Kathmandu, February 16
The government's double standard in controlling the coronavirus (Covid 19) has increased the risk of mountaineers changing destinations this year as well.
Rallies are being organized in the country without maintaining social distance at the call of the government. On the other hand, foreigners are allowed to come to Nepal only after proving that they are not infected. There is a provision that foreign nationals have to stay in quarantine for 7 days after entering Nepal. Meanwhile, Pakistan has lifted the quarantine requirement for mountaineers.
If Nepal does not modify the Corona Protocol, this year the climbers will make Pakistan, the world's second-highest mountain (Mount K2), a destination, say, tourism professionals. Mira Acharya, director of the tourism department, says that such complaints are coming every day.
Spring is the season for climbing Mt. Everest. At this time, the most expensive tourists come to Nepal. When thousands of tourists come to stay for about two months, a tourist's average stay in Nepal reaches 13 days.
However, due to Corona, tourist arrivals in the spring of 2020 have declined. Its impact is seen in the overall economy. According to businessmen, mountaineers are now afraid to come to Nepal mainly due to two hassles - the hassle of quarantine and the harsh corona insurance policy.
When a mountaineer comes to Nepal, he has to insure 5,000 dollars apart from travel insurance. The government is expected to come up with a concrete policy to attract climbers to Mt. Everest, which has received negative publicity due to the deaths of about a dozen climbers in 2019 and stalled after 2020.
Due to the coronavirus infection, the climbers could not go to the mountain even after getting permission to climb last year. According to Rudra Singh Tamang, Director General of the Department of Tourism, a proposal has been sent to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation to extend the permission of the climbers.
According to Acharya, director of the department, there was confusion about opening Arohan in the spring of last year. Even the department was in a state of waiting and watching. That is why not a single permit was issued for climbing Mt. Everest.
A total of five groups (13 people) who had taken permission to climb Amadablam and other small mountains were not allowed to go to the mountains. The department has proposed to maintain the same permission for them this year as well.
Director Acharya said that internal preparations had been started keeping in mind that climbers will come to climb the mountains, including Everest, this spring. "We have written to various government offices to appoint liaison officers," she said.