To become a really good tour guide, they also need to know about the present relevance of the monuments, spaces and the cultural events. Why are we able to give continuity to some festivals while others struggled to exist? Why, for example, did we stop maintaining water sources at the Valley rim every 12 years as we used to? Was it because we got piped drinking water, or was there something else?
History is generally considered to be a boring list of kings and their reigns. Histroy is no longer a popular subject at university; last year only one student enrolled in history at TU. Therefore, bringing a historical city to life is not as easy as it seems. But it can be done.
If we are to truly benefit from sightseeing tourism, we need guides who have that breadth of knowledge to explain our heritage to the world. This means tourists who spend more, who buy souvenirs, eat, and rent bed and breakfast pensiones. They check their bucket list and they will go back and tell others to come. Many will come back if the tour guide can provide the context. This would benefit Nepal’s economy and not just provide income for tour guides and their families. The most difficult thing about culture seems to be able to say: “I do not know, but I will find out.”
Anil Chitrakar is President of Siddharthinc.
2 million by 2020, Shreejana Shrestha
Re-imagining tourism, Anil Chitrakar
Marketing the intangible, Anil Chitrakar