The government has decided to cancel all promotional activities related to the Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign in foreign countries in the wake of the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the globe.

“Due to the outbreak of coronavirus, we have decided to cancel all promotional programs for VNY2020 campaign abroad until the situation improves. We will now focus on promoting domestic tourism,” informed Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Bhattarai.

The minister added that instead of international visitors, domestic tourism will be prioritized from now on.

The outbreak of COVID-19 in China has dealt a blow to the mega tourism campaign launched in January with a target to welcome two million international tourists.

Minister Bhattarai, however, clarified that the government will not immediately cancel VNY2020 as only the focus had shifted to domestic tourism.

Earlier this month, the government had put forth a plan to promote Nepal as ‘coronavirus-free zone’ to minimize the impact of the outbreak on the tourism industry. The haste decision at such a time was met with widespread criticisms.

World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recently made a statement saying, “No country should assume it won’t get cases, which would be a fatal mistake, quite literally.”