Monday, May 11, 2015

Update on Travel to Nepal.

This is a message from our guides, partners and staff in Kathmandu.
Dated: May 10, 2015.

Photo: Dan Barham
We've had so many messages from around the world checking in on us and the situation here, there's a lot of love for Nepal and people want to help. We're doing our bit here and we would like to ask that you also help Nepal in this time of need, by doing what you're good at. 

Huge efforts are going into getting emergency shelter and food out. Local NGOs and businesses, private individuals and groups just mobilized in any way they could to get food and shelter out to where it is needed. It has been amazing. Yet it’s just a drop in the ocean. I am sure you have seen pictures or read about whole villages flattened – it’s just surreal to sit here in Kathmandu (which is amazingly functional) writing to you about this.

All of our guides, staff and their families are ok, even though houses damaged and people are sleeping outside. We have been able to distribute tents and food and will be doing more –  what we can while still paying our staff their salaries and ensuring jobs for our team in the future. The team has been busy getting the relief materials sent out, providing logistical support to get a field hospital up and running, looking for areas of need and how we can help and fundraising for local NGOs. This is all on top of their own obligations to their family’s safety in a disaster zone.

Some areas are still in 'relief' stage, we're even hearing of areas, still, that have not been reached at all. Then some have already moved past that, rebuilding has started in Kathmandu. Donating money is the key to the initial relief stage and please let us know if you would like further information on where/how to donate as not all organizations are equal.

Next is the rebuild. Even more mind boggling than the relief needs, it's looking like 500,000 houses will need to be rebuilt. People who have lost everything must try to rebuild their lives when skilled labour (for safe building) will likely be in short supply.

Of course tourism is our thing so we have a vested interest, but we know that it is an essential part of rebuilding Nepal, giving hope in the form of jobs and income with which to rebuild shattered lives. Foreign aid and handouts are necessary initial stages, but true sustainable rebuilding requires jobs.

So please help us get the message out that Nepal is a good travel choice, as time spent here will be helping people to rebuild by sustaining jobs and hope. It has been said that one tourist provides nine people with jobs, which is an incredible amount, nine families that have some hope for every single tourist that visits. We mean of course ethical travel that is safe and respectful for the travelers and the people of Nepal. Travel that brings in much need revenue to the country to sustain fair salaries and wages. Travel that is not voyeuristic and hence would not go to the affected areas, but will spread the income as far as possible through jobs and income.

Please help us by spreading the word about what an amazing destination Nepal is and how helpful ethical tourism can be to rebuild Nepal!

Timing is important, and right now is not the time to come but plan to come. With the progress already made it is estimated that the airport will be completely back to normal and most international relief workers gone in a month.  Nepal is still an incredible destination and the images portrayed in the media are very localized.

We have two departures to Nepal this fall on our incredible Himalaya Heights trip: October 9 and November 9. Get in touch with us!

Thank you in advance for your support. From our team in Kathmandu and beyond.

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