Solukhumbu, Dec 13
The Sagarmatha National Park has witnessed an approximately 99 percent drop in revenue collection this year. It is due to sheer disruption in tourism activities in the wake of lockdown enforced to contain Covid-19 pandemic. In the first four months in the fiscal year, 2019/20, the National Park collected over Rs 42 million from entry fees and Rs 1.5 million from charges on helicopter landing and forest resources fees.
However, in the same period in the FY, 2020/21, the National Park collected only over Rs 500,000 from entry fees and more than Rs 18,000 from charges on helicopter landing and forest resource fees. According to data with the National Park, 688 tourists (133 foreign and 555 local) visited the Park in the first four months in the current FY, 2020/21. Main income sources for the National Park are entry fees, charges on helicopter landing and forest resource fees. Entry fee for a foreign tourist is Rs 3,000.
Likewise, Rs 1,500 is charged for a national from the SAARC countries. Fee for helicopter landing for once is Rs 3,000. Peak tourist season in Khumbu area is twice a year, the Nepali months of Chaitra and Jestha and Ashoj and Mangsir. However, the coronavirus spread halted tourism activities this year.
There has been a sharp decline in revenue collection following a closure in tourism activities due to the infection, said the National Park Chief Conservation Officer Bhumi Raj Upadhyay. Established in 2032 BS, the National Park spans over 1,148 square kilometers.