Sagarmatha National Park sees 99 per cent drop in revenue collection due to pandemic

SOLUKHUMBU, DECEMBER 13

Sagarmatha National Park has witnessed an approximately 99 per cent drop in revenue collection this year.

This was attributed to complete disruption of tourism activities in the wake of the lockdown enforced to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the first four months of the fiscal 2019-20, the national park collected more than Rs 42 million from entry fees and Rs 1.5 million from charges on helicopter landing and forest resources fees. However, in the same period in the FY 2020-21, the national park collected a little over Rs 500,000 from entry fees and little more than Rs 18,000 from charges on helicopter landing and forest resource fees.

According to data with the national park, 688 tourists (133 foreign and 555 local) visited the park in the first four months in the current fiscal.

Main income sources of the national park are entry fees, charges on helicopter landing and forest resource fees. Entry fee for a foreign tourist is Rs 3,000. Likewise, Rs 1,500 is charged for a national from the SAARC countries. Fee for helicopter landing for once is Rs 3,000.

Peak tourist season in Khumbu area is twice a year, the Nepali months of Chaitra and Jestha, and Ashoj and Mangsir.

However, the coronavirus pandemic halted tourism activities this year. There has been a sharp decline in revenue collection following closure of tourism activities due to the infection, said national park Chief Conservation Officer Bhumi Raj Upadhyay.