Impact of COVID on tourism of Nepal
After the pandemic of corona broke out inside Nepal, Traveling in a small group has become an essential remedy to take for not or in future. Due to COVID-19 tourism industry of Nepal got hit first and hit hard. In comparison to other sector of Nepal, tourism was hit hard as most of the travel agencies, hotels, and attractions got shut for 3 seasons with huge loss.
As the pandemic begun on the start of spring season, many trekking trip of tour companies were canceled. Many hotel booking and attraction tickets were refunded. Trekking companies in Nepal canceled their trip. This impact was not just for the business owners in tourism sector, but also for the government of Nepal.
Because of human transmission character of disease, government of Nepal started lockdown following by suspension of visa on arrival for many countries. The lock down is still in effect in same level of strictness, coming to 3rd month of the pandemic broke out.
The impact of COVID is adverse in all sectors in Nepal and all around the world; at the mean time tourism all around the globe became one of the badly hit sector. That is why Nepal travels after corona crisis became a major issue to be addressed to international travelers.
What can we do to upgrade the tourism industry? How can we travel safe to Nepal? How can one be safe while trekking in Nepal, once lock down is lifted? What will be the safety measures by Nepali trekking agencies, prior to post COVID travels?
There are many questions, which are to be answered coming to this date.
Suggestions & Recommendation for post COVID Nepal Travels
Looking at all the prospect of effect on tourism industry and COVID affecting the will of a human to travel; following are some of the suggestions to be considered while traveling to Nepal after COVID.
- Travel in a small group, Private group are the best ( small group is 8 or less member)
Small group will help trekking or tour agencies to manage the 99.9 percent safety while trekking or touring inside Nepal. Limited number of people will surely have very minimum chance of spreading disease in between so as to get sick.
Most importantly, our tour or trekking guide will be able to control the situation while travelling.
- Go trekking or climbing or mountain tours rather than city tours
Mountains will obviously have less people, no crowd and accordingly the chance of COVID transmission is less or not at all. When there is no crowd in travel destination you yourself can maintain your privacy and maintain the physical distance. Also people who are going for trekking will surely be traveling to the mountains because of these specific reasons.
In case of trekking, you will travel with a local guide and s/he will have depth knowledge about the accommodation, crowded place and appropriate destination. With experience and past knowledge this post pandemic travel situation will surely be handled with care and safety. In contrast with tour and sightseeing in the crowded cities the mountains will automatically be safe at the end of the day.
What if you do not like trekking? There is always a solution for everything in our life, if you do not want to walk; visit places where you can go by vehicle. There are many tour destinations in the mountain. As a mountainous country Nepal, there are many tour destinations near to the mountains. You might need to ride off road but they are safe than crowded, corona prone zone.
In case of climbing, this is an adventure, an extreme adventure. Apart from easy trekking peak climbing like Mera peak or yala Peak, technical climbing like Amadablam expedition are about life or death, themselves. So corona is not an issue, but still, from corona safety prospective, you will be climbing in a very small group and the people you meet along the trekking trail till the base camp of any mountains will be handful number of people.
With above being stated, city tour and sightseeing in Nepal in post COVID Nepal travel is not abandoned. You still can go in a sightseeing tour in a small group with enough safety measures and proper guidance. Trekking and climbing is said better than city tours just because of location and stress free situation of the mountains than of the cities.
- Travel with Local trekking companies, directly rather than via some agencies
Firstly, local companies will know how to take precautions as they are well aware of the locality. Secondly, as a local trekking agency, they must be responsible with their client for future business as well as the person you will communicate during the trek or tour booking time will be the one who will be managing the your tour or trek or climb in field.
Importantly, do not hesitate to ask any of the travel agency or trekking companies about their safety guideline for post COVID Nepal travel.
- Travel Nepal with small companies rather than multinational companies
It is not about being biased but importantly being more responsible or not. In international companies what might happen is; because of huge market with international tour companies they will have high chance of many people coming at the same time. Use of same office, meeting room and same person interacting with many people will highly risk the spread.
Comparatively, small trekking agencies will have few people and obviously the chance of spreading corona will be less. Also there will be more space for maintaining distance and hygiene.
