Last updated: 04:30 PM ET, Mon April 11 2016

Make Your Nepal Trip Meaningful

Destination & Tourism | Janeen Christoff | April 11, 2016

Make Your Nepal Trip Meaningful

PHOTO: Nepal. (Photo courtesy of Thinkstock)

Nepal is open for business — and has been, even though an earthquake devastated the country in April of 2015. But in the wake of the quake, the mission in Nepal changed from a focus on adventure and cultural travel to a concentration on rebuilding. Now, the ongoing rebuilding effort is going on side by side with the country’s tourism operators, as operations begin to return to normal.

As tourism advisories in both the U.S. and the UK are lifted and the new Nepal is slowly emerging, signs of the old Nepal are showing through. And as you embark on an adventure in the country, Tourism Cares has put together a map of ways you can make your visit meaningful, both in a cultural way as well as in a way that is helpful to recovery. Leave your mark on this indelible place by lending a hand in one of the many useful projects that will not only get you close to Nepalese culture, but also assist in the country’s recovery.

READ MORE: Climbing Back from Disaster in Nepal

One of the most important aspects of traveling to Nepal now, according to Tourism Cares, is that your visit will contribute to the recovery and the 487,000 Nepalese and their families, whose livelihoods depend on tourism, which makes up approximately 10 percent of Nepal’s GDP.

Right now, the recovery from the Gorkha earthquake is in full swing. There are a variety of opportunities for travelers who are interested in learning and engaging in this type of recovery effort. Here are few of the places where your participation and tourism dollars will help support the region:

There are trekking and rebuilding opportunities along the Great Himalaya Trails, especially Langtang and Gorkha.

There are new tours and experiences specific to learning about and engaging the recovery, including “Wisdom Wednesdays” from Next Generation Nepal and “The Rise of the Artisans” from Social Tours.

Chitwan National Park is the country’s second natural UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Participating and using various social enterprises, such as massage clinic Seeing Hands Nepal, which provides some of the best jobs in the country for Nepal’s visually impaired, helps give financial stability to the communities.

Several tour operators also offer itineraries that include lending a hand.

Intrepid Travel, which runs 28 different trips to Nepal, is donating all 2015 and 2016 profits to recovery.

G Adventures, affiliated nonprofit, Planeterra raised more than $200,000 for recovery projects and opportunities to work with Planeterra are available on trips.

Ace the Himalaya is a champion of adventure travel and has a rebuilding partnership with a local NGO, Sambhav Nepal.

READ MORE: Intrepid Travel Focusing on a Renewed Nepal

Crooked Trails is a nonprofit travel company devoted to Nepal, and raised $115,000 for relief, donated over 100,000 pounds of food and runs trekking and rebuilding trips.

Myths and Mountains, an award-winning Nepal specialist, gives back with every trip and promotes education through its READ Centers.

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