Why to book your holidays with a local travel agency
Yesterday I had a talk with a woman from America about trekking holidays. I work for Adventure Alternative Nepal, a ground agency for activity holidays (trekking, expedition, yoga retreats, safari holidays and more) in Kathmandu and I told her that it is not easy for a Nepal travel agency to make business, especially if you do not have an office in the main tourist area in Kathmandu, the Thamel. Furthermore, many Westerners who intend to do trekking holidays, already book their holidays at home.
We were also talking about the trustworthiness of local agencies in Nepal. She said that she understands it that if you plan to go on an expedition, you would not book your holidays in Nepal with a local agency, but at home in Europe or the US, because you never know what happens when you book your holidays with a local agency. Is my money safe? Am I safe? What kind of materials are they using? Yesterday I agreed on what she was saying. Today I thought about it again, and I now see that this way of thinking is actually wrong.
First of all: The agencies in the UK or the US are using the same material like we use. We all have our material made in China. It might be that western countries pay more for their material, but that does not mean it is any better. In Thamel you can buy everything a mountaineering heart is beating for. You can even find “real” brands like Mountain Hardwear, Marmot, Millet and The North Face.
Next thing you might be worried about: Do the Nepali guides have a “real” education to be mountains guides? Do they know how to guide? Yes they do! Every mountain guide who is working for Adventure Alternative Nepal is a certified mountain guide and has years of experience. Most of them grew up in the mountains, walking around the Himalayas at the age of 10. Nobody has as much experience as the Nepali mountain guides. They all know the area 100 times better than the best mountain guides of the US, Switzerland or Austria. Let’s take Mount Everest as an example. Nobody has climbed this mighty mountain as much as the “Sherpas” the cast coming from the Everest region, Solokhumbu. Sir Edmond Hillary would have never summited Everest without Sherpa Tenzing Norgay! No western travel agency would try to summit Mount Everest without the help of local people, if it is the Sherpa guides, the porters or the chefs, preparing the meals.
The Nepalis can only profit of tourism if we book our holidays in Nepal through a local travel agency. Otherways all the money goes to the “big players”, the leakage is immense. Let us all help Nepal to rebuild their beautiful country by supporting the tourism and make sure that the money ends at the right place – with the people who work the hardest and need the money the most!