Nepal travel advisories eased after 2 and half month of massive earthquake

More than two months after the 25 April earthquake, some countries have finally eased travel advisories to Nepal. The earthquake hit during the peak spring season, and arrivals have gone down to almost zeros since.

Strict travel advisories put out by many governments immediately after the earthquake discouraged travel by nationals to Nepal, and this affected the cost of insurance to travellers.

New Zealand updated its travel warning and others followed suit this week, including the UK and US. Although the advisories still caution against travel to Nepal, and especially to some of the earthquake hit areas, tourists are no longer warned about transiting Kathmandu on their way to Bhutan or Tibet.

Much of the monsoon arrivals to Nepal are tourists travelling to those two areas, as well as parts of Nepal in the rainshadow like Mustang and Dolpo which were not affected by the quake. Tour operators are happy about the updated advisories amidst gloom and doom about the prospects for autumn and spring 2016.

The US had a travel warning alert to Nepal, which was updated 2 July is more toned down. The advisory which discouraged any unnecessary travel to Nepal previously, now only specifies certain districts and advises tourists to exercise caution in those places.

Similarly, the UK also updated its notice on Wednesday which says: ‘The FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) no longer advises against all but essential travel to the whole of Nepal’. The advisory now focuses on Central Nepal and the Everest area, where some trails are damaged.

Although areas like Mustang and Manang, which haven’t been affected are also still mentioned in the districts where travel is not advised. Travel on the main highway from Kathmandu to Pokhara is exempted from the advice.

The country is gettingback to normal. More than 80 per cent of the Japanese tourists who made reservations for Nepal to visit in the autmn have not cancelled, according to Sonia Miyahara of the Japanese tour group, Himalaya Kanko Kaihatsu.

The Nepali group Samarth has commissioned a study by the international engineering company Miyamoto to bring out a report on the condition of the Annapurna and Everest trails, Nepal’s most popular. The report, expected next week, is expected to say that while there is some damage, the trails could be safe by the time the autumn trekking season starts in October.

The report will be critical in further relaxation of travel advisories, diplomats in Kathmandu said they were waiting for independent third-party assessment of safety by firms like Miyamoto. Time is of the essence because local and international tour operators will be finalising bookings for the autumn season over the next two weeks.

Avisories:

UK
https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/nepal

US
http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings/nepal-travel-warning.html

Canada
http://travel.gc.ca/destinations/nepal

New Zealand
https://www.safetravel.govt.nz/nepal

Australia
http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/Advice/Nepal

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