Exploring a new place and enjoying nature is a common hobby to be found in everyone’s bio, nowadays. Youngsters take a ride to the adventurous spots and capture soothing beauties of Nature. They desire to share them on social media that reach thousands of people and grab their attention. Actually, Nepal has been gifted with numerous adventurous and eye-catching geography and resources. However, those beautiful resources are fading away, scenic spots are changing and many creatures are gradually on the verge of extinction.
Many of us point out the growing developmental activities, technological innovations, the policy of the nation or the role of government but, the mindset that we possess is only the major reason behind such rapid degradation in beautiful places, enriched resources and threatening of countless creatures that reside around us. Nonetheless, travelling with the feeling of responsibility, ownness and the limitless love towards nature and the motherland signifies the loyalty and faithfulness towards the ultimate power of the well beings. Such travelling is Eco-tourism.
Ecotourism is the responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education(TIES,2015). It not only supports the natural environment but also enhances the living standard of local people, whereas enjoying the journey is solely on our hand. Interactions with Flora, fauna, cultural heritage as well as natural beauties are the key motive of eco-tourism.
Eco-tourism is also called responsible tourism because it contributes to the conservation of cultural as well as natural resources and even strengthens the relationship between hosts and the tourists. It promotes the understanding of local cultural, social and environmental issues and imprints its importance forever in them. Hereby, they are sent back with sweet goodbye developing the feeling of responsibility directly or indirectly.
Ecotourism replenishes the joy and energy of the travellers and encourages them for their healthy and memorable journey. It inspires travellers to minimize the negative impacts in the environment and address them to flourish the story of their eco-journey. Local people get benefited by the promotion of energy efficiency technologies, recycling method conservation of water and resources as well as development of economic opportunities. Moreover, it also helps to conserve the cultural, religious and ecological values and aspects of the place.
Ecotourism reflects the actual beauty and balance of nature that fosters the appreciation of our natural habitats. Ecotourism minimizes the negative impacts along with increasing the economy also. Furthermore, it creates an opportunity to realize how different is the reel life and real life within. Fragile and under shadow places get a chance to develop and thrive the generations to visit and explore.
Overview of Ecotourism in Nepal:
Nepal holds an insignificant prospect of tourism. Tourism contributes 7.9% in Nepal’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in which Eco-tourism plays a crucial role. To promote and enhance the tourism industry, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) had envisioned for the Tourism Year 2020 with the motto “Visit Nepal-2020”. However, the influence of Covid-19 creates the pandemic situation and the Government of Nepal (GoN) binds to stop national as well as an international movement postponing the Tourism Year-2020. This critically hampered the global and national economy and locked down almost all the economical activities. In the present scenario, there is a certain rise in internal and international tourist flow in Nepal. New eco-tourist destinations are being explored whereas existing destinations are also maintained even with health secureness.
Nepal’s Eco-tourist Destinations:
Nepal’s ecotourism industry is flourishing day by day. Wildlife viewing, wilderness camping, trekking, hiking, water rafting, etc. are the major ecotourism attractions of Nepal. Barpak (Gorkha), Pokhara and Annapurna conservation area, Everest Regions, Chitwan National Park, Langtang, Gosaikunda, Lumbini, etc. are some of the ecotourism places of Nepal.
Challenges in Nepal:
Insufficient fooding and lodging during peak seasons are the most challenging issues in Nepal. Sometimes, lack of people with good communication in the English language makes the international ecotourism unsatisfied. In addition, Climate change is also another greatest challenge. Irregular rainfall patterns, temperature change, and unpredicted snowfall are the results of it. Delay in management and reconstruction of trekking routes and roadways after disturbances due to earthquake, flood, landslides, etc. are other challenging issues.
In Nepal, ecotourism is helping in controlling anti-social activities, biodiversity conservation, the pattern of utilizing the local resources. It is playing a great role in poverty alleviation, agricultural transformation, social empowerment of women, etc. Most importantly, Ecotourism strengthens environmental conservation, social interaction and economics of the country.
“ Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but photographs.”