Nepal’s tourism industry is forecast to lose 34 billion Nepalese rupees (US$ 282 million) after Nepal’s government locked up the COVID-19 pandemic in March, according to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.

“The loss hit 40 billion Nepalese rupees (USD332 million) by July 21st extended lockdown date,” says a Ministry operation study for the duration from March 2nd to June 2nd published by the Ministry.

The Nepal Tourist Board, the primary tourism promotion department of the Civil and Aviation Aviation Authority of Nepal, has estimated a monthly loss of 10 billion Nepali Rupees in the hospitality sector (e.g., hotels, travel, and aviation) during the lockdown.

While Nepal’s government relieved a lockdown on June 1st that enabled most economic activities to run, it was not permitted to reopen the tourism sector, especially the hotel sector and the airline sector. The cabinet of Nepal also agreed that domestic and foreign flights be suspended until July 2nd.

Since the tourism sector faces significant losses, the delegation of tourism entrepreneurs from Nepal submitted a memorandum to Minister of Tourism Yogesh Bhattarai for reopening the tourism sector.

In a press statement released by the Ministry, tourism entrepreneurs requested Nepal’s government to enable airlines to operate their domestic and foreign scheduled flights, providing such health guidelines had been complied with. Currently, the government of Nepal only approves chartered relief flights and therapeutic goods.

The tourism entrepreneurs demanded that Nepal’s government allow tourism vehicles to work, clear garbage from the mountains, and establish infrastructure in mountainous regions where no sizable settlements exist.

Binayak Shah, first vice president of the Hotel Association of Nepal, a community of Nepalese hotels, told Xinhua that they requested the government to reopen the hotel and airline industries as they fail to pay for workers during continuing closure.

“We want security, at least as these markets are opened up to prepare for the future,” he added. “We get no details from visitors who are drawn to come here for trekking and mountaineering for hotel reservations for the autumn season.”

According to him, although Nepal’s government agreed to allow the use of some hotels as quarantine centers, very few hotels are occupied.