Kathmandu, Apr 25 (PTI) Nepal has issued a record 394 permits so far this year for expeditions to Mount Everest, the world's highest peak, despite the surging coronavirus pandemic.
'We have issued permission to those expedition teams, which applied for the same with due procedures,' Meera Acharya, director at the Department of Tourism, said.
The Ministry of Tourism and civil aviation issued a record 394 permits for the expeditions to Everest till Friday, breaking the earlier record of 381 permits issued in 2019, she said.
The Nepali government's move has come amid intense scrutiny over a reported traffic jam on Mt. Everest, whose revised height is 8848.86 meters.
Nepal relies heavily on income generated from Everest expeditions.
'I have no information about the traffic jam on the Everest,' Acharya said in response to a question.
A foreign climber needs to pay USD 11,000 per person for getting permission to climb Mount Everest.
'The enthusiasm shown by the international climbers to Mt. Everest shows, their growing passion and love for Everest,' says Mingma Sherpa, chairman of Seven Summit Treks of Kathmandu.
This will certainly help in boosting Nepal's tourism despite the pandemic, he added.
The first cases of COVID-19 have been identified at Everest base camp this week.
Nepal insists that visiting climbers quarantine before proceeding to Everest base camp.
Nepal has reported 297,087 COVID-19 cases so far with 3,136 deaths. PTI SBP NSA