Takashi Miyahara was a Japanese development worker who was first assigned to Nepal in the 1960s, when the powers he had ordained that the country’s future was possible through something called the ‘cottage industry’.
Miyahara soon realised that progress along that path would keep Nepal backward. Mesmerised by Nepal’s scenery and its culture, he was convinced tourism-led development was the only way ahead, and went on to build Nepal’s first world-class high-end hotel in Syangboche at 3,880m.
Together with Tiger Tops in Chitwan, Miyahara’s Hotel Everest View brought Nepal to the attention of the outside world in all its variety – from the highest mountains to tropical jungles teeming with wildlife.
Read also: Miyahara-san: a life devoted to Nepal, Kunda Dixit
Page by page, we learn of the tenacity of a man who married in Nepal, and made this country his home. He renounced his Japanese citizenship to set up the Nepal National Development Party, and even contested (and lost) the 2008 Constituent Assembly elections.
Many in Nepal did not help Miyahara, some put obstacles in his way (you know who you are), but he never gave up.
Even in the most desperate moments when officials dilly-dallied on the hotel permit, or when Royal Nepal Airlines gave him the runaround, he persevered — not only setting up a hotel that put Nepal on the international map, but gave Khumbu its own airfield.
It is not Miyahara’s fault that governments did not exploit the visibility that Hotel Everest View gave Nepal globally to push for high value, low-volume tourism. The potential of Syangboche airfield was also never fully exploited because of vested interests.
He went on to also get Japanese investors for the Himalaya Hotel in Patan, and was already bringing in 1,000 up-market Japanese tourists to Nepal in the 1970s. His other dream project was the Annapurna View Hotel in Sarangkot.