A new breed of social entrepreneurs had been trying out this new style of tourism in Nepal even before Covid-19. But the pandemic has helped turn the trend from a fad into a necessity.
The questions being asked are: who really benefits from tourism and at what cost? How can the pluses be made to outweigh the minuses? What are the ways that trekking can inject income directly into the village economy, instead of local people getting only a trickle after the European wholesalers and their Kathmandu-based agents have subtracted their margins?
The entrepreneurs who were trying out this new model, are now in trouble because of the collapse of Nepal’s tourism industry. However, as consciousness grows among Nepalis with disposable income about environmental degradation and the need to reduce waste, plastics and fossil fuel use, domestic tourism could also be a driver for a better normal in tourism.
Indeed, three of the initiatives featured here indicate that tourism entrepreneurs have also woken up to the value of the domestic market. The growing number of Nepalis on the trekking trails and at major destinations and the initiatives to clean up garbage mean that Nepalis want to help fellow-Nepalis by travelling in Nepal.
This quaint collection of cottages in the midst of forest hills with a magnificent view of Annapurna and Machhapuchre is located in Tanchok, a ridge 35km northwest of Pokhara off the Lumle Highway. It is high enough to get some snow in winter, and low enough for it to be warm and comfortable rest of the year.