KATHMANDU, APRIL 26
The second wave of the coronavirus pandemic has again hit the gradually recovering hotel industry.
As the COVID-19 cases are steadily rising each passing day in the country, hotels have started witnessing booking cancellations.
The number of foreigners arriving into the country as well as domestic tourists travelling to various local destinations had started increasing with the onset of the spring season. However, due to the increasing cases of COVID-19 infection, the hotel rooms are being cancelled, as stated by the Hotel Association Nepal (HAN).
According to HAN, tourist standard hotels as well as star-rated hotels and resorts in tourist hubs like Pokhara, Chitwan, Dhulikhel, Nagarkot, Mustang, not to mention Kathmandu valley, are receiving cancellations of pre-bookings. "Almost all the hotels in tourist destinations of the country are receiving cancelations of room bookings," said Sajan Shakya, general secretary of HAN.
With the coronavirus cases on the rise, local governments of some districts have already imposed lockdowns to contain the infection, while the federal government has also issued safety protocols.
The Cabinet meeting today has imposed prohibitory order in three districts of the valley - Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur.
"In such crisis, no one would want to travel. Because of this, the hotels are again falling back into crisis," he said, adding, "Star-rated hotels are still struggling to revive while the tourist standard hotels that were gradually reviving will again be battered by the second wave of the pandemic."
Even though the number of tourists and hotel bookings are not as high as in years before 2020, the business was gradually recovering. Shakya further said that the even though the number of foreign tourists was less than satisfactory, the domestic tourist movement had delighted tourist standard hotel operators.
"Due to the festivals and Nepali New Year, domestic tourists had been travelling to various local destinations.
During the Nepali New Year, hotels in tourist hubs had around 30 to 40 per cent room occupancy," he said, "In the peak season the situation is getting worse. And we don't have any other choice than to shut operations as health comes first."
He further said that complacency and lack of preparations by the concerned authorities have once again created a challenging situation for hotel entrepreneurs.
A version of this article appears in the print on April 27, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.