Kathmandu: Seventeen percent of tourism-related businesses have been permanently shut down due to the Corona epidemic, according to a recent survey.
The survey was led by Deepak Raj Joshi, the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nepal Tourism Board. The survey was conducted with the support of Hotel Association Nepal (HAN) and Thamel Tourism Area Development Council.
Most of the entrepreneurs will flee from Thamel area. “Large investment sectors in aviation, big hotels and tourism are still waiting and watching,” said Joshi, “but small businesses are now on the run.” Small hotels, restaurants, spa centers and souvenir shops are among those closing.
Even in the midst of the epidemic, about 6 percent of businesses continued. Some hotels modified their regular business and turned the hotel into quarantine. Tourism travel and tour agents and agencies are still waiting and watching.
After the previous wave, domestic and international air services were on the verge of returning to normal. Meanwhile, the hotel industry has to wait a while, says Joshi. Large investment hotels of the country including Kathmandu or foreign tourists should come. Or there should be uninterrupted ‘events’ in Kathmandu. Without both, the business is in crisis.
65 percent workers unemployed
The survey found that 65 percent of those active in the tourism industry have lost their jobs in the epidemic. Most of them are hiking guides and porters. In addition, hotel workers have lost their jobs.
“As soon as hiking and mountaineering are affected, workers become unemployed,” he said, “because it brings seasonal income to the workers.” However, the survey has found that many salaried workers have lost their livelihood.
Some companies have given unpaid leave during the epidemic. Some have adopted a policy of permanent staff cuts.
80% establishments could not raise operating cost
According to the results of the survey, 80 percent of the establishments related to the tourism industry could not even bear the operating expenses. This problem is faced by all sectors.
In the wake of the epidemic, some industries have blocked further investment plans. The survey also found that investment targeting the year 2020 had been affected very badly.
How to save tourism industry?
Experts have suggested that the state should provide monetary and financial assistance to protect the tourism industry from the crisis. The need for a policy to stop the exodus of workers has also been pointed out.
They also suggested that training and capacity building programs could be promoted in the absence of business in crisis. It has also been suggested that even the tourism sector should accept the change and explore new dimensions for the sake of survival.
The Corona epidemic has hit the tourism industry so badly that some entrepreneurs have lost sight of any future scope in it. International tourism arrivals have declined in the last one and a half years. The area, which has been struggling to cope up with the first wave of the Corona epidemic, has been re-affected by the second wave.
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