How can you support Visit Nepal 2020 as a traveler?
Nepal Government has announced the year 2020 as a tourism year. Visit Nepal 2020, the third edition of a year-long tourism campaign, has set an ambitious target to welcome more than 20 million tourists within the year. Although the country was shut for foreigners until the 1950s, Nepal has quickly carved a place for itself on the world map as a top tourist destination. From its dreamlike Himalayans in the north to unkempt jungles in the south, Nepal never ceases to amaze visitors.
Thus, naturally, tourism is a major economic pillar in Nepal. For instance, in 2017 alone, travel and tourism sector pumped RS 177 billion into the economy and supported more than 427,000 jobs. Set back by the devastating earthquake, economic blockade, and political turmoil, Nepal hopes to reignite the fire of its tourism industry. Here’s 5 ways how you can support Visit Nepal 2020 as a traveler.
Buy souvenirs made locally in your destination by locals
Nepal has been exporting its unique, beautiful handicrafts to the neighboring countries from times immemorial. Today, more than 100 ethnic groups with their own distinct culture and language reside in Nepal. Wherever you go, you will be met by street vendors selling intricate handicrafts from a carved wooden Newari window to a Tibetan prayer wheel. While you can buy these handicrafts in airconditioned supermarkets and exotic handicraft stores, buying it from a local street vendor who probably earns less than USD $10 a day is a greater humanitarian gesture.
Word of mouth
With a significantly lower GDP and an even lower tourism budget, you won’t probably billboards promoting Nepalese travel destinations in world metropolitans. Even though there are quite a few limitations since it is just a developing country, if you just spread a few good words about Nepal after returning back to your home country, that will be a huge positive advertisement for Nepal. In the world taken over by the world wide web, there are various other effective ways like writing a travel blog, sharing photographs, and posting on social media to do so.
Eat in a locally owned restaurant
Nepal is no stranger to international hotel and restaurant chains like Hyatt Regency and KFC. However, if you choose to eat in a locally owned restaurant, the money will not travel into the restaurant, but also to its employees, the shopkeepers and farmers. No matter how insignificant it may seem in the first glance, when you do so, you are not only injecting value into the tourism industry, but also to the food industry, the commercial FMCG industry and so on.
Hire a guide and porters
Historically backward and fairly illiterate, men in high hills and mountains of Nepal majorly depend on incoming tourists for a little income. In most cases, they do not have any other means of employment to support their families. In that case, it is sensible to hire a guide and porters whenever you are travelling. Especially, hiring a porter doesn’t mean that you are weak or cannot travel by yourself, for it means that you are giving back to the society and helping people earn a little money through hardvwork.
Practice sustainable tourism
In rural Nepal, most people do not have knowledge in knowhow of sustainable tourism. However, bear in mind that the rural Nepal is almost always fresh and remarkably clean. As a tourist, there are still a few things you can do while travelling to make sure that you contribute to its economy. For instance, you can limit your plastic usage and carry a bag to collect the trash you produce and dispose it safely. If you want to go an extra mile, you can even educate local people on how to get rid of the waste correctly and what will happen if one doesn’t.