Nepal’s fragile economy shattered

What took moments to flatten will take years to rebuild. In mere seconds a powerful earthquake devastated a swathe of Nepal. Rebuilding the impoverished Himalayan nation’s fragile economy will require a long slog, financed by foreign aid and money from its army of overseas workers.

Initial estimates peg the economic damage from the temblor that killed more than 5,000 people at billions of dollars. The tourism industry, a pillar of the economy, has been shattered and it’s unclear when the travellers will return.

“It’s been devastating. Their tourism economy has obviously come to a halt,” said Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific economist with IHS. “I don’t know when it would be realistic for tourists to again visit Nepal.”

Mr. Biswas forecasts the cost of reconstruction could exceed $5 billion or about 20 per cent of Nepal’s economy. An initial estimate by the U.S. Geological Service reckons damages of $1 billion to $10 billion. Other analysts say it’s far too early to assess the full cost.

Tourism provides 7 per cent of Nepal’s jobs and accounts for 8 percent of the economy, according to the Asian Development Bank.

“Tourists are fleeing because of the continuing aftershocks, which have brought fear and terror,” said Hari Man Lama, of Incentive Tours, a travel company in Kathmandu.

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 6:28:46 PM |

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