Nepal resumed mountaineering activities on 30 July, after a five-month break during the pandemic, with new stipulations for international visitors wishing to take part in trekking activities in the country. According to the new guidelines issued by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, these foreign tourists must now provide papers proving they have insurance cover of at least US$5,000.
The government has also made it mandatory for trekking or mountaineering agencies to insure the local guides accompanying foreign tourists on treks against Covid-19 for a sum of $850, prior to applying for a permit.
Travellers need a PCR test and must quarantine
To minimise the spread of the virus, each traveller will have to carry a PCR test report conducted not more than 72 hours before the end of a seven-day mandatory quarantine period, attesting that they have been tested negative for Covid-19.
Along with the PCR report, travellers must also provide hotel booking documents to show that they have completed the seven-day quarantine. The government of Nepal earns considerable revenue from tourism and mountaineering. In 2019, the government issued 381 permits costing $11,000 each to mountaineers who arrived from around the world to climb the world’s tallest peak, Mount Everest.
Nepal and especially the Himalayas are popular attractions for tourists, that can often be dangerous, especially for untrained trekkers. A mandatory insurance could help stem the cost of rescues in the Himalayas.