Everest Trek after COVID-19 Pandemic
Everest Trek Overview
Everest Trek is the first idea that comes to the mind as soon as you think of an adventurous trip. Being the highest peak in the world, Mount Everest (8,848m) is every intrepid trekker’s dream. You want to reach the highest possible place of this Mountain Giant if not the summit!
It is a moderately challenging trekking in Nepal blended with wonderful cultural experiences. Apart from the Great Himalayas Trails of the Eastern Nepal, you will get the first hand experience of Sherpa culture and tradition. The ancient monasteries, chortens, mani walls and the other shrines are the cultural heritage of this region.
Trips - Everest Trek after COVID-19 Pandemic
The flora and fauna of Sagarmatha National Park are the other attractions of this trek. The Tibetan Buddhist shrines like Namche Monastery, Tengboche Monastery and Pangboche Monastery are the ornaments of this region.
You will walk through the rocky trails comparatively although in high altitude. There is possibility of altitude sickness due to the gradual altitude gain. Nevertheless, the slow walking, enough acclimatization and the guidance of the professional guide helps overcome this.
Within 9 days of time, you can reach Everest Base Camp (5,364m) that fulfills your Everest dream! The best vantage point Kalapatthar (5,164m) is the right place to have the amazing view of the Everest Summit and other peaks.
In addition, you get to reach the highest altitude hotel in the world during Everest View trek. Everest View Hotel (3,880m) is the one giving you the 360-degree view of Mt. Everest and other peaks around it.
The entire world was making a grand preparation to farewell 2019 and welcome 2020. Suddenly, a sudden disease emerged in Wuhan City of Hubei Province, China affecting 41 people. In the initial phase, the health officials of Wuhan declared it a type of pneumonia. Although the world was in its own business, the Chinese officials were doing further investigation. On January 7 2020, they came to a conclusion that this disease was caused due to a new type of coronavirus known as novel coronavirus or nCoV.
The first death of this SARS-COV-2 virus was seen in Wuhan on January 11 2020. Out of Wuhan, this virus was notified in a Thai citizen on January 13. Since the confirmed case outside Wuhan, it was concluded to be a communicable virus. Since then, the expansion of the novel coronavirus began in such a way that now more than 215 countries are undergoing the devastating situation.
Although the whole international community has been fighting against this virus, 212 countries and territories have been affected by this virus. According to the toll today, there are altogether 3,917,532 coronavirus cases in the world. Likewise, total death tolls have reached 270,720 while 1,344,120 infected people have won this deadly virus. Looking at the recovery rate, there is still hope that we one day will definitely win over novel coronavirus.
Along with a huge loss of lives, the entire world is undergoing different safety measures like border seal, and suspension of international and national flights. The roadway transportation from one place to another place has been strictly prohibited so as to control the spread of this virus. Many of the countries have been going through lockdown for more than 2 months. Nepal cannot be an exception as this virus is so powerful that the whole world have faced a bitter result of loss of lives.
Lockdown in Nepal
The first case of novel coronavirus in Nepal was identified on January 24 2020 in a 31-years-old man who had travelled to Nepal from China. He then, kept himself under home quarantine for first few days as he only showed the mild symptoms of this virus. The second case of coronavirus in Nepal was noticed on 23 March 2020. Then, the Government of Nepal began the nationwide lockdown right from 24 March 2020 to keep the situation under control.
Since the day 1 of lockdown, the international and national air services are halted. Likewise, the roadway transportation is suspended that one can travel from one place to another only if it is urgent. Moreover, he or she requires a special pass issued by the governmental authority by evaluating the urgency. The nationwide lockdown due to the novel coronavirus outbreak has created various impacts on different sectors of Nepal. The overall impacts can be divided into three broad groups.
The social impacts of the coronavirus outbreak have created some difficulties in the social life of the Nepalese people. As gathering is not allowed due to the threat of coronavirus spread, people are not able to continue their socio-cultural practices easily. According to the rule made by the government, the maximum number of people allowed to gather together is 25. If the number exceeds 25, the concerned authority punishes the people or organizer of the function.
