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Monday, January 19, 2009

Books on Nepal-An effective marketing tool

One of the traditional yet effective means of destination promotion is through books, be it in the form of travel guides, novels, travelogues, accounts, maps etc. The trend of promoting tourism to a new level by defining the destination in terms of words, sharing experience or query in the form of books is still an emerging tool but seems less undermined with the increasing trend of electronic media worldwide. However for the country like Nepal which cannot compete with the developed countries in adapting the latest technologies for advertisements, books have played a major role in promoting it’s tourism. It has been adapting new and progressive forms of product imaging and promotion by acclimatizing and exploring new forms and methods to define its magnificence.

Nevertheless, the spectacular landscapes, aloof mountains, virgin rivers and streams and the ethnic culture and tradition have always been a prolific chapter of potent scope and reach of Nepal's tourism. In same view, the different foreign and native writers have acclimatized their creativity in creating and portraying the image of Nepal in a more lucrative and static way. (The books written by Mourice Herzog, The first summitteer of Mt. Annapurna in 1950) have immensely promoted Nepalese tourism.

Likewise, in same view Nepal has acclimatized the modern theme of marketing highlighting the importance of promotion and advertising in the international arena. Perhaps, it uses different means like books, travelogue, advertisement through the different means of visual media to attract tourists to its abode. Apart from that Every year it participates in number of travel fairs and convention to promote itself through its wide perspective.

Rhicha Maharjan, Office Manager at Pilgrims Book House Thamel said, "Currently the market of books are growing and in context of tourism, books certainly do have weight. People do trust and prefer to read books to know about the places, culture and tradition. It can really be helpful in giving you valuable information and the image of the particular place. Ultimately, books provide you with reliable and prominent information."

"I believe books are very valued by people so it should be written on practical grounds highlighting reality and doing intensive research where the possibility of error would be negligible" added she.

Some of the major bestseller which prominently focuses on Nepal are Escape from Kathmandu by Kim Stanley Robinson (2003), Love and Death in Kathmandu by Amy Willesee (2004), Tenzing Norgay and the Sherpas of Everest by Edmund Hillary (2004), Ascent of Rum Doodle by W. E. Bowman (2001), The Waiting Land by Dervla Murphy (1967), Goddess to Mortal by Scott Berry (2005), Mustang: A Lost Tibetan Kingdom by Michel Peissel (1992), Tiger for Breakfast: The Story of Boris of Kathmandu by Michel Peissel (1966) , Barbara's Nepal by Barbara Adams (2004), Mountain is Young by Han Suyin (1958) etc. These are some of the best seller by foreign writers who by their words and experienced have scened out Nepal in glorifying the tradition and culture for the world to see.

Apart from foreign writers, the native writers have developed their own nostalgic way but the emerging Nepali writers have contributed literary creation like Modern Nepal Rishikesh Shah( 1992), Medieval and Ancient Nepal by D.R. Regmi( 1966), Dolpo the Hidden Paradise by Karna Shakya (1991), Gods Goddesses and Religious Symbols by T.C Majupuria (2004)
These books are available in the market ranging from NRs 500 to 30,000 above creating new scope and role of book promotion in static way.

On contrary, from the normal books different travel guides are also available, which not only gives the travelers the distinct taste of culture and tradition but also focuses about the place and their situation. Some of the famous travel publications that are easily available in any of the travel book store are Lonely Planet, Apa Publication, Moon Publications Inc, Cicerone Press (UK), Rough Guides, Berlitz, Trailblazer Publications, Local Colour Limited (Hong Kong), Hodder & Stoughton, The Mountaineers Books etc.

Similarly, Howard Ralley, Sales & Marketing Director Asia-Pacific of Lonely Planet's said, "Guide books play a critical role with travelers in getting the most out of any trip, but it's true that the ways travelers are accessing information is rapidly changing. These are exciting times! Travelers tell us that they are looking for ways in which digital and online content compliments their guidebook. So whilst Internet research would take place before a trip being made, there would still be an overriding desire for a guidebook in the bag when travelling. Our digital future is about developing an online presence that is complementary to our guidebooks."
He opined, "The author is the single most important element in researching travel information. It’s their skill, experience, tell-it-as-it-is attitude that ensures travelers get honest, accurate and interesting information. Travelers need to know, above all else, that they can trust our travel content. It plays a separate role but they are obviously related. Our guidebooks do not set out to 'sell' any destination. Instead, our role is to inspire and enable independent travel."

However, with the increasing trend of travel books and articles, travelers these days are more focusing towards traveling research and study. They inquire about the particular place its feasibility and compatibility through different means like Internet, TV programs, radio programs, information centers and then center stage the whole scenario according to their feasibility.

Karna Shakya, a tourism entrepreneur and a book writer said, "Books are timeless and they are the collection of wisdom. Currently the trend of book research is very common among travelers which to some extent has hyped the scope and role of books in the respected field."

He opined, “These days people generally travel and they write their experiences which is getting very popular but one should always write reality and should not hide any facts, as one's information is another image.” adding, “Similarly, in tourism filed the tourist, trust writer’s concept and prepares a mindset before visiting that specific place. They come with a particular mindset of the image created by the book and when the image contrasts then they feel betrayed. Therefore, the writer should focus on precision reality, as by lying or hiding our weakness tourism cannot be sustained.”

He also said that tourism promotion doesn't limit to advertisement and that there were other means like books, documentary, travelogues, which do play a crucial role in attracting people to a certain place.

By Shreedeep Rayamajhi


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