Ecotourism in Nepal
Ecotourism is perhaps nowhere more relevant than in Nepal. With ecotourism we mean the responsible form of tourism that minimises the negative effects of conventional tourism not only to nature but also to the culture and social values of host community. Nepal needs consideration for both.
The fragile Himalayan ecosystem is in a threat due to environmental degradation. The region is losing its precious forests which have resulted in soil erosion and other related problems. Tourism is the major cause of deforestation in the Himalayas as firewood is the main fuel used for cooking and heating in the mountains. Plastics bottles, plastic packs, glass bottles and other garbages from trekkers is having adverse effect on the region. Awareness about ecotourism is low on the mountain villages .Due to the efforts of many organisations working for eco friendly travel practices, people are getting more aware of ecotourism but the efforts are not in the proportion of the problem.
Nepal is also a culturally rich country with dozens of ethnic groups (mostly living in the mountains where the tourists go of trekking) having their own cultures. As the people are poor and not very conscious of the values of their culture, they are quite vulnerable to tourist cultures.
We request all our clients to extend help to protect the precious nature and culture of host communities, firstly yourself not being the cause of the problem and secondly contributing in the effort, small or big to protect the environment and the culture of host community by travelling responsibly.
How to support Nepal's ecotourism efforts
Since our establishment we have always made our best possible efforts for ourselves not to be the cause of environmental and cultural degradation and extend best possible help in favour of ecotourism. We do not practice mass tourism. Our groups are always small and we always seek support from our clients to help us for the cause. Our trekking crew is given instructions on responsible and eco friendly tourism. However the problem is mounting in the country . Lack of awareness among the common people is the main reason. Many organizations are now working on the field and awareness is increasing .Here are some of the ways you can help us.
- In the mountains we use the lodges that use kerosene or solar panels for heating, instead of the lodges that use firewood. Protecting the precious forest is single most important step in favour of ecotourism. It takes years for a tree to grow in cold alpine climate.
- We carry back all the used batteries back to Kathmandu.
- We prefer to drink can beer over bottled beer. The cans are easier to bring back to garbage points than the bottles in the mountains. All these bottles and cans are carried back to Kathmandu on helicopter from these collection points.
- We do not encourage our clients to buy bottled water in the mountains. The plastic bottles are major sources of pollution in the mountains.We insist you to carry your own bottle and use iodine tablets (or what you prefer) to purify your drinking water. Quality iodine tablets are available in our office or you can bring your own purifier from home.
- We carry proper toilet tents in our trekking trips. We keep our camp grounds garbage free. Burn the combustible garbages and carry the non combustible in nearest collection point.
- We use cotton bags instead of plastic bags for shopping and other purposes wherever possible.
- We do not camp fire in the camp grounds in the mountains.
- We provide proper insurance and clothing for all our trekking staffs. They are (mostly our guides) tarined on ecotourism practices.
- We request you to respect the local cultures and traditions. Nudity and public show of affections are suggested to avoid avoiding in Nepal. You are also requested not to encourage begging among children. We are supporting schooling programme for some helpless children in Kathmandu. Rather you can contribute by sponsoring for the education of one of these children, if you so like.
Nepal is best known for the world's highest mountains and beautiful trekking trails but we have a great variety of experiences to offer to the visitors .Kathmandu and the nearby towns of Patan and Bhaktapur are regarded as open museum of medieval arts and architecture , boasting a total of seven UNESCO world heritage sites.