You know, the socio-cultural practices of the Nepalese society depends upon the large number of gatherings. From small to large celebration, there is a trend of inviting a large number of kith and kin as the attendees. The larger the number of the attendees, the more successful the celebration is! From birth to death, there is a system of calling a considerable number of relatives and friends.
The limit in the number of people to gather has impacted on the celebration of such special events of the society. In the rural area, the funeral procession cannot be made without a large number of the relatives and neighbors. Due to geographical complexities, there are not roadway services in the remote area of Nepal. If anyone dies, people from the neighborhood attend the procession and carry the dead body on the shoulders up to the crematory. Besides, they have to walk a comparatively longer route to reach the crematory that it is hard to take the body to the funeral sight with the help of the limited number of people.
On the other hand, a large number of Nepalese people are involved in agriculture. From plantation to harvest, the Barter System of Labor is in trend. The limit in the number of the gathering has caused difficulty in planting and harvesting of the crops and vegetables.
Since the day 1 of the nationwide lockdown, most of the industries and enterprises are closed. Schools, colleges and universities are shut down. Similarly, the malls, cinema halls, party palaces, hotels, restaurants, etc. are also closed. A large number of people were involved in any of these sectors for employment opportunity. They used to earn their livelihood and feed their families by the help of the income generated from such enterprises.
Likewise, a large number of people are involved in the field of construction and public transportation. The construction sites are closed, so the workers working on daily-wage-basis have been unemployed. This unemployment has made them unable to generate income and feed their families. Some of the families are undergoing starvation and malnutrition as reported by some media.
The people have been away from their work for more than 40 days. It is hard for the companies, especially, the small scale like hotel, restaurant, publication, school, college and other private sectors to pay back the salary of their employees. On the one hand, the companies and enterprises are bankrupt while on the other, it has created unemployment. This situation has invited a deadly threat that people die of hunger rather than novel coronavirus.
Although there are many adverse effects in social and economic sectors, the lockdown has made many positive impacts on environment. The lockdown imposed to fight back the spread of this pandemic has been very supportive to minimize the environmental pollution. When the public transportation and industries were in operation, they release dust particles and smokes. The dust, fumes and CFCs get directly mixed into the air that it resulted into poor visibility.
There have been some cases that after a long gap, the Himalayas are seen from particular places. For instance, a zoomed photo of Mount Everest taken from a village of Bihar of India has gone viral on the social media. The distance between Mt. Everest and the village is nearly 205 kilometers and the aerial distance is 194 kilometers. However, it is possible to have the distant view of Mt. Everest (8,848m) after 40 years or so. When the air pollution level was very low, the people could see the highest peak from their village in the 80s as reported by the media.
This is exactly true that the environment has been free of pollution that even the ozone layer holes have been repaired as written by some journals. You know Nepal is a mountainous country having the lowland terai surrounded by the green hills and the snowline above them. Although a small country, you find a perfect existence of all types of major climates in the world. Within a very short distance, you can find the topographical variation and variation in climate, lifestyle, vegetation and wildlife.
Even from the urban areas, the chirping of the birds is clearly audible after a long time gap. Before the lockdown, the noise of the vehicles, machines and crowd, the chirping of the birds could hardly be heard.
Impacts of COVID-19 in Tourism Industry of Nepal
The government of Nepal had declared this year as the Visit Nepal 2020 since the year 2018. The government in collaboration with the private sectors and tourism agencies had made a good preparation to welcome 2 million tourists this year. Different campaigns were conducted in Nepal and different parts of the world to promote and publicize the Nepalese tourism industry.
The government had set an ambitious plan to bring a significant change in the national economy and people’s life through tourism activities. The maintenance of the existing destinations and exploration of new touristic destinations was in progress. The concerned authority had made an aggressive promotion of the community-based tourism to provide the economic benefits to the local community. By selling the locally produced goods and services, the local community people can earn a large benefit.
However, hardly had Nepal inaugurated Visit Nepal 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic spread throughout the world. The instances of rapid communication of this disease compelled most of the countries to impose lockdown in their countries. And, suspension of the air transportation was the only option to cope with this virus. The spread of this new virus was slowly disturbing the greatest festival of tourism industry in Nepal.
