Tourism in the digital era
Tourism is a social, cultural and economic phenomenon which entails the movement of people to countries or places outside their usual environment for personal or business/professional purposes.
When we talked about promoting tourism, it was that opportunity of being able to be at ITB Berlin or WTM London. It was about physically being there with brochures, like selling your wares at the weekend market or village haat. People swing by your stall; you try to sell your wares based on the promo materials you have, and then rely on them to be able to send you a group of tourists.
The digital world has brought about many disruptions. You can book your tickets, hotels, tours and everything you would like to do online. Portals like Trip Advisor give you reviews to decide which destinations to look out for, and which products and services. The world of Instagram and TikTok has allowed you to view destinations, products and services from people you believe in and created tremendous peer pressure. Then there are internet entertainment platforms like Netflix where you can, apart from movies and innumerable series, gain access to many high quality documentaries and other materials that can make you think about different destinations you have never dreamt about.
The last decade has changed how people view travel and choose what and where they eat, drink or carry out leisure activities. The pandemic has also added a new dimension where people travelled virtually during times of lockdown and restricted movements, and made some bucket lists for physical trips. Of course, there are the influencers, anyone with a device who can show you a whole new world you have never imagined.
In Kathmandu, with diverse speakers at a Neftalk organised by the Nepal Economic Forum, we discussed what is happening to tourism in the digital era and explored the disruptions and opportunities. There are three things to look out for.
First, there are new mediums that drive people’s travel decisions. For instance, the success of 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible, a Netflix production with Nims Purja climbing all 14 eight-thousanders, triggered the imagination of many people, which was reflected in tourist arrivals to Nepal. Globally, people who have watched local content are 2.4 times more likely to make the place their #1 travel destination. Similarly, the video around the visit of the Prince of Bahrain and a vlogger from Qatar during the pandemic has let people in the Middle East who thought of Europe and the United States as premium destinations start to think about Nepal. At a luxury hotel in Pokhara, I was asked by a couple from the United Arab Emirates as to why we do not have $1,500 a night hotels as there would be lots from their country who would be interested.
Second, domestic tourism, which has been the bread and butter of many destinations in Nepal, has just exploded due to digital mediums. We hardly saw any sustained campaigns from any agency to lure local tourists, but then vloggers posting their bike ride videos on YouTube, Instagram and now TikTok have changed the fate of Nepali domestic tourism. People like Sisan Bainya have taken production quality seriously, and people want to follow him to the places he and his team have been.
Imagine Nepal is capturing such imagination of Nepali travellers. With a diaspora population of over 5 million, excluding India, across 180 countries, we will see a considerable demand surge from Nepalis visiting for religious or social purposes or just embarking on pure fun! For the domestic tourists, with the easing of payments through digital platforms, it’s all digital. Be it finding a destination, making bookings, paying for it, writing reviews and then posting about your trip. With more women joining the workforce, nuclear families and the concept of holidays not being limited to playing cards and drinking will significantly increase domestic tourism growth.
Third, the biggest challenge for Nepal to manage would be to ensure tourism has sustainable growth. The littering of trekking trails with cans of alcoholic beverages, bottles of aerated drinks and many other packaging materials is a huge issue. Structures are mushrooming everywhere to house travellers without proper planning. Everest is a golden goose we are killing by selling it too cheap. We have to think of the destination as super high-end. With a fragile ecology and biodiversity, we need to conserve; we need to use the same digital platforms to spread messages on pushing sustainable tourism. We have the commitments we made at COP26 to remember and the government’s Green Resilient Inclusive Development Action Plan to bear in mind.
Finally, we need to prepare for tourists who will want to get to Nepal without actually getting to Nepal. With virtual reality and augmented reality becoming the future, with the Metaverse becoming the future real estate, we need to be there. We need to exploit these platforms to attract more people coming in person. We need to create that buzz of a destination that people will yearn to visit as we are one of the most photogenic countries in the world.
