Flickr tourists in Nepal

I have read a lot of reports that tourism has increased in Nepal since the cease-fire. Out of curiosity, I wanted to see if this was true. Unfortunately, it appears the official Nepali Tourism site only has statistics up to 2005. Those are interesting in their own right, but a bit outdated. So I thought I might try a different tact.

Flickr is a great resource for trying to find photos of things, or tracking new photos of them. In fact, I am subscribed to Flickr’s Nepal RSS feed, a news feed of new photos that are public and tagged with the keyword “Nepal”. So here is a question: how many photos with the word “Nepal” appearing in their description have been taken? There are way too many uncertainties to try and draw any deep conclusions from this, but here are Flickr’s numbers, quarter by quarter:

  • April-June 2004: 3,186
  • July-September 2004: 1,496
  • October-December 2004: 4,917
  • January-March 2005: 4,031
  • April-June 2005: 5,454
  • July-September 2005: 8,341
  • October-December 2005: 19,139
  • January-March 2006: 13,436
  • April-June 2006: 14,116
  • July-September 2006: 17,280
  • October-December 2006: 33,864
  • January-March 2007: 23,272
  • April-June 2007: 32,585
  • July-September 2007: 24,501

There was a serious jump for the October-December 2006 quarter, and it has sort-of sustained itself. Note that I searched for photos taken in that particular quarter, not uploaded to Flickr. I suspect July-September of this year will increase still, as some people likely have not put their pictures up yet. Also, it should be pointed out that, according to Wikipedia, Flickr only started in February of 2004, so it is not clear to me that the initial low number of photographs is because Flickr was not popular yet, or people were not taking pictures of Nepal (or to be more specific, were not taking pictures that would one day contain the word Nepal in their descriptions).

Finally, I would have looked at this on a month-by-month basis, but Flickr really needs to make their advanced search a little nicer (i.e., prefilling a new advanced search parameters with those from your last one would be a start. I ended up hand-editing the search-terms in the URI because it was easier.) Also, it might be (as) useful to look photos by when they were uploaded, not when someone claimed to have taken them. These are all left as an exercise to the reader.

Please feel free and draw conclusions from other Flickr searches.

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