Monday, October 22, 2007

Nepal in German Sight

An E: dialogue:

Namaste, how do you like to introduce yourself?
  • My name is Armin Hartmann from Bonn/Germany. For a number of years I have worked as travel agency manager and tour guide. At present, I also teach business English and administration in a German institute.
How was your trip? Could your give us a short explanation now about your perception on Nepal?

  • From the start to the finish my journey was pleasant and trouble free, full of inspiring impressions and kind people. A country with a rich nature and landscape - well not every local has noticed it yet, sad to say.
How did you enthuse for Nepal trip and what was your major goal of this trip?

  • For about ten years I have had contact to Nepalese citizens staying temporarily in Germany. As a number have gone back in the meantime, the list of invitations and my wish the see them again grew. It made me glad that I could meet most of them in Nepal.
What kinds of things you considered as part of your trip?

  • Next to seeing my friends I wanted and managed to see Chitwan, Pokhara and to trek in Langtang.
What were your most liked and disliked things in Nepal?

  • I liked the people and nature a lot. Negative was pollution and the poor busses. The constant throat-cleaning and spitting of people was also quite irritating.
What do you feel about the behaviours and general welcoming manner of our Immigration, custom, airlines, security and others staffs inside the airport? Did you suffer any problem, or bureaucratic stress?
  • All airport people were friendly and open, problem-free. The queue for immigration without visa was a bit long when I arrived and patience was needed. A sign at the entrance which form needs to be filled in would be helpful, not just silently putting the forms on a desk next to the window. And not every passenger travels with a pen. After I had checked-in for my return flight I wanted to say bye to my friends waiting outside the terminal building. The security man did not let me pass out again at first, what was annoying, but let me go - strange.
As you told Nepal is one of the richest country in nature, culture and society, although we have not been able to achieve needy success in tourism development. What you think why? Would you like to give any remark with your worthy suggestions?

  • This question requires deep thinking and listening about: Who am I? What are my strengths? What do I have to offer? What do visitors expect? Why should they come? What will disturb them? Do I have the desire and courage to change and improve things? Many who have to do with tourism in Nepal have seemingly never asked themselves these questions. The general attitude of people (friendliness, crime etc) is good, infrastructure often poorly maintained or inadequate. It does not need to be expensive. Many small changes have huge effects! Very dangerous holes in footpaths and roads and inadequate street lighting in tourism zones (e.g. in Pokhara, when you arrive by bus or walk around after sundown). Better busses for tourists taller than 1,60m are urgently needed - Nepalese bus quality and safety is a really good reason for a strike. I have been to more than twenty countries outside Europe and never seen such vehicles in transport. Better signs on roads and places for tourists needed. Properly maintained toilets are essential at sightseeing points. Ban the major air polluters from the roads. Also in many other countries the traffic works smoothly without anyone beeping a horn! A capable and authorized central tourism agency should inspect all tourism relevant places and ask the above questions and cooperate with those who have been to the countries the tourists come from - that works! Many tourist have little understanding why they have to pay far more (sometimes more than sixfold) than locals for the same service.
Please tell us, how we can attract more European tourists in forthcoming days to our country? Do we need any unique promotional program for Europeans people? If yes than what and how?

  • In finding answers to the questions in #7. What do tourists expect and why do they come? Meet their expectations at least. Find out what they want and use it! Of course a campaign design for Indian or Chinese will not work in Europe, a different strategy is needed. Europeans come for nature, trekking, culture. Professional support is well spent money.
What you think about the role of our Europe based diplomatic missions concerning the Nepalese tourism development point of view? Do you have any suggestions to our authorities?

  • Until now I have not noticed their efforts in promoting tourism much. A cooperation with a good PR agency would be a useful step to use the budget wisely.
Do you have any plan to contribute in Nepalese development? If yes, then what and how?

  • More than before I will help my Nepalese friends in Germany understand the importance of environment protection and to look closely the mistakes we made here in past and to avoid them in the first place. If I could give my support even locally - I would feel highly honoured.
Do you like to say something to our future tourists who want to visit Nepal in near future?

  • Learn to love rice. Avoid the busses. Get in touch with the locals and let their hearts inspire you. And always have a role of toilet paper and soap with you!

What you say to your people that why should they chooses Nepal as their tour destination?
  • If you love unspoiled and genuine nature, great scenery, green landscapes - Nepal is where you will find it.
Any concluding remarks or special message that you want point out?

  • A word to the local tourist guides: You can easily double your income by not spitting in front of the group (even before saying Namaste), showing personal interest and using thank you and please frequently...

Please tell us something in Nepali?

  • Nepal derai ramro chha!


Reuben said...

Very candid analysis. Hope it will help the concerned people to make necessay improvements. If properly maintained, we can make our nature more beautiful.

Kamlesh said...

Good sugessions!However, you have to give some detail and special idea and model that what types of program and package we need to attaract Europeans because ideal sugession is useless in present context.Thanks.

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