Local Trekking agency & small group Vs. Private trip
There are more than 3 thousand trekking agencies in Nepal, among them very few of them are run by 100 percent local. Those few agencies are run by good team with long experiencing in the respective field. So, the past experience of local places, knowledge about the location and the safe space in respective destination; trekking companies which are run by locals are highly prone to be safe.
After this pandemic, travel to Nepal or anywhere must be preferred in the small group. Small group will have high care and less risk, as I mentioned above. For example; if you are in a group of 5 people in trekking to Everest base camp, there will be more safety. Safety will be accommodation wise, food and beverage wise or maintaining distance in between the trekking team members. Also the trekking guide will have easy time maintaining the distance with clients as well as s/he will be able to choose the right accommodation and restaurant for food & bed.
In regard to Private group; this is awesome. If you are a family traveling in your own itinerary; not only in Nepal but also around the globe travel will be safe, as know member of the private travel team. Family, School mates, neighbors, office staffs or near ones will make a private group; this type of travel will surely be more careful and COVID-19 resistant. Another interesting fact about Nepal travel in a small group versus private group is that; in private group you can go as more as you will. If you have 10 members traveling from the same family, it is considered as a private trekking trip, and obviously safe.Small group trip in Nepal
However, COVID has badly affected our travel style for those who love to make friends while traveling. Making friends while traveling will surely not be easy but for the trip like multi day trekking or climbing in the mountains of Nepal; you will surely be able to make friend in between the small group from your trekking agency.
Benefit of small group travel
Although most of the travellers wants to make new friends while traveling, but post COVID travel has made this uncertain, until strong vaccination will come in effect. Because of that there is no any solution for travel but travel in the small group.
Unlike to the dark side of traveling in big group and making many friends; there are many benefits of traveling in small group as follows:
- Small group will have flexibility in day to day itinerary customization which helps to skip the crowd as needed.
- Travelling in small group will make few friends but you will have enough time to know inside a small number of people
- Maintaining physical distance is possible in group travel
- Guide will be able to take care of all group members as a family. Guides in small groups will be friends whereas in the big groups they are called leaders and mostly act just; like a leader of the team.
- Members will have enough time to fulfill the wish of stopping wherever or whenever
- Information of safety or attraction information can be relayed easily in your Nepal travel in a small group
Will small group impact on the cost?
No. Small travel group will not affect cost for your Nepal Travel. In general, most of the local trekking companies in Nepal have small groups. The bigger groups are with multinational companies or so called local companies having international affiliation.
But, the price might increase with less number of people, among big trekking companies in Nepal or international travel agencies.
In fact; cost and size of group is a marketing stuffing. The price will not increase with local trekking agencies, when the group is less than 8 or more.
Small group Trek/climb vs. tour after pandemic
After COVID hit, as a Nepal travel agent & consultant; I recommend you to go for a trekking or climbing rather than tour activity. However, tour in the mountains in a private vehicle will not be an issue at all.
After all, famous tour destination of Nepal like Pokhara and Chitwan or Kathmandu can be okay with enough precaution measures. Following are some of the major points to support trekking or climbing and mountain tour activities over city tour or sightseeing:
- Trekking or climbing is in the nature; with saying that you will be away from the crowd, automatically
- Mountains in Nepal has very less people whereas the cities are obviously with lots of locals and maintaining social distance might be hard
- Freshness of nature surely helps to fight against the virus
Experienced team & correlation with safe trip
While traveling to Nepal, safety must be your first and foremost consideration. As a onetime traveler, none of you will have any idea of where is the safe & appropriate place for maintaining social distance, obviously. But an experienced trekking team or a local guide will surely assist you to find such place.
Trekking or tour guide who is instructed with the guidelines will surely help clients to be safe as well as get as much from the trip. With an experienced team, there will always be more chance of safety along with best experience in the respective trip
Confirm before you pick your travel agent
Even though trekking agencies saying you will be in a small group, it is always good to ask them in word about number of member in your trekking, tour or climbing group. This does not mean, trekking agency might be fraud but asking once will help a lot. 100% trekking companies in Nepal will not be perfect.
At the end; health is on top of your wealth, time, travel joy or anything. So safety must be always first. That is why; make sure you are in the safe hands of responsible trekking agency from Nepal.
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