Dhaka: Nepal will be reopening its borders for international tourism on August 17 as the blanket ban ends and all international and domestic flights resume, announced the government following a Cabinet meeting earlier this week.
The move comes just before the start of the autumn trekking season from September to November, which typically draws a third of the 1.2 million overseas tourists who visit Nepal on an annual basis.
“The ministry plans to resume all tourism related activities by following health and safety protocols from August 17,” said ministry’s secretary Kedar Bahadur Adhikari, adding that safety protocols are being finalised by holding consultations with stakeholders concerned.
Government ministers said falling numbers of coronavirus cases in the country as the main factor behind the decision. Nepal’s Tourism and Civil Aviation Ministry has said it will now draw up safety protocols to be rolled out at points of entry and onboard passenger aircraft.
Regular flights have been suspended since March, when airports across the nation were closed to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Flights will initially only fly from countries that have been less affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The government did not elaborate on which countries would be first, but did say that more countries will be added gradually.
From August, travellers arriving in Nepal must carry a health certificate proving they are free of COVID-19.
The Nepalese government has not yet finalised any self-quarantine rules for when it will resume international travel but with the upcoming climbing season it is doubtful that a 14-day quarantine will be enforced.