Kathmandu, March 26
The government has started rescuing foreign tourists stranded in different parts of the country due to the weeklong lockdown imposed by the government to contain the spread of coronavirus. The government will also provide necessary help to repatriate them home.
Since Wednesday, the Crisis Response Unit of Nepal Tourism Board has rescued 137 such foreign tourists from across the country.
According to NTB, 60 foreigners were rescued from Jomsom today and brought to Kathmandu. All the tourists have been kept in self-isolation in different hotels in Thamel.
NTB, in coordination with the Embassy of France, rescued 14 foreign tourists from Lukla via a Tara Air flight today. All the 14 tourists have been kept in Hotel Everest for self-isolation.
The Embassy of France rescued 58 French nationals from Pokhara and brought them to Kathmandu today via Buddha Air. The rescued tourists from Pokhara have been kept in Hotel Everest for self-isolation. Four other French nationals were rescued from Kande and brought to Pokhara yesterday. According to NTB, they will be brought to Kathmandu tomorrow. NTB officials added that 10 foreigners had been rescued from Machikhola and Arughat in Manaslu area with the help of Dharche Manaslu Rural Municipality.
Five tourists — three Australians and two Spanish — were rescued from Gorkha Bazaar and brought to Kathmandu with the help of District Administration Office, Gorkha.
Meanwhile, NTB added that eight foreigners, along with 11 Nepalis, were still stranded at Sankhuwasabha while returning from an expedition to Kanchanjunga. There are still around 25 foreigners stranded in Jagat and Machikhola areas. About 150 tourists are also awaiting rescue in Lukla.
All stranded tourists in Lukla are getting free accommodation and food, arranged by Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality.
A few restaurants in Pokhara have also started providing free food to stranded tourists.
Shradha Shrestha, brand manager at NTB, said all the remaining stranded tourists would be rescued gradually.
“While NTB will facilitate the rescue of these tourists, embassies of different countries in Nepal will ensure the return of these tourists to their homes,” added Shrestha.
Dhananjay Regmi, chief executive officer of NTB, also assured that the government would leave no stone unturned to locate and rescue tourists. “We seek support and cooperation from local communities and concerned travel trade companies and associations to help rescue them,” he said.
NTB has launched a website, strandedinnepal.com, to collect details of stranded tourists across the country.
Meanwhile, Hotel Everest is hosting 71 French nationals , who were rescued from Lukla & Pokhara. These travelers have been in Nepal for the past month, Hotel Everest said.
“The French Embassy in Kathmandu provided the hotel with names & travel details of their citizens,” the hotel said. “We have received requests from other European embassies to settle in their citizens awaiting their return home in the next couple of days.”
A version of this article appears in print on March 27, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.