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University of California - Santa Barbara

Publication Date

Fall 2018

Program Name

Nepal: Tibetan and Himalayan Peoples

Abstract

Nepal is a country formed by the highest peaks in the world, numerous unique cultures and ethnicities, religious pilgrimage sites for both Buddhist and Hindus, and more festivals than days in the year. For Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2017, Nepal was deemed the world’s “Best Value Destination”. Tourism plays a vital role in Nepal’s economy, but its inds is heavily aimed towards the international market. Nepalis in the hospitality industry, scholars, and economists have argued that domestic tourism could be a key component for overall socioeconomic and cultural changes in their society1.

There has been a surge of domestic tourism in recent years, opening new doors for the economy of rural Nepal and the imaginations of the travelers themselves when they bring their experiences back home.

A special component of these travelers are women traveling solo. The idea of a woman traveling on her own for the purpose of exploration and learning, rather than pilgrimage or to visit family, is a radical one in Nepali society. The travel community Nepali Travellers facilitates the “Women Solo Travel Challenge”, which provides grants to accepted applicants to plan, prepare, and complete an extended travel period to destinations throughout their country. The long term goal of the challenge is to change the narrative around young Nepali travel, especially for women. In the following paper, these women’s stories of travel, from the perceptions they challenged, to the reactions they got, and what they learned, will be told.

1 “Internal tourism in Nepal”, Glorious Himalaya Trekking, http://glorioushimalaya.com/hello-world/.

Disciplines

Asian Studies | Family, Life Course, and Society | Sociology of Culture | Tourism | Women's Studies

 

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