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Makalu-Barun National Park and Buffer Zone

Our project partner Mr. Lakpa Nurbu Sherpa, Everest summiter and owner of Alpine Family Trekking, conducted the following interviews in his native Makalu-Barun region regarding the current COVID-19 situation.

The reader will note that all lodge owners and trekking professionals interviewed felt that trekking was now safe to resume, but while practicing the recommended protocols such as mask wearing, hand washing, and social distancing. This is most likely because of the comparative low rates of infection in places outside of Kathmandu.


Interview with Mr. Nima Chhiri Sherpa, Owner of the Hotel Swagat, Khandbari, Nepal, 26 November 2020

Q. What is your role in the tourism industry, or your connection to it? 

A. To provide good facilities for visitor guests, good foods & comfortable sleep, safety & enjoyable stay.


Q. What are the current COVID-19 safety guidelines and protocols from the Government of Nepal, and also from your Gaun Palikha and other agencies?  Are they the same guidelines? 

A. Nepal Government’s safety  guidelines & protocols is providing poster of Novel Corona Virus  COVID-19 symptoms information and  announcing use of compulsory mask, sanitizer, wash hands every time when touch something, stay 2-3 meters social distance, do disinfect the guests rooms, be careful by catch cold in winter, etc. Yes, Khandbari Municipality & agencies guidelines also same. But some people  recommending that one should also eat natural spices and herbs tea  a lot for immunity power growth to protect from Corona Virus. 

 
Q. How are you complying with, or implementing those guidelines?

A. My family and I are complying with the COVID-19 safety instruction and implementing those guidelines and suggesting to friends also implement the safety self and save to other people also by Corona transmitting. But some poor families people can’t afford to buy mask and sanitizer for many days.


Q.  Do you feel that trekking or climbing, at the present time, is safe for you?  And is it safe for the visitors who come trekking?  

A. Yes, I feel safe if we implement the safety protocols to each other. Visitors are safe because not spreading Corona infection a lot and nobody died in the region so far. Some people have found normal flu but it is also called COVID-19 positive. Most people do not believe that Corona even exists, it is normal to catch cold and the flu. We would like to invite & encourage International tourists to visit Nepal & Makalu-Barun, especially to go in high mountain regions for trekking & climbing, which is no problem because there are no crowds, specially Makalu-Barun mountain region, there are very few tourists here, very few International trekkers visit in Sankhuwasabha district’s mountains.


Q. Do you believe that taking precautions such as wearing masks will help slow the spread of the disease?  Do you feel that the people around you are taking sufficient precautions?

A. Yes, wearing masks will help for precautions to spread the flu disease and/or Corona Virus. Most people are taking sufficient precaution as possible but some poor families people can’t buy sufficient masks and sanitizer to continue or many days these precautions. 


Q. From where do you get your information about the status of the corona virus pandemic?  Have you heard contradictory information from different sources?  Which source do you feel is the most reliable? 

A. Information getting about the Corona Virus from media via internet, radio, TV & posters & people. The most reliable information is radio & posters.


Q. What do you think should be done to better control and manage the spread of the corona virus?   In particular, what should be done in the way of updating people about regulations and best practices? 

A. Corona Virus spreading control management is best accomplished by compulsory mask wearing, use sanitizer & wash hands time to time and stay social distance, etc. And if the government or any organization provide the masks and sanitizer free cost to the poor financial condition peoples, it will help much to control the virus transmitting & control spreading the disease.  Still need to keep regular announcing and updating the COVID-19 safety guidelines information and situation in the community. Now people are becoming a little careless for Corona disease because a lot of infections have been found in the region. In the Nepal country side, like Makalu-Barun region, not many cases of COVID-19 have been found, so people are feeling safe now.
 

                                                                   


Interview with Mr. Pasang Gyalje Sherpa and Dawa Linduk Sherpa, Home Stay Proprietors; and Ms. Paslhamu Sherpa, Ms. Doma Sherpa, and Ms. Phurdiki Sherpa, Mothers Community, 29 November 2020

Q. What is your role in the tourism industry, or your connection to it?  

A. Our role is to provide good facilities for guests, good foods & comfortable sleep, enjoyable stay.


Q. What are the current COVID-19 safety guidelines and protocols from the Government of Nepal, and also from your Gaun Palikha and other agencies?  Are they the same guidelines? 

