News ID: 280089
Published: 1034 GMT January 30, 2021

Nepal to allow unrestricted entry to vaccinated tourists

Nepal to allow unrestricted entry to vaccinated tourists
Kathmandu, Nepal

Nepal is considering allowing unrestricted entry to vaccinated tourists in a bid to boost the morale of the moribund tourism industry ahead of the upcoming spring peak season, Tourism Minister Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal said.

There will be no quarantine and coronavirus insurance requirements, and all visitors will need to produce is proof of having had the shot. Many countries have started issuing a vaccine certificate or vaccine passport to international travelers, reported.

“In order to ease restrictions on travel, we are allowing tourists to travel freely if they produce a certificate that proves they have been vaccinated,” Dhakal told a media briefing.

He said the ministry had also recommended resuming issuing on-arrival visas to all tourists at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport.

Dhakal said the government was also preparing to extend the 72-hour validity of negative COVID-19 test reports for those who have not been vaccinated.

Currently, all visitors to Nepal above age five must have a negative PCR test obtained not more than 72 hours before departure, according to the Department of Immigration.

A mandatory seven-day hotel quarantine, with a second negative PCR test on the fifth day after arrival, is required. Trekkers and mountaineers must also have insurance coverage worth $5,000.

The government still has not resumed granting on-arrival visas at Kathmandu airport, except to officials of diplomatic missions and non-resident Nepalis.

“We are taking a few proposals which we have discussed with the COVID-19 Crisis Management Centre to the cabinet for its approval,” said Dhakal. “We expect that these measures will permit tourists to come to Nepal without hassles.”

Nepal imposed a complete lockdown in March last year that kept out all foreign sightseers during the second peak tourist season.

Travel trade entrepreneurs said that excepting mountaineering expeditions, advance booking for the spring season still had not picked up due to travel-related restrictions.

Nepal launched a nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive on Wednesday, and plans to immunize 72 percent of its 30 million population in three months.

A day after starting the inoculation campaign, the government decided to re-open 16 border points with India and China, allowing citizens of the respective countries to travel to Nepal. Earlier, the government re-opened 14 border crossings.

Minister Dhakal said that the reopening of the land points would facilitate Indian tourist movement into Nepal, especially during the upcoming Maha Shivaratri festival on March 11 when thousands of Indian pilgrims visit the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu.


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