Why America’s insatiable appetite for stories about Everest may actually discourage Nepal tourism Nov 29th 2016

In The Kathmandu Post of November 29th, a  tourism consultant gave his ideas for resetting Nepal tourism. here is the link: http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2016-11-29/a-new-trajectory.html

Note: My novel of Nepal makes a fine Christmas present especially for a nurse or doctor thinking of global health or medical missionary work. Buy it on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Sacrament-Goddess-Joe-Niemczura/dp/1632100029

The consultant seemed to advocate restricting flights so as to get rid of low-cost airlines; and clearly stated that “hippies” are not wanted.  These were astounding assertions.

You can’t tell how much money a tourist has to spend, by looking at their clothes. Frankly, any tourist who comes to Nepal wearing a business suit (an outward indicator of the type of wealthy tourist he wants to attract) will get right back on the plane the moment they realize there is no toilet paper and few western-style toilets. (see below).

Huffington Post

This very same day, a Nepali guy wrote on Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/2017-nepal-as-traveling-destination-and-culture-shocks_us_581d782be4b044f827a78d49?ncid=engmodushpmg00000006.

If this is your first time in Asia this might be interesting for you. Nepal does have some western style toilets but in most of the homes you will find only a regular Nepali style toilet. You can practice using this toilet by doing yoga positions and maintaining your balance to drop your stuff into the hole. Nepali people are experts in it but I have heard out of 10, one foreigner says they would rather hold it for a year than use the squat toilet. The next thing you’ll notice is that there is no toilet paper. Most of the people use their hand and water to wash their stuff after poo. It is taught from childhood to wash their hands with soap after use of a toilet but you never know for sure if you can get soap in every toilet.

The Kathmandu Post article appeared in Nepal; the Huffington Post article appeared in an online publication read by hundreds of thousands of people in USA. The guy who wrote for Huffington Post was giving them an unsweetened view of Nepal travel – read it your self and ask if it entices you to visit Nepal….

For me? My opinion?

I wrote my opinion in summer 2015 after the quakes, and I think it still holds true. http://wp.me/p1pDBL-AQ. Marketing decisions by the tourism industry need to focus on the five main target groups as I reviewed them in my 2015 piece.

The plain truth:

Nepal is an amazing, mystical and fantastical place, and holds a special place in the mythology of humankind.

You can quote me on the above. Much of my CCNEPal blog ( http://www.joeniemczura.wordpress.com) is used to share information with a highly specialized group of possible visitors to Nepal – nurses and doctors thinking of sharing their skills with their Nepali colleagues. I travel to places no western Tourist ever visits – and I am treated like royalty. So can you be!

Tourism to Nepal took a huge hit when the twin earthquakes struck in April 25th and May 6th 2015.

Okay, so Nepal always promoted themselves as a place to go for adventure tourism. Nepal is 800 miles from the nearest ocean – nobody would take the kids for a sun and sand vacation as if it were Cancun or Cape Cod or Maui. You don’t see any Nepalis winning swimming medals at the Olympics, do you? there is a good reason….

Nepal has tried various strategies to re-introduce them selves to tourists, mostly along the lines of “it’s safe to come back now” but not really making an impression.

the above is more or less “It doesn’t suck as badly as you may think.” Hardly a ringing endorsement.

My friend Donatella Lorch, the enigmatic journalist, https://tangledjourneys.com/ wrote a piece in Goats And Soda titled “I am in Nepal now”  http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/09/10/439195188/i-am-in-nepal-now-says-new-tourist-campaign-only-nepal-is-in-chaos  that examines this issue.

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Nepal deserves this designation, it really does. My trips there have changed my life.

Here is a seven minute video montage:

Read this piece titled 8 Reasons to visit Nepal. https://www.travel3sixty.com/8-reasons-to-make-nepal-your-next-adventure/

About the movie Everest

probably the biggest  recent event to promote Nepal in the public consciousness of USA was the movie “Everest.” Here is the trailer;

Here is the problem with all the above. The promo pieces are either too shallow or too deep and they don’t really appeal to the audience of travelers who might actually visit the country.

A shameless plug for my own book to be made into a movie

Nepal is a terrific place for trekking and hiking. The problem with the movie Everest is, when that’s what people see, they think all trekking and hiking in Nepal is death-defying, and while the story is suspenseful, the person in the audience is saying to themselves “those guys are truly crazy and they are risking death for no good reason.”

America’s Insatiable appetite for stories about Everest may actually be scaring people away from Nepal tourism

The key is, the movie Everest represents a mythological extreme. Trekking in Nepal is not death-defying, and it’s not a man-against-high-altitude-elements experience. It’s really really fun,  and part of the fun is to learn about the wonderful hospitality and culture of the people of Nepal along the trekking routes.  You can go on hikes in areas with green forest cover and distant snow-covered vistas, without needing to be in world-class mountaineering conditioning, or risking death.

What the Nepal Tourism Board needs

Nepal needs somebody in USA to make a Hollywood movie that will show the scenery but also the nature of it’s people.  Or maybe a TV show. Having a TV series set in Nepal would echo a very successful strategy employed by the state of Hawaii in USA. In Hawaii, they try to always have a TV show set in the islands – Hawaii Five-O; Magnum P.I., etc.  Why can’t Nepal find a way to do the same?

That’s where my book, The Sacrament of the Goddess,  https://www.amazon.com/Sacrament-Goddess-Joe-Niemczura/dp/1632100029 comes in. the Nepal Tourism Board needs to find somebody who will make it into a movie. This book is set in the western hills, along an area later designated as “the Guerilla Trek” after the civil war was over. The Maoist combatants travelled over beautiful scenery in their quest to overthrow the Royal Government. Nowadays is peaceful and beautiful with a rich cultural history.

 

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Written in 2014 to explore the aspects of Nepali culture that go beyond the temples and trinkets. The day-to-day life in Nepal is not easy. You can get this book at Vajra Books on Jyatha in Thamel, or Tibet Books. Or Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Sacrament-Goddess-Joe-Niemczura/dp/1632100029/

Some of the readers of my book have told me that the fast pace reminded them of a screen play and they found themselves picturing who they would cast in each role when it became a movie.

The Sacrament of the Goddess could be Nepal’s version of “Slumdog Millionaire” – after all, the novel includes a love story, an exotic location and a compelling plot. with a suspenseful ending.

The Sacrament of the Goddess could also be a medical show on TV. Not too long ago there was a series named “Off the Map” which purported to show a health  outpost in a low income country. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1587694/ That one didn’t last long. Jenna Bans, the creator and producer, should have consulted me. I could have provided better technical advice than she received.

ER the TV series

In my opinion, the best-ever sequence showing USA doctors using their skills in global health was the sub-plot of ER a few years back.

er-cast

the best medical TV show of all time. ER ran for years. One season there was a global health subplot in which some docs served in Africa with a group like Medecins San Frontieres. No amount of marketing money will compete with the exposure TV show gives to a place in the world or an issue.

Somebody posted a tribute and link is here: https://youtu.be/83ozEDEA1QU Having said the above, I do need to tell you that most global health experiences as nowhere near as intense as the ER clip depicts. All the same, I think that subplot of ER iout nspired a generation of nurses and doctors to get involved in global health.

and of course, ER included this short scene that was and is incredibly powerful for anybody who has ever really and truly prayed: https://youtu.be/wXhUEyzCuR8

So – if anybody from the Nepal Tourist Board reads this, or if there is any movie producer sympathetic to Nepal looking for a screenplay that would entice Americans to fire up their curiosity about this exotic (and yet peaceful) place – let me know. The movie rights are for sale!

 

 

 

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