Due to the Corona Virus when the lockdown came into effect in Nepal, the visiting tourist chose to stay back rather than return to their home countries. More than forty-four tourists from 12 different countries staying in Nepal at Annapurna conservation area who were visiting Nepal when the lockdown came into effect have chosen to stay back rather than returning to their home countries. The tourist, including 25 males and 19 females are currently staying at various hotels and homestays in Manang, Mustang, and Kaski that are covered by the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), the largest protected area in Nepal for trekking, hiking and climbing adventure activities.
According to Rajkumar Gurung chief of ACAP Central Office in Pokhara, when the lockdown was announced, hundreds of tourists touring – Trekking in the Annapurna region, the area returned home as their native countries arranged chartered flights to fly them back. “The rest are those who don’t want to return because they feel safer here than in their home countries,” said Gurung.
The tourists who have chosen to stay back are spread around Chhingur, Jomsom, Jharkot, Ghasa, Pisang, Ngawal, Taal, and Dhampus, among other villages.
In the total 44 tourists, 16 Chinese natives, five Russians, four German, three each from Australia, France, the US and Italy, two each from Argentina and Malaysia, and one each from Japan, Philippines, and Sweden, according to Rishi Baral, information officer at Annapurna Conservation Area Project- ACAP, Pokhara.
In late March, over 30 foreign tourists were rescued from Annapurna and Manaslu Conservation areas and were returned to their native countries. Both the area has stopped issuing permits for the trek from mid-March in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.