A. Local Government’s safety  guidelines & protocols is providing poster of Novel Corona Virus  COVID-19 symptoms information to use compulsory mask, sanitizer,  wash hands every time when touch something, stay 2-3 meters social distance, do not gathering with people, by Radio & Mobile ringtone give message to be careful not to catch cold in winter, etc. Yes, Gaupalika & agencies guidelines information also same. But some people are recommending that eating natural spices and local herbs, like the plant “Gurja,” and drinking natural herbal teas will give immunity power growth to protect from Corona Virus.   


Q. How are you complying with, or implementing those guidelines?

A. Yes, my family and I and our community are complying with the COVID-19 safety instruction and implementing those guidelines that when new visitors came we try to stay with distance. We are very aware that stay safe self and save to other people also. We follow the safety protocols as possible. But some said that some poor families people can’t buy mask and sanitizer for many days, which is a problem.


Q.  Do you feel that trekking or climbing, at the present time, is safe for you?  And is it safe for the visitors who come trekking?  

A. Yes, We feel safe if we implemented the safety protocols to each other. In Makalu-Barun region is safe for trekkers because Corona Virus infected people haven’t been found yet. Nobody has seen Corona virus symptoms in the region so far. We would like to invite & encourage to visit national and International tourists to Makalu-Barun, especially to go in high mountains trekking & climbing no problem. Makalu-Barun mountain region has almost no tourists anyway, so not crowed of people, so it is safe for trekking & climbing. We would like to welcome to Makalu- Barun region travelling any time. We can manage very safe service for trekkers or visitors.

Q. Do you believe that taking precautions such as wearing masks will help slow the spread of the disease?  Do you feel that the people around you are taking sufficient precautions?

A. Yes, wearing masks will help for precautions to spread the flu disease and/or Corona Virus. Village people have a problem because there are no shops to buy masks and all people also can’t buy mask because of financial problems.  But village peoples know that staying social distance for precaution is effective.

Q. From where do you get your information about the status of the corona virus pandemic?  Have you heard contradictory information from different sources?  Which source do you feel is the most reliable? 

A. Corona Virus information got by poster and by radio, & phone call by friends, people talk. The most reliable information is radio, posters and live announcing in village because older people or uneducated people can’t read poster or message, only understand by listening or telling.


Q. What do you think should be done to better control and manage the spread of the corona virus?   In particular, what should be done in the way of updating people about regulations and best practices?  

A. Corona Virus spreading control management better way is wearing mask compulsory, stay social distance when new visitors come and not gathering in group. Washing hands time to time.

And it will help much to control the virus transmitting the disease & control spreading. if the government or any organization distribute the free cost masks and sanitizer to the poor financial condition families peoples, that will help. People need to also be informed of the latest updated information regarding the COVID-19 safety guidelines in the community.  So far Makalu-Barun region has not had any COVIE-19 infections.

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Interview with Mr. Pasang Sherpa, owner of the Shiva View Lodge at Khongma and the Makalu-Barun Lodge at Dobate, 5 January 2021:


Q. What is your role in the tourism or trekking industry, or your connection to it? 

A. We are providing lodging & foods for Makalu-Barun trekking guests since many years. In season some trekkers come to stay at my lodge. Khongma at 3500 m is nice view point on the way to Makalu BC trekking, climbers & Sherpani col pass for mountaineers. But since January 2020 International or national trekkers haven’t come because of Corona Virus pandemic situation. We are trying our best to provide good facilities for Makalu-Barun tourists visitor. We have plan to provide safe service for trekkers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hoping for a better situation of Covid-19 soon.  

Q. What are the current COVID-19 safety guidelines and protocols from the Government of Nepal, and also from your Gaun Palikha and other agencies?  Are they the same guidelines?

A. Local Government’s or private agencies safety   guidelines & protocols is similar. Government providing poster of Novel Corona Virus  COVID-19 symptoms information & suggesting to wear compulsory mask, sanitizer,  wash hands every time when touch something, stay 2- 3 meters social distance, do not gathering with people, by Radio & Mobile ringtone give message to be careful by catch cold in winter, etc. We will manage single sleeping room as possible for guests during the COVID-19 pandemic situation, keep social distance 2 to 3 meters, wearing mask, bring enough sanitizer for disinfecting the rooms. Cooking dishes clean by boil water, etc.

