The Nepalese Government recently cancelled the most anticipated Tourism festival of the country, Visit Nepal 2020. The primary decision for the cancellation was taken after the outbreak of the Corona Virus (COVID-19) in Wuhan, China.
Nepal Tourism Board has decided to postpone all the tourism-related events and activities in Nepal and has pushed the event for 2022, naming it Visit Nepal 2022. Events like the Nepal India China Expo, 10th International Nepal Tattoo Convention, Sagarmatha Sambaad, and many others have been postponed and cancelled until further notice.
Why was Visit Nepal 2020 cancelled?
On Sunday 3rd March 2020, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli instructed the Nepal Tourism Board to call off the Visit Nepal 2020 campaign. The resolution was made in response to the recent epidemic of Corona (COVID-19) in China.
The tourism promoting campaigns for March was dropped a day after the organisers of the ITB (world's largest tourism trade fair) was cancelled. Every year over 10,000 exhibitors from 180 countries attend the world's biggest tourism exhibition.
Further, Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattrai has informed the media that the government has deiced to halt all promotion campaigns for VNY2020. The minister had previously declared the nation to be a Coronavirus Free Zone.
In a statement he said,
The world is gripped with fear, including powerful countries like the US. Nepal is also affected,
We have decided to cancel major promotional activities in the overseas markets for the time being.
During this crisis period, we will introduce measures to promote domestic tourism.
In a meeting headed by the Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ishwor Pokhrel, authorities announced the temporary suspension of visa for tourists and visitors from 10th March 2020 onwards.
Program coordinator of the Visit Nepal 2020, Mr Bishwombher Ghimire told Xinhua that the planned promotional campaign at the ITB Berlin Travel Trade Show, Germany has been cancelled along with other promotional events to be held in China.
Adverse effects of Corona Virus on Nepal Tourism
As per a report by the Oxford Journal of Travel Medicine, Nepal is amongst the top 15 destinations in the world, where the epidemic outbreak is likely to occur.
This year the Nepal Tourism Board aimed to have over more than 2 million guests visit Nepal, but with the recent chain of events, there will be a gradual decrease in the number. Nepal hoped to meet the flow of foreign tourists, mainly from neighbouring countries like China and India.
Nepal attracted over 254,150 Indian tourists and 169,543 visitors from China in 2019. Overall the country welcomed about 1.9 million foreigners last year.
In the past years, Nepal has had a maximum number of vacationers from countries like:
- United States
- Sri Lanka
- United Kingdom
- South Korea
As per the news, China has reported 2,192 deaths and 80,026 cases of infection while countries other than China have had over 141 cases of death and 9,049 infection reports.
As of March 2020, the plague has spread to over 60 different countries, killing more than 3,000 people and affecting 88,000 people.
Amid this critical situation, over 16,000 Chinese tourists have entered Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA) since the start of the year. Two Chinese nationals suspected to carry the virus were under surveillance, but they went into hiding and haven't been traced yet.
Also, a Saudi Arabian tourist who arrived in Nepal via China ran away from the hospital where he was under watch.
Nepalese authorities have helped 175 Nepalese people evacuate from China, and a Nepali student who tested positive for the virus has also been reported to be cured.
When will the next Visit Nepal Tourism Campaign be held?
After formally dropping the VNY2020 agenda, the government is now focusing on simply promoting Visit Nepal.
According to a minister from the Tourism Ministry,
The concerned ministry will formally take up the issue and most probably postpone the campaign for two years to make it Visit Nepal 2022,
The next edition of Nepal Tourism year is likely to happen in 2022, but an official statement from the tourism board hasn't been issued yet.
Which events will be affected by the cancellation?
The first significant event to be postponed this year was Nepal India China Expo (NICE) which was supposed to start on 21st February and end on the 25th.
The Nepalese Govt. also cancelled its first-ever Sagarmatha Sambaad which was scheduled to start on 2nd March 2020. The event would have lasted until 4th March.
Likewise, the 10th International Nepal Tattoo Convention set to be held on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th of April 2020 has also been cancelled. In their official Facebook page, Nepal Tattoo Convention apologised for the cancellation. The event will be held next year, and refunds are available or will be kept for the following year.
Other events that are likely to be cancelled or postponed are:
- Mustang Trail Race (4th-16th April)
- Pokhara Enduro (8th-12th April)
- The Kayak Downriver Race (17th-20th April)
- Everest Marathon (May 2020)
- Otaku Jatra (May 2020)
- Himalayan Travel Mart (June 2020)
- Sustainable Summits Conference (June 2020)
- World Trails Conference (September 2020)
- The Great Karnali Quest (November 2020)
- Kali X (December 2020)
- Photo Kathmandu (December 2020)
- Kathmandu Triennale (December 2020 - January 2021)
Following the outbreak of the Corona (COVID-19) virus, the events and activities mentioned earlier, are likely to be cancelled.
The epidemic in China has also delayed Nepal's construction projects like the building of Pokhara Regional International Airport, Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA), 756MW Tamor Storage Hydroelectric Project, and Melamchi Water Supply Project.
International Events affected by COVID-19
The United States of America has informed its citizens regarding the potential closing of schools and businesses. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has restricted the flow of foreign pilgrimages to Mecca for Hajj.
Japan is also considering cancelling the 2020 Olympics.
For more updates on Nepal and Visit Nepal 2020, do visit hopnepal.com.