The persistent drumbeat of positive tests and reported deaths due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-nCoV-2 virus, created widespread concerns in Nepal.
Widespread fears of the outbreak are a tough blow for the Nepali economy, which seemed on the cusp of a modest revival after the 2015 earthquake and subsequent Indian blockade.
Nepal is starting to suffer the most abrupt and widespread cessation of economic activity due to widespread fears of a possible outbreak of this deadly respiratory pathogen that is capable of community transmission.
Service industries like tourism and hotels are being hit especially hard. Tourism was expected to drive Nepal’s economic growth and contribute greatly to the high growth target of 8.5 percent that the government had set for this year, but this industry tends to have little financial cushion. The contribution of the tourism sector to Nepal’s economy stood at 7.9 percent in 2018, according to the report prepared by the World Travel and Tourism Council, which represents the private tourism industry and counts more than 200 company members.
It is a tourist season but there is very low occupancy of hotels in major tourist hubs like Pokhara, Thamel, Bandipur, and Chitwan. For Nepal, India is the largest source of tourism industry followed by China and the United States.
People are worried as still we don’t know much about this deadly virus and how deep and widespread the economic fallout will be. It is still hard to predict. It will be sometime before we can estimate the full economic blow from this virus. Historical experience suggests that the rebounds from this kind of output loss are possible, but it takes time. Nepal is also facing a drop in output unprecedented in its intensity and the rebounds from this kind of loss are possible, but not by any means guaranteed. After the coronavirus goes away, tourism service is the best way to uplift our economy.
Travelling is the greatest form of learning. There is a saying that the world is a book, and that those who don’t travel read only one page. All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveller may not be aware, and that’s the beauty of travelling.
Foreigners come to Nepal to have new experience in their life. They want something different than they had in their country. They travel because the annoyance of being confined to one place is being outweighed by the visceral thrill of being some place new. Sometimes, it’s not only about a holiday or a form of relaxation, sipping daiquiris on an unspoilt tropical beach or trekking in the mountains. It’s also about the tedious act itself, just putting some miles between home and wherever you happen to spend the night. It should be fun.
But in Nepal, we are adopting culture and lifestyles of foreigners. We hardly give priority to our old culture and lifestyle. In stead of making high class restaurant and cafes, why don’t we build a cafe and hotel with local raw material available. Why don’t we promote our local products. Foreigners get attracted to such. Instead of serving them western foods, lets serve them our local foods. It gives them different taste.
They travel because they want different lifestyle and experience. We should know that and give them new taste.
Mero Tribune publishes original, exclusive, and high-quality opinion articles and commentaries. Our mission is to offer people innovative ideas and opinions from the world’s foremost thinkers and leaders.
The Tribune is committed to publishing a diversity of opinions. We’d like to hear from you. Send your articles to our email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow the Mero Tribune on Facebook.