Disaster plus disabilities: How four tourism stakeholders create positivity in Nepal

The International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP,) together with eTurboNews (eTN), Radisson Hotel Kathmandu, Four Seasons Travel, and a Nepalese student group called Passion to Travel, is putting a smile on happy faces of disabled tourists visiting the Kathmandu Valley and interacting with their local hosts, stakeholders, and Nepal hospitality and tourism industry students.

It’s a demonstration of support for each other and a public demonstration that tourism in Nepal is ready to go, to produce, and to welcome the world.

How does a group of organizations bring tourists with disabilities to a disaster-stricken area and create a positive outcome?

With the foresight and intuitive belief that this unique approach to help a struggling country would work – and work well, mind you – and that is exactly what leaders of these tourism organizations did to help the earthquake-struck country of Nepal.

Go Nepal! A group of disabled travelers support Nepal tourism professionals struggling to get back on its feet.

In a unique program last week, the new Himalayan Chapter of the Hawaii, Seychelles, Brussels, and Bali-based International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) together with eTurboNews (eTN), Four Season Travel Nepal, Hotel Radisson Kathmandu, and the PR Foundation, joined forces to host 16 international tourists with disabilities, along with their attendants and family members to show the travel and tourism sector that now is not the time to wait for Nepal to rebuild before sending tourists back for travel. Now is the time to show that rebuilding travel and tourism in Nepal will make a difference now, when it is needed most.

Spearheaded by Pankaj Pradhananga , director of Four Season Travel Nepal, who is also President of the Himalayan Chapter of ICTP and an ambassador for the global Hawaii-based online tourism publication, eTN, 42 participants were taken on an adventure to enjoy nature in the Godavari Botanical Gardens located in the southern hills of Kathmandu Valley in Nepal.

The nature visit included yoga lessons and games organized by life coach, Mr. Raman Nepali.The Hotel Radisson Kathmandu and the PR Foundation came forward as partners, with the hotel’s Marketing Director, Mr. Rajan Shrestha, himself serving food to the participants. Inspired by the program, tourism students in Nepal joined this initiative, lending their helping hands to making the event a happy success.

“We proudly support Accessible/Inclusive Tourism, and our Radisson Hotel Kathmandu is certainly leading the way in this regard,” said Thorsten Kirschke, President, Carlson Rezidor, Asia Pacific. “There is no doubt this is a difficult time in Nepal, but it truly shows the ‘Yes I Can!’ hospitality of our hotel staff to assist with important initiatives like this led by a great partner in the ICTP.”

Tourists with disabilities have become part of the process of rebuilding tourism in Nepal. Boosting Accessible Tourism and Inclusive Tourism in Nepal has become an important and unique step for relaunching tourism in this earthquake-struck Himalayan landlocked country.

All in all, it was an unforgettable day for the participants. Mr. Bhojraj Shrestha, Board member of the Independent Living Center, spoke on behalf of the participants and thanked everyone for their work in creating this innovative initiative. He said the positive effect this day had on the participants’ mental health, as well as all those who participated in making the event happen, will go a long way towards making the challenges of rebuilding Nepal seen as something that is completely doable.

ICTP Chairman and eTN Publisher Juergen T. Steinmetz said: “I would like to thank the president of our new very active Himalayan Chapter, Pankaj, for leading this important and unique initiative. ICTP and eTurboNews remain committed to assisting the travel industry in Nepal in any way we can, and this is a one-of-a-kind alternative that demonstrates the diversified nature of our great industry. All it takes is some devoted minds to make a huge difference in the life of many – tourists and the local industry likewise.

“We at ICTP, and hopefully together with our global tourism board and stakeholder members, will find more ways to come together and help our members in crisis, such as the tourism industry in Nepal. We would like to invite everyone to become part of our initiative with creative ideas, sponsorship, and volunteer activities.”

Pankaj said: “We want to make this a monthly event, to take different people with disabilities (mobility impairment, visual impairment, hearing impairment) through this community. We plan to find the micro sponsoring within the community to support the cause. Needless to say, ICTP, eTN, and Radisson have already been a part of this caring community, and we will strive to grow the community and share happiness through traveling.”

Joining ICTP is free of charge. Any destination, stakeholder, or supporter interested can is encouraged to join ICTP and join the intiative for Nepal.

SOURCE: ETurboNews