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Will Nepal’s tourism revive in October 2015?

अर्थ / अर्थनीति [artha(-niiti)] (economy)
माैसम [mausam] (weather)
विदेशी [wideshii] (foreign)
पहिरो [pahiro] (landslide)

Tourism has been an important part of Nepal’s अर्थ / अर्थनीति [artha(-niiti)]. Statistics suggest that it has contributed almost 4% of GDP in 2013 (which interestingly is low in global comparison – the average global GDP contribution of tourism is almost 10%).

Obviously, after the earthquake, shocked tourists have rushed out of the country and new arrivals have ceased. Now the monsoon has started in Nepal and even without the earthquake, tourist numbers would be going down for the rainy season, since during that time Trekking – the main attraction of Nepal – is not very enjoyable and more dangerous: It offers mainly wet clothes, cloudy skies, leeches, and the increased risk of landslides.

From the middle of September when the rain slowly ceases the main trekking season of Nepal will set in: The time when the माैसम [mausam] is dry and mild temperatured, when the clear air allows for spectacular mountain views. In October 2014 almost 60.000 foreign visitors arrived in Nepal. What will happen this year?

Currently most विदेशी [wideshii] governments advice their citizens not to travel to Nepal because infrastructure and essential supplies (food, water, electricity, medicine, etc.) are still unreliable. On the other hand the Nepalese tourism ministry, travel agencies and locals assure potential visitors that Nepal is still worth a visit and functioning in its touristic facilities. In this interview with Andrew Jones who is a vice-chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association, he expresses his great hope that Nepal will recover soon and advises tourism businesses how to keep the tourists flowing in.

It seems that many of the cheaper hostels in Thamel have suffered substantial structural damages. Therefore it seems likely that especially the budget tourism will be effected. On the other hand I think that these backpacking-budget-tourists are the ones most willing to take risks and therefore still might be the first to return to Nepal.

Doti, Seti River, Far-West Nepal
The Seti river in Doti district (Far-West Nepal)

One thing is sure though: Nepal will profit greatly from a revival of its tourism industry. A country which is amongst the poorest of the world and where agriculture still provides for a third of the countries GDP (which is a high indicator for the low industrialization of the country, since the global average is around 6% only).

I personally want to encourage tourists to travel to Nepal from the beginning of October 2015 again. Let the monsoon greatly reduce the increased पहिरो [pahiro] risks first, and give Nepal a chance to have its touristic spring in the fall when Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) can be seen on a lovely morning from the valley ridges in Nagarkot even. But if you are of the adventurous type and want to travel now already, why not consider destinations in Mid-west and Far-West Nepal, where you find the national parks of Rara Tal and Khaptad. These are usually less popular amongst tourists due to its remote location. The Far-Western hill and mountain region is traditionally the least developed in Nepal and therefore will make for a very authentic stay. The area is close to my own heart from my own work and research experience and I will be happy to see an increase in tourist numbers over there.

But if you travel, be aware of the risks and prepare yourself accordingly.

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