Adventure Travel Community Responds to Earthquake in Nepal

28 April 2015
Adventure travel community is prepared to support Nepal as they begin their climb to recovery (note, image taken prior to earthquake)

With Nepal reeling from a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck near the center of the country on Saturday, April 25, the ATTA and its members and the larger adventure travel community are working to gather information from members on the ground and from industry contacts worldwide so that we can best help what is sure to be a long rebuild from this disaster.

Tourism in Nepal contributes over a half of a million jobs (in 2013, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council) and nearly US $1.5 billion to the country’s economy. The adventure travel sector is especially strong in Nepal, tracing its development to mountain tourism starting in the 1950s. The ATTA has eleven members based in Nepal and over 70 members selling trips to Nepal. In addition many of ATTA’s members have clients in Nepal. The reach is far and the travel community small. As news pours in from these members, the ATTA is learning that several have lost staff and many have lost family or homes or have been unable to get in contact with loved ones.

“It’s amazing how quickly events like this impact so many lives that are intimately connected to our industry,” said ATTA President Shannon Stowell. “The more stories we hear about those adversely affected by the earthquake, the more we are saddened, but we are also encouraged when we hear about how quickly our community is mobilizing to help.”

The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) and ATTA have joined together to research how the two industry groups can best collaborate to help the long-term rebuild of Nepal’s tourism and guiding infrastructure as they awaken from the devastation. Shortly the ATTA will finalize a recommendation for a direct industry assistance fund, that will give the ATTA and OIA member communities the opportunity to donate to a fund that supports adventure companies, guides and their families. Next steps will be announced via social media. Follow #AdventureCares for updates.

In addition the ATTA is working with the OIA and the community to organize an on-the-ground assessment of the tourism infrastructure to help with the rebuild and to provide assistance on long-term tourism recovery, crisis management assistance and business continuity support. The completion of the assessment is, of course, contingent on how events in Nepal unfold over the coming weeks and months.

Destination recovery is of utmost importance to the ATTA. As the spotlight will inevitably move elsewhere in the news channels, Nepal will be left to recover and the ATTA’s goal is to work as a community to support their needs for a successful rebuild. Adventure travelers are generally more quick to return to a destination that has had trouble, they keep iconic places on their bucket list and they want to support communities and cultures in need. This is how adventure travel can help -- when the time is right -- bring the travelers back to Nepal.

How Can You Help?

Many organizations are helping on the ground now. The ATTA and OIA have vetted a few organizations that we feel can directly impact and help Nepal now. We have listed these below.

American Himalayan Foundation - Dedicated to helping the people and the ecology of the Himalaya. Earthquake fund created to support rebuild.

Charity Navigator Rating:  88.77 / 3 star

Direct Relief -  Provides essential medical resources in emergency situations.
Charity Navigator Rating:  99.71 / 4 star

Global Giving - Helps meet immediate needs for food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products, and shelter.
Charity Navigator Rating:  96.26 / 4 star

In addition, many ATTA members have also communicated about specific funds that have been set up through their own foundations and non-profits or organizations that they recommend. When notified through approved press releases the ATTA will share those opportunities in AdventureTravelNews and on Facebook & Twitter.