For all this to be leveraged, we need it to be private sector-led and come out of the shells of cartels, and we need the government to continue to provide a legislative and regulatory environment that facilitates these developments rather than thinking of stifling them in the name of controls. In many countries, governments have relied on self-regulation as a governance model. This is mainly due to the unique features of online content. Technology allows an individual to make an informed decision about how, when and what content they consume. We have missed many previous waves of disruptions, this one, we should not.
courtesy: The kathmandu post
What Countries Have the Best Healthcare in the World?
CEOWorld Magazine's Health Care Index is a statistical analysis of the overall quality of the health care system, including health care infrastructure; health care professionals (doctors, nursing staff, and other health workers) competencies; cost; quality medicine availability, and government readiness.
Each country is given a score for each of the above factors and then a total score out of 100. According to this index, the ten countries with the best healthcare in 2021 are:
1. South Korea, 2. Taiwan, 3. Denmark, 4. Austria, 5. Japan, 6. Australia, 7. France, 8. Spain, 9. Belgium, and 10. United Kingdom.
Meanwhile, with a score of 95 out of 100, Malaysia ranks 1st in the Health Care category of the 'International Living Annual Global Retirement Index in 2019'. Medical care in the Southeast Asian gem is simply world class with a modern and sophisticated infrastructure.
There are 13 hospitals accredited by world-class JCI in the Malaysia and almost all doctors speak English fluently. In fact, most of the Malaysian doctors received training in the United Kingdom, the United States or Australia, so communication is impeccable. It is no wonder that Malaysia is a popular tourist destination.
South Asia or Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent and is a popular destination for expats and global nomads as many of the countries have booming economies. In most parts of South Asia, there’s a limit in the local medical facilities.
The South Asian region made up of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka is commonly referred to as the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
The basic demography affecting healthcare for the majority of these South Asian countries is quite similar. Most South Asian nations face serious healthcare issues, medical aid affordability and accessibility challenges being chief among them. The availability of qualified doctors, hospitals, trained manpower, infrastructures and logistic suppirts are big challenges.
Asia’s 10 Best Restaurants
From authentic Thai to European inspired recipes with an Asian twist, these restaurants excel at delivering culinary encounters that aren’t easily forgotten.
As the hospitality industry continues to bounce back from the restrictions of the last two years, Asia’s best chefs and restaurant owners look forward to sharing their hyper-seasonal creations with the global food community once again.
Since launching 10 years ago, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants – sponsored by S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna – recently unveiled its prestigious list for 2022. With Japan in the lead, closely followed by Thailand and Singapore, boasting the most entries, this year’s winner was Tokyo’s Den.
In previous years Den, conceived by chef Zaiyu Hasegawa, ranked consistently high as Japan’s voted best restaurant every year since 2018. Renowned for its playfulness, Hasegawa’s dishes are a perfect marriage of contemporary meets traditional Japanese cuisine, of which the Dentucky Fried Chicken is a prime example.
Chefs, restaurateurs, industry VIPs and the media were brought together across three different events in Bangkok, Macau and Tokyo to celebrate the top 50 chefs in Asia.
“In its 10th year, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants proudly continues the tradition of rewarding culinary excellence and guiding diners to the most unique gastronomic experiences across the continent,” explains William Drew, Director of Content for Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants.
Get ready as we take you behind the scenes of the top culinary destinations in Asia and examine the philosophies and experiences underpinning the success of each chef.
1. Den, Tokyo
While growing up, Owner and Chef at Den, Zaiyu Hasegawa became fascinated by traditional Japanese cuisine. As a geisha his mum would bring home Bento for him from the ryotei (fine dining restaurant) where she worked.
While Hasegawa’s career began in one of these exclusive restaurants, Den’s philosophy is more of an elevated expression of Japanese home cooking. While the menu coincides with the changing seasons, the restaurant is renowned for its chicken wings, signature salad, snow crab tofu glazed with mizore sauce and donabe-gohan – rice heated in an earthen pot and paired with wagyu beef or seafood.
“Thanks to the support of producers, the vegetables we use are grown without pesticides or chemical fertilisers. Our specialty salad expresses our connection to farmers and is a fun way for diners to see what came out of the garden,” Hasegawa says.
