Nepal to court gay tourism
Nepal is set to legalise gay marriage later this year and will celebrate the change by promoting the country as the gay tourism capital of Asia.
Last year, the Supreme Court approved same-sex marriage and the government is expected to begin drafting a law allowing in in the coming months.
Next month, a conference will be held to discuss how the country can attract more gay couples.
The country’s only out gay MP Sunil Babu Pant, has launched a travel company called Pink Mountain which will offer wedding ceremonies at the base of Everest and processions on elephant-back.
He believes Nepal’s economy could see a substantial boost if the country can attract ten per cent of global gay tourism.
Pant, a hero to many gay activists worldwide, told the Daily Telegraph: “Most Asian countries don’t welcome gay visitors, so we can have the maximum benefit for the Nepal economy which is fragile after years of war.
He added that the government had a target of increasing the number of tourists from 400,000 to one million in the coming year.
Nepal was once strongly conservative and gays in the Himalayan kingdom previously suffered persistent persecution from security forces during the absolutist rule of King Gyanendra.
The harassment of lesbian, gay and trans people continued at the hands of Maoist rebels.
Until 2007, homosexuality was illegal in the country but the past few years have seen profound changes for gay rights.