Experts to assess Everest safety

2015-06-11 22:01
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Kathmandu - Tourism-dependent Nepal will call in international experts to examine popular trekking routes - including in the quake-hit Everest region - and declare them safe for hikers, an official said late on Thursday.

The twin quakes that struck the Himalayan nation on April 25 and May 12 killed more than 8 700 people and sparked a deadly avalanche at Everest base camp, destroying the popular Langtang trekking route which remains closed to visitors.

"After the quake it has appeared necessary for us to do this study and certify that the routes are safe," said Tulsi Gautam, chief of Nepal's tourism department.

Gautam said that international trekking operators have expressed concerns about safety, while insurance companies have been reluctant to cover trekkers visiting Nepal.

In a month's time, officials will assign a team of geologists to study trails in the Everest region as well as the Annapurna trekking circuit, which was hit by a deadly snowstorm at the height of the tourist season last October.

"Once certified, it will be easier for trekking operators to reassure their clients as well as get same rates for insurance," Gautam told AFP.

"Other routes will be studied if necessary."

According to the Kathmandu-based think tank, Nepal Economic Forum, 80% of hotel reservations have reportedly been cancelled since the quake.

Nepal's snow-capped peaks traditionally attract tens of thousands of trekkers every year, with the majority travelling through the scenic Annapurna, Langtang and Everest regions.

Read more on:    nepal  |  earthquakes

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