When Nepal implemented the nationwide lockdown from 24 March, the grand celebration of Visit Nepal 2020 was automatically cancelled. The large number of agencies and people involved in the tourism industry became the victims of economic loss. As the international tourists cancelled the tours and treks in Nepal, this created a chain effect in all the sectors related with it.
Nearly 3% (450,000 jobs) of the total employment is supported by tourism industry in Nepal. Due to the lockdown imposed by COVID-19, all of them have lost their job opportunity resulting in the serious mode of unemployment.
COVID-19 Impacts on Everest Trek
Everest trek is the backbone of the economic activities of the entire Solukhmubu region. A large number of trekkers and guides travel to this region throughout the year. There are hundreds of teahouses, hotels and lodges established and run to provide food and accommodation facilities for the trekkers. A large number of people of Everest region are involved in service sectors to earn their livelihood.
Every year, nearly 40,000 international trekkers reach Everest region and many of them do Everest Base Camp trek. To provide the food and accommodation services to these tourists, there are a large number of hotels and lodges. The hotels and lodges have provided employment opportunities to a large number of people. Similarly, the people of the Everest region work as the guides and porters during the treks and expeditions as well.
Due to the shutdown of the hotels and lodges, the economic activities of this region have been almost zero. People are compelled to spend time without any opportunity of income generating. Besides, due to the geographical complexities and harsh climatic condition, the soil is not supportive for agriculture. The people of this Himalayan region are also involved in trading the herbal plants and other medicinal products. The other reliable occupation of this region is animal husbandry like yak farming, sheep rearing, etc.
This disturbance in the day-to-day activities of the people, they may be planning to migrate to other parts of the country. The migration creates other impacts in the environment, society and economy of the source and target place. The infrastructures of tourism development will also be hampered due to the less movement of the tourists in the region. People may have to think of some other alternative sources of income by leaving tourism industry as COVID-19 doesn’t seem to end soon.
Everest Trek after COVID-19 Pandemic
How will Everest trek after COVID-19 Pandemic be like? The trekkers, who have already planned or are planning to plan Everest trek, may be wondering. You are right to ask this question to yourself! As an intrepid trekker, you want to do Everest trek once in a lifetime if not the summit of Mount Everest. The greatest concern for you in doing this trek is whether the situation is favorable or not!
Once this pandemic ends, there will be a type of confusion among the people involved in temporary employment. Really, a large number of people are compelled to lose their jobs during the natural calamities or pandemic situations like this. Almost every person involved directly or indirectly in tourism agencies will think whether to continue the same profession or not.
There are different pros and cons regarding Everest trek after COVID-19 pandemic. There are a lot of challenges as well as opportunities to come in trekking in Nepal. You will get a large variety of schemes for discount in tours and treks. In fact, tourism is the largest industry in Nepal contributing a significant role in source of foreign exchange and revenue.
Pros of Everest Trek after COVID-19
The government of Nepal in association with the tourism agencies will definitely launch a new scheme of discount. You know heavy discounts on different tour and trekking packages are helpful in attracting a large number of international tourists in Nepal. Nepal Tourism has boosted the local products and services making them a reliable source of income generation.
Next, the environment cleanliness has been restore due to the lockdown. During trekking in Nepal, you can have the amazing views of the snowcapped peaks and green forests in their fullest. The decrease in dust particles and other pollutants in the atmosphere has resulted in the good sum of visibility. Therefore, Everest trek rewards you with the enchanting view of the Great Himalayas after the end of COVID-19 Pandemic.
Similarly, the number of flora and fauna of Sagarmatha National Park has increased as there is no movement of people in this region. When the lockdown comes to an end, the best season for Everest trek begins in Nepal. Autumn is the best season for trekking in Nepal as you can find stability in weather and temperature. Likely, you can observe the greatest festivals of Nepal in the months of September, October and November.
Apart from Dasahin and Tihar festivals, you can be a part of Mani Rimdu Festival in Everest region. It is the most colorful festival of the Sherpa communities living in this region. This 19-days-long festival falls between October and November. Actually, this festival is observed to show the mutual relationship between the Mother Nature and human beings.
