Tourism is acknowledged as one of the major revenue earning industries in an economically backward and under-developed Nepal. It also provides employment and income to many thousands of Nepalis in the numerous activities which generate the industry.
In the early days, the focus was on projecting the country’s growing image as a tourist destination and then doing everything to satisfy the foreign visitor’s desire to see and enjoy the many facets of Nepal’s unique physical attractions such as the Himalayas, the exotic flora and fauna and the varied cultures of the people, trekking, rafting, sight-seeing, etc. The emphasis was on more tourists and more revenue.
The Everest area being called the “highest garbage dump in the world” came as a very rude shock to everyone.
Both the government and tourism entrepreneurs began to realize that tourism was, in many ways, harming the environment, both natural and human. Trekkers were using precious wood for their cooking and camp fires, rubbish being dumped along the trails, and in some ways, the local people were being negatively affected by practices alien to the Nepali culture and psyche.
In the last decade or so, much has been done to adapt to means and methods conducive to healthy tourism and to protect natural environment and traditional culture.
Now, every trekking group camping out has kerosene or small gas cookers for their cooking and hot water needs. No trees or healthy shrubs are cut. Trek guides ensure that rubbish after a camp is always disposed of in the most sanitary way. Trekkers are briefed on the customs and traditions of the local people. They are told that they should be as friendly as the people but not to be intrusive. They should respect the simple dignity of locals who may be offended by cheap tips or presents, perhaps for a photograph.
Nepal has adopted a strong conservation and protection policy on environment, natural resources, the flora and fauna and the region’s rich biodiversity. Along with the Everest zone, declared a World Heritage Site by the UN, 13 national parks and wildlife reserves have been demarcated and restricted against human encroachment and irresponsible tourism.
The tourism industry in Nepal has wholeheartedly supported the government initiatives and keeps well in line with official directives about not disturbing the delicate balance that exists between nature and humans.
Responsible tourism also embraces the human factor in terms beneficial employment for a vast number of people involved, people who would be jobless because they do not have the education, training or skills for any other field of employment. From the numerous people who run the trekking, travel and rafting agencies, hotels and lodge employees, trekking and sightseeing guides, camp staffs, porters, souvenir sellers, tea stall keepers on the trail… the list is long. While engaging their services, most agencies ensure that they are insured against accidents, disabilities and deaths that they are fairly paid for their hard work, that they have adequate protective clothing and footwear for the higher, more riskier treks.
For instance, this Company strictly follows the norms and guidelines laid down by the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG) and all porters hired by us on any trek are covered by insurance.