• Road threat to Nepal’s top tourist area

    Ramesh Tiwari
    September 10, 2014
    Road threat to Nepal’s top tourist area

    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

    • Connecting you with the world of travel and tourism

      News Brief

      Kabul: Afghan security forces have regained control of Intercontinental Hotel, hours after the gunmen burst into the hotel shooting at guests and staff. At least five civilians were killed and six were injured in the siege. Three of the attackers have been killed and more than 150 guests were rescued. No group has said it carried out the attack, but the Taliban targeted the Intercontinental hotel in 2011.

      Beijing: China’s economy grew by 6.9% in 2017 according to official data – the first time in seven years the pace of growth has picked up. The figure beats Beijing’s official annual expansion target of about 6.5%. Gross domestic product (GDP) totaled 82.71 trillion yuan (about 12.84 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2017, with the service sector accounting for more than half of the total.

      Shanghai: China Eastern Airlines and other domestic airlines have begun to allow mobile phone use on their aircraft or announced plans to lift a ban. China Eastern Airlines and Hainan Airlines began to allow passengers to use portable electronic devices (PED), such as smartphones and tablets.China Southern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines announced they would allow mobile phone use on all their flights this week. – Agencies

      2017 in review -Top stories

      January 1 : New year nightclub attack leaves 39 dead in Istanbul
      January 20 : Republican billionaire Donald Trump sworn in as 45th US president
      January 23 : Syria peace talks begin in Kazakh capital Astana
      March 29 :United Kingdom officially launches the Brexit process
      April 4 :Syria launches chemical attack killing 90 people
      April 6 : US cruise missiles destroy Syrian air base
      April 9 : Bombings at two churches in Egypt kill dozens
      April 16 : Refugee death toll passes 1,000 in Mediterranean
      April 16 :Turkey says YES to presidential system
      May 6 :Emmanuel Macron elected French president defeating Marine Le Pen
      May 19 :Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani wins re-election
      May 22 : Terrorist attack kills 22 at Manchester concert
      June 5 : Gulf nations severe ties with Qatar
      June 7 :Suicide bombers attack Iranian parliament killing 13 people
      June 14 :London fire kills 71 in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower
      July 4 :North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s missile ambitions
      July 28 : Pakistan’s top court disqualifies Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office
      August 5 :US withdraws from Paris climate change pact
      August 17 :Storms cause record damage in Caribbean and southern United States
      August 25 :Muslim Rohingya start fleeing Rakhine state in Myanmar
      September 15 : NASA’s 13-year Saturn mission ends
      September 20 : Earthquake kills more than 200 in Mexico
      September 24 : Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel wins fourth term
      September 26 : Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving
      October 1 : Gunman opens fire on Las Vegas music festival killing 59 people
      October 14 : Massive bombing in Somalia’s capital Modadishu kill more than 500 people
      October 24 : China confirms the elevation of President Xi Jinping to the same status as the nation’s founder, Mao Zedong, and Deng Xiaoping, by enshrining ‘Xi Jinping thought’ in the party’s constitution at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China
      October 27 : Catalonia declares independence from Spain
      November 4 : S audi Arabia detains 11 princes, four ministers and ten former ministers in a corruption probe
      November 12 : Iran-Iraq magnitude 7.3 earthquake kills more than 500
      November 15 : Argentine navy submarine disappears with 44 crew on board
      November 21 : Robert Mugabe resigns as Zimbabwe’s president after 37 years in power. His former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa will become president.
      November 22 : Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic convicted of genocide in Srebrenica during the 1990s Bosnian War
      November 24 : Gunmen kill hundreds at Sinai mosque in Egypt
      December 4 : Houthi militants assassinate Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh
      December 5 : Russia banned from 2018 Winter Olympics for state-sponsored doping
      December 6 : US President Donald Trump recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
      December 17 : Price of one bitcoin reaches a new high of $19,783.06 dollars
      December 21 : Yemen’s cholera outbreak
      December 22 : Syria peace talks in Astana (compiled)

      Top ten most visited cities

      Between January and August 2017, destinations worldwide welcomed 901 million international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors), 56 million more than in the same period of 2016 .The top ten most visited cities are:
      CityVisitors
      HONG KONG26.6 million
      BANGKOK 21.2 million
      LONDON19.2 million
      SINGAPORE16.6 million
      MACAU15.4 million
      DUBAI14.9 million
      PARIS14.4 million
      NEW YORK12.7 million
      SHENZHEN12.6 million
      KUALA LUMPUR12.3 million

      Source: Euromonitor International

      Wildlife in Chitawan , Nepal

      Window of Nepal Tourism

      http://www.nepaltournews.com/