Nepal can be LGBTI friendly tourist destination


With Nepal celebrating Nepal Tourism Year 2011 with ambitious plans of attracting more tourists, the possibility of large numbers of tourists from lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community visiting Nepal was highlighted in a press conference today.

Speaking in a press conference, Senator Dominic Hannigan from the Irish Parliament who worked as a volunteer through the Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) Nepal for two weeks with the Blue Diamond Society in Nepal said, "I found Nepal as a more LGBTI friendly country”.

Senator Hannigan is one of two openly gay members in the Irish parliament. Based on his conversation with leaders of different political parties in Nepal, Hannigan said, "I was impressed to hear so many positive comments from all the politicians in relation to LGBTI issues".

Speaking in the press conference, Pradeep Khadka, Programme Director of Blue Diamond Society also unveiled the fact of increasing number of tourists from LGBTI community in Nepal.

He said, "We are getting more queries about which hotel is LGBTI friendly and if there are tour guides or agencies run by LFBTI every year so it shows the possibility of the LFBTI tourist in Nepal."

Commenting on the present political situation in Nepal, Senator Hannigan said, "What struck me were the many similarities between the situation in Nepal and the situation in the north of Ireland. We have had peace in Northern Ireland since the late '90s, but what we have learned is that everyone has to work hard to make the peace last and to build the country."

Senator Hannigan further said, “I will be returning to Ireland with many positive memories and I hope to be in a position to increase awareness of Nepal as a tourist destination so that next year Irish people will travel to Nepal in greater numbers than before."

Arlene Mahinay, VSO Nepal Country Director, stressed that this type of exchanges is important in helping marginalised groups such as LGBTI, Dalits and disabled people to learn various ways of effectively pushing for their rights as citizens of the country.

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