By | Category: Travel rumblings

Nepal refugeesThe tragedy that has happened in Nepal in the last ten days has brought the usual combination of pleas for assistance, stories of survivors being found alive and the desecration of people’s lives.

What doesn’t come out in the mainstream media stories is the role of tourism. You might think that now is the very last thing that should be considered amongst the deaths and the homelessness.

But tourism is important to the small country – 800,000 people visited Nepal in 2014 including over 40,000 Brits – and whilst some might suggest that tourists could burden an overworked infrastructure, that isn’t always the case. International and domestic flights have resumed. Hotels and tours along the way that tourists normally take are open. Your going would provide money and work for the people and help support an economy that will take some rebuilding. I’m not suggesting going in the next couple of weeks, but this year would help a lot kickstart the tourism economy.

Some tourist companies with long roots in Nepal have moved quickly to help. Take the Indian company, Le Passage to India, for example.  It is supporting the re-construction of a village with the help of the local Village Development Council, near the heritage site of Changunarayan Temple about 10 km east of Kathmandu. The coordination for this re-building effort is being handled by Le Passage Travel Foundation. The American company, Alpenglow Expeditions is still paying the wages of its mountain guides but has also contributed to a special fund for house building as has another American company, Collette. They have also donated $25,000 and agreed to match donations by their clients, employees and passengers up to a further $20,000.

In addition, a number of tour operators have privately donated to Nepalese charities working with the homeless, those deprived of water and shelter.

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