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Published on : Wednesday, May 27, 2015
The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has taken the initiative to help and support the bounce back campaign for Nepal’s Tourism Industry. PATA Vice Chairman Mr Andrew Jones, along Mr Bert van Walbeek, an experienced crisis management expert, recently visited Nepal to meet with travel and tourism industry stakeholders in the country. Both Mr Jones and Mr van Walbeek have helped countries in the past such as Philippines, Thailand, Bali, and Sri Lanka, cope with natural calamities and the after effects of war.
To move ahead with the recovery task, an initial preliminary interaction programme was organised on May 24, 2015 in the capital city, Kathmandu. The programme was actively participated by 60 key personalities from the public and private sectors of Nepal to explore and exchange ideas on tourism recovery initiatives in the aftermath of the April 25, 2015 earthquake.
Furthermore, a brainstorming meeting with Mr van Walbeek was also organised on May 22 in Kathmandu. The meeting was actively participated by 25 key stakeholders from the tourism industry and more than 250 ideas on tourism recovery were considered The meeting was a prelude to the May 24th meeting and the ideas shared will be incorporated in the coming days in the tourism recovery plan.
During the meeting on May 24th, Mr Jones, suggested using the expertise of professionals to create more promotional activities as well as engage celebrities in the recovery effort. He further assured participants at the meeting that PATA would mobilise it extensive network of members to help Nepal overcome the recent crisis. He would also propose an action-oriented plan to the Nepal Government, the PATA Nepal Chapter and PATA. Mr Jones also took the time to share his experiences in the recovery efforts in Thailand after the tsunami, in Bali after the bombing and the Philippines after the typhoon.
Mr van Walbeek presented various ideas on the tourism recovery process. He strongly recommended that Nepali tourism stakeholders remain positive and suggested they do not to offer discounted packages but provide additional value added services to their guests. He also shared his experiences in Egypt, Bali, Thailand and Japan and highlighted the programmes and plans that helped these destinations recover quickly.
National Planning Commission member Mr Chandra Mani Adhikari spoke at the meeting asking stakeholders to work on rebuilding damaged areas, showcasing the heritage sites that are still intact, and remain positive in their daily business life. He believed that the input from PATA would help the country formulate short-term, mid-term, and long-term plans for the Nepal Government in regards to tourism.
In addition, Mr Suresh Man Shrestha, Secretary – Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, highlighted the importance of an expert’s view to make recovery plans. He also informed the participants about the formation and programmes currently being carried out by the Tourism Recovery Committee (TRC). He noted that the government would follow suggestions made in the plan.
PATA Secretary and Treasurer, Mr Basant Mishra, appreciated the initiative and timeliness of the PATA Nepal Chapter’s and the TRC’s work. He believed that if things go smoothly, Nepal’s tourism could bounce back in the upcoming season beginning in September 2015.
Senior tourism personality Ms Ambika Shrestha; Mr Bijaya Amatya; TAAN Vice President Mr Keshav Pandey; TURGAN President Mr Hare Ram Baral; Dr Rajiv Dahal; Mr Tilak Lama; Mr Bimal Kadel; and Mr Wouter Schalken from SAMARTH; highlighted their views in the programme. Moderating the meeting, Mr Suman Pandey, President of the PATA Nepal Chapter and spokesperson for the Tourism Recovery Committee, highlighted the ideas of celebrity engagement and assured the participants that the Nepal Chapter would continue to play an active role to help Nepal bounce back soon.
Mr Ramesh Kr. Adhikari, Administrative Chief of the Nepal Tourism Board and Member Secretary of the TRC, summed up the programme and highlighted two major items: repairing and preparing. Repairing for now and preparing for tomorrowcan be done by the stakeholders common effort and joint initiative for which the “Tourism Recovery Committee” was formed. He also highlighted the importance on the process of thinking, inking, and linking for a greater impact in this context.
A recovery plan with clear guidelines and an action plan will be prepared by mid-June 2015 with the help of PATA. This joint initiative of PATA and the Tourism Recovery Committee is expected to be an effective and instrumental tool to help uplift Nepal’s tourism industry.