Lisa Chyoegyal
New Zealand Honorary Consulate

I’ve been living in Nepal since 1974 so my association with the British Council goes back long way. Not only due to the fact that I’m British, but because I work in tourism. I now represent New Zealand and continue to have strong ties with the British Council.

When I first arrived, British Council was one of the most important institutions associated with the British Embassy. In the early days, as I recall, the council flew in many drama troupes from the UK. We spent many a wonderful evening watching Shakespearean plays and many more. They had quite a few cultural events going on back then.

In 2008, in order to promote tourism in Nepal and to make people aware of the less traveled trails in the country, the Great Himalayan Trail was organized. It was a trek led by celebrities, in the true sense of the word. Foremost being Apa Sherpa, who needs no introduction in the world of adventure tourism. One of his many feats being that he’s summited the Everest a ‘mere’ 21 times. Along with him were luminaries such as another Everest summiteer and environmentalist from World Wild Life Fund, Dawa Steven Sherpa. Also on the trek was British Council’s Climate Change Ambassador, Saurav Dhakal, and professional photographer Samrat.  It is safe to say that it was a really interesting high-profile event. The route stretched across the country from east to west; starting in Kanchenjunga and ending in Darchula. I believe the trek was very successful in garnering the attention of trekkers all over the world. More importantly, the participation of Nepalese trekkers in the past ten odd years or so was highlighted. It is indeed an exciting prospect that, nowadays, Nepalese trekkers have become a really important part of the tourism equation. One of the co-sponsors of this event was the British Council.

Although it surpassed all expectations in terms of its success, we continue to work on the Great Himalayan Trail. The Nepal Tourism Board is, in fact, now adopting it as one of their priority areas. They believe, and rightly so, that the event has a double objective: it is good for marketing and for creating awareness about trekking routes beyond Everest and Annapurna. Lastly, this could also benefit the remote communities due to the increased cash flow brought in by tourism.

All of this made impossible, in no small way, by the support of the British Government, DFID and the British Council.