Tourist arrival rules not relaxed


The Department of Tourism has started issuing mountaineering expedition permits for the spring season with certain restrictions.

According to the department, the climbers - irrespective of their nationality - will only be allowed to take photos and videos related to their expedition activities. Taking photos or videos for commercial purpose, including promotional videos, will not be allowed.

The department's permission will be required for taking photos and videos for such purposes, said Mira Acharya, director of mountaineering division of DoT.

Online briefing has been made mandatory while applying for the expedition permit. The DoT has stated that agencies handling expeditions will have to fill the online briefing form.

According to the department, the agency will have to submit all the related documents and expedition schedule during the debriefing process.

Prior to this, the schedule had to be submitted only while receiving the expedition permit.

It has also been made mandatory for the liaison officer to be present during the debriefing process.

Climbers will also have to submit a self-declaration form to the department stating that they are mentally and physically fit for the expedition.

Acharya said the department had requested chopper operators and agencies to take climbers only to fully equipped hospitals after rescuing them.

The government, however, has not relaxed the rules regarding tourist arrivals.

Tourists have to compulsorily stay in quarantine for five days. On-arrival visa for tourists has been done away with.

Since expedition activities were halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the department and tourism entrepreneurs are expecting a surge in the number of climbers for the spring season this year.

However, tourism stakeholders said complex health safety protocols might discourage tourists from visiting Nepal.

A version of this article appears in the print on March 13, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.