Government decides to resume domestic and international flights starting August 17

The government on Monday 20 July 2020 announced the resumption of international and domestic flights beginning August 17, 2020. The flights have remained suspended for over four months now in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. All flights will be operated by following special health and safety protocols.

On March 20, the government had banned all passengers, including Nepalis, from entering the country from the European Union territories, including the United Kingdom, West Asia, Gulf countries and countries like Iran, Turkey, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan. Four days later, it had imposed a nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Nepal on Monday 20 July reported the national tally to 17,844 cases of Covid-19, with 40 deaths so far.

The Tourism Civil Aviation Ministry will develop protocols and other required measures for the incoming flights. For domestic flights, health and safety protocols have already been developed.

The airport can handle a maximum of 300 passengers per hour based on social distancing marking places

Tourism simply shut down when the virus hit. There were 13, 30 and 100 foreign visitors to Nepal in April, May and June, respectively, according to the statistics of the Department of Immigration. And they were members of diplomatic missions, not sightseers. In normal times, more than 100,000 cheerful vacationers would be getting off the planes at Kathmandu airport each month during this season.

The industry has also requested the Tourism Ministry to reduce the mandatory quarantine facilities for foreign tourists. 14 days of quarantine would not encourage travelers to come to Nepal. We have to follow what other countries are doing to make visitors safe and think about alternatives to reduce the mandatory quarantine provision.

Even though the service sector, like cafes and restaurants, have partially been opened since June 11, with no foreign tourists, their business has not been as good. The hotel will be opening from 1 August.

The tourism sector is worst affected and would take the longest time for revival.

By Asian Hiking Team

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