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Published on : Friday, July 17, 2015
Nepal’s Tourism Minister Kripashur Sherpa said the country is now safe and secure.
“The government has asked other nations through diplomatic channels to remove the advisories because most parts of the country are safe and unaffected by the earthquake,” Sherpa told reporters in Kathmandu Thursday 9July 16).
Some countries have already lifted the travel ban, allowing their citizens to visit Nepal, while others were likely to follow suit soon, he said.
The United States, Britain, Switzerland, New Zealand and Italy have already lifted the travel ban while most western European countries and Canada and Japan remain reluctant to allow their citizens to visit Nepal after the earthquake.
Many nations had issued travel advisories warning their citizens not to travel to Nepal after the April 25 earthquake that killed at least 8,700 people.
Tourists who were there when the earthquake occurred immediately cancelled their trips and returned home while those who had booked hotels and air tickets also cancelled the bookings.
Nepal received nearly 800,000 tourists in 2014 and had expected to host close to one million tourists in 2015. However, the number of tourist arrivals plummeted drastically after the earthquake.
According to Hotel Association Nepal, the current hotel occupancy rate stands at 40 per cent due to the decline in tourist arrivals after the earthquake. Airlines too drastically cut the number of flights in the absence of passengers.
However, tourist arrivals have started picking up lately and are expected to further improve in the autumn, said Nidra Chhetri, information officer at Nepal Tourism Board. However, it will take months to fully recover, she said.