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In this issue, we have dedicated a special section to a report on Nepal (“Nepal, Before and After April 25”). Before the earthquake in April that caused such devastation, Nepal held a special place in the travel industry — especially when it came to experiential travel. Without a doubt, the Himalayas are a quintessential bucket-list destination that capture the imaginations of people everywhere. Nepal is also one of the most popular destinations for adventure travel and is a core offering for many operators.
Executive Editor Mindy Poder had just returned from Nepal a week before the earthquake hit. Normally, such an event would put our editorial plans for a story on indefinite hold. But Mindy felt she needed to write about the amazing experience she had and remind travel agents why it’s important to help the country come back from this disaster.
Along with Mindy’s account of her trip, we’re also presenting an in-depth overview of the current and future state of the tourism industry in Nepal so that agents can get a clear idea of what to expect when their clients return.
And return they will.
While tourism to the region is at a low point, Nepal is one of those places that people dream about experiencing, and there is no doubt that travelers will once again visit.
“I know some countries have had pretty disastrous situations and have come back in three months, while others have taken a bit longer,” said Andrew Jones, vice chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association. “I think if you are open and honest and tell people what’s happening and get the message out, there’s no reason people won’t go back there soon.”
We’ve seen in other cases that it sometimes takes an event such as this to remind people about the fragility of a destination — and, sadly, life itself — as well as the importance of seeing as much of the world as possible while we still can. Plus, travelers will want to visit the country to show support for the Nepali people.
“That’s also part of the ethos of Nepal — the reason that people go there,” Jones said. “Visitors want to see the natural beauty and to interact with the people. They’re wonderful people, which is why volunteers are coming from all over the world to help.”
For information on donating to the Tourism Cares Nepal Recovery Fund, visit TourismCares.org.