Ever since the announcement of nationwide lock-down on March 25, the panicking among the tourists who are stranded in Nepal has been considerably lowered. As soon as the lock-down took place, Nepal Tourism Board formed a unit called “COVID Crisis Response Task Unit” whose sole purpose was to help and rescue the stranded tourists in different regions of Nepal.
“All the stranded tourists will be rescued, kept safely for self-isolation, and facilitated for their safe journey back home,“Hon. Minister of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation.
An estimated 10,000 tourists from Europe, Australia, South Korea, the United States, and Canada have been stuck in trekking routes and other tourist locations as per the Nepal Tourism Board. Out of which, nearly 1,000 have been successfully rescued from remote mountain regions to Kathmandu through airlift and overland transportation as of now. The rescue team is continuously working to bring more of the visitors to Kathmandu.
In the meantime, locals are providing essentials to the tourists from their side and many hotels have already waived off the rent for a couple of weeks. Nepal has been able to take control of the situation until now as the nation is under complete lock-down, restricting movements to only essential service.
Nepal Tourism Board has initiated the “Stranded in Nepal” campaign to track the tourists and their situation. A dedicated website, WhatsApp and Twitter accounts have been created to update all stranded across the nation. The channels can also be used to reach out to NTB for assistance and rescue proposals.
For convenience, the Stranded in Nepal website contains all the contact detail of the responsible bodies in Nepal. Below is the information that you will be able to find at www.strandedinnepal.com:
- A tourist location survey
- List of Airlines & Contact
- List of Hotels & Restaurants that are open
- Important notice for tourists
- And steps being taken to rescue
Message for tourists:
If you are stuck on your route while traveling, you are requested to consider the following message from Nepal Tourism Board.
Important: Unfortunately, you can not leave the country at the moment. However, you need not panic as the embassies and NTB are in collaboration to accommodate you as long as you are stranded in Nepal.
- You must avoid unnecessary movement. Only go out for medical emergencies or to get cash. Respect all the instructions from the national and local authorities.
- Inform your whereabouts to the respective embassy. If your country does not have an embassy here in Nepal, contact the nearest one (probably in India) through email or phone.
- Do not worry about your VISA during the lockdown. If you were legally in the country on March 21st when the lockdown started, then you are fine. The government has announced that the VISA extension fees for the lockdown will be paid for.
- Expenses such as accommodation/food/flight are not to be expected. In case you run out of money, reach out to your friends and family first. If not possible, contact the local authorities who will provide you with the necessities. However, at this point, you will be treated as any Nepali citizen.
- Maintain discipline and behave appropriately. You are a guest in our country thus you must respect the local population and their rights.
Nevertheless, we should not lose hope. Nepal is considered one of the safest places to be in this global pandemic. We advise you to keep calm and avoid panicking. Co-operate from your side as much you can and things will soon be alright.
Some Helpful Links:
- Nepal Tourism Board
- Tourist Inventory Survey
- Nepal Tourism Think Tank on Facebook
- IATA Latest Travel Document News
- List of Airlines Halting Flights
- List of Banks in Nepal and their contacts
- WHO Nepal
- Map of Coronavirus COVID-19 by Johns Hopkins CSS
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