KATHMANDU : Nepal on Thursday enforced new travel rules removing the quarantine requirements for foreign tourists who have got both doses of Covid-19 vaccine, in an attempt to give a boost to pandemic-depressed travel and tourism business in the country.
According to new travel protocols, posted on the website of the Tourism Ministry on Thursday evening, vaccinated tourists entering the Himalayan Nation have to submit a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test report form within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin along with documents proving administration of both doses of anti-coronavirus vaccines has also been made mandatory for those flying by air.
After they arrive in Nepal, they have to conduct another PCR test at their own cost and stay at the isolation in the hotel until the report is out.
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“If the report is positive, they should, as per the rules, remain for further isolation in the hotel at their own costs,” says the new travel protocols that were passed by the Cabinet’s meeting on March 18. With a negative PCR result, they can continue on their tour.
The new protocol also has made it mandatory to buy insurance coverage of Nrs. 100 thousand for tour guides with the visitors.
Accrediting Indian tourists traveling to Nepal, the new rulebook states, they should follow arrangements as per Nepal-India Travel Bubble Agreement.
The Indian tourists coming to Nepal via surface route should submit PCR negative reports and documents proving that they have been vaccinated at the border points.
Meanwhile, the government has resumed the on-arrival visa for tourists after a year. Foreign tourists should apply for the visa at the Nepali embassies and diplomatic mission in their respective countries.
However, for the foreigners, if they don’t have Nepali missions and embassies in their countries and are facing difficulties to obtain visas, they are allowed to apply for on-arrival visas at Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport. On-arrival visas are not granted for tourists coming overland.
According to the new rules, tourists seeking on-arrival visas should submit at least four documents at the airline’s check-in counters, before boarding the flight to Nepal: PCR negative report that has been taken 72 hours prior to their departure, documents proving that they are vaccinated with full dose; a copy of a recommendation letter issued by the Nepal Tourism Board and Department of Tourism; proof of hotel booking in Nepal; and travel insurance covering emergency search and rescue and treatment throughout their travel in Nepal.
The latest amendment has removed the mandatory provision of COVID-19 insurance which earlier amounted to 5000 USD.
“The airlines should permit the passengers coming to Nepal after checking these four documents,” the ministry said in its updated rules. “This new rule replaces all the travel rules issued by the government earlier,” read the update.
The COVID-19 pandemic which engulfed the world from early 2020 resulted in a massive revenue fall for the Himalayan nation as well as rendered thousands unemployed.
According to the statistics of the Department of Immigration, only 230,085 foreign tourists visited Nepal last year, about the same number that came in 1986. Most of them arrived before the country imposed entry restrictions on March 20. (ANI)