Help Nepal: take a holiday there :: By JAMIE DAVIES
A recent event hosted by the Nepal Embassy in Bangkok makes it clear that the country needs visitors to aid recovery
Following the earthquakes that brought death and destruction to Nepal on April 25 and May 12, the government of Nepal recently assured visitors that Nepal is once again safe and ready to welcome tourists.
Out of 75 districts, only 11 are affected and only three trekking routes remain closed.
“While the damage from the earthquake was extensive, the vast majority of the country was unaffected. The safety and security of visitors is one of the government’s top priorities, as re-establishing the tourism industry is vital to Nepal’s recovery,” stressed Nepal’s ambassador to Thailand, Khaga Nath Adhikari, at the recent “Nepal is Safe: Visit Nepal, Help Nepal” event held at the Holiday Inn Silom Hotel in Bangkok.
Major tourist sites such as Lumbini, Kathmandu Valley, Chitwan National Park and Sagarmatha National Park have not been affected. Popular tourist activities such as trekking, kayaking, ziplining and mountaineering are still operating. The only exceptions are the three trekking routes of Langtang, Manaslu and Gaurishankar, which remain closed.
A strict examination process by expert committees has determined the safety of all affected areas. Any roads or structures that are not safe have been identified and are closed to the public, added deputy ambassador Dornath Aryal.
Thousands of Thais visit Nepal every year. The country does not want this to change and thus is enthusiastically promoting all that Nepal has to offer, such as the unique cultural diversity, beautiful natural scenery and the wide range of outdoor pursuits.
To encourage visitors, many hotels, attractions and agencies are offering discounts, sometimes of up to 50 per cent to help businesses recover. Even the visa office will be working overtime to try and ensure same day visa processing to make visiting Nepal as easy as possible.
The government’s push to promote tourism in the country comes after the earthquake that killed 8,789 and destroyed 511,390 houses and resulted in an estimated loss of 81.25 billion Rs (Bt26.8 billion) for the tourism industry. A second quake on May 12, while not as powerful as the first, is estimated to have killed more than 100 people.
“Despite concerns over continuing aftershocks, these pose no danger and do not indicate any further risk. While tourism will obviously assist with the economic recovery of Nepal, it is also hugely important for our country to return to normal to facilitate the psychological recovery of the its people,” the ambassador said.
:: Local artists arrive for a ritual dance as part of the opening of Bhaktapur to tourists at Darabar Square, Bhaktapur. (Photo:EPA)