Nepal reopens quake-damaged world heritage sites for tourists

June 16, 2015 10:52 am 

KATHMANDU, June 15 — nepal reopened damaged world heritage UNESCO monuments on Monday that were closed since the deadly April 25 earthquake, highlighting the message that "nepal is safe and open for tourists."

Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Kripashur Sherpa announced the opening of the damaged heritage sites at the quake-devastated Bhaktapur Durbar Square in downtown Kathmandu.

He made an appeal to the foreign tourists to visit this Himalayan nation and help in rebuilding it.

"We want to tell the world that Nepal is safe and we are open for tourists. We want to appeal all to visit Nepal to see our unity in diversity and the socio-cultural solidarity," the newly-appointed minister said.

Sherpa added that there has been more than enough negative message disseminated to the world about Nepal's devastation.

The April 25 and May 12 earthquakes not only took the lives of more than 8,700 people and made hundreds of thousands homeless, but also destroyed the ancient and cultural monuments.

Tourism is the worst-hit sector with an economic loss of 81.24 billion Nepalese rupees (US$ 812.4 million), according to a latest Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) report.

As part of the recovery of tourism industry, six out of the seven world heritage sites in the Kathmandu Valley, including three Durbar squares, Swoyambhunath, Bouddhanath and Pashupatinath temple, have been opened for tourists. However, Changunarayan temple located in Bhaktapur could not be opened owing to severe destruction.

"Nepal's tourism will bounce back soon. We proudly invite the foreign tourists for natural, cultural and adventure tourism. Their safety will be our priority," said Tulsi Prasad Gautam, director general at Department of Tourism Tulsi Prasad Gautam.

According to the PDNA report, the tourism sector needs 41.33 billion Nepalese rupees (US$ 413.3 million) for reconstruction and rebuilding. (PNA/Xinhua)



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