Wanted to write this advisory some days ago, but the devastating earthquake and its aftereffects has meant that that the whole crew was busy in emergency relief. The work of course has not ended, but it high time readers of this blog get an updated Advisory.
So here goes!
The 7.8 RS Earthquake of 25th April 2015 and its aftershocks, some as high as 6.7 RS have wiped out villages, and have forever changed some of the cultural and ecological landmarks of the country. Nepal will never be the same again.
The immediate effect to tourism was devastating. Trekkers stranded, injured and dead. Others stuck in cities, and unable to go home as relief flights disrupted commercial flights, and aftershocks closed down the airport for hours. Now, however, all trekkers that were stranded are slowly being rescued our, and sent home.
Kathmandu is slowly emptying out, and the tourism industry is reeling from the loss of property, facilities, broken down supply lines, infrastructure and most of all, manpower - who are now busy picking up pieces from their own villages, or helping out in the massive outpouring of humanitarian support that Nepalese are putting together. Everyone has joined hands, making the hope of Nepal rising from the rubble a quick reality. Together we can. Though the circumstances are sad beyond words, its also a proud moment to be a Nepali, as you see instance after instance of people coming together to help their own.
So, to the Travel Advisory.
Avoid the mountains for a while, specially in Manaslu, Langtang, Helambu, Rolwaling, Everest, Makalu Barun and the Kanchenjunga areas. These places are hit from medium to hard, and will be reeling under the food shortages and supply chains broken for a short while before they bounce back to ready themselves for the much needed tourism to come and rebuild their lives. This should not take too long in some areas, but more in others - so read up on whats happening before you make a decision.
If you cannot resist coming to Nepal, or already have your tickets that are non-refundable, focus on the south - Hetauda, Ilam, Chitwan, Lumbini, Bardia and Dhangadhi would all be fine, and parts of the mid-hills and high mountains, specially in the Mid-West and the Far West are totally fine. The Annapurnas was also not too badly hit, so they will bounce back real fast.
Talk to people on the ground - agents, handlers, and experts - to find out the current situation - they can advise you the best.
1. Nepal will need tourism dollars to reconstruct the country. We want you back, so the country will make every effort to get tourism back up on its feet again.
2. Do not come in for tragedy pornography. The Nepali people are suffering, and its not objects to be made objects of attention at this moment. There are too many fresh wounds here, which will take time to heal.
3. Beware of reconstruction tourism schemes. There will be many schemes now that will try to use the tragedy to drive people to come and help out. Many a time, these are not well thought about, and will do little towards real help. Ask the right questions so that you know what you are going into.
See you in Nepal! In a while....