Q. How are you complying with, or implementing those guidelines?

A. Yes, we are complying with the COVID-19 safety instruction, we are very aware that how to stay safe self and save to other people also by Corona virus transmitting. Suggesting that if new visitors come at village home keep social distance, do not talk closely etc. Village people are implementing those safety protocols guidelines, but some village people do not have mask because there are no shops nearby, and the government and health posts are also not distributing mask. Poor families can’t buy mask and sanitizer for many days.


Q.  Do you feel that trekking or climbing, at the present time, is safe for you?  And is it safe for the visitors who come trekking?  

A. Yes, I feel safe if we implemented those safety protocols to each other. In Makalu-Barun region is safe for trekkers because Corona Virus infections have not been found yet. Nobody has seen Corona virus symptoms in the region so far. We would like to invite & encourage national and International tourists to visit Makalu-Barun, especially to go in high mountains trekking & climbing no problem. Makalu-Barun mountain region almost none tourists area, so not crowed of people, so it is safe for trekking & climbing. We would like to welcome to Makalu- Barun region travelling any time. All lodges & tea-house can manage very safe service to our visitors.

Q. Do you believe that taking precautions such as wearing masks will help slow the spread of the disease?  Do you feel that the people around you are taking sufficient precautions?

A. Yes, wearing masks will help for precautions to spread the flu and/or Corona Virus. Not everyone can buy masks because they do not have money. Now most people know that when visitors arrive they should maintain proper social distance.

Q. From where do you get your information about the status of the corona virus pandemic?  Have you heard contradictory information from different sources?  Which source do you feel is the most reliable? 

A. Corona Virus information getting by poster and by radio & phone call by friends, people talk. The most reliable information is radio, posters and live announcing in village because older people or uneducated people can’t read poster or message, only understand by listening or telling.


Q. What do you think should be done to better control and manage the spread of the corona virus?   In particular, what should be done in the way of updating people about regulations and best practices? 

A. Corona virus management will be facilitated by wearing compulsory mask, stay social distance when new visitors come and not gathering in group. Washing hands from time to time. Use sanitizer if not available water. And it will help much to control the virus transmitting the disease & control spreading. If the government or other organization can distribute for free masks and sanitizer to the poor families, that would be a big help. People need to be informed of the latest update information regarding the COVID-19 safety guidelines in the community. Makalu BC trekking route is safe now because the region has not been affected by Corona Virus. So we would like to invite tourists again for trekking to Makalu Base Camp & climbing peaks

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Interview with Ms. Angdoma Sherpa, owner, Makalu-Barun Lodge, Tashigaon, 5 January 2021


Q. What is your role in the tourism industry, or your connection to it? 

A. We are providing lodging & foods for Makalu-Barun trekking guests since many years. In season some trekkers come to stay at my Lodge. Tashigoan is the last village for Makalu BC trekking & Sherpani col pass for mountaineers. But since January 2020iInternational or national trekkers haven’t come because of Corona Virus pandemic situation. We are trying our best to provide good facilities for Makalu-Barun tourists and visitors. Now we have plan to provide special safe service for trekkers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hoping better situation of Covid-19 soon.  

Q. What are the current COVID-19 safety guidelines and protocols from the Government of Nepal, and also from your Gaun Palikha and other agencies?  Are they the same guidelines?

A. Local Government’s or private agencies safety   guidelines & protocols is similar. Government providing poster of Novel Corona Virus  COVID-19 symptoms information & suggesting to wear compulsory mask, sanitizer,  wash hands every time when touch something, stay 2-3 meters social distance, do not gathering with people, by Radio & Mobile ringtone give message to be careful not to catch cold in winter, etc. We will manage single sleeping room as much as possible possible for guests during the COVID-19 pandemic situation,  keep social distance 2-3 meters, wearing mask, bring enough sanitizer for disinfecting the rooms. Cooking dishes clean by boil water etc.

Q. How are you complying with, or implementing those guidelines?

A. Yes, we are complying with the COVID-19 safety instruction, we are very aware that how to stay safe yourself and safe to other people also by Corona virus transmitting. Suggesting that if new visitors come at village home keep social distance, do not talk closely, etc. Village people are implementing those safety protocols guidelines, but some village people do not have mask because no shops nearby, government or Health Post also not distributing mask. Poor financial condition family people can’t buy mask and sanitizer for many days.


Q.  Do you feel that trekking or climbing, at the present time, is safe for you?  And is it safe for the visitors who come trekking?  

