Thursday, April 1, 2010

How local travel benefits Nepal!

Finally, a movement that will hopefully bring more and more travelers to travel locally. Over the years, this type of travel is growing. Am talking about the new website, a website bringing together proponents of local travel all in one place, so it is visible and has a movement status.

socialtours just joined it as one of the partners from Nepal, as this is where we are based, and this sort of movement is crucial for us, as we market direct and have to rely on clients who are aiming to buy locally.

Alex Narracott ( has described quite adeptly in an article entitled The importance of 'travelling local' in adventure sports (read it here) and I completely agree with him when he summarises at the end in this way

"Experience, access and sustainability. Three very good reasons why the adventure world as a whole - traveller, host and intermediary - should all being looking to go local at every opportunity"

I like to focus on the sustainability part. This is crucial for the future of businesses and the stability of the economies in the long run. As more and more people travel locally, all aspects of the business, from marketing to operations to after sales, start being performed by local operators, giving them much needed capacity boost, pride, skill enhancement etc, which in the long run will serve them good.

Agents also have a very short bursts of loyalty towards a destination. It is only local operators who are dedicated to marketing and selling a particular destination. In Nepal, this came to the attention of the 'ground handlers' (spoilt by year and years of just ground handling for western companies) quite starkly when the Maoist insurgency and the negative Travel Advisories hit the industry. Agents in the West turned away much too quickly (even though not a single Westerner was targetted through the 15 years the insurgency went through), leaving a big void, and taking back the industry about 13 years in terms of arrivals. If the local operators were capable, this would never have happened.

It had desirable effects too, as the men separated from the boys and Nepal started taking reign of its tourism again. There are more operators now who promote local travel and are taking control of their own markets.

A movement such as this will go a long way in supporting Nepal and the sustainability of tourism in this tiny country. Kudos in starting this!


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