This year, the tourism industry of Nepal has reached rock bottom with the virus outbreak, and the hotel owners, airline executives and trekking agencies here believe that it will take at the minimum five years to recover completely.
On Monday, after participating in a webinar, these agencies explained that majority companies related to the following sector are crumpling, and even if in 2021, visitor numbers starts picking up, tourism will have to tackle new realities in terms of global travel, with key changes in customer concerns and preferences.
“The age of mass tourism is gone,” said Prachanda Man Shrestha, former CEO of Nepal Tourism Board. “Tourists will now prefer niche products with specific personalised preferences. And Nepal’s promotional activities have to adapt accordingly.”
Even though Nepal is still a precious brand in tourism, with gorgeous mountains, wildlife and culture being the prime attractions, from now on, the main highlight will be safety and comfort, providing a unique travel experience, and wilderness tourism.
To quote Shrestha at the webinar, “People are not going to be too fond of roughing it out anymore, they will want to minimize risk to themselves and will be demanding a level of wellbeing and predictability at the destination. The good news is that 2020 has been such a bad year that there is nowhere to go but up.”
Participants at the online session decided that as Nepal pulled through the crisis pretty quickly from the 2015 earthquake, it would be tough this time because holiday patterns will change after the pandemic.
“It is going to take four to five years for tourism to get back to normal in Nepal, there is just so much uncertainty that I do not see any positive trends till 2025,” said Yogendra Shakya of Ambassador Hotel and Club Himalaya in Nagarkot.
Shakya mentioned that the government would have to work in tandem with the private sector to plan out a policy that would perk up the visitor numbers. He explains that it is more important to get rid of the negative image that the country recently got stamped due to the poor condition of the Kathmandu airport, crumbling highways and urban pollution.