A. Yes, I feel safe if we implemented those safety protocols to each other. Makalu-Barun region is safe for trekkers because Corona Virus has not been found yet. Nobody has seen Corona virus symptoms in the region so far. We would like to invite & encourage to visit for national or International tourists in Makalu-Barun, especially to go in high mountains trekking & climbing no problem. Makalu-Barun mountain region almost none tourists area, so not crowed of people, so it is safe for trekking & climbing. We would like to welcome to Makalu- Barun region travelling any time. All lodges & tea-house can manage very safe service to our visitors.

Q. Do you believe that taking precautions such as wearing masks will help slow the spread of the disease?  Do you feel that the people around you are taking sufficient precautions?

A. Yes, wearing masks will help for precautions to spread the flue disease or Corona Virus. All people also can’t buy mask because they do not money. Now most people know that staying with new visitor social distance is precaution only.

Q. From where do you get your information about the status of the corona virus pandemic?  Have you heard contradictory information from different sources?  Which source do you feel is the most reliable?

A. Corona Virus information getting by poster and by radio & phone call by friends, people talk. The most reliable information is radio, posters and live announcing in village because older people or uneducated people can’t read poster or message, only understand by listening or telling.


Q. What do you think should be done to better control and manage the spread of the corona virus?   In particular, what should be done in the way of updating people about regulations and best practices? 

A. Corona Virus control management is best achieved by wearing a mask, stay social distance when new visitors come, and not gathering in group. Washing hands time to time. Use sanitizer if not available water. And it will help much to control the virus transmitting the disease & control spreading. If the government or any organization distribute the free cost masks and sanitizer to the poor families. People need to be informed of the latest update information regarding the COVID-19 safety guidelines in the community. Makalu BC trekking trail is safe now because the region has not been affected by Corona Virus so far. So we would like to invite for trekking to Makalu Base Camp & climbing peaks

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Interview with Mr. Padam Bahadur Chamling, Hoshi Treks Expedition Pvt. Ltd., Kathmandu, Nepal, 26 January 2021 

 

Q. What is your role in the trekking industry, or your connection to it?

A. I’ve been into trekking industry since the past 29 years. I have worked as a cook, a guide. Now I own a trekking agency, which has been running for 9 years.

Q. What are the current COVID-19 safety guidelines and protocols from the Government of Nepal, and also from your Gaun Palika and other agencies? Are they the same guidelines?

A.  Some of the major COVID-19 safety guidelines & protocols issued by GON are:

·       Maintaining at least 1 meter physical distance between us and others.

·       Wearing masks properly also disposal of used masks correctly.

·       Avoiding crowded places as much as possible.

·       Cleaning hands thoroughly with soap and water or sanitizer.

·       Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.

·       Staying physically active

·       Eating healthy diet etc.

Yes, the safety guidelines and protocols from GaunPalika are the same as GON.

Q. How are you complying with or implementing those guidelines?

A. I am following all the safety guidelines issued by GON as follows:

·       I try to maintain at least 1 meter physical distance whenever I am out.

·       I wear masks properly in public and dispose it correctly after coming home.

·       I try to avoid crowds as much as possible.

·       I clean my hands often with soap and water and with sanitizer when in public.

·       I try to stay fit physically and mentally.

·       I eat foods healthy for immune system etc.

Q. Do you feel that trekking or climbing, at the present time is safe for you? And is it safe for the visitors who come trekking?

A. Since COVID-19 has more risk of spreading in crowded areas and the trekking or climbing areas are less populated than the cities. So when compared with city areas, the mountain or trekking region are safe. But to get to mountain or trekking       region one has to pass through cities so there is always a risk of contamination. So I think we have to wait for some more time to climb or trek in normal & safe way.

Q. Do you believe that taking precautions such as wearing masks will help slow the spread of the disease? Do you feel that the people around you are taking sufficient precautions?

A: Yes, I do believe taking such precautions will definitely help slow the spread of the disease. Some people in my neighborhood are taking sufficient precautions while some aren’t.

Q. From where do you get your information about the status of the coronavirus pandemic? Have you heard contradictory information from different sources? Which source do you feel the most reliable?

A. I get all the information about the status of the coronavirus pandemic from news out of television. No, I haven’t heard contradictory information from different sources. I find the government news channel (Nepal Television) the most reliable.

Q. What do you think should be done to better control and manage the spread of the coronavirus? In particular, what should be done in the way of updating people about regulations and best practices?

