One year ago, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked Nepal and swept through the Kathmandu Valley triggering avalanches on Mount Everest and in the Langtang Valley. The earthquake tragically killed more than 8,000 people and injured more than 21,000. Tremors and major aftershocks could be felt for months afterward, and hundreds of thousands of people were made homeless and lost their livelihoods, which made the future uncertain for the Nepalese people.
Tourism is such a powerhouse for the economy of Nepal, and it’s the largest source of foreign exchange and revenue for the country. It may come as no surprise then that many rely on tourism, and we at G Adventures know that to truly help the people of Nepal, travellers need to start putting the country back on their radar.
It’s business as usual for travellers to Nepal
All G Adventures tours are up and running in Nepal. Travellers should expect to find road work initiatives, but not expect delays. UNESCO World Heritage sites, temples and other important buildings will not be fully open as the process of restoration requires the work of specialists.
Heeding the call
Within 24 hours of the quake, G Adventures launched a campaign to raise funds for those in need on the ground. Our focus was to bring both immediate relief and long-term rebuilding efforts to those that relied on the tourism industry as their primary source of income. Such relief efforts were to support porters, homestay hosts, local guides and our friends at the G Adventures for Good–supported Sisterhood of Survivors project.
In two weeks, G Adventures raised more than CAD $200,000 from our generous extended family — our travellers, donors, friends and loved ones, and our partners from across the world. It was inspiring to see these donations and well wishes for Nepal sent in from all corners of the planet. In total, we heard from you from more than 35 countries. Thank you.
How where your donations used?
With the funds raised, we were able to mobilize immediate emergency efforts to the Sisterhood of Survivors to pack vehicles that were sent to rural villages in the Langtang Valley — the hardest hit area of the earthquake. These vehicles were packed with fuel, salt, popped rice, fresh water, blankets and tarps, and were distributed to more than 900 families in Nuwakot, Sindhapalchowk, Kharipati, Bhaktapur and Ghyangphedi.
The Planeterra Foundation, G Adventures and our ground partners formed a task force — working with a local engineer who had previous experience constructing properties with earthquake preventative methods. This taskforce evaluated applications for the rebuilding of homes from porters in the Everest region, homestay hosts, local guides and the Sisterhood of Survivors. Rebuilding grants were dispersed dependent on highest need to 152 family homes. Our focus was to support families who were both reliant on the tourism industry and had no other means of income or support otherwise.
Book now to help Nepal
With the remainder of the funds, Planeterra and G Adventures has invested in bringing long-term tourism back to the area, as the creation of jobs is critical for communities in the months and years ahead. We worked with our partners to support the Tharu community just outside of Chitwan National Park to develop a local community homestay program. The village was outfitted with water tanks and a solar panel grid so the community would have access to hot water and electricity throughout the winter.
The funds supported the development of a second G Adventures for Good–supported Sisterhood of Survivors project in Pokhara. Within three months, G Adventures tours started to run through this location, which brought back income, jobs, and hope. Both sites are now hubs of support for women across the Kathmandu Valley and Pokhara, providing vocational training in the hospitality industry, outreach support to trafficking survivors, and long-term job support for so many more. We are happy to see the success of this organization being recognized globally, and last year, with Planeterra and G Adventures’ support, the Sisterhood of Survivors won the UN World Tourism Organization Award for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism.
It’s been incredible to see such resilience in the face of such tragedy. Nepal is back up and running with so much to offer. The best thing you can do to support this country is to go visit!
G Adventures runs a number of departures in Nepal encompassing a wide range of departure dates and activities to cater to different tastes. We’re thrilled at the prospect of showing you this big blue planet of ours — check out our small group trips here.