Everything that was possible before the earthquake still remains possible. Trekking, touring, rafting, driving, flights and every other adventure are possible. It’s a myth that Nepal is not worth visiting.
By Banita Khanal
We have witnessed the massive earthquake; in fact we are still experiencing the aftershocks. Nepal lost many lives and many people were left injured because of this earthquake. I still remember the two types of answers that I got when asking to foreigners in my network “What comes to you mind first when I say Nepal?” – one is earthquake and the other is friendly people of Nepal. When I further analyzed the answer, I found our friendly nature was recalled by those who visited Nepal in the past and those who haven’t visited Nepal yet remembered the earthquake.
Nepal is known more for earthquake than Mount Everest or Gautam Buddha these days. Such devastating act of nature would take some time for people to forget. That time when people were busy leaving Nepal; foreigners were being picked up to their respective countries by their respective governments, we helplessly waved our hands to those planes. Everywhere there was a dilemma how to start life now? Tourism sector was heavily affected and that is understood. Media hyped the news so much that people living outside the country thought that nothing is left to see in Nepal. Therefore, in order to bring tourism back on track, tourism industry has been putting its best efforts for spreading the message that Nepal is now safe to visit.
A Facebook group was formed by tourism entrepreneurs, staffers of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and other people related to tourism and interested in tourism. They started a photo campaign called “I am in Nepal now”. It was a best thing to do for gaining back people’s confidence in visiting Nepal. The campaign was simple yet very effective because of its visibility in social media. Tourists who were in Nepal were requested to get a picture with a small banner in their hand saying “I am in Nepal now” and that was posted in different social media platforms. In no time, many pictures were posted, liked and shared.
Similarly, to provide updates of post-quake Nepal, a website named nepalnow.org was developed by Nepal Tourism Board in collaboration with CBI — a Dutch government organization working in Nepal. The website is still running. It contains stories of travellers visiting Nepal after the earthquake, updates on tourism recovery and latest news, among others.
To spread the message that Nepal is now open for business and ready to welcome tourists, NTB unveiled a logo with a slogan “Nepal, Back on Top of the world”. This logo and slogan was finalized by the National Tourism Promotion Committee (NTPC) which was formed by the government to make tourism recovery works more effective. NTPC, along with all stakeholders of the tourism industry, wished to convey that Nepal is safe for visitors and there still remains much to see in Nepal as before. This was an effort to tell the world that Nepal is back to normal.
PATA Travel Mart held in Bangalore from September 6 to 8 was the best platform at that time to tell the world that tourism has recovered from the trauma of the massive earthquake. The team, which participated in the mart, found many people were concerned about the situation of Nepal at that time. Since the media hyped the news, people living outside the country thought Nepal has been damaged completely. This mart helped to clear this wrong perception. PATA was the first international body that approached Nepal after the earthquake. It not only Nepali tourism entrepreneurs for the mart but also sent a team of experts for crisis management.
The Tenzing-Hillary Everest Marathon that used to be held on May 29 was postponed to October because of the earthquake. The news about the highest marathon in the world with a theme “run to rebuild” that began from Everest Base Camp to Namche Bazar was all over in international media. This helped a lot to spread the message that Nepal is safe and so is Everest and other tourist areas of the country.
Tourism is the main source of economy of Nepal. Nepal was poor and the earthquakes made the situation even worst. Hence as a travel blogger I would like to point out some reasons why anyone should visit Nepal at this time.
• Still the same: Everything that was possible before the earthquake still remains possible. Trekking, touring, rafting, driving, flights and every other adventure are possible. It’s a myth that Nepal is not worth visiting.
• Join the mission: Nepal’s tourism sector is rapidly working for tourism recovery. Come here, enjoy your travel, have beautiful pictures or write your travel story, share your story and ultimately be a part of this mission.
• Witness the re-building: Those media hypes about the devastated Nepal might still be disturbing you. You must have felt how would Nepal be the same again? Just pack your bag and take the next flight to Nepal and witness how we are rebuilding
• Set an example: Although there is nothing gutsy about visiting Nepal as it is totally safe now but we know how people perceive. Come to Nepal and set an example.
As we know there always comes a light after darkness. If there was no darkness how would we even enjoy the light? Earthquake was dark but recovery is a light. Hence, come to Nepal now and enjoy the light.