'Nepal still safe tourist destination even after major earthquake'

Nepal is still a safe destination for tourism even after the major earthquake that struck the country on April 25, said participants of a program here today.

Taking part in a workshop on 'recovery of country's tourism after the earthquake' organized jointly by the Institute of Foreign Affairs and Nepal Tourism Board today, Minister for Foreign

Affairs Mahendra Bahadur Pandey said various tourist destinations in the country are safe for visit despite the impact of the April disaster on the tourism sector.

Country's tourism sector was not devastated by the disaster as reported by some media, he said, adding, "Many cultural and religious sites here are eagerly waiting to welcome guests." He expressed his hope that domestic tourism sector would be back to a previous status soon.

Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Kripasur Sherpa said over 80 per cent tourist destinations in the country are safe even after the disaster and this message should be disseminated globally. Out of 35 major trekking routes here, the quake inflicted damages on only two routes. Tourist destinations in some 11 districts suffered earthquake damages, he added.

Executive Director of the Institute, Dr Rishi Raj Adhikari, expressed the belief that the tourism sector would return to its previous condition gradually if different organizations, working in the field of tourism, and media bring the reality of the tourism sector into light.

Similarly, Chairman of the Nepal Tourist Guide Association, Hareram Baral, said that different programs related to tourism should be forwarded with top priority soon at the initiatives of tourism-related organizations as there would be negative impact among tourists visiting Nepal due to negative message after the earthquake.

Baral said, "Tourism is an essential business for the economic development of the country and positive initiatives of all is necessary to bring the tourism sector affected after earthquake into previous condition."

Foundation member Dr Ganesh Gurung said that the tourism sector was affected till 143 days after the earthquake. Likewise, General Secretary of the Nepal Mountaineers

Association, Thakur Raj Pandey, Market Section Chief of the Nepal Tourism Board, Ujjwala Dali and Chief Executive Officer of the Hotel Association Nepal, Prabesh Aryal, also expressed their views.

source: The Kathmandu Post

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