmandu: Nepal will resume providing tourist visas to foreigners after a gap of nearly seven months as the Nepali government decided to welcome foreign tourists starting from October 17 for mountaineering and trekking purpose, Nepal’s Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation said on Wednesday.
The Nepali government had suspended issuing tourist visas in early March to prevent the spread of COVID-19. “Now, foreigners willing to come to Nepal for mountaineering and trekking, can get tourist visas from our embassies abroad,” Kamal Prasad Bhattarai, spokesperson at the tourism ministry said on Tuesday. “Tourists from countries where there is no presence of Nepali diplomatic mission can get an on-arrival visa.”
“We will coordinate with the tourism ministry and other relevant agencies on providing tourist visas to foreign tourists,” Ramesh Kumar KC, director general at the Department of Immigration said on Tuesday. “It will be the first time foreigners will get tourist visas regularly after the gap of nearly seven months.”
The immigration department has been providing tourist visas to limited foreigners on case to case basis as per the recommendation of the concerned Nepali government agencies.
As per the standards issued on Tuesday, the foreign tourists need to submit the report of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test conducted within at least 72 hours before arriving in Nepal, confirming that they have not contracted with coronavirus.
They should also present the documents confirming that they have booked the hotel in Nepal to stay for seven days in quarantine. On the fifth day of quarantine, the tourists should undergo another test. After they are tested negative for COVID-19 during the quarantine period, they can go for mountaineering or trekking.
They will have to follow the health protocols strictly while going for trekking and mountaineering, according to the standards.
Bhattarai said that the Nepali government has reopened certain sectors of tourism as the country’s tourism sector has been badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are also discussing to reopen the entire tourism sector by making provision that health protocols are followed strictly,” he said.