“They decided that since those who tested positive are in isolation, and every passenger to Lukla is only allowed to board flights in Kathmandu with a PCR negative report, it was safe to reopen,” said Apa Sherpa, who owns Numbur Hotel in Lukla.
More than 60,000 trekkers visited the Everest region in 2019, but a tally board at the entrance to the national park at Monjo (below) shows that this year there had been only 3,728 visitors till September.
Trekking and climbing income sustains the livelihoods of Sherpa lodge owners, mountain guides and porters. Trekking income and fees to enter Sagarmatha National Park also help fund nature conservation in the region. Tourism revenue from the Lukla flight is the mainstay for domestic airlines like Tara Air, Summit Air and Sita Air, as well dozens of helicopter companies.