Lessons from Nepal: Advice for Travellers

The scope of the tragedy in Nepal is still being measured. The number of dead is well past 5,000 and rising, and the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that tore apart this remote nation of 27 million people continues to exacerbate their sense of helplessness by spinning off rounds of lethal aftershocks.

For the Nepalese, the recollection of this tragedy will linger for a lifetime, not only on a personal level, but for the nation collectively. Nepal has always been a low-income country and only recently has gained a measure of economic growth, thanks largely to tourism. According to government figures, in 2013 almost 800,000 visitors travelled to Nepal, on average staying about 13 days. Of that number, about 52 per cent said they went largely for a holiday and pleasure, 13 per cent for trekking and/or mountaineering.

Tourism was Nepal’s route to stability. But will Nepal be able to rebuild that industry? Will the tourists return, seeing what damage can be done by natural forces in such a remote region?

In the case of tourists, mountaineers, or trekkers, they will have experienced an earthquake strong enough to move a mountain—and not just any mountain. But, while nothing is ever certain, an experienced traveller is trained to:

  • Make contingency plans and stick with them.
  • Keep touching base with your family and friends at home.
  • Register your travel plans with your government so you can reach out for help in an emergency, or so they can contact you in case of an emergency at home. (See the contact links below.)
  • Contact your tour operator for news of any contingency plans.

If you have private travel insurance, contact the emergency assistance representatives listed on your coverage card as soon as possible. They can advise you on where to get medical help if you need it, or they can help rearrange your itinerary and advise you how to get out of harm’s way and get back home.

Registering Your Travel Plans

For Canadian Citizens

If you’re travelling or living abroad, sign up for the Registration of Canadians Abroad service. Registration enables the Canadian government to reach you in case of an emergency abroad, such as an earthquake or civil unrest, or inform you about an emergency at home. Sign up online or register by mail, fax, or in person.

For American Citizens

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service that allows US citizens and nationals travelling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest US embassy or consulate. You can sign up online.

For information on travel insurance, visit IngleInternational.com

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