Nepal Reopens Annapurna Trail
Safety assessment finds little damage
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Three months after two earthquakes and resulting avalanches killed 8,897 people in Nepal, the country’s government reopened the trekking trail on Annapurna last week. Most trekking routes in Nepal were closed after the earthquakes.
According to Reuters, California-based structural and earthquake engineering firm Miyamoto International carried out a safety assessment of the most popular tourist trails in the Everest and Annapurna regions at the behest of Nepal’s government. The two areas draw 70 percent of the country’s climbers and trekkers, with 140,000 of them visiting annually.
Miyamoto found that along Annapurna’s 149-mile trail circuit, less than 1 percent of the route was damaged, Reuters reports. Also, only 3 percent of guesthouses sustained any damage. The firm will release its Everest report soon.
Despite the reopening and Miyamoto’s report, the Nepal government worries that tourist arrivals may drop by 40 percent this year due to safety concerns. “There has been a decline in foreign tourists since the earthquake,” Suresh Man Shrestha, secretary of Nepal’s Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation, said in a statement. “Tourism is very important for Nepal’s economy and for the Nepalese people. But we needed to assess which areas of the trekking regions have to be reconstructed for the safety of our visitors.”