Nepal is Open for Business Following April Earthquake

Tourists take part in a paragliding session overlooking Pokhara in Nepal. Photograph: Sajjad Hussain/AFP/Getty Images.

Tourism operators in Nepal are welcoming visitors while asking them not to jump to conclusions over damage reports. Contrary to reports and rumors, the Kathmandu Valley is alive, kicking and striving to thrive again.

While there’s no denying the April 25 earthquake has caused significant damage across the country and damaged historical structures, Nepal still welcomes international visitors. The majority of popular tourist areas have escaped the brunt of the damage of the recent earthquake.

Roads and air transport links are intact across the country barring some landslips, and most hotels and restaurants are back in operation. The Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM) is operating around the clock.

At the heart of Kathmandu’s tourist district, travelers are already picking up travel itineraries where they had been interrupted.

“We have been taking a few days to mourn and do what we can to assist our fellow citizens,” said Ashok Pokharel, President of the Nepal Association of Tour Operators (NATO). “This has truly been a dark moment. But in the cold light of day, Nepal and its capital city, Kathmandu, are intact. The people of Nepal are born with a will to overcome adversity.”

Tourism in Nepal is one of the pillars of the economy. Many tourists spend directly in the rural areas, avoiding the classic ‘trickledown’ effect.

“The destroyed monuments and cultural sites around the Kathmandu Valley and elsewhere need to be rebuilt, and this will provide employment and create a resurgence in traditional building methods,” says Pohkarel. “Therefore, we encourage travelers to come back to Nepal when a suitable time has lapsed for the injured to the treated, the mourning to be completed and the debris to be cleared.”

NATO is the umbrella association of tour operators in Nepal. NATO is calling upon the concerned government authorities to step up measures for ensuring tourism activities are able to resume quickly.

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