British climber dies climbing in Himalayas
KATHMANDU: A 36-year old British climber died while trying to scale Mount Baruntse, a 7,129-metre (23,389-feet) Himalayan mountain east of Mount Everest, Nepal’s tourism ministry said on Tuesday.
The ministry said Michael Turner, an information technology consultant from Northampton, fell on Sunday when the climbing rope to which he was attached snapped.
Turner was a member of a nine-man expedition led by Michael Grocott, a doctor from London. His body was brought to Kathmandu by helicopter on Tuesday.
It was the first death reported in the Nepal Himalayas this climbing season. This year a record number of climbers are expected to try to reach the top of Everest to mark the 50th anniversary of the first climb of the world’s highest mountain. —Reuters
Nepal banks on Everest celebrations to bring back tourists
With a ceasefire holding between the government and Maoist rebels, Nepal is hoping publicity surrounding the Everest Golden Jubilee celebrations will lure tourists back to the world’s only Hindu kingdom.
“We believe the celebrations will give Nepal some tremendous international publicity,” Nepal Tourist Board executive director Tek Bahadur Dangi told AFP.
With more than 500 Everest summiteers due to participate in the month-end party to mark the 50th anniversary of the first summit of the mountain, world attention would once again focus positively on the Himalayan kingdom, he added.
Tourism had already begun picking up since the January 29 ceasefire, with two successful rounds of peace talks since then helping dispel negative images of Nepal many tourists had held during the seven-year bloody “people’s war” waged by the Maoists. “Though there had not been a single case of an attack by the Maoist rebels on any tourists in the past, foreign visitors had been psychologically scared,” Dangi said.
With some 150 media representatives — 100 of them foreigners — expected to attend the main festivities due to start around May 25, Nepal would receive a great deal of “good publicity”, he said. Celebrations, which will climax on May 29, the day 50 years ago Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary reached the summit of Everest, with a symposium and a grand party.
“Tourism is a very important industry for Nepal as it employs more than 250,000 people as well as generating a substantial amount of foreign exchange for the public exchequer,” Dangi said. The jubilee, he added, was “an important event” in Nepal.
“We must try to get maximum benefit of this great event for the tourism sector,” he said, adding that he believed that in coming months people who had for some years being putting off visits to Nepal would decide to travel here.
Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister Kuber Sharma, meanwhile, told AFP Nepal had already begun to benefit from the positive publicity surrounding the January ceasefire, and that tourism figures were up.
The Iraq war had affected travel plans of many western tourists, while the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) was keeping away tourists from East Asia, particularly Hong Kong and Singapore, but also China. —AFP