Nepal will be reopening its borders for international tourism on August 17th as the blanket ban ends and both international and domestic flights resume.
The move comes just before the start of the autumn trekking season from September to November, which typically draws a third of the 1.2 million overseas tourists who visit Nepal on an annual basis.
“The ministry plans to resume all tourism related activities by following health and safety protocols from August 17,” Ministry’s Secretary Kedar Bahadur Adhikari said, adding that safety protocols are being finalised by holding consultations with stakeholders concerned. Government ministers cited low numbers of coronavirus cases in the country as the main factor behind the decision. Nepal’s Tourism and Civil Aviation Ministry stated it will draw up safety protocols to be rolled out at points of entry and onboard passenger aircraft.
Regular flights have been suspended since March, when airports across the nation were closed to curb the spread of Covid-19.
From which countries can we fly to Nepal?
Flights will initially only fly from countries that have been less affected by the global Covid-19 pandemic. The government did not elaborate on which countries would be first but did say that more countries will be added gradually.
This could mean that all nations are welcome in Nepal but travellers will only be able to fly in from low risk countries.
Is a Negative Covid-19 test required on arrival?
From August, travellers arriving in Nepal must carry a health certificate proving they are free of Covid-19, but authorities haven’t provided details on whether they will only accept PCR tests or the time limit on when the test was performed.
Is entry into Nepal based on physical location for the last 14-days, residency or nationality?
At this time, it appears that it will only matter which country you are flying from, as Nepal will only open to countries with low occurrence of Covid-19 in the first phase of reopening.
Does Nepal require a quarantine or self-isolation upon arrival?
Before August 17th: State quarantine, meaning any passengers arriving BEFORE August 17th will be forced into state-run quarantine centers.
After August 17th: self-quarantine: the Nepalese government has not yet finalized any self-quarantine rules but with the upcoming climbing season it’s doubtful that a 14 day quarantine will be enforced.
Will Trekking and Climbing Resume?
The Department of Tourism has already started preparing necessary guidelines for climbers and trekkers who plan to visit Nepal after August 17. “We will also issue Standard Operating Procedures for agencies to run autumn climbing and trekking activities in the autumn season,” Spokesperson Meera Achary said.
Iswari Poudel, Vice-president at the Expedition Operators Association of Nepal, said that trekking and expedition operators were ready to resume climbing activities following safety protocols in the autumn season. “Most of the agencies will run expeditions on Mt Manaslu and Mt Ama Dablam, among others, once the flight operation resumes.”
What is open in Nepal?
As of August 17th, 2020 the following businesses should resume operations:
- Hotels and accommodation facilities
- Tourism related activities
- Trekking and climbing permits