BUYERS attending this year's Arabian Travel Market (ATM) came out to show some love to Nepal, which was hit by a devastating earthquake last month.
While the Nepal Tourism Board withdrew from the tradeshow to deal with the crisis at home, four out of five confirmed participants came to ATM, including Bijay Amatya, CEO Kora Tours in Kathmandu.
Amatya told TTG Asia e-Daily 30 per cent of historical monuments that attract tourists were destroyed in the April 25 tragedy, but that hotels like Raddison Hotel Kathmandu and Hyatt Regency Kathmandu have resumed operations.
“Many people walked to our counter and offered their support and said, ‘We want to come (to Nepal)’,” he said, adding: “We believe Nepal will be back in business by June.”
Homa Mistry, CEO at Gurgaon-based Trail Blazer Tours India, sells India-Nepal packages and has seen his US buyers offer tremendous support to Nepal.
“In fact as we speak, a four-member team from our US office is now in Nepal, at one of our popular sites, checking with local communities how they can help,” he revealed. Travel associations like Skål International are also pitching in.
Nepal’s plight was highlighted further when the country received ATM’s Frontiers Recovery Award for bouncing back from a landslide in the Sindhupalchok district last year that killed 156 people. The US$10,000 prize will help in Nepal’s exhibition costs at ATM next year.
Rishav Agarwal, co-owner of Kathmandu-based Nebuti Travel, who accepted the award on behalf of Nepal’s tourism authorities, told TTG Asia e-Daily: “The Nepalese spirit does not die easily. We will recover.”
Nepal drew some 800,000 foreign visitors last year.