Even with uncertainties surrounding COVID-19 and travel, Nepal is opening its mountains.
Today, officials in Nepal announced they will open Mt. Everest for the 2020 fall climbing season. Nepal closed its borders in March for safety surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
“The government will permit international flights to land in the country from August 17,” India Times reported. Anyone who hopes to travel to Nepal can look for more updates on travel protocols and quarantining periods in the coming weeks.
“I am looking forward to be guiding on Everest this autumn,” wrote mountaineer and guide Nims Purja, who set a new record climbing all the 8,000m peaks in one season. “A minimum number of team members is required to make this happen and I’m fairly optimistic.”
Mira Acharya, director at the Nepal Department of Tourism (DoT), told India’s DD News the government began issuing permits on Thursday.
Everest Closed for COVID-19
Earlier in March, China also closed its borders on the Tibet side, meaning Everest was officially off limits. It wasn’t unit the end of May that a climbing team made the first official summit of Everest in 2020.
While limiting travel and implementing lockdowns is important, Nepal’s tourism industry — and greater economy — was severely impacted by the Everest shutdown. Recreational activities like trekking and mountain tourism account for hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue in Nepal.