TikTok: Novel Tool To Promote Local Tourism

Kathmandu, Feb 16: TikTok, a global entertainment platform, has lately been making off-the–track destinations in Nepal popular overnight and adding value to local tourism.

Thanks to the increasing number of TikTok users in the country, who choose to use the app to combat boredom and anxiety caused by unintended consequences of COVID-19-induced lockdown.

Amid the pandemic, TikTok has transported housebound travellers to undiscovered corners of the country and caused sudden popularity of many such unknown destinations.

Due to travel restrictions, more people were enthusiastically showing off their hometowns and hidden destinations that include places to trek, hike, eat, hangout, and so much more, through short videos in their TikTok account.

The viral videos of TikTok feature everything from restaurants to natural wonders across the country that many of us haven’t heard of before or only locals of such a place were aware of.

Type #travel nepal, #visit nepal or similar hashtags in the search box of TikTok and you will find chains of viral videos featuring majestic places.

Waterfall gush in Roshi, Kavre, breathtaking sunrise view of Manahukot, Tanahu, beautiful scenery of mustard flowers in Ratnechaur, Myagdi, Shivdhara, a pilgrimage site in Sankhuwasabha, Selfie Road in Sanischare of Morang, longest suspension bridge of Kushma, lush greenery of Gundu, Bhaktapur and many more destinations have recently come into limelight.

This app has also been blamed for the scourge of tourism overload, in which case crowds of visitors flock to the same cascading waterfall, scenic site, restaurant or some adventure activities.
The place which gained sudden popularity through TikTok is Tindhara waterfall (Bahubali Jharana) of Roshi Rural Municipality of Kavre.

Talking to The Rising Nepal, Chairman of the rural municipality DB Lama said the waterfall was hardly known to the outsiders of the village before it got viral in TikTok.
Lama said the rural municipality had prepared a guide book after conducting a study to figure out possible tourist sites in the region.

“The guide book was given to the students, who reached the village for research. Those students later visited the place and posted photos and videos on TikTok. Since then, daily hundreds of people have been visiting the place,” said Lama.
The municipality is working to develop homestay facilities, organic food production and required infrastructures targeting the tourists, he said. “Now Tindhara Jharana is included in the list of tourist destinations of Nepal Tourism Board,” Lama shared his happiness.

Manahukot, located on the western top of Damauli bazar, has been drawing a huge crowd since one and a half years, after breathtaking videos of the place went viral on TikTok.
The destination which was discovered just recently has been surprisingly witnessing hundreds of visitors daily and sometimes visitors have to queue up for hours to reach the place due to heavy traffic. Many businesses have boomed in the area.

Similarly, only a month ago, a video of the beautiful mustard field of Ratnechaur, Myagdi went viral on TikTok . This blacktopped road in the middle of the yellow mustard field got sudden popularity among the youngsters and daily hundreds of people started visiting the place to take photos and videos.

However, since the place was not developed for tourism, locals were disappointed because their mustard crops were getting destroyed due to the huge crowd. Later, the police administration restricted travel to this destination. 24-year-old Saurav Upadhaya, a student of management, said he relies on TikTok and other social media to get information on the tourist destinations.

Inspired by the TikTok videos, he had travelled to many new destinations which had remained unexplored earlier. “Before TikTok, we used to have limited bucket list of travel destinations. But TikTok has recently unveiled many hidden treasures of the country, which I could hardly resist,” said Upadhaya.

Archana K.C. Rana, Manager at PR and P ublicity Department, Nepal Tourism Board, also admitted that social media, especially TikTok has become an essential tool to promote tourism lately, by exploring new destinations, nature, culture, adventure, cuisines, wellness, spirituality and wildlife.”

“NTB has also used social media platforms for a long time because social media reaches more people more quickly than previous communication tools. It is essential to consider how destinations can be better prepared for sudden popularity,” said Rana.

“Through social media, we have been promoting destinations which have great potential but have not received much visibility over the years,” she added.
Nyauli Jharana (waterfall) of Gorkha, Shivadhara of Sankhuwasabha and Power House Jharana of Kaski are some of the destinations, which gained popularity from TikTok, said Rana, adding that NTB had also been encouraging young people to promote local tourism by showcasing best adventures and hidden scenic places of their locality via social media.

“Only the young generation can understand what types of destinations and experiences appeal to young people and build out their bucket lists,” she added.

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