Aiming at managing tourist arrivals amid the threat of COVID-19 infection spreading in the country, the Cabinet meeting held on March 18 approved the 'Protocols to Manage Tourist Arrival'.

While the spring season has started, the surge in number of people testing positive for the coronavirus points towards a possible second wave. Amid this, the government expects the protocols to help curb the spread of the infection.

As per the protocols, tourists wanting to visit the country and wanting to go for mountaineering activities will have to submit their overall details to Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and Department of Tourism (DoT), respectively. The board and department will then forward the applications to Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Department of Immigration (DoI). The tourists will be able to come to Nepal only after receiving approval from the ministry and DoI.

Similarly, tourists who do not have visa service for Nepal in their respective countries can get on-arrival visa.

Tourism stakeholders have been asking the government to resume on-arrival visa service as the tourist season has started and a number of interested visitors are unable to get visa for Nepal in their countries. However, the on-arrival visa service will not be applicable for tourists travelling via land route.

Before travelling to Nepal, the tourists should have a negative report of PCR test conducted within 72 hours before the flight, a recommendation letter from the DoT or NTB, hotel booking details, insurance documents and other required documents.

Meanwhile, the quarantine policy has not been changed. The tourists will have to stay in quarantine until the result of PCR test done here comes negative. In case of Indian tourists, rules will be applied on the basis of air bubble agreement.

Along with implementation of the protocols, all other rules and regulations implemented earlier regarding tourist arrivals have now been scrapped.

A version of this article appears in the print on March 26, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.