BATTLING THE CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC
Posted in 26th May, 2020
The Nepalese government have been imposing a series of nation-wide lockdowns since March 24, with the latest being extended up to June 02. All international and domestic flights have been suspended till June 14. All land borders adjacent to India & China have also been sealed indefinitely.
In the past, tourism in Nepal had contributed 7.9 % of Nepal’s total GDP (approximately USD 1.9 billion). The coronavirus pandemic rapidly spreading at the beginning of the tourist season in Nepal has halted all tourism-related industries/operations. As such, many businesses have been forced to shut down and layoff their staff. With over 15,000 trekking guides, 5,000 tour guides, 750+ mountaineers and numerous support staff relying on the seasonal income from tourism the situation is dire.
Trip status for 2020 trips with Keep Walking Nepal (KWN)
For the time being, all trips in 2020 have been suspended until it’s safe to travel again. Even though we don’t know when the virus’s effect will be mitigated, we are hopeful that in the future it will be back to normal. As the situation unfolds, we will update the 2020 trip status through our website and via email.
In the worst-case scenario where travelling to Nepal or operating trips isn’t possible for 2020, we have the following contingency plans.
If you’ve booked a trip but it’s cancelled or if you can’t join because of a travel ban imposed by either your local government or by the Nepal government, we will provide you with a voucher for the amount which you can use next year for the same package or for a similar budgeted package at no additional cost. If you request a refund, we will refund you in instalments as our resources are limited.
In case there are no travel bans by either the Nepal government or by your local government, i.e. Nepal is deemed safe to travel, and you still decide not to join a confirmed trip, no refunds will be provided.
Note: A booked trip implies that you’ve paid a deposit or the full amount in advance
Trip status for 2021 trips with Keep Walking Nepal (KWN)
We are hopeful of the future and are taking bookings for 2021. You can choose either any fixed departure dates or request customized trips per your convenience.
Safety and precautions when travelling to Nepal
In light of the effects of coronavirus and how it has affected tourism globally, we feel a deep responsibility for the well being of our patrons and guests. It’s our duty to take care of our clients and make sure they have a wonderful experience in Nepal without worrying about health risks.
WHO has warned that “Coronavirus may never go away” and we may have to learn to live with it as with other viral diseases like measles and AIDS. As such, we recommend all our guests getting up-to-date on vaccines and booster shots per their local government travel advisory before arriving in Nepal. Even once it is deemed safe to travel to Nepal, all “sightseeing” on our trips will be removed to avoid crowded areas.
Upcoming destinations for Nepal’s Autumn 2020 and Spring 2021
Based on current records, we are now offering trips in the non-infected and less affected areas of Nepal like Everest, Mustang, Lower Solukhumbu, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Manang and Manaslu region. Furthermore, we believe that camping accommodations will be best suited for larger groups to avoid crowds in lodges.
You can request any trip opting for camping accommodations instead of lodges or tea houses. Since camping trips are more expensive and logistically more demanding than traditional lodge-based trips, we have a minimum of 4 members per group and a maximum of 12 members.
KWN family in the present condition
As most of you would know, Keep Walking Nepal (KWN) is a small family-owned and operated venture providing personalized services. Since the nation is under lock down, all our 2020 Spring trips (March-May) have been cancelled. This has negatively impacted KWN employees sustenance.
At KWN, we employ both salaried and wage workers. During the tourist season, they come from their villages to Kathmandu for employment. As of now, almost all of our staff are back home in their villages where there are small-scale agricultural opportunities. But for many, times are tough with whatever small savings they had, especially the wage workers.
We have been maintaining regular communication with all our staff and fortunately, none have fallen victim to the coronavirus. Even though we have been compensating our salaried staff and helping out the wage workers who are in need, it is proving difficult for us. Especially, the wage workers are hit the hardest as they have little to none experience in other sectors and rely on the seasonal income to provide for their families.
We hope to see you again in Nepal when the world is across the new “normal” and we again start to enjoy experiences away from home. From all the KWN family, stay safe.