Christopher Santos, 29, from the United Kingdom was in Bardiya when the catastrophic earthquake struck on April 25.
Christopher, who came to Nepal on a three-month vacation, had just completed the Langtang trekking and reached Bardiya when the first quake jolted the nation. However, he didn’t take any break and left for the Rara Lake.
His family members urged him return home as he was in Mugu district when the second earthquake struck. Later, he went to Pokhara and completed Annapurna circuit trek. He is now planning to go back to Bardiya.
“The earthquake struck before I could go around places in Nepal,” Christopher said, adding, “I heard that Pokhara was safe and found it true.” He also encouraged another American tourist Robert Finney and completed the Annapurna circuit trek a together via Thorangla Bhangyang.
Christopher said he chose to come to Pokhara from Rara via Bardiya. “The Annapurna circuit has sustained no damages. I spent eight days of joyous time during that trek.” He plans to come to Nepal next year again with friends, saying he didn’t face any difficult time here. “There are rumors that Nepal has been damaged by the earthquake but it is not true,” said he.
Christopher has gathered good memories of his Nepal visit and says foreigners need to know about safe places to visit in Nepal.
Tourism entrepreneurs say that trekking by tourists will help send a positive message to foreign tourists. Former member of the Tourism Board and owner of Hotel Adam Basu Tripathi said, “The Annapurna circuit and Pokhara are completely safe. It is very important to spread this message internationally.”
Tripathi, who is also the coordinator of promotional committee under Pokhara Tourism Recovery Council (PTRC), said that the Annapurna route is safe for those who love trekking.
“We haven’t heard of any problems on the trekking route till now. Tourists need to worry,” he said.
The PTRC has been organizing promotional activities to spread the message that Pokhara and nearby places are safe for tourists to visit.
Chief of Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) Lal Prasad Gurung informed that the flow of tourists to the Annapurna trekking route is very low. “Though the trekking route is safe, the flow of tourists is negligible.”