There is not a week that goes by these days that Nepal doesn’t make it to some internet listicle or other. The latest honours are bestowed upon Nepal for being ranked #1 in World’s Best Value Tourist Destination 2017, #2 in South Asia in the World Bank’s Ease To Do Business Index. (Right up to here everything in this column has been officially certified to be 100% true: Rubber stamped by the Ministry of Information and Communicable Diseases) And just last week the World Wildlife Fund declared Kathmandu Airport the Top National Park Sanctuary for Endangered Himalayan Fauna.
Let’s take the first one first. Lonely Planet’s Annual Best in Travel List is probably the most prestigious award concocted by the world’s travel industry to keep as many people as possible flying aimlessly around the world at any given time, so that the Greenland Icecap will finally melt and the world’s largest island can finally be put on top of a list of Last Place To Visit Before the Sky Falls Or The World Ends, Whichever Comes First.
That is why it is great honour that Nepal consistently makes it to the Loneliest Planet in the Solar System’s inventory of places to visit. It must be some sort of Consolation Prize because it has become quite embarrassing for us Nepalis to be hogging the prizes every year.
Someone might think there is some hanky-panky going on.
Nevertheless, and notwithstanding, being placed once more right on top of the list of countries that are “Best Value” is a much overdue recognition for the tremendous effort this country’s travel industry has over the decades put into underselling our products and undercutting each other to make Nepal the cheapest tourist destination in the world.
Here’s an idea: Nepal Tourism Bored can now change its motto to capitalise on the Lonely Planet Listicle and come up with even more attractive slogans, such as:
- Visit Nepal: It’s Dirt Cheap
- Once Is Not Enough: Visit Nepal In Your Next Incarnation
- Supernaturally Nepal
- Feel Like God Already?
- Buddha Was Born In Nepal Before Nepal Even Existed!
- Nepal: Always 15 Minutes Ahead of India
- Tummy Trouble: Visit Kathmandu and Lose Weight Or Your Money Back
- Visit Nepal and Stay There
- Don’t Trek In Nepal, Get the Runs
- All My Troubles Seem So Far Away When I See What Nepalis Have to Go Thru
The other feather in our topi this week came from none other than the World Bank Doing Business Report 2017 released this week which put Nepal at #107, which is higher than all other South Asian countries. Yay! Observing how we Nepalis go about our morning business by the river and in the forest, it is obvious that the ease of doing business should be the highest-rated here. In fact, we should pull back the campaign against open defecation, otherwise we may fall in the World Bank Doing Business Report 2018. It is a matter of national prestige that we keep our lead, and for this we must remain ever-vigilant and not let our standards slip.
There is a direct correlation between the Ease of Doing Business Index and the Corruption Index. Which means that without graft and malfeasance, our economy would grind to a halt and no one would be able to do any business. It is kickbacks and the payoffs that lubricate our economy and keep the palms of government greased. There is now a strong possibility that with the suspension and possible impeachment of #Lockman, honesty and integrity will rise and make it impossible to do business. Hence, it is of utmost important that the next CIAA Chieftain have an impeccable record for fraud, embezzlement, extortion and open defecation.
These recognitions by Lonely World and Planet Bank put Nepal right up there as the top destination in the space time continuum — even though the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle may determine that as a nation we may not know precisely what our destination is at any given moment in time. For a country that can’t seem to figure out where it is we are going, we sure as hell are getting there fast. And that’s what counts.