Kathmandu, Nepal (BBN)-The authorities in Nepal are to extend for free permits for foreigners prevented from climbing Mount Everest by last year’s earthquakes.
More than 800 foreign climbers had paid up to $11,000 (£7,900) for permits for expeditions cancelled after quakes in April and May, reports BBC.
Climbers who missed out will be able to use the same permit for 2016 and 2017.
At least 19 people were killed on Everest in avalanches triggered by April’s quake.
Nearly 9,000 people died across the country in the two quakes.
“The government has decided to extend permits for two years in order to compensate those climbers who could not continue their expeditions due to the earthquake,” tourism department chief Gobinda Bahadur Karki was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.
Nepal is eager to boost its flagging tourism industry ahead of the climbing season which starts later this month.
Hiking officials say foreign bookings have sharply declined.
Nepal’s infrastructure was badly hit by the quakes, while a protracted transport blockade along the border with India has further hit supplies of fuel and equipment.
First successful ascent was by New Zealand mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay on 29 May 1953
More than 4,000 people have scaled the 8,850m (29,035ft) summit since then
Hundreds of people normally attempt a climb every year
More than 200 people have died trying to climb the mountain