The Himalayan country’s economy has taken a blow from a lack of climbers and a plunge in remittances as infections spread.
KATHMANDU, Nepal — Just last year, Nepal attracted so many mountain climbers that a human traffic jam of hundreds of mountaineers in puffy jackets snarled a trail to the top of Mount Everest.
The crowds were proof of how fast — too fast, some have said — Nepal’s alpine tourism industry had grown, becoming a lifeline for the country. Last year tourism brought in more than $2 billion to Nepal, one of Asia’s poorest nations, and employed a million people, from porters to pilots.
The pandemic has stopped all of that.
The trails snaking through the Himalayas are deserted, including those leading up to Everest Base Camp. Fewer than 150 climbers have arrived this fall season, immigration officials said, down from thousands last year.
Countless Sherpas and experienced mountain guides have been put out of work, leaving many to plant barley or graze yaks across the empty slopes to survive.
This has been a mixed blessing as the mountain is not being abused but economically it is still an ongoing problem.