Wednesday
16
Aug 2017

Road threat to Nepal's top tourist area

Rate this item
(0 votes)
Trekkers are attracted to Annapurna's pristine beauty Trekkers are attracted to Annapurna's pristine beauty BBc

By Sanjaya Dhakal
BBC Nepali, Kathmandu

A spate of road building projects in and around the most popular trekking area in Nepal has sparked a battle involving local people, tourist entrepreneurs and developers.

The Annapurna region is one Nepal's main attractions, attracting some 40,000 to 50,000 trekkers every year who enjoy its pristine mountain trails, valleys and spectacular scenery.

Ghandruk village could previously only be reached by a day-long trek largely uphill through beautiful rhododendron forests.

But recently, a dirt road was built linking the village to the nearest biggest place, Kimche, which can now be reached in just one and half hours.

Khusi Bahadur Gurung, an elderly local man, grins at the inroads made by development in his village.

"Road development is good for us people. It will lead to easier transportation," he said.

But not all locals share his enthusiasm.

Dilu Gurung is a small-time hotel operator, relying on the trekking business and tourism.

"I fear it could affect tourism if a proper road reaches here. The roads should be kept to some distance away from the village," he says.

Trekkers who come here in search of serenity are not amused at finding jeeps flying past them, leaving behind clouds of dust and fumes.

"The reason we came here is to get away from the city of Kathmandu, which is very busy," said Denis Ahern, an Australian trekker.

"We prefer quiet and the countryside. So, the less traffic, the better."

In many trekking regions, roads have been developed, slowly encroaching on what were once fairly remote, untouched places.

But trekkers say the roads should not be constructed, at least, not near popular trekking routes.

Rajat Agrawal, a trekker from Kathmandu, says: "We are not against road development. But they should be kept separate so that everybody benefits."

Karma Sherpa, a trekking guide, complains that the roads are often not even that good.

"You know what, the roads here are not even properly developed. They are poorly managed and only add to existing problems," he said.

Bad for business

Traditional tea-houses along the trekking routes say they have begun to find their businesses affected with the building of roads.

Conservation officer for the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) in Ghandruk, Paras Bikram Singh, believes roads have led to a fall in the number of high-value tourists, and thus income for the local population.

Officials from the Trekking Agents Association of Nepal (TAAN) have been working overtime to develop new trekking paths to continue attracting the trekkers.

"Since we have been unable to convince the local people of the importance of preserving the serenity of the trekking region and since we cannot outright deny their development aspirations, we are now focusing on developing new trekking routes," says Ramesh Prasad Dhamala, president of TAAN.

He said that more and more trekkers have already started to use the alternative Manaslu trekking region.

But he pointed at the need for the development of sustainable practices for the long term.

Until then, the struggle to balance the needs of trekkers for unspoilt terrain, and the needs of local people for development will continue.

( Additional reporting by Narayan Karki in Pokhara ) 
Courtesy : BBC , Sept.8 , 2014

Travel Trade Fairs 2017

CMT, Stuttgart, Germany, January 14 -22

Vakantiebeurs,Utrecht Netherland,Jan.10-15

ASEAN Tourism Forum Singapore,Jan.16-20

TTF Bengaluru 2017, India, January 13-15

FITUR, Madrid , Spain, January  18-22

Adventure Travel Show,London,Jan. 21 - 22

IMTM 2017, Tel- Aviv , February 7-8

AIME Melbourne, Australia February 12-22

SATTE, New Delhi, India February 15 – 17

BLTM, Mumbai , India ,February 21-23

OTM Mumbai 2017, India February 21-23

GITF, Guangzhou China February 23- 25

ILTM Japan ,Tokyo, Japan 27 Feb -1 Mar

ITB, Berlin, Germany March 8-12

MITT, Moscow, Russia Mar 14 – 16

NATAS 2017, Singapore March 2017

VITM, Hanoi, Vietnam April 12-15

ATM Dubai, 2017 April 24-27

KOTFA 2017, Seoul , ROK  June 1-4

ITE , Hong Kong , June 15-18

Paris Airshow Paris, France June 19-25

BITE, Beijing, China , June 23-25

ITE HCMC,Ho Chi Minh city ,Sept . 7-9

PATA Travel Mart, Macau September 13-15

JATA Tourism Expo, Tokyo,Sept. 21-24

IFTM , Paris , France Sept. 26 – 29

ITB Asia , Singapore October 25 - 27

WTM London , November 6-8

CITM , Kunming , China November 2017                

 Window of Nepal Tourism News

www.nepaltournews.com

Connecting you with the world of Travel & Tourism

TravelBizNews.com builds your business network

Global Tourism News

Stay updated with news and views

Window of World Tourism News

www.travelbiznews.com

Email us your latest news releases concerning travel and tourism  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Submit news stories:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sales enquiries:        This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Proud to be associated with