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Country Highlights

Nepal’s Tourism Industry: Impact of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on Nepal’s tourism industry, which is a vital sector of the country’s economy. The pandemic has disrupted the supply chain, shut down many informal and small enterprises, and pushed more vulnerable people into poverty. The tourism industry has been hit hard, with the number of trekkers and guides falling below 10%, resulting in more than 13,000 job losses. The pandemic has also affected food security and vulnerability, with only 42% of households having one month’s worth of food stocks. The impact of the pandemic on Nepal’s tourism industry is expected to be long-lasting, with the industry taking years to fully recover.

The Nepalese government had launched the “Visit Nepal 2020” campaign aimed at drawing two million foreign visitors during the year, but the pandemic disrupted everything. Nepal is an ideal destination for adventure tourism, with its mountains, trekking routes, and cultural heritage sites attracting tourists from around the world. However, the pandemic has led to a significant decline in tourist arrivals, with the collapse of international and domestic tourism following a 2% drop in tourist arrivals in January 2020 compared to 2019. The government suspended the “Visit Nepal 2020” initiative on 3 March 2020, and shortly after, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The government suspended all permissions for tourism activities, and the resurgence of tourism may take longer than witnessed after the 2015 earthquake and remittances.

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, there are opportunities for Nepal’s tourism industry to recover and adapt to the new normal. The industry has taken a good lesson from the pandemic, with many hotels and tourism businesses reducing prices to attract domestic tourists. The pandemic has also highlighted the need for economic recovery plans that promote sustainable tourism in protected areas. The UNWTO data shows that in 2019, domestic tourism accounted for almost 67% of Nepal’s total tourism. The pent-up desire to travel among the Nepali population, both domestic and international, is expected to lead to a sharp uptick in domestic travel once COVID-19 comes under control. The Nepalese government is taking steps to invest significantly in the agricultural sector as a means to boost the country’s economy in the long-term. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on Nepal’s tourism industry, with the collapse of international and domestic tourism leading to job losses and affecting food security and vulnerability. The pandemic has also highlighted the need for economic recovery plans that promote sustainable tourism in protected areas. Despite the challenges, there are opportunities for Nepal’s tourism industry to recover and adapt to the new normal, with the pent-up desire to travel among the Nepali population expected to lead to a sharp uptick in domestic travel once COVID-19 comes under control. The Nepalese government’s investment in the agricultural sector is also expected to boost the country’s economy in the long-term.

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Featured Reports

Understand the macroeconomic situations that affect the global positioning of countries.

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