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In this edition, we introduce you to travel blogger Devendra Adhikari also known as Dev. He has been a travel blogger since 2012 and visited 24 countries so far. With great zeal for travelling and photography, he shares his experiences through Instagram. The more he travelled, the more he realised that this was his passion. Through his pictures, he hopes to inspire people to travel and explore this beautiful planet. He has captured thought provoking images of architecture, mountains, and the sea. Dev sees great possibility for tourism in Nepal. He speaks to Pabita Dahal of WOW about his passion and the possibility of tribal tourism in Nepal. Excerpts:

Travel is to live

Travelling is all about exploring new places, food, sights, arts, culture, languages, new friends, different ways of living, having special moments, learning new things, and getting inspired. In short, as Hans Christian Anderson puts, ‘travel is to live.’

I find each destination I have travelled to very unique and I have always learnt something new. I have made special memories in all the places I have visited so far. Travelling is not always as easy and as simple as it sounds. Sometimes it can get very tiresome and uncomfortable especially with jetlag, change in weather, language barriers, food poisoning, and when things do not go to plan. But one should take such incidents as a learning experience and keep the spirits up.

Luckily I have not had any major bad travel moment except for some slight flight delays and few food poisoning incidents. However, one of the scariest moments occurred during my ski trip to the Italian Alps. We were driving back to our base after enjoying a nice Italian meal and our car suddenly slipped and almost fell into the river. This place was in the middle of nowhere and it was very dark. A sudden chill went down my spine when we noticed that wheel chains were needed to get out in those conditions. Fortunately, after being stuck for an hour in the cold, dark and desperate situation, a car came by and helped us out. Due to time limitations, I normally fly to my destinations. However, I prefer to travel by car as the main advantage of travelling by car is its flexibility. I can travel any time anywhere, at my own schedule and can stop anywhere I like. I can stop in little cafes by the road and talk to the cafe owner and locals, feel their way of life and get inspired.

I find each destination I have travelled to very unique and I have always learnt something new. I have made special memories in all the places I have visited so far.

Visit Nepal 2020

I have been affiliated with the Finnish Nepal Friendship Association (FNFA) as a board member for the past six years. FNFA was founded by enthusiastic Finnish expats who had worked in Nepal 40 years ago with an objective of promoting Nepalese interest in Finland and making Nepal known among Finns. Tourism promotion is one of its’ major activities and it conducts various other activities every year. To promote tourism especially in Nordic countries, FNFA has been participating in the biggest Nordic travel fair called ‘MATKAMESSUT’ every year for the past 35 years by organising multiple activities like Nepal Week, Food Fair, Cultural Programs, Seminars, Talk Programs with top mountaineers like Veikka Gustafsson, etc. FNFA is going to celebrate its’ 40th anniversary in 2020 and it coincides with Visit Nepal Year 2020. As such, FNFA and VNY 2020 officials are planning on several joint projects. The projects are in the planning stage at the moment. My role in the projects will be to help promote Nepalese tourism interests with my photography via my Instagram, FNFA pages, and probably a photo exhibition. I will start off with the project by travelling to Mustang and various other key touristic places in Nepal this October.

Unexplored areas of Nepali tourism

Being a native and having travelled all over Nepal, I have found that its tourism has huge prospects in terms of sceneries, trekking, mountaineering, pilgrimage, adventures, art, and culture. It has the potential of becoming one of the top tourist destinations in the world. For that, we need to work together.

Nepal is known for its rich cultural heritage, natural beauty and diverse wildlife. However, there are so many areas that are yet to be explored and can have huge potential in the world tourism market with Tribal Tourism being definitely one of them. Over the years, travel has become less about just having fun and more about learning and transformation. As a result, tribal tourism has particularly become a fast-growing trend.
Nepal is extremely rich in ethnic and cultural diversity. According to the last census of the year 2011, Nepal has nearly 60 different tribes and their unique cultures can serve as the essence of the attraction for tribal tourism. All tribes have distinct cultures, languages and belief systems and it can be of great interest for tourists. Some of the very unique tribes of Nepal like Rautes, the nomads and forest dwellers like Chepangs and Bankariyas can especially serve as incomparable experiences for tourists.

Tribal tourism has lots of positive impact as it can help people learn and appreciate different ways of life. For tribal communities that are struggling to maintain their livelihoods and traditions, it can also become a way of educating others about their situation, earn money and play an active role in the maintenance of their culture. There is a downside to it too such as environmental and cultural damage but if handled effectively and sensitively, tribal tourism can serve as a win-win situation for all parties concerned. The tourism sector of Nepal should, therefore, give some serious attention to the changing interests of the world tourism market and start encompassing new elements in its strategies.