KATHMANDU, March 31: Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) has stopped rescue operation of stranded tourists after bringing 1,331 foreigners from different places of Nepal to Kathmandu in five days. The national tourism promotion organization had started rescue operation since Thursday.
The 'Crisis Communication Unit' of NTB, led by NTB CEO Dhananjay Regmi , had brought stranded international and domestic tourists, Nepali guides and porters to Kathmandu through air and land. “We facilitated the rescue of a total of 1,331 foreigners, of which 765 were airlifted and the remaining 569 were brought to Kathmandu through road,” said Dhananjay Regmi, CEO of NTB. NTB also rescued around 100 Nepalis from Lukla. “Eight of them were domestic tourists and the rest were guides to the stranded tourists,” he added.
Stating that the organization in compliance with the nationwide lockdown rules set by the government, all vehicle services related to the rescue of international tourists have been suspended for now. According to NTB, the rescue operations in the future will be scheduled as per requirement upon the confirmation of next outbound flights and as per special request from diplomatic missions only.
NTB officials say that, the rescue through NTB during this time of crisis has facilitated the tourists in terms of cost and time. NTB will resume rescue operations in request of diplomatic missions in Nepal or if needed. “If the local level or any sort informs us about the need to carry out rescue operations then we will resume our service,” Regmi told Republica, “If they have their chartered flights scheduled, the foreigners will be brought to Kathmandu.”
In an attempt to bring stranded tourists back to Kathmandu, around 41 domestic chartered rescue flights were carried out during the rescue period. Different domestic flights were flown to Pokhara and Lukla to bring foreigners to Kathmandu. The flights were operated in coordination with the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), Nepal-based embassies of different countries, local government bodies, airlines operators and tourist police.
Meanwhile, three special commercial Qatar Airways flights carrying foreigners have flown from Kathmandu. The flights carried out by Qatar Airways were arranged at the request of Embassy of Germany and France. Similarly, the US Embassy in Nepal has arranged a chartered flight in Qatar Airways aircraft for Tuesday followed by the Australian Embassy in Nepal with its chartered direct flight from Kathmandu to Australia for April 1 to return stranded Australians back home. “Koreans will be flown back home in a chartered Korean Air flight scheduled to leave Kathmandu on April 3,” he added.
The first chartered flight carrying foreigners took off from Kathmandu on Friday with 307 passengers. While on Saturday, two special commercial flights from Nepal took off with 304 passengers in each flight.