Welcome Address by NMA president Ang Tshering Sherpa on 30 April 2016 on the Occasion of Manaslu and Lhotse Diamond Jubilee Celebration
On behalf of organizing committee and myself, it’s my great pleasure and honored to welcome the Chief Guest Rt. Hon’ble President of Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, distinguished guests, veteran climbers, ladies and gentlemen for your gracious presence to celebrate the “Mt. Manaslu and Mt. Lhotse Diamond Jubilee Celebration here in the beautiful historic metropolitan city of Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal.
May I recall the first successful ascent of first 8000m peak, Mt. Annapurna I by Maurice Herzog and Luis Lachenal on 3rd June1950, Mt, Everest Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgya Sherpa on 29th May 1953, then came the year 1956, when Toshio Imanishi of Japan and Gyalgen Norbu Sherpa of Nepal successfully set the first foot on the top of world’s eight highest peak Mt. Manaslu on 9th May 1956 and the very next two days later from the same team, Minoru Higeta, and Kichiro Kato of Japan successfully reached the top of Mt. Manaslu on 11th May 1956. Legendary Mr. Minoru Higeta is here with us today, please give him bi applaud. Similarly Ernst Reiss and Fritz Luchsinger of Switzerland successfully set first foot on the top of world’s fourth highest peak Mt. Lhotse on 18 May 1956. These early mountaineers were the source of inspiration for current and future generations. They opened the gateway for mountain tourism in Nepal. They encouraged the climbers and mountain lovers to continue their pursuit in carrying out mountaineering climbing expedition to all other 8000m high peaks in Nepal, Pakistan, China and India.
Every diamond jubilee and jubilation that we have celebrated in the past had its own importance. Indeed, this 60th jubilation of Mt. Manaslu and Mt. Lhotse are also a unique one with a special importance. In other word, during this difficult moment of post earthquake and post border blockade scenario, to organize this 60th jubilation on Mt. Manaslu and Mt. Lhotse has raised a ray of hope in speedy recovery of our tourism industry and its sub-sectors.
We are celebrating these events not only in honor of all the veteran summiteers but also in honor of all those who have lost their lives and who became disabled during creating mountaineering history in the past. On the other hand, this celebration, we do hope, will work as the medium of promotion of Nepalese mountain tourism globally.
While celebrating the Golden Jubilees a decade ago, Government of Nepal has reduced the mountaineering expedition royalty fee by making it half. We highly appreciate these steps and hope that these types of decision will be continued in the days ahead. Such types of commitment from the government will help to increase the number of expeditions and mountaineering activities in Nepal Himalayas in future.
It is a matter of privilege that these events are being held in Nepal simultaneously. It is a very important occasion as the impact of climate change and global warming threat has no left Nepal Himalaya untouched and It is matter of serious concern to all of us, if the trend continues the impacts like the disappearance of the glaciers and the rising sea levels catastrophic for the human kind not only here but elsewhere in the world. Hence, it is of utmost importance that all join hands in trying to come up with viable solutions whereby the impact of climate change and global warming can be reversed giving a new lease of life to mankind as a whole.
Our knowledge of mountain geography and ecosystems allows us - to be highly influential witnesses to climate change in our time and to extend that influence beyond the Himalayan community to everyone around us. We must put our efforts in improving the fragile mountain environment, developing the mountaineering and climbing activities and promoting mountains as a center of sports activities and providing livelihood support for the mountain communities.
Our mountains are our heritage, glory, prestige, Identity and future of our nation. The mountain region needs conservation and sustainable development for present and posterity.
Mountains have always remained respected and the relationships between man and mountains have remained strong all through the ages. This makes it all the importance to re-new our efforts for the conservation of the mountains, specially the fragile Himalayas. The efforts of all the nations are required to prevent the deterioration of the fragile mountain environments, so that the survival of human kind is guaranteed.
I firmly believe that our efforts to recognise and protect the enormous value of mountain areas as reservoirs of biological diversity and natural resources essential to humankind as a whole; as places of great spiritual and historic interest; as places of ecological significant; the huge masses of ice is serving as water tower for four billion of world’s people; as places with spectacular natural phenomena associated with climate and geology.
The Himalayas are the most vulnerable to the impact of climate change; global warming; earthquake and other natural calamities. The impacts of the devastating earthquakes of magnitude 7.8 on 25 April 2015 followed by more than 400 aftershocks with magnitude up to 7.3 has been disproportionately greater in remote mountain region of Nepal. Tourism plays a significant role in Nepal’s economy by employing a major share of the Nepalese workforce and provides economic opportunities to those who need them most in rural mountain regions. In the aftermath of the earthquakes, recovery of Nepal’s tourism is going to be a vital factor in the recovery process of Nepal. Safety conditions being the major concern of potential visitors to Nepal, the mountain tourism community has taken the concern very seriously and has also taken measures to review areas of safety concern and improved them.
In collaboration and financial support from UN World Food Program, NMA has already rebuilt and repaired dozens of trails, roads and bridges to reopen access to the remote mountain communities and trekking regions so that local villagers can resume their normal lives and tourism activities can operate safely in the days ahead. At the same time we are also mobilizing the humanitarian relief goods and foods carry by porters to various mountainous regions and distribute to the earthquake affected mountain communities. We are also building mountain huts and shelters in popular mountaineering and trekking areas, to serve those who need it in times of crisis.
Tourism is one of Nepal's most important industries, income and employment generator and key to develop the remote areas. It is in our collective interest from private sector, government and the development partner to increase the number of visitors to Nepal and at the same time does not compromise the safety and security of the visitors.
More than anything else, we need to get people back to work so that they look after themselves, that means we need to get tourism up and running as it is the biggest employers as industries. I believed that this very important Diamond Jubilee Celebrations can play a tremendously effective and powerful role in spreading the word in the world that Nepal is save travel. We need to let the world know that the best way to help Nepal is by visiting her so that each dollar they spent in Nepal will help to revive the economy and rebuild the infrastructures.
Finally, once again I would like to extend my hearty welcome and sincere thanks and appreciation to the chief guest Rt. Hon’ble President, distinguished guests, veteran climbers, ladies and gentlemen for your gracious presence on this historical occasion. We hope that our entire foreign guest had a nice stay in Nepal and return home with a sweet memory of our hospitality imprinted in your heart.
Ang Tshering Sherpa
Date: 30th April 2016