First Business News Portal in English from Nepal
KATHMANDU: The government is preparing to provide visas to Korean tourists who want to visit Nepal from October 17. The Nepali embassy in Seoul has informed that necessary preparations are underway to resume the visa approval process, which was halted for a long time due to the coronavirus.
The embassy also said that the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MOCTCA) in Nepal has started preparations to provide visas to those who want to visit the country for mountaineering and trekking purposes in the first phase. However, there has been no official decision taken on this regard.
Ram Singh Thapa, deputy chief of mission of the Nepali embassy in Korea, said that tourists who want to visit Nepal should mention about the government’s designated areas that they want to visit while applying for the visa. According to him, the government will provide areas targeting those places where there will be less crowd such as trekking and tourist regions. He said that before there were many Koreans who wanted to visit Nepal before the coronavirus was detected in the country. KP Sitaula, Nepal’s tourism ambassador to Korea, said that preparations being made by the Tourism Ministry are commendable. However, he argues that Korean tourists will not come to Nepal just because the government is giving visas as there are other issues too that need to be sorted out. He said that only availing the visa is not sufficient as there are complexities related to air connectivity between the two countries since the outbreak of the coronavirus. As per him, Koreans are eager to visit as their domestic tourism business is doing well despite the pandemic. Siituala said, “Korea’s tourist destinations are crowded with domestic tourists in the weekends and the hotels are fully occupied. Therefore, it is understandable that the citizens there are eager to visit countries where there has not been much impact of the coronavirus.” Stakeholders of the tourism sector say that Korean tourists will visit Nepal if the government guarantees two regular flights in a week, as Nepal’s mountainous regions, especially mountaineering and trekking regions have not been impacted much by the COVID-19.Although the government has allowed regular flights to Korea to resume operations since August 31, Korean airlines have not operated regular flights due to insufficient number of passengers. The airline companies are currently operating only charter flights. Stakeholders have said that if there were an appropriate environment for Koreans to visit Nepal, then flights would have been operated regularly and also Nepali workers who were in Korea and have returned would not have had to suffer like they are doing now.
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