KATHMANDU (AFP) — Nepal has decided that May 29 -- the day the world's highest peak was first conquered in 1953 -- will be marked as International Mount Everest Day, tourism officials said Friday.
"The government has decided to commemorate the historic first ascent. This year will be the first time we celebrate thee
event and pay tributes to Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay," said tourism ministry spokesman Prem Rai.
New Zealander Hillary died in January at the age of 88, prompting worldwide praise for the man seen by many members of Nepal's Sherpa community as a second father for the development work his foundation undertook in the Everest region.
Nepal will commemorate the day with "a mountain film festival, photography exhibitions and cultural programmes," the spokesman said.
"The day will also be an opportunity to promote Nepal's adventure tourism in the international arena," he added.
In February, Nepalese authorities said they had renamed the small airport used by mountaineers and trekkers to access the Everest region the Hillary-Tenzing airport.
Since Hillary and Tenzing reached the roof of the world 55 years ago, the 8,848-metre (29,028-foot) peak has been conquered at least 3,000 times.