[Updated] Normally when I write about a country or city, it’s one I’ve actually visited. For Nepal however, I’ll be making an exception. Though this might seem a bit like promotional material, I assure you it’s for a just cause: the recovery of Nepal.
On April 25th 2015, Nepal was struck by an earthquake, resulting in extensive damage, and a tragic death toll of over 8800. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their homes and the country took a large economical hit. Though the country is recovering, it still needs help doing so.
While visiting and filming at the Vakantiebeurs (read about it here), I happened to run into Shashi Paudyal, president of the Nepal Development Academy. He asked me if I, perhaps, was willing to stick around a bit longer, film the Dutch/Nepalese band Changa, and if I was willing to do some promotion. I obliged.
Though Paudyal gave the usual sales pitch as well, his message wasn’t just one of promotion; he wants people to know the country is recovering, that it’s still out there, but waiting for people to return. You see, Nepal relies a lot on tourism. In fact, it’s its greatest industry. Since the earthquake in April however, people have been avoiding the country. “Because of the earthquake, the image of Nepal, people avoid booking a trip [to Nepal].” The reason seems fair enough; the infrastructure might be down, places might been leveled, and spending your vacation in a place that’s still dealing with such a tragedy seems inappropriate. Paudyal assured me that’s not the case. “People think Nepal still isn’t ready to welcome tourists again, but the opposite is true. It’s is definitely ready. Many of the places you’d want to visit are intact.”
I don’t know much about Nepal. I know people who went there and loved it. I don’t know much about the charities involved that help the country recuperate either. But one thing I do know; a country dependent on tourism needs tourist money. Tourism is often a way to help support the (local) economy.
Here’s the interview with Shashi Paudyal (this is an updated version, featuring minor changes, such as several photos):
I’d also like to inform you about nepalnow.org a tourism website, and part of a campaign that seeks to bring people a picture of Nepal as it is now. They offer reliable information, interesting facts and inspiring stories from travelers who’ve been there.
While most travel organizations and governments do advise some caution when traveling to Nepal, they also say that visiting the nation for recreational purposes is quite possible.
Whether or not you’re the type of person who donates to charity, or just doesn’t trust such organizations, please do Nepal a favor though, keep them in mind a a place to visit. If the people in Nepal are as kind and nice as those I met at the vakantiebeurs, I’m sure it’ll be worth it.