Nepal Tourism is ‘Open for Business’

As we finished the Charity school work it was then time to take the team across to the more Western side of Nepal, to see an area that had not been affected by the earthquake and where its ‘business as usual’ for the struggling tourism trade.

The complete contrast is a means of us being able to witness not only the physical devastation of the homes and communities but also the impact it has had on one of the countries main means of income, tourism. With numbers down as a consequence of the earthquake, and an existence of the lack of international public knowledge of whether trekking, rafting and the adventure tourism is safe to continue, we headed over to the Annapurna range for a 5 day trek followed by 3 days white water rafting.

Trek rest stop after 3000+ steps!

After a 30 minute internal flight we then had a short drive to the start of our trek. The 5 day route took us up to Poon Hill at 3100m, a view point for seeing the Himalayas. However after the 3000+ steps on day 2 to get up there the weather was not in our favour for our early morning viewpoint, but the trek up through the Rhododendron forests was still stunning and worthwhile.

Rewarding morning views

The following day we awoke from our tea house/lodge and were rewarded by sun rise views over the Annapurna’s  and then our descent down to the road below to meet the raft team. From here we drove to the start point of the 3 day Kali Gandaki rafting trip, to spend 2 nights camped out under the stars. The days were warm and the water inviting as we headed to the take out and our transport to Pokhara, Nepal’s second city based along Fewa lake with a Himalayan mountain backdrop.

The Raft team!

Time spent in and out of the raft!

During the trek, raft and time in Pokhara there was very little evidence, if any, of the earthquake that happened 12 months ago. For me having done this trek and raft trip over a dozen times and enjoyed the relaxation of Pokhara, was the lack of people and noticeable decline in visitors.

This decline in tourism is having a knock on affect not just for the guides and porters that make their income from tourists, but all of those that depend on this income to support the families. even the taxi drivers, barbers, shops and restaurants will require the return of business to survive.

As we witnessed - there are areas totally unaffected and trekking and rafting activities and hotels and restaurants, are open for business and it is still safe to come to Nepal - as prince Harry proved!

After our last meal together in Kathmandu it was time for everyone to head home, and hopefully like me full of fantastic memories. What has always made Nepal so special for me, and I hope for those that joined me, is not the mountains, nor its rivers (although both are pretty awesome!) - its the people.

Last supper in Kathmandu!

Its these people that we came to help rebuild their communities and support their income, and we will continue to do so for many years to come. We will be continue the fundraising back in the UK for the projects and will return to spend more time at these schools in the Autumn. We’ll also be running adventure experiences this coming autumn in the regions unaffected by the earthquake 12 months ago. It you could you out here making the difference to this communities.

The faces say it all!

Thanks to all the team that joined me and look forward to seeing you all back home. I’m hopping on a flight across to Bhutan now for 2 days of meetings and just like Nepal - I’m being followed by Royalty! More on that tomorrow!


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