The Arabian Travel Market (ATM) recognized the Himalayan nation of Nepal as its tourism industry suffered a second life-changing economic and humanitarian blow in as many years due to the massive earthquake that struck the country on April 25, 2015.
Arabian Travel Market (ATM), the region’s leading travel industry showcase, has named Nepal as the recipient of the New Frontiers Recovery Award 2015 at a special presentation that was also broadcast on ARN radio, on the final day of the annual event.
Accepting the award from Nadege Noblet-Segers, Exhibition Manager, Arabian Travel Market, on behalf of the Nepal Tourism Board, Rishav Agarwal, Co-Owner of Kathmandu-based Nebuti Travels, said that the industry response over the last three days at ATM had been “incredible”, with visitors to the stand asking for detailed situation updates and also pledging continued support.
“We are determined to get things back on track as soon as possible, once all the debris has been cleared and areas made safe. Despite the devastating loss of life, only around 30% of temples were destroyed, and the majority of hotels in Kathmandu are operational, and neither Pokhara nor Chitwan were affected,” he said.
“Our message this week is thank you to ATM and our industry partners and friends for their magnificent support. We will rebuild and we are confident about the future of the tourism sector in Nepal.”
Nepal’s confidence in the future of its tourism industry remains undimmed with four of the original six confirmed participating companies making it to Dubai for ATM 2015.
Nepal was shortlisted along with Japan and India, each of which suffered significant human and economic losses in the last 12 months due to devastating natural catastrophes, namely the Mount Ontake eruption in Japan and Malin landslide in India.
“Although the original decision was made to recognize Nepal following last year’s Sunkoshi River landslide, which resulted in both loss of life and loss of tourism revenues, this has obviously been surpassed by the catastrophic events of last month,” said Noblet.
“While it is too early at this stage to talk about the mid to long-term prospects for industry recovery, we know that every effort is already being made to restore a sense of normality to local communities as well as evaluate the way forward for the country’s tourism product and the fortitude and positive attitude of the Nepalese people will reap results,” she added.
Now in its 11th year, the New Frontiers Recovery Award was created in 2005 to recognize outstanding contributions to tourism development in the face of overwhelming adversity, supporting the chosen destination by donating exhibition space at the event to the value of US$10,000.
Previous award recipients include Phuket, Thailand; Cancun, Mexico; Sichuan, China; Baluchistan, Pakistan; Central Visayas, Philippines; and Northern India.
eTN is a media partner for ATM.