A. Following the safety guidelines issued by WHO, government, local governing bodies can better control &manage the spread of the virus. We can remotely inform people about the regulations and best practices through our social media to keep them well informed.                               

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Interview with Family Alpine Trek & Expedition’s Managing Directors, Lakpa Sherpa and Lakpa Nurbu Sherpa, 15 February 2021

Q. What is your role in the trekking or tourism industry, or your connection to it?

A. Our role in the trekking or tourism industry is managing for safe travelling in different regions of Nepal Himalaya where people can enjoy and get different nature & culture experience.  We are trying our best for better facilitating to go in Himalaya trekking and promoting more tourism development in Nepal. Especially we are focusing to travel & visit to less popular or none tourist area of Nepal, like the Makalu-Barun region & Kanchenjunga Himalaya region and far west of Nepal mountain region for trekking & climbing peaks where is naturally more beautiful and peaceful because of very less tourists and visitors.

Q. What are the current Covid -19 safety guidelines and protocols from the government of Nepal and also from your Gaun palika and other agencies? Are they the same guidelines?

A. The current COVID-19 safety guidelines are written below in Nepal by government & agencies or organizations. They include:

Ø  Wear compulsory Mask & face shield

Ø  Managing  social distance 2~3 meters

Ø  Avoid shaking hands to each other when meeting, do Hello/Namaskar only

Ø  Avoid group meeting or face to face encounter

Ø  Use sanitizer for disinfecting hands, seating chairs & tables, rooms etc. 

Ø  Checking body temperature for visitors everywhere.

Ø  Washing hands time to time or use sanitizer when touch some things.

Ø  Wear PPE set security & health sectors workers.

Ø  Avoid to touch with animals as possible.

Ø  Keep better waste management & cleaning,

Ø  Serve well cooked foods only.

Ø  Drink herbs tea a lot & use spices as possible etc.

Ø  Do precaution by catch cold in winter or changing season time.

Q. How are you complying with or implementing those Guidelines?

We are happy to complying those safety protocol guidelines of COVID -19 safety.  We are implementing those guide lines and teaching to people as much as possible who do not understand well about safety protocols.   Our trekking guide/cook/porters are well trained now that how to implement those Corona Virus safety protocols and provide safety service for travelling clients in mountains.

Q. Do you feel that trekking or climbing at the present time is safe for you ? And is it safe for the visitor who comes trekking?

Yes, it is safe for trekking and climbing in Nepal mountains because in mountains regions there are less people, not crowed. So far in Nepal country side or mountain region villages not found Corona Virus infected people. So we can feel safe to go to Nepal mountains trekking and peak climbing. Some International adventurists are coming to Nepal for high land mountains trekking and Himalayas peaks climbing, but low region travelers not coming yet. Our Makalu-Barun region is very safe so far by COVID-19 situation. Nobody infected for Makalu-Barun region people so far.  

Q. Do you believe that taking precautions such as wearing masks will help slow the spread of the disease? Do you feel that the people around you are taking sufficient precautions?

A. Yes, we believe that wearing mask is precautions, it helps very much not to transmit the corona virus to each other. Most of people taking sufficient precautions as possible.  Because of taking sufficient precautions, Corona Virus spreading is low and decreasing infection day by day since the past few months. To date only for 40 to 50 people have become ill, mostly are normal influenza. These days Nepal COVID-19-related deaths are also becoming very less. Said that 95% positive patients are recovering well and soon in Nepal.

Q. From where do you get your information about the status of the corona virus pandemic? Have you heard contradictory information from different sources? Which source do you feel is the most reliable?

A. We are getting COVID-19 safety guidelines information by daily health Minister official reports in   Radio & TV news,  International TV channels WHO news , Telephone ringtones, doctors & people, posters and announcing by government in community, newspaper and International guests and friends, etc. We got contradictory information from different sources.

Q. What do you think should be done to better control and manage the spread of the corona virus? In particular, what should be done in the way of updating people about regulations and best practices?

A. I think for better Corona Virus transmitting control management is keep wearing mask compulsory and keep well social distance with people meeting. Using sanitizer for disinfection. Eat healthy foods and keep body fitness with exercise, etc.  To be careful by catch cold in changing season. Washing hands time to time when touch some things. For safety up dating guidelines reading the WHO or International news regarding COVID-19 situation changing.

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