LETTERS: Tourists and excursionists
Apropos of the editorial “Tapping tourists” (THT, February 21, Page 6), in tourism language day trippers who spend less than 24 hours are known as excursionists, not tourists.
To qualify as a tourist one must spend minimum 24 hours in the travel destinations. So what we have in Lumbini are more excursionists who travel on a day trip to pay obeisance at the altar of Lord Buddha and head back to the next destination.
As most excursionists are likely to be pilgrims, it is safe to assume that they will not spend much on food, drinks and recreation. Most excursionist pilgrims might even bring their own lunch boxes using only the basic wash and rest room facilities. This is where we need a strategy to motivate pilgrims to spend at least a night to visit all the places associated with the enlightened one. String all the places together in a single package. But, most importantly, the quality of the places, access roads and amenities must be of top quality. Just building hotels and houses might not raise the quality of the destination.
Since tourism is also attached to ego, image and pride, tourists must return with a sense of fulfillment of visiting a rare, sacred place. And the guides must be of top quality with not only extensive knowledge of all the places but also of Buddha’s life and preaching. Once I passed by Khajuraho, a mere short flight from Varanasi. At first, I mistook the temple guide as a rickshaw driver. He was clad in pajama and “Hawaii Chappal”.
He started speaking in fluent English for close to two hours, interspersed with a joke or two, anecdotes and questions to keep us interested in his offering. After listening to him, I decided to stay back for two nights to explore the area more. And the hotels? What character they had? The Oberoi and the Taj were next to each other. I stayed in one and had a satisfaction that is rivalled not by Marriott or Oriental Mandarin but by Inn of the Six Happiness in Singapore and a Ryokan in Tokyo. The hotel, the service and food were all too good to be true.
This is what we need in Lumbini. With the local government already in place and the regional airport coming up soon, Lumbini can be a centre of Nepali tourism. But for this, we need to offer what the tourists want.
Hopefully the new local government will give just that to the pilgrim-tourists.
Manohar Shrestha, Kathmandu
This is with reference to the Topics article “Love is beautiful” (THT, February 21, Page 8). I agree with the writer who has portrayed the meaning of love by illustrating various examples. I agree with the two quotes that writer has given in the piece. Yes, indeed love is notoriously difficult to define in words. As a writer of Falang English Dictionary, I struck with the conceptual explanation for the word “love” there are words which are very commonly uttered but are indeed difficult to define when it comes to convey the crux meaning of the word.
Shiva Neupane, Melbourne