Total tourist numbers in Nepal dropped from over 1.1 million in 2019 to fewer than 230,000 last year — and most of them arrived before the lockdown January-March. This year, the last three months have seen only 35,000 tourists.
But with the start of the spring climbing season, there has been an uptick in the number of climbers and trekkers to the Khumbu.
So far, 167 international climbers have got permits to climb Everest, with 39 climbers on Lhotse and 23 on Nuptse. All of them, as well as high altitude guides and support staff, will be sharing Base Camp on the Khumbu Glacier, which is bustling with activity again as it prepares to host 700 people.
Despite the slow start to the season, Namche Bazar is emerging from its enforced closure. Sonam Norbu runs a shop for climbers and trekkers in one of the stone-paved alleys of the town.
“It has been only 20 days since we opened up. Most people here actually closed their shops and went down to Kathmandu during the Covid crisis,” he says.
Nepal tourism may take 5 years to recover, Nepali Times