Nepal needs tourists – what is open for visitors?

Many hotels and sights in Nepal are opening to visitors
Just over two weeks after Nepal’s devastating earthquake, it is clear that the country will need all the help it can get to recover. That includes tourism.
The earthquake of April 25 is now known to have killed more than 8,000 people and left many more thousands injured, homeless and in need of emergency assistance.
Visitors are “desperately needed” to return to the country, stresses Pankaj Pradhananaga, director of Four Seasons Travel in Kathmandu, adding that tourism is the most sustainable way to help Nepal.
There has of course been damage to monuments in the Kathmandu valley, with some collapsing completely, but the majority of structures in Patan, for example, have withstood the earthquake, eTN reports. The monuments in historic Bhaktapur Durbar Square still stand except for the Wutshala temple. The UNESCO sites of the Pashupatinath temple and Boudhanath stupa are unaffected.
Kathmandu Durbar Square is the most affected, and residential buildings in the old parts of the cities are also badly hit, especially in Bhaktapur. Debris is being cleared from the streets. But other tourist destinations, such as Pokhara, Chitwan, Bandipur and Lumbini, were unaffected.
Many of Kathmandu’s hotels are back in business. The Crowne Plaza Kathmandu-Soaltee is fully operational, confirms Pradhyumna Ghimire, director of sales. Some hotels in the valley have temporarily stopped operations to get a structural assessment and repair work done.
Trekking in the Annapurna and Everest regions is operational, says Bikram Neupane, national coordinator of the Himalayan Rescue Association. But not in the Langtang region, the part of Nepal that was worst affected. It may not be able to welcome trekkers back for another six months.
[pictured: Crowne Plaza Kathmandu-Soaltee; photo courtesy IHG]

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