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Monday, July 1, 2013

Ecotourism Policy in Nepal

The tourism Ministry in Nepal is primarily responsible for tourism planning and policy and
other important tasks like licensing, regulations and overall monitoring. Another important
institution is Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) which also has a significant role in the
development of tourism in Nepal by conducting planning, research, and developing products
and marketing for sustainable tourism. The National Planning Commission (NPC) is also a
key institution which has significant influence in tourism policy formulation. The commission
has regarded tourism as a key sector for economic benefit and poverty alleviation in its five
yearly plans.
It is very implicit that tourism in Nepal is one of the main economic contributors of the
country. Therefore it should be managed scientifically through the formulation of effective
planning and policy to support sustainable development. Respecting this idea, the Eighth Five
Year Plan (1992-1997) had given main emphasis on tourism to boost the national economy
by maximizing foreign exchange earnings and