Nepal: travel and (fair) trade
Soaring mountains? Ancient, living architecture? Land-before-time forests? Incensed-infused cities? Nepal checks every box a traveller might throw at it. And then some.
Soaring mountains? Ancient, living architecture? Land-before-time forests? Incensed-infused cities? How about the world's highest mountain, one of its largest Buddhist stupas and arguably its finest teahouse trekking? Yep. Nepal checks every box a traveller might throw at it. And then some.
Wanderlusters have been flocking to Nepal for decades and yet it's kept the charm that drew the first mountaineering adventurers and temple-seeking pilgrims - and added more than a few strings to its bow along the way in its years of hosting outsiders.
HOT APPLE PIE AND A WARM BED AFTER EACH LONG DAY OF TREKKING? AT $2 A POP (BOTH THE BED AND THE PIE!)? DON'T MIND IF I DO.
It's hardly a surprise, then, that tourism is Nepal's largest industry, with 800,000-odd foreigners crossing its borders each year. There are high hopes that the travel industry and the cash it brings to some of Nepal's rural and often remote areas will help achieve the income distribution equality that agriculture, Nepal's economic mainstay, hasn't delivered.
Although the number of Nepali people living in poverty has halved since the early 2000s, more than a quarter of the population still lives below the poverty line. And that's why Fairtrade can make a real difference.
Nepal's handicraft traditions can be traced back to the stone age and its artistic history dates to the 5th century and beyond. Traditional arts like metal work, wood and stone carving, ceramics and painting are still practised today, helping to preserve Nepali cultural heritage as well as create job opportunities. The growing popularity of its handmade wares has seen a raft of other arts like leather work, silk production, felt creation and pashmina weaving added to its quiver.
Organisations like the Women's Skill Development Project, established in 1975, are harnessing Nepal's legacy of craftsmanship to give marginalised women the skills and business support they need to become economically self-sufficient.
ON THE ONE HAND, YOUR PURCHASE BRINGS A GORGEOUS LITTLE PIECE OF NEPAL INTO YOUR WORLD. ON THE OTHER, IT PROVIDES A TALENTED CRAFTSPERSON WITH A FAIR AND SUSTAINABLE INCOME.
Sounds like it's all apples to us!