Quake-hit Nepal asks other nations to lift travel advisories

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Nepal's government is urging other countries to lift travel advisories that discourage their citizens from visiting the Himalayan nation following a devastating earthquake in April that killed thousands of people, a government minister said Wednesday.

Tourism minister Kripasur Sherpa said the government has asked other nations through diplomatic channels to remove the advisories because most parts of the country are safe.

"Only about 15 percent of the country has been affected by the earthquake while the rest is fine," Sherpa said.

So far the United States, Britain, Switzerland, New Zealand and Italy have removed their advisories, but some other European countries have not, he said.

Nepal received nearly 800,000 tourists last year, but the number is expected to drop by about 40 percent this year because of the April 25 earthquake.

Sherpa said he recently asked ambassadors from India and China to encourage their citizens to visit. Indians and Chinese account for about 30 percent of Nepal's tourists.

Tourism is a key source of foreign currency for Nepal, which has many of the world's highest mountains, including Mount Everest.

One popular trekking route was damaged by the earthquake but the others were unaffected.