“The earth doesn’t belong to us. We belong to the earth”
Ecotourism in Nepal is focused, in that ecotourism initiatives its sustainable development and community empowerment. It was recognized that ecotourism, while being one of the country’s most popular forms of tourism, was also an avenue for sustainable community development and that there were ways in which these small, mostly poverty-stricken, communities could benefit from the ecotourism movement in Nepal.
Tourism is changing rapidly as nature, heritage, and recreational destinations become more important, and conventional tourism is forced to meet tougher environmental requirements. This presents a challenge to government and private enterprises to develop new approaches to the tourism market. Successful tourism must benefit local populations economically and culturally to give them incentives to protect the natural resources which create the attraction. Strategies must be economically feasible if private investors are to support the projects. Ecotourism is a very burning issue and one of the fastest-growing sectors in the current world tourism industry. Especially in many developing countries like Nepal are trying to use ecotourism as a tool to achieve sustainable development. Eco-tourism development requires a partnership between market and state with an appropriate division of responsibilities. The efficiency and integrity of tax collection must be improved. Hospitals and schools must be established immediately. Without such infrastructure development, the development and functioning of the tourism sector will not be possible.
Nepal has an abundance of opportunities for the ecotourism industry. But its effective practice and implementation are not promising due to lack of commitment of governmental policy and planning strategy with a combination of integrated conservation and development. Thus to run an ecotourism project properly, principles and theories of ecotourism must be considered a major base while making its policy and planning. The policy must be integrative, collaborative, and comprehensive to achieve the real outcome of ecotourism by realizing the importance of environmental, social, and economic imperatives.
An eco tourism-based economy features steady, vigorous competition among those who provide the money and take the risks and benefits of ownership. They buy equipment, goods, and labor services to create tourism for sale. “Buy cheap and sell dear” is their slogan to increase profits. We have to seldom serious problems like war and economic depressions to interfere with our eco-tourism development.
Ecotourism in Nepal is growing and flourishing. While there is always the danger of greenwashing, in any destination, Nepal is one of those countries where you can find legitimate ecotourism ventures that are aligned with sustainable tourism development principles and issues. Through the TPRAP and organizations such as Nature Treks, ecotourism in Nepal has reached a point where it is an industry that, in some cases, is benefitting the local communities directly. When planning an ecotourism holiday in Nepal, provided you do your research, you can feel confident in the choices you make with regards to ecotourism activities and communities to visit.
Although tourism is important to Nepal’s economy, we need more technical assistance. It is true, the government is not spending on tourism development as well as drinking water supply, and training and sanitation are also getting less attention. At the same time, there is a need to review these programs, sharpen their focus, improve their system. We must be very careful, of course, to do that in a long-term, dynamic way as well as short-term. If the eco tourism-based economy has to be increased, attention must shift to sustained public action. Further reforms are needed in services.