The government has been proposed to extend the suspension on international flights and sealing of the border until mid-August. A draft of a modality readied for COVID-19 lockdown by the Ministry of Health and Population has proposed to extend the suspension until August 16.
The operation of domestic & international flights in Nepal is resuming from August 17. A meeting of the Council of Ministers held today made a decision to this effect. The government will direct the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation to make all necessary arrangements for the safe operations of domestic flights from August 17.
A cabinet meeting held at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence in Baluwatar took a decision to this effect. According to a cabinet minister, the cabinet meeting endorsed the proposal made by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA). The MoCTCA has asked to prepare a detailed safety guideline to resume the flights as the threat of coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to remain in the country.
All domestic and international flights were suspended with the imposition of nationwide lockdown on March 24 with the aim of cutting the spread of the coronavirus infection.
However, recently, chartered rescue flights were being operated to fly in Nepalis stranded in foreign lands.
Authorities have put safety protocol in place to facilitate operation of flights amid the coronavirus crisis, so as to prevent the spread of the disease.
The resumption of air services is expected to give a much-needed boost to the tourism industry which has struggled due to the pandemic. Thousands of Nepalese in the tourism sector have lost jobs and many enterprises have shut shop.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council’s 2018 report, Nepal’s tourism sector directly and indirectly employs about 10.5 lakh people, generating revenue of over 24,000 crore Nepali Rupees.
In total, the travel and tourism sector contributed about 7.9 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.