The internet is overloaded with information on Nepal, but the materials are usually scattered, inadequate and even outdated in some cases. Now you can log on to www.nepalsutra.com and find up-to-date information on just about everything a traveller would like to know about Nepal.
"We wanted to offer a one-stop tourism portal that will help bridge the gap between travellers and Nepali tourism enthusiasts," says Sunil Sharma, Managing Director of Nepal Sutra.
Travellers interested in Nepal can browse the site for hotels, tour packages and flight information and book their rooms and itineraries. Nepal Sutra also helps them find travel buddies, and tells them about places to visit, events, restaurants and shops that offer good deals. Even after they leave, visitors can remain involved by reviewing and rating their experiences and interacting with fellow travellers.
The site also features options for "social travellers" who want to volunteer by providing a list of credible social organisations. The company's expert segment includes founder of Nepal Wireless Networking Project, Mahabir Pun and mountaineer Apa Sherpa.
Live since April, the site receives over 300 hits per day, with top three users from Nepal, the US and the UK. Initially, vendors were not very eager to be listed on Nepal Sutra, but there are now more than 80 shops and businesses and the list keeps growing everyday. "We feature businesses of all sizes and prices and are trying to focus on small hotels and organisations that don't have independent online platforms," says Sharma. Nepal Sutra's team will head to Pokhara soon where over 50 businesses have shown interest in being profiled on the site.
"I listed my hotel because the concept really impressed me," says Sabin Shrestha of Heritage Hotel in Bhaktapur. "Usually only foreign websites provide such booking services so it's good to have a local platform. We are already seeing positive results."
The most innovative aspect of Nepal Sutra is that it has developed its own iPhone application, allowing not just tourists but even locals to find information about events in town or restaurants, complete with maps and contact info while they are on the move. Already, the app has over 1,300 users. The company is in the process of developing an app for Android phones as well.
"We hope to start a new trend," says Sharma. "Nepal Sutra is a platform to collectively market Nepal, and everything Nepali."