At a time when the number of people testing positive for the coronavirus has increased significantly in the country, the tourism stakeholders have emphasised on the need to allow tourism activities to continue while all concerned strictly adhere to the health safety protocols.

In view of the increasing cases of coronavirus and the highly transmissible Omicron variant in the country, the Nepal Tourism Board had held a discussion with the tourism stakeholders in the country today.

Stating that strict lockdown measures imposed earlier to curtail the spread of the virus had devastated the tourism industry, tourism entrepreneurs and representatives of tourism organisations present during the discussion programme also urged the government to refrain from doing the same in the future.

"Adopting precautionary measures and effective vaccination while allowing tourism activities is necessary," the private sector representatives said.

"There is no other option than to provide booster shots to all eligible population and allow tourism activities to continue while adopting safety measures," said Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA) President Achyut Guragain.

Tourism entrepreneur Bijay Amatya opined that the NTB should change its market strategy considering the COV- ID-19 situation.

President of Expedition Operators Association and tourism entrepreneur Dambar Parajuli stressed on the need to formulate strategies that would not only lure foreign visitors to Nepal but also ensure they face no hassles after coming here.

Chief Executive of NTB Dhananjay Regmi informed that the board had continued its activities despite the havoc created by the coronavirus and resource constraints.

"This programme was organised to take suggestions from the private sector to sketch out the way forward as the new COVID variant threatens to upend our lives once again."

Representatives of Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN), Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), among others, had also participated in the programme in which NTB officials made presentations on various activities undertaken by the board in the recent months.

A version of this article appears in the print on January 10, 2022, of The Himalayan Times.