Nepal earns millions of dollors in the form of royalty from mountain tourism. A single international summiteer to the Mt. Everest requires to pay royalty worth US Dollar 11,000. In different platforms, our leaders speak tirelessly about the important role tourism, specially mountain tourism, plays in Nepalese economy. But does our Tourism Minister really understand the importance of tourism?
The question was raised not by this weekly, but by some tourism entrepreneurs and mountaineers, who spoke during a felicitation programme organized by Nepal Mountaineering Association at Nepal Tourism Board, Bhrikutimandap in Kathmandu on Saturday, August 5, 2023.
NMA had organized a felicitation prograrmme at NTB to honour the mountain heroes from Nepal and abroad, in which no important government officials were present. During the felicitation programme organized by the NMA Norwegian mountaineer Kristin Harila and her Nepali guide Tenjen Lama Sherpa, who set new world records by scaling all 14 above 8,000 metre high peaks including Mt. Everest and Mt. K2, Pakistan within 92 days were felicitated. Similarly, other renowned climbers, who were felicitation on the occasion included Nima Rinji Sherpa, 17, for becoming the youngest person to climb Mt. K2, and four Sherpa brothers who climbed the most difficult Mt. K2 in a single day.
Ang Dawa Sherpa, Muktu Lakpa Sherpa, Ngima Dorchi Sherpa and Pechhumbe Sherpa wrote a unique chapter in history by becoming the first set of siblings from the same parents to conquer the challenging heights of Mt. K2 together.
However, Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture Sudan Kirati did not attend the programme. The MC, who conducted the programme informed that minister Kirati was busy in a cleaning campaign at Pashupatinath Temple at that time.
The minister might have some busy schedule at Pashupatinath Temple, so he could not attend the function, he informed. Some other speakers including those from a reputed trekking agency, expressed sadness for Tourism Minister not realizing the importance of tourism. “May be our tourism minister didn’t understand the importance of tourism,” they remarked sarcastically.
On that day, few journalists, who had gathered at the Tribhuvan International Airport since 7 am got the chance to catch the record climbers only around 9.30 am, half an hour after they landed at the TIA. Then they headed towards NTB along with the mountain heroes passing through a rally. They also joined the felicitation progrramme at NTB which lasted for about two hours. But minister Kirati could not find even 15 minutes time in-between to attend the important ceremony. The function was attended by among others Norwegian Ambassador, president of NMA and a director from Tourism Department.