Tourism minister assures Japanese climbers Nepal is safe
Kathmandu, August 23
Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) Kripasur Sherpa today assured a team of Japanese climbers that the country’s adventure tourism destinations were all set to welcome tourists and the government was also committed to supporting tourism stakeholders to bring their businesses back on track in the aftermath of the April earthquake.
Addressing a welcome programme organised by the Department of Tourism (DoT) to honour Japanese mountaineers, Minister Sherpa hoped that the upcoming autumn season would witness travellers visiting numerous tourism destinations in the country.
A team of six Japanese mountaineers would embark on a trek to Mt Everest region by the end of this month with two of them — Nobukazu Kuriki and Masaru Kadotani — attempting a rare autumn summit of the world’s highest peak. Minister Sherpa congratulated Kuriki and his team for choosing the world’s highest peak to summit in a difficult climbing season.
“Nepal is safe for tourists but the business is really down now in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake,” Sherpa who is also the chairman of the National Tourism Promotion Committee said, adding that the Mt Everest region which witnessed multiple disasters in the last two years was in need of climbers and trekkers.
Saying that there were many tourist spots that had not been affected by the April quake, Minister Sherpa also appealed to the world media to not focus only on the rubbles and debris of the limited places. “It’s already four months since the quake struck a few parts of the country,” he said, mentioning that resilient Nepali people were now building back their lives better.
Minister Sherpa also informed that the government was mulling for some changes in the existing national tourism policy from which the quake-affected industry could benefit.
Acting Secretary at MoCTCA Mohan Krishna Sapkota thanked Kuriki for choosing a rare attempt on Mt Everest by exploring a message that Nepal was ready to welcome mountaineers in the time of crisis. He also said that the ministry would soon come up with some comprehensive strategies to strengthen the tourism sector.
Expedition leader Kuriki said that he decided to climb Mt Everest this autumn as the country needed tourists for its economy to recover. “I am fully confident that Nepal is safe for tourists,” the noted climber said, urging international climbers not to follow the rumours about the country which had always welcomed foreigners.
Govinda Bahadur Karki, director general at DoT said that the department had already issued 10 climbing permits for different expedition teams while four more were being reviewed.
Climbers have obtained permits for Mt Gauri, Mt Manaslu, Mt Makalu, Mt Annapurna and Mt Everest among others, according to Karki.