Long a prime destination for mountaineers and trekkers, Nepal has struggled to develop a tourism industry that is economically and environmentally sustainable. After becoming a draw for hippies in the late 1960s, the country never managed to reorient itself away from budget travelers and toward higher-value services that would make the most of its natural and cultural attractions, as its neighbor Bhutan has done. The COVID-19 pandemic is the third major interruption to tourism in recent years, after a decade-long civil war and the 2015 earthquake. It could be a chance to finally put the industry on a more sustainable path.

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