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2 weeks ago

Deserted Thamel in Post Covid-19 Pandemic

Thamel: Photo-Raju Tuladhar
HB Kham

Thamel is well known among the international tourists. It is also considered to be the pre-base camp for tourists, mountaineers and trekkers visiting Nepal whether they plan to summit Mt. Everest or go for a romantic journey through the Annapurna trails or wish to visit Manang and Mustang.

Thamel which is a tourists hub in Kathmandu remains vibrant with more than 200 cafes and restaurants during the tourists seasons. The tourists from all over the world are seen mixing and mingling with one another here in the narrow lanes of the Thamel in the peak season.

Although Thamel has small area but more than 8,000 tourists centered businesses are operated in over 2,000 houses which includes eateries, trekking gear shops, woolen item and clothes shops, souvenir shops, travel agencies, hotels, pubs, clubs and massage centers which entirely rely on the tourism.

Before the sudden outbreak of Covid-19 in Nepal Thamel was thriving well with the gradual inflow of tourists and the government had also plans to bring in at least 2 million tourists in the country to observe the Nepal Visit Year 2020.

However, all of a sudden the spike of Coronavirus cases triggered nationwide lock down to contain the deadly contagion.

All domestic and international flights were suspended to prevent the spreading spree of the Covid-19 in the country. Those tourists who had arrived in Nepal were also evacuated and returned to their home countries through chartered airlines.

Most of the hotels booking were also cancelled by the tourists. As an outcome the imposition of lock down caused the tourists hub-Thamel to have deserted look these days as no tourists are seen strolling through the streets and lanes of Thamel. The Thamel streets are forlorn and forgotten.

Most of the businesss dependent on tourism has come to a grinding halt in the Thamel area because of which the business houses are not able to pay their exorbitant house rents.

So, around 200 businesses have already left the Themel area while some are waiting for few more days to see improvement in business and then leave the area.

One of the victims of post Covid-19 pandemic who runs an Art Gallery in Thamel says the Covid-19 has totally damaged his business. He no longer can pay his house rents now as his business has no future. He now has no option but to leave the Thamel soon.

The streets of Thamel look deserted as there are no tourists moving about here and there. The hotels, restaurants, pubs, clubs and souvenirs shops look empty as there are no customers to buy the commodities.

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