In 2019 Den was also recognised for its heart-warming hospitality, earning the Art of Hospitality Award at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.
2. Sorn, Bangkok
Sorn’s Head Chef Supaksorn Jongsiri became deeply inspired by southern Thai cuisine from his grandmother. His menu today is not only bursting with flavour and encompasses the cultural diversity of the South, but each dish is served at the right temperature – introducing a unique element to Thai cuisine.
If you’re lucky enough to secure a reservation at Sorn you can expect a one-of-a-kind service you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. Staff are specially trained to delight guests with stories of Jongsiri’s vision and memories that inform each dish.
Combining the most highly-prized parts of a crab and coated in crab roe paste, Kan Chu Piang – gems on crab stick – is arguably a winning dish whose flavour is enhanced by piquant orange chilli sauce.
3. Florilège, Tokyo
If you’re looking for an experience that goes beyond the everyday Florilège is likely to pique your interest. With innovative French cuisine openly prepared for all eyes to see, Chef Hiroyasu Kawate provides a rare encounter for guests who desire a more transparent sensory experience.
With ingredients sourced locally and seasonally, Kawate’s dishes are imbued with a distinct Japanese quality. The restaurant specialises in preparing meals with sophisticated techniques that are served in Japanese style plates and bowls.
4. Le Du, Bangkok
A seemingly French name, Le Du in fact derived from the Thai word for ‘season’. Thitid Tassanakajohn, a master chef and restaurant empire builder co-founded the restaurant around the concept of regional Thai cooking with a French twist.
Trained in the US, Tassanakajohn’s menu showcases the finest local and seasonal ingredients, which are combined with modern cooking techniques. Le Du’s wines are sourced from around the globe and are carefully selected by Tassanakajohn who’s also a certified sommelier.
While Le Du’s menu is constantly changing, there is one dish Khao kluk kapi – river prawn paired with brown rice risotto and shrimp paste – that is synonymous with the restaurant and what it stands for.
5. The Chairman, Hong Kong
The Chairman was the first restaurant in Hong Kong to earn the prestigious title of The Best Restaurant in Asia, and for good reason. While the menu is contemporary, tradition and seasonal fresh ingredients play an important role in continuing the legacy of Cantonese cuisine.
Rare delicacies from southern China, including 20-year-old pickled lemon, sugar-roasted chrysanthemum and mini water crabs are procured from the most remote villages in China.
A favourite is undoubtedly the steamed flowery crab served with Chinese wine, clam juice and flat rice noodles.
6. La Chime, Osaka
La Cime, meaning summit in French, sets the bar high when it comes to delivering classic cuisine expressed through modern cooking techniques. Its star chef Yusuke Takada began his culinary career in Lyon and later worked in Osaka and Paris.
Our childhood memories can be one of the greatest sources of inspiration and for Takada the small island in southern Japan in which he grew up informs his recipes today.
With a flair for rare flavour combinations, Takada’s angler fish liver is served with persimmon and green onion, and for vegetarians the sea cucumber paired with turnip and starflower is a must.
7. Sühring, Bangkok
Nestled in a serene setting in the heart of Bangkok, the Sühring brothers Thomas and Mathias established a restaurant that is more akin to a house with several dining spaces to choose from.
With a wealth of international experience under their belt, the duo embarked on a fresh re-interpretation of traditional German gastronomy prepared to the standard of haute cuisine. With an array of fresh produce and seafood on their doorstep, the pair include crayfish, blue lobster and butternut squash on the menu.
Guests can expect a relaxed yet sophisticated encounter in a 1970s villa complete with a lush garden and open kitchen to observe the chefs bringing their creations to life.
8. Odette, Singapore
This year Odette, located in Singapore’s National Gallery, once again ranked high in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list, as it has done in the past few years. As the recipient of the highly coveted Gin Mare Art of Hospitality Award, this year Odette has proven itself as the ultimate destination to enjoy modern French cuisine in an artistic setting infused with genuine hospitality.
“I owe everything that I am to my family, especially my grandmother, Odette. She showed me how the most remarkable dishes can come from the purest ingredients and taught me the importance of adding that ‘little something’ to create dishes that excite the palate and fill the heart,” explains Julien Royer, Chef and Owner of Odette.
