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Nepal Aims to Revive Tourism 1 Year after Earthquakes
   2016-04-24 15:35:14    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Guan Chao

The historical nine-storey tower Dharahara premise, which completely collapsed in the quake and killed over 100 people, is silhouetted against sunshine in Kathmandu, capital of Nepal, on April 24, 2016. Nepalese Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli offered tributes to those who lost their lives in the April 25 earthquake last year and prayed for the peace of departed souls on Sunday, marking the first anniversary of the 7.9 magnitude devastating quake. [Photo: Xinhua]

Related: Children Still Need Safe, Stable Classrooms in Nepal: UNICEF

It's a year to the day since a deadly earthquake brought devastation to Nepal.

Thousands of people were killed, and many historic sites were destroyed by the 7.8-magnitude quake, and the several strong aftershocks that followed.

The country's vital tourism industry also suffered a major blow.

As CRI's Fei Fei reports, the Nepali government has been working hard ever since to revive the country's tourism fortunes.


The massive earthquakes on April 25 and May 12 last year damaged many of Nepal's cultural and archaeological heritage sites, in addition to wrecking its mountaineering and trekking industry.

Many tourists fled the Himalayan nation after the first quake, leaving local hotels and trekking companies desperate for business.

Tourism used to be a key foreign exchange earner for Nepal.

But now nearly a year since the disasters, the industry is still struggling.

Sunil Sharma with the country's tourism administration says winning back tourists has been more difficult than he expected.

"A major impact of the earthquake on Nepal's tourism industry was a hard blow it dealt to the confidence among foreign tourists. It's what we are making every effort to regain."

In an effort to revive tourism and encourage climbers to return to the mountains, Nepal recently extended the climbing permits of hundreds of foreigners who were forced to abandon the Himalayas after last year's earthquakes.

Sharma said tourist facilities in Nepal have resumed normal operations, able to meet demands for all foreign tourists.

He says that attracting more Chinese tourists is also an important part of his country's tourism recovery plan.

"To publicize our improvement among Chinese tourists, we ad hoc invited some Chinese internet celebrities to our country. Through their tweets, Chinese netizens got the latest information about our reconstruction. At the same time, we launched a series of promotional activities in Beijing, Kunming and Guangzhou while enhancing the training of Chinese-language tour guides."

Today, many historic areas including the famed Durbar Squares in Kathmandu and its outskirts of Patan and Bhaktapur, all of which are on the UNESCO World Heritage list, still bear the scars of the quakes.

The restoration of monuments is carried out by traditional artists and crafters who can perform wood-carving and gilding, but because of the intricacy of the work involved, the pace is slow and estimated to take years before their original glory can be presented again.

Sabin is a tour guide in the ancient city of Bhakatpur.

He says the memory of last year's disasters still haunts himself.

"Every day following the earthquake, I felt scared and worried. The quake destroyed all ancient buildings here and cut off hiking trails on mountains. The number of tourists to Nepal had kept rising before the quake. But after that we saw a sharp decline. Fortunately, the reconstruction of both historic sites and residential houses has been well on track."

Sabin says many locals are confident of the future of their country's tourism industry, as some foreign tourists have begun to return.

For CRI, this is Fei Fei.

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