Nepal’s tourism industry is estimated to lose 34 billion Nepali Rupees (282 million U.S. dollar) since the Nepali government enforced lockdown in March to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, reports Nepal’s Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.

“The loss is expected to cross 40 billion Nepali Rupees (332 million U.S. dollar) until July 21, extended deadline of lockdown,” states a report on ministry’s activities during the period from March 24 to June 29, which the ministry unveiled on Friday.

The Nepal Tourism Board and the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal have estimated a loss of $83 million each month during the lockdown in the hospitality sector, such as hotels, travel and aviation.

Although the government on June 10 relaxed lockdown, allowing most of the economic activities to operate, the tourism sector, particularly hotels and airlines sectors have not been allowed to reopen. Nepal’s cabinet also decided to continue suspension of domestic and international flights <>till July 21.

Meanwhile, the tourism sector is facing enormous losses, a delegation of tourism entrepreneurs from Nepal submitted a memorandum to the Nepalese Minister of Tourism, Yogesh Bhattarai, on Friday calling for the re-opening of the tourism sector.

In a statement issued by the Ministry on Friday stated that tourism entrepreneurs have asked the Government of Nepal to allow airlines to operate scheduled domestic and international flights on condition that certain health protocols are complied with. Currently, Nepali government has been allowing just chartered flights for humanitarian purposes and taking delivery of medical goods.

Tourism entrepreneurs also demanded that the Nepalese government allow tourist vehicles to operate, remove contaminants from the mountains and develop infrastructure for tourism destinations in mountain regions where there is no dense settlement.

Binayak Shah, first vice-president of the Hotel Association of Nepal, a grouping of hotels in Nepal, told Xinhua on Friday that they asked the government to reopen the hotels and airline sectors as they are struggling to pay staff amid continued closure, IANS reported.

“At least we want certainty when these sectors are reopened so that we can plan for the future,” he said. “We are getting few inquiries for hotel booking for the autumn season from the tourists who are attracted to come here for trekking and mountaineering.”

According to him, although the Nepali government decided to use certain hotels as quarantine centres for Nepalis brought home from abroad, very few hotels are occupied currently.

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