By Shailendra Rokaya Bajhang, Feb. 21: The COVID-19 has dealt a severe blow to the nation's burgeoning tourism sector. With Nepal lifting up the travel restrictions and the limiting lockdown, the hospitality and tourism businesses have breathed a sigh of relief but are still reeling under the aftermath of the global pandemic. In this regard, Khaptad, a major attraction of the Sudurpaschim Province has had to bear the maximum brunt of declining number of visitors since the virus outbreak. According to local businessperson, Birendra Rawal, there are hardly a handful of tourists to boast for within the span of a week. "In a week, there are no more than two or three visitors to cater to. Although this isn't the peak season, the scanty footfall is extremely worrying," added Rawal. Over the recent years, Kaptad's face has significantly changed in terms of infrastructure development and promotion of tourism. The National Park is upgrading to meet the need of current time. The road which connects Taimal or Jay Prithvi Rajmarga to Daarugaaun is being reconstructed to provide better transportation facilities to the visitors. Barka Bahadur Rokaya, Chairperson of Chhanna Rural Municipality, said that they were leading constructions for homestay in Daarugaaun to introduce agro-tourism. Opting for road-ways takes four-five hours uphill trek to reach the destination. Hence, people prefer using a shorter path from Bajhang. Flights from Kathmandu can take one to Dhangadi in an hour. From there, another flight is available to take the travellers to Khaptad. Tourism entrepreneur Kishor Khadka told the TRN, one can reach Khaptad just in six hours. The 22-minute flight from Dhangadi lands at Deval Airport of Bajhang. After the air-ride, travellers can get vehicles to drop them to Daarugaaun in an hour. From there, Khaptad is a three-hour walk away. Khaptad lends breathtaking views of Kailash Mansarovar of Tibet along with Badri Kedar Nath Himalayan Range of India. Likewise, hut of Khaptad Baba, rare avian species, fruits and herbs, all add to Khaptad's well-deserved nickname, 'Heaven on Earth'.