The celebration has been made by making various cultural performances at the premises of Tengboche Monastery and Pangboche Monastery. The monks of the monasteries of the Khumbu region gather into the monastery premises and perform the popular mask dances in front of the Guru Rinpoche.
Cons of Everest Trek after COVID-19
You know COVID-19 is a rapidly communicable disease that transfers from one person to another through different media. The people of Nepal including Everest region are and will be suspicious about the movement of the international trekkers into the Everest region. It will be quite difficult for the people to welcome the foreign tourists easily in their areas. This suspicion results into misunderstanding among the people who may not be as supportive to the trekkers as they were before this pandemic.
To remain safe from this virus, many people will shift in other professions in which they won’t meet with the foreign people. As some projections show, a large number of people will involve in agriculture instead of other professions requiring direct contact with the people. If this comes true, a very limited number of people will avail themselves for the help of the trekkers. It may become a taboo to stay away from the people out of their community.
Likewise, the situation may be unfavorable for the tourists themselves after COVID-19. You may have to stay in 14-day-quarantine after landing at the Kathmandu Airport. To visit any places of Nepal, you may have to be medically fit, i.e. without any symptom of coronavirus. This tends to be a little costly comparing to the usual pattern of trekking in Nepal. The limited vacation may not suffice to explore the natural and cultural wonders of Nepal.
How to Normalize the Situation?
Undoubtedly, tourism is the smokeless industry creating a large number of job opportunities. On the other hand, it contributes a lot in state economy and revenue. Therefore, the misunderstanding created due to COVID-19 should be solve in a tactful way. There are different roles of the government, tourism agencies and tourists as well. Let’s list the roles of the Nepal government, tourism agencies and tourists individually in the following bulleted form:
The Nepal Government should:
- Cooperate with the tourism agencies and local communities to restart the tourism sector in a new way.
- Mobilize the local organizations of the related trekking regions to maintain the trails to promote tourism in their areas.
- Launch some effective programs to rehabilitate the employees of tourism industries.
- Provide soft loans to the entrepreneurs who want to start goods and services business related to the tourism industry.
- Manage the quarantine sites with proper supervision and medical facilities
- Aware the local people about the mode of COVID-19 communication.
Tourism agencies should:
- Design tour Packages and trek packages by giving the appropriate discounts.
- Inspire the employee to return to the work by giving suitable subsidy or increasing incentives.
- Cooperate with the local organizations like youth clubs, Aama Samuha (Mothers’ Group).
- Launch awareness campaigns about COVID-19 transfer by collaborating with the local agencies.
- Publicize the resume of the tour and trek packages of Nepal.
- Consult with the local social workers and political leaders to promote the local tourism sector.
- Coordinate with the Nepal Government and local organizations to facilitate the trekkers during Nepal visit.
The Tourists should:
- Abide by rules and regulations made by the Nepal Government, tourism agencies and local organizations.
- Cooperate with the Nepal Government, tourism agencies and local organizations while in Nepal visit.
- They are medically fit for visiting different trekking regions of Nepal.
- Carry legal documents including medical certificate before doing Everest trek.
- Book the tour and trek package via a reliable local tour operator.
Conclusion: Everest trek
Everest base camp trek is the Number 1 choice of the adventurous trekkers from all around the world. Recently, tour and trekking in Nepal has been prohibited due to the nationwide lockdown declared from 24 March 2020. The lockdown has caused many effects: positive and negative as well, in different sectors of the country. In the context of the impacts of COVID-19 in the international community and its activities, Nepal cannot be an exception. It has caused negative impacts on social and economic sectors of the country.
However, the halt of industries and vehicles has created positive impacts on environment. We can find many positive impacts of the lockdown created by COVID-19 in environment. There is an instance of betterment in the ozone layer that the holes of this layer have repaired due to the decrease in dust particles, CFCs and other pollutants in the atmosphere. The visibility has been very strong that Mt. Everest (8,848m) is visible from a village of Bihar, India.
Everest Trek after COVID-19 Pandemic is really challenging due to the misunderstanding created amongst the people involved in it. To cope with the challenges, the Nepal Government, tourism agencies, local organizations and the tourists themselves have certain roles to accomplish. If all the stakeholders work sincerely by cooperating with one another, Everest trek can again be normal.