November 19 , 2016
Trekking Agencies' Association of Nepal (TAAN) has underscored the need to strike a balance between conservation and development in mountain areas of the country.
Presenting a paper on 'Adventure Tourism in Nepal: Challenges and Opportunities' at the International Conference of Mountain Tourism, Climate Change and Nepal Earthquakes held in Kathmandu on Friday, TAAN CEO Tek B Mahat said shortening of trekking trails due to road construction has emerged as a serious threat to trekking business.
The conference was organized on the occasion of Mt Makalu and Mr Kanchenjunga Diamond Jubilee Celebrations.
"We cannot stop the pace of development. But we can minimize the impact of development activities on our fragile mountain environment. Concerted efforts of all stakeholders is needed to strike a perfect balance between conservation and development," he added.
Construction of roads has shortened many trekking trails, including the popular Upper Mustang Trail and the Annapurna Circuit Trail. These treks, which used to take more than two weeks in the past, can now be completed in less than a week.
Making a SWOT analysis of adventure tourism in Nepal, Mahat said that global warming and climate change, migration of skilled workforce, cultural and environmental degradation, natural disasters, cheaper packages offered by neighboring destinations, illegal operation by unauthorized groups and unplanned urbanization were the major threats to adventure tourism in Nepal.
Similarly, President of the Union of International Alpine Associations (UIAA) Frits Vrielandet said he was pleased to be here in Nepal. "I have enjoyed trekking in mountaineering in Nepal. It is one of the most sought after adventure tourism destinations in the world," he added.
Government officials, diplomats, development activists and travel trade people were present in the conference.