The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 and early 2021 has seriously disrupted travel, both on the personal and industry-wide levels. But here, we don’t want to revisit all the bad things that have happened over the last year. We’re all aware of them. Instead, we want to provide some inspiration for and information on travel post-COVID.
After what has been, for many would-be travellers, a year of being confined to the home or the home area, the desire to travel is strong! Here’s what to expect when travelling in Nepal post-COVID.
Don’t expect Nepal post-COVID to be the same as it was “before”…
Many people have been looking forward to life, and travel, going back to the way they were before the pandemic, eventually. But that’s not necessarily possible, for many reasons, or wholly desirable.
If you visited Nepal prior to 2020, you’ll see some differences. Many businesses have, unfortunately, gone out of business or have temporarily shut-up shot and are awaiting better economic days.
Fortunately, Nepal’s mountains and jungles are as beautiful as they always were, so one of the main reasons for visiting Nepal has not changed!
…but make that a good thing
The importance of sustainable, ethical travel experiences has really been brought into the spotlight during the pandemic. International travel had been increasing year on year before the pandemic, and while that brought a lot of income to tourist destinations like Nepal, it also brought the negative effects of rapid development, pollution caused by flying, and strain on local infrastructure that wasn’t always adequate for the local people, let alone all the extra visitors. It also meant that when border closures and quarantine requirements went into effect, more people were effected than ever would have been before.
Post-pandemic, we don’t want everything to be the same as it was before. We want it to be better, for everyone involved in the tourism industry: tourists, guides, drivers, local communities, and business owners. Everyone needs to play their part in this. Seek out sustainable and ethnical travel experiences where they’re possible, and ask for them where they’re not. Stay with local communities in homestays, slow down the pace, and make time to have a positive impact on your destination, rather than just taking experiences from it.
Safety measures and precautions
Different countries responded differently to the pandemic, from the public health perspective, and that plays a large part in why everywhere was affected differently. As anyone who has been to Nepal knows, the country was not, and is not, well-equipped to tackle major public health emergencies. Healthcare services are not easily available everywhere in the country, and even where they are (such as in Kathmandu), not everyone has equal access to them.
That’s why, even after vaccinations have been rolled out in tourists’ home countries and the pandemic is largely under control, it’s vitally important that everyone who comes to Nepal plays their part in keeping local communities healthy and COVID-free. There’s still so much unknown about the longevity of vaccines and whether they will stop the transmission of the virus to unvaccinated people. It would be prudent to plan trips that avoid crowded areas as far as possible, and to continue to practice good handwashing and mask-wearing etiquette while in Nepal. Quarantine requirements will be in flux for some time, so get advice from a local travel company before you arrive.
Continue to be a respectful traveller
One thing that travellers love about Nepal is how friendly and welcome Nepali people are. We all want it to stay that way, and to help it do so, we need tourists to be their patient, respectful selves. Being a respectful traveller in Nepal is, of course, only polite, but it’s also good to keep in mind that many Nepalis have struggled through the pandemic without many of the social support structures that are in place in a lot of other places. Tread lightly, and do no harm.
Nepal looks forward to welcoming you back, once it’s safe to travel again. Namaste!