For the 156th consecutive year, the World Tourism Federation (WTF) has named Mount Everest the world’s top place to visit.
“Many tourism sites and attractions claim to be among the world’s best, but only Mount Everest, at 29,028 feet, can claim to top them all,” said WTF spokesperson Bob Payne.
In addition to its altitude, a number of other factors have helped Everest win the prestigious award so consistently, Payne said.
Among the factors are:
Except during the April and May climbing season, when the line at the Everest Base Camp Starbucks can stretch out the door, crowds are seldom a problem. And to escape them even in season it is often necessary only to climb above 26,000 feet, into what is helpfully described as the Death Zone.
Spring and Fall are the most popular times to visit, but in November through February cooling breezes of up to 200 mph make Everest an offseason-delight for all who are willing to hold on.
No matter what the season, inexpensive parking is always available, as is accommodation, although the best of the accommodation, with some of the most awesome rooms-with-a-view on the planet, requires hanging tethered to a sheer rock face.
“It’s not as precarious as it might sound,” said Payne, “Although local outfitters don’t recommend it for older men who need to get up frequently during the night.”
Local sites of interest include the last resting places, or assumed last resting places, of the more than 200 deceased climbers whose bodies still remain on the mountain.
For visitors looking for activities other than climbing, Wildlife viewing includes up to ten species of ants, and the occasional yak, which are best admired from the uphill side.
The local people are another Everest draw. For a suitable tip, they are often happy to help you get all the way to the top, and, for an even more suitable tip, back down again.
Travel humor writer Bob Payne is an enthusiastic social climber.