The Everest mountain trekking region has received a mixed report from experts ahead of the new tourism season in Nepal next month.
A study commissioned by the Nepal government confirms that there was ‘minimal damage’ to the majority of accommodation and trails in the Everest region, in Nepal's northeast following the region's devastating earthquake.
Some minor hazards were identified by a team of specialist geotechnic and structural engineers and mountain guides, who made an initial rapid reconnaissance assessment of the main trekking routes and select villages ahead of the monsoon season.
Recommendations in the report include rerouting a section of the Everest trail, as well as relocating buildings in the villages of Tok Tok and Benkar to the opposite side of the river in order to reduce risks in the region to tourists and to locals.
The report also recommends a follow up engineering assessment after the monsoon.
Despite some challenges identified in the report, tourism industry leaders and government officials have welcomed the information in this assessment, which provides a baseline to improve infrastructure in the region.
“Tourism is the largest employer in Nepal and it’s vital to our economic recovery. We know that Everest is a huge draw for visitors – it is a bucket list destination,” said Ramesh Kumar Adhikari, administrative chief of Nepal Tourism Board.
Tulasi Prasad Gautam, director general of Nepal’s tourism department, said: “The aim of the report was to develop an initial understanding of the extent of the damage from the earthquakes so that we could assess the overall safety of the Everest region’s trekking routes before the season starts in September."
Intrepid Travel, one of the largest trekking operators in Nepal, worked with the government of Nepal to coordinate the logistics and provide the local guides to make it happen.
Chief executive, Darrell Wade, said: “As far as we’re concerned the report is all good news, because even where it’s identified issues it means that we now have the information needed to rebuild Nepal stronger than ever before, and ensure the safety of our staff, travellers, and the local communities we visit."
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