Reviving tourism sector through mountaineering activities is possible: Tashi

Eak Raj Bastola

August 17, 2020

6 MIN READ

Reviving tourism sector through mountaineering activities is possible: Tashi

Mountaineer Tashi Lhakpa Sherpa is hopeful to return to mountaineering.

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KATHMANDU: With the news about the Ministry of Culture Tourism and Civil Aviation’s plans to resume all tourism-related activities, including mountain climbing in the autumn season following the health and safety protocols from September, Tashi Lhakpa Sherpa is hopeful to return to the mountaineering life again.

Sherpa, Managing Director of Seven Summit Treks, one of the largest expedition companies in Nepal, is not a new name in the field of mountaineering.

He began his career as a mountaineer after his first successful ascent of Mt. Everest in 2004 from South Col (Nepal Side) and climbed Mt Everest for the eight times so far.

Apart from Mt Everest, he has also successfully climbed Mt. Cho Oyu (8,201m), Mt. Makalu (8,463m), Ama Dablam (6,812m) and Denali (North America), Kilimanjaro (Africa) and Elbrus (Europe) among many other peaks above 6,000m.

Sherpa is concerned with the development and promotion of the tourism sector and criticizes the government for not giving much priority to the sector that can reward the government in many ways.

More than 40% of the renounced mountain guides now stay abroad for a better life and future of the family. So it is also time to hold the mountaineers in the country as they are the ‘icons’ for the mountains.

Speaking about the COVID-19 impact, he told Khabarhub that Nepal’s tourism business should be operated with caution adopting safety measures putting the concern of COVID-19 in the world and surge in Nepal too.

Expressing his experiences of nearly two decades in this sector, he reiterated that mountaineering sector can be operated fully as it has less connection to the community.

Generally, mountaineers or tourists come to Nepal through the aircraft. They only come to Nepal if they test negative for COVID-19.

They directly go to the hotel or quarantine sector. After they are checked for COVID-19, they reach to base camps through choppers or aircraft.

“Expedition can be run without any contact with the local community if we could manage properly,” he revealed.

But, for the time being, he also thinks that travel or city tour or trekking is not possible as it has direct contact with the community.

“We can revive the tourism sector from the mountaineering activities in the initial phase”, he shared his ideas to Khabarhub.

He added that the government should set eyes to open the mountaineering sector as many climbers are waiting for it optimistically.

Sherpa pointed out that climbers from over 50 nations are willing to come to Nepal as they want to be refreshed from the lockdown imposed for months.

But, for this time and the years to come, the flow of climbers is likely to decrease. “Only the climbers having much saving or businessmen can come here for mountaineering,” the experienced Sherpa told Khabarhub.

He believes that other climbers, who come here to climb different mountains arranging the sponsorship, might not come as they cannot get sponsorship due to hardship caused by COVID-19.

Similarly, climbers who save for mountaineering working hard for years also will find it difficult to come to Nepal for mountaineering.

“So, only those who have good economic background are likely to come to Nepal for mountaineering,” he told Khabarhub.

He is hopeful in the coming years that we all can commence the mountaineering activities, not for the money for the involvement in this sector and revive of the industry.

He is frustrated with the government that it has lost the golden chance to clean-up the mountains during the lockdown period.

He believes that if we clean-up the mountains it could get international promotion. Nepal’s mountains get international coverage in all the big outlets.

Nepal is an open university for tourism, we just need to institutionalize it,” he spoke thoughtfully, “If we establish the University, many students interested in the tourism sector come here for study. They are not only students, they are travelers too. Indirectly, the hospitality business also gets nourished.”

“The peril of Nepal’s mountains does not indicate the collapse of mountaineering or mountaineers here, but it is much sensitive from an ecological, diplomatic, and economic point of view as well.

“Yet, we have time to clean it up,” Sherpa said, “if we clean-up the mountains, it gets the international coverage of the mountain clean-up.”

“It gets the promotion and many come here to see the mountains, how they look after clean-up,” he added.

He also urges the government to create a conducive environment to preserve the mountains, mountain guides, and mountaineers.

More than 40% of the renounced mountain guides now stay abroad for a better life and future of the family. So it is also time to hold the mountaineers in the country as they are the ‘icons’ for the mountains.

He thinks it is now high time to establish Tourism University in the country.

“Nepal is an open university for tourism, we just need to institutionalize it,” he spoke thoughtfully, “If we establish the University, many students interested in the tourism sector come here for study. They are not only students, they are travelers too. Indirectly, the hospitality business also gets nourished.”

A young entrepreneur and a successful mountaineer, Sherpa sees a good perspective of tourism in Nepal and says that Nepal has all the resources, we just need to explore them and promote them creatively.

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