Boutique producers around the world supply the finest ingredients to bring signature dishes – Normandy brown crab and pepper-crusted pigeon – to life with attention to seasonality and terroir.
9. Neighborhood, Hong Kong
A hidden laneway teeming with markets, local bars and antique shops is an unusual setting in which to establish a gourmet restaurant. Although fully booked, Chef and Owner David Lai doesn’t rely on a polished website or instagram account to entice people into tasting his simple French cooking.
Lai worked in exclusive high-end restaurants in both Hong Kong and San Francisco before adopting the ‘slow food’ philosophy of Alice Waters that he came across while completing his studies in California.
At Neighborhood lamb sourced from the Pyrenees, local seafood and wild game can be found on the specials menu, which always reflect the current season.
10. Nusara, Bangkok
Chef Thitid Tassanakajohn, of Le Du, pays homage to his grandmother Nusara with a menu that re-visits family recipes.
From the 12-course tasting menu the spicy squid salad and wok-fried wagyu beef topped with basil lead into the heartier crab curry served in a betel leaf.
While the second floor seats 10 in a room that has an intimate atmosphere from another era, the ground floor is home to a chic bar serving beverages that have Tassanakajohn’s stamp of approval, as a certified sommelier.
'Half a Million Indians are still dying from TB Every Year'
"India planned to eliminate TB by 2025, but it’s estimated half a million Indians are still dying from it every year", says two researches, Rajib Dasgupta of Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jens Seeberg of Aarhus University.
According to their survey-based research findings, in India in 2021, an estimated 504,000 people died from tuberculosis ( TB). That’s almost one per minute. More than a quarter of the estimated TB cases worldwide are in India.
In 2018, the UN committed to end the TB epidemic globally by 2030. The “End TB” strategy sought to reduce TB incidence by 80%, deaths by 90%, and eliminate catastrophic costs for TB-affected households. India announced it would try to eliminate TB in India by 2025, five years ahead of the UN’s target.
However, the first TB survey since the 1950s was recently conducted, and it found rates in the Indian community are much higher than anticipated.
When India gained independence in 1947, there were about half a million TB deaths annually and an estimated 2.5 million Indians suffered from active tuberculosis.
In 1948, a TB vaccination program commenced. The BCG vaccine protects against the most severe forms of TB, such as TB meningitis in children, but it doesn’t protect against TB in adults.
India’s first national survey of TB, conducted from 1955 to 1958, found on average four of every 1,000 people in India had TB.
The National Tuberculosis Institute was established in 1959 and an interdisciplinary group of epidemiologists, tuberculosis specialists, microbiologists, biostatisticians, sociologists, public health nurses and X-ray engineers conducted a series of research studies that culminated in the National Tuberculosis Programme in 1963. The key strategy of the program was to use chemotherapy to treat TB.
The results of the most recent national TB survey in India (2019–21) have just been released, and found just over three people per 1,000 had active TB cases. This is not a great improvement on the last survey from the 1950s (four per 1,000) and much higher than the WHO’s 2020 estimate of 1.8 per 1,000.
The highest prevalence was in Delhi, at over five per 1,000. Groups with higher prevalence included the elderly, malnourished, smokers, those with alcohol dependence and diabetics.
Despite the plan to eliminate catastrophic costs due to TB, an estimated 7-32% of TB sufferers and 68% of TB sufferers whose infection is resistant to frontline antibiotics experienced catastrophic costs. Catastrophic costs are said to be incurred when the total costs of treatment exceeds 20% of the annual household income.
Mmeanwhile, the total number of TB patients recorded dropped by 25% in 2020, then rose 19% in 2021. This probably indicates TB diagnoses were lost in 2020 during the COVID outbreak. Given hospitals were overwhelmed by COVID cases, people with TB symptoms would have been less able to get care, or would have been hesitant about going to hospital for fear of catching COVID. Even the National Institute of Tuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases (NITRD) was converted into a designated COVID Care Centre in May 2021.