Nepal is expecting hundreds of foreigners to attempt to scale the highest Himalayan peaks despite the pandemic.
The Department of Tourism in Kathmandu said Wednesday that more than 300 foreigners have expressed interest in climbing Mount Everest this spring.
There's similar interest for other mountains too, said Mira Acharya, a director at the department.
One Japanese and four Canadians climbers are already trekking their way to the base camps of Mount Manaslu and Mount Nuptse, respectively, Acharya said.
The spring season, which is popular because of favorable weather, began this month. It extends up to the end of May, when weather deteriorates and climbing becomes dangerous.
Those wishing to scale mountains still have to be quarantined in a hotel in the capital and test negative for the coronavirus.
Everest's approach from Tibet was the first to be affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, with China halting climbing permits from 11 March. Nepal followed, suspending visas from 14 March.
Everest by the numbers
Although the 300 climbers will be slightly fewer than usual, the Himalayan mountaineering industry is showing signs of recovery.
In 2019, Nepal issued 381 permits to summit Everest. China issued a further 130, from Tibet.
With a peak of around 800 climbers a year, the number of visitors are low but at $15,000 per permit it's a huge source of income for regional Nepal.
According to Kathmandu, the climbers spend an average of 2 months in Nepal with each spending between $40000 to $138000 on a climb.
Everest alone is worth around $400 million in tourism revenue to Nepal.
- Associated Press with additional reporting