COLOMBO/KATHMANDU -- Tourism-dependent South Asian countries are bracing for a severe slump this year, with hotels facing sharp falls in occupancy as governments limit travelers' movements to curb the new coronavirus epidemic.
"The coronavirus outbreak hit us at a time when we [were] expecting a tremendous growth in the sector. Now [tourism] has ground to a near standstill," said Shreejana Rana, president of Hotel Association Nepal, a 270-member trade group. "It seems like it will have an adverse impact on us for the whole year." While hotels need to be at least 40% full to stay in business, the occupancy rate is below 10% at the moment, Rana said.