This is in reference to the news story “Qatar Airways’ tourism promotion” (THT, Biz briefs, November 20, Page 11). I hope the general public could buy or get a free copy of the conclusions of the tourism promotion event for their information and a good read. Qatar Airways has served Nepal and Nepalese for the last two decades far better than our national airline.
To some Nepalese, mainly the migrant workers, this airline is their national carrier that helped them to travel between their home and work stations without any hassle.
At one point in time, around 2003-2005, this airline ferried migrant workers to Malaysia, one of the Asian Tigers, which had just started to hire Nepalese. In the year 2004, owing to the initiative taken by a Gunaratne, who happily introduced himself as Tiny, the then Qatar manager in Malaysia, Nepal had seen a sudden spurt in arrivals of Malaysian tourists. The flights from Kathmandu to Kuala Lumpur would be full with Nepali labourers and the return leg would be empty. The return flights were not going to be full until the migrants started returning. So, in order to fill up the empty seats on Kuala Lumpur Kathmandu leg, Tiny offered heavily truncated fare to a few Malaysian travel agents who bought hundreds of tickets in bulk paying full amount in advance. Tiny’s responsibility did not end with closing the sales. He, of course, had to see to it that his agents benefitted from their huge investment. So he invited a few Nepalese tourism traders and convinced them to work out an inexpensive package to go with the low, peanut butter fare.
This was win-win for all except that the Malaysian agents had to put in strong efforts so as not to lose their ‘investment’ on the fares. As for Nepal, it was a case of drowning man desperately clutching at a straw as tourism was on the brink, thanks to Maoist insurgency. The Nepali traders could not have asked for more despite sleet-thin margin. This is an example that Nepal airlines and traders could emulate for short term firefighting for tourism dollars. For long term gains, we would need to walk on the path trodden by Amitabh Kant who turned the sleepy state of India, Kerala, into a gigantic ‘God’s own country’.
Manohar Shrestha, Kathmandu
Several politicians expressed disgust in public about English language overshadowing ethnic cultures; and appealed to the people to send their kids to vernacular medium schools. But they themselves use English medium education system for their own kids, since no one can reject the importance of English globally. This is more a narrow political issue that shows up during elections when the politicians use hate mongering as a tool to lure some insensitive and selfish voters to subscribe to a particular narrative. We are the greatest hypocrites and our own worst enemy when it comes to our own selfish needs!
Saikat Kumar Basu, Canada