NepalNOW: the road to recovery for Nepal’s tourism industry
The earthquake of 2015
In the spring of 2015, the world literally shook for the people of Nepal. A devastating earthquake damaged their property and heritage. To make things worse, news of the earthquake scared off tourists worldwide. Another disaster for a country whose economy so strongly depends on tourism!
Contrary to public perception however, the earthquake didn’t affect the whole of Nepal. Large areas remained intact, including many of the country’s famous monuments, hiking trails and natural wonders. Other areas showed remarkable resilience, as local and international communities came together to rebuild and restore.
To spread the word and bring back the tourists, the Nepal Tourism Board turned to CBI for support. CBI then asked Globally Cool to create a promotional campaign. This would become the now well-known campaign Nepal NOW.
The NepalNOW campaign
The NepalNOW campaign came together in a true team effort. Globally Cool drew up a plan in close collaboration with the Nepal Tourism Board and various other stakeholders in Nepal, like tour operators and tourism associations. A great example of a successful public private partnership!
The key message of the campaign is that tourists can travel to Nepal as safely and securely as ever. To spread this message we set up the website NepalNOW, with honest updates on the situation across the country. We also visited trade events and invited celebrities to be ambassadors.
An important instrument was User Generated Content. Personal stories and experiences that tourists, tour operators, bloggers and ambassadors shared on NepalNOW and social media. In their selfies and other pictures they used signs with “I am in Nepal NOW”, “I am going to Nepal” or “I wish I was in Nepal NOW”. Using the hashtag #NepalNOW, they gave NepalNOW permission to use their images.
The return of the tourists
Before the earthquake, Nepal used to attract around 800,000 tourists per year. In 2015, this number plummeted to a six-year low of about 545,000. Thanks to the efforts of all the people involved in rebuilding and spreading the word, the tourists are returning. In 2016 the country welcomed around 730,000 international tourists. This is great news, but we aren’t done yet…
Let’s elevate Nepal to new heights in 2017! We wish we were in Nepal NOW!