COVID 19 Impact on Trekking: I would like to suggest the government to bring some encouraging packages to motivate the travel industry.
Covid-19 pandemic arose at the beginning of the tourism season in Nepal. Therefore, it has a profound impact on the Nepalese trekking and tourism sectors. Trekking, tour, aviation, adventure sports, hotel, and all other segments of tourism have been badly affected. Because of ongoing lockdown and uncertainty of travel restriction.
Trekking is a kind of seasonal job in Nepal. Most of the mountaineering activities run mainly in spring and autumn seasons. Thousands of trekking and climbing guides, cooks, and porters will lose their jobs and earning possibilities. There are over 2000 trekking companies registered in Nepal. On average, a trekking company engages 50 to 100 staff to handle ground and office works. It clearly indicates that 3 lakhs or more people will become jobless as COVID 19 Impact on Trekking industry of Nepal.
More than 90% of booking made for spring this year has been cancelled. About 10% has been postponed for the next season. Those who have postponed are also not sure whether they will able to make their dream trip.
Trekking sector in Nepal agrees that Nepal has to be Sustainable. In fact, all countries should consider the environment and maintain a balance between development activities. No trekkers, I have found positive after they saw vehicles on the bumpy road spreading dust in the air during their trekking. Therefore, if we want to promote our tourism as the best trekking destination and give a positive impression to visit again and again, we must preserve our nature. Garbage management is another serious concern often raised by travellers. So, the government and private sectors should collaborate to overcome garbage and other pollution-related issues.
Moreover, Nepal also has an opportunity to contribute to climate change impact reduction and mitigation by protecting its existing trekking routes and developing new routes for trekking. Environment and biodiversity protection can be achieved together by promoting eco-tourism. Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) has been not only involved in promoting existing trekking destinations but also discovering alternatives. As a result, every year Nepalese trekking companies are able to sell new trekking packages. However, efforts are not sufficient to expand trekking in all parts of Nepal. So, now we need to, for the benefit of people living mainly in mountain and hilly regions, find out ways to promote trekking in all regions of our country.
To combat the effects of Coronavirus, I would like to suggest the government to bring some encouraging packages to motivate the travel industry. The government can help the industry in many ways to revive our tourism. The government can also take this pandemic as an opportunity to bring some fundamental changes in tourism sectors. Here are some recommendations to the government in order to revive our tourism.
- Consider tax and VAT to the tourism industry
- Online visa facility
- Extension of the loan period
- Additional loan without additional collateral
- Easing of company registration and closing procedures
- Ensure cleanliness of all cultural monuments
- Training and motivation for immigration and airport staffs
- Bringing new policies in trekking such as
- No trekking without guide or porter through government registered trekking company
- Allow single traveller to visit restricted areas with a guide (till now it is mandatory to have at least two persons to go trekking in restricted areas)
- Provide restricted area permit without the original copy of passport (Many people do not feel comfortable to give their original passport just to collect the permit)
- Avoiding all kind of administrative hurdles
- Adopting one door policy to collect all kind of permits fees
Once Nepal comes back to normal, Nepal can promote itself to the world by reaching to a large number of people from all over the world by using different social media platforms, advertising in international printing and broadcasting media, repromote as a safe and secure travel destination for people of any religion, culture, and colour and promote Nepal a single destination with diverse activities and fun.
Nava Raj Dahal
Immediate Past President- Trekking Agents’ Association of Nepal
Managing Director: Nepal Environmental treks & Expedition ( P.) Ltd.
Some good reads on COVID-19 and it’s Impact on Tourism of Nepal.