Amid increasing coronavirus fears, expedition operators in Nepal have reportedly predicted a severe economic loss for the country during the upcoming climbing season which stretches from March to May. According to media reports, many climbers from China have already started cancelling their expedition bookings. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 has infected over 83,000 and killed nearly 2,800 people worldwide, with a majority of them in mainland China.
Pasang Sherpa, managing director of Pioneer Adventure Treks, talking to international media said that seven Chinese members from his company dropped their plans to scale the world's highest peak from Nepal side this season. Meanwhile, Damber Parajuli, president of Expedition Operators Association Nepal said that now they can hardly expect climbers from China, Iran, South Korea, Japan and a few European countries, including Italy, among others, international media reported.
Rishi Bhandari, managing director at Satori Adventure reportedly said that the Everest Climbing season would certainly face a tough challenge it the government fails to introduce an immediate action plan to contain the threat. The country will definitely bear economic losses this season and will have a long term impact on tourism businesses, a Nepali daily reported. According to reports, Nepal has already witnessed a 2 per cent drop in tourist arrivals in the first month of the Visit Nepal 2020 campaign.
Of 381 members, at least 60 Chinese nationals had obtained climbing permits for Mt Everest in 2019. The Nepali government levies $11,000 per person for foreign climbers for expeditions to Mt Everest during the spring season, while Nepali climbers have to pay Rs 75,000 per person. For other mountains above 8,000 metres, the government levies $1,800 on foreigners and Rs 10,000 for Nepali climbers, as per reports.