Mar. 6, 2019 -- As the Mount Qomolangma National Nature Reserve Administration announced the temporary closure and movement of the current Tourist Base Camp at the foot of Mount Qomolangma in Tibet, news media from around the globe gave out misleading reports that the base camp had been closed permanently. Known in the West as “Everest”, the famous Qomolangma Base Camp in Tibet is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the region.
Several internet news websites and international news media companies published articles about the permanent closure of the Qomolangma Base Camp in Tibet. The base camp, which was first set up almost 100 years ago, lies below the North Face of Mount Qomolangma, in the Shigatse Prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China.
The rumors first began when the Tibet Mount Qomolangma National Nature Reserve Management Administration released a notice on December 5, 2018, simply stated that the “key protective region beyond the Rongbuk Monastery” would be closed to tourists for the protection of its natural environment.
However, due to misunderstandings of the area referred to as “key protective region” and what that meant, most of the global news media, as well as social media sites such as WeChat and Weibo, spread the information that the Base Camp would be permanently closed, and that no tourists to Tibet would be able to travel Qomolangma Base Camp and see the world highest peak again.
Change: tourist would view the Mt Qomolangma Base Camp from a location that is less than 3-Kilometer further from the previous one.
According to Tang Wu, from the Tourism Commission of Tingri County in Shigatse Prefecture, the “key protective region” of the reserve that is referenced is designated as the area of the Mt. Qomolangma National Nature Reserve that lies at altitudes above 5,200 meters. Mr. Wu also stated that only a part of this “key protective region” would be closed, for an indefinite period, for reasons of ecological conservation.
Mar. 6, 2019 -- Qomolangma view from the Rongbuk Monastery.
The summit of Mount Qomolangma lies at an altitude of 8,848 meters above sea level, and is the highest mountain in the world, making it a popular location for both tourists and mountaineers, on both sides of the mountain. As one of the most fragile ecological zones in the world, this unique environment needs to be protected for future generations, and this bold move on the part of the Chinese authorities is a step in the right direction towards protecting one of the most outstanding areas of natural beauty on the planet.
In a statement to media, the Deputy Director of the Mount Qomolangma National Nature Reserve, Mr. Kelsang, said that actions had been taken to protect the area of the core zone of the reserve, of which the current base camp was a part. He also stated that the area of closure was for ordinary tourists to an area of around four kilometers in diameter around the current base camp. He also stated that a new “tent guesthouse area” is being set up around two kilometers back from the original base camp to cater to tourists to the mountain. The current “Base Camp”, which is as close as tourists can get to the mountain, has been a popular tourist destination in Tibet for decades, and will still be available to be used by climbers and mountaineers heading for the summit of the world’s highest mountain.
Does it affect the tourists’ experiences of seeing the Mt Qomolangma peak?
Actually the Rongbuk monastery is located within the Qomolangma Base Camp region and it is only less than 3km further down from the previous base camp, and the currently change will not affect tourists’ experiences of seeing the peak and enjoying its natural beauty, even for professional photographers who prefer to get the best shot of the peak from the Rongbuk monastery. From the current base camp, they can frame the Rongbuk monastery, prayer flags, Buddhist stupas and the peak in one shot.