South Asia eyes tourism revival with eased restrictions
KATHMANDU: Nepal has restarted visas on arrival for vaccinated tourists as South Asian nations attempt to revive tourism businesses devastated after 18 months of the pandemic.
A near travel shutdown has been in place in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka for more than a year as successive waves of coronavirus took a deadly toll.
Nepal reopened to tourists and scrapped quarantine requirements for vaccinated foreigners on Thursday and its neighbours are expected to quickly follow as they seek to bolster linchpin industries in their economies.
“The resumption of on-arrival visas is aimed at reopening the tourism sector which is one of the mainstays of Nepal’s economy,” Tourism Ministry spokesman Tara Nath Adhikari told AFP.
All visitors must still take a pandemic test on arrival and unvaccinated travellers have to quarantine for 10 days.
The decision came just as monsoon clouds cleared for the autumn trekking season, and many are hopeful it will help drive up the arrivals.
“So many have lost jobs and livelihoods. This decision is crucial for all of us and we are hopeful that at least some visitors will return,” said Nabin Trital of the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal.
Vaccinated tourists began entering Sri Lanka in July, without having to quarantine if they test negative for Covid-19 on arrival.
South Asia is highly dependent on tourism, which accounted for some 47 million jobs in 2019, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.
But the pandemic left beaches and mountains deserted, from Everest to the Indian Ocean, and the fall in tourism played a major role in recessions seen by most of the countries last year.
ABB to realise "robots make robots" in Shanghai
SHANGHAI: Swiss tech giant ABB will realise "robots make robots" in Shanghai,...
Cyprus, Egypt sign electricity interconnection agreement
NICOSIA -- Cyprus and Egypt signed a memorandum of understanding on Saturday...
KCCI flays hike in petroleum prices
KARACHI: Businessmen Group (BMG) chairman and former president of the Karachi Chamber...
Buyers flock to Lifestyle furniture expo
KARACHI: Over 10,000 buyers visited the 35th Lifestyle Furniture Exhibition on the...
Petrol bomb: Higher prices fuel double-digit inflation fears
KARACHI: The fuel is on fire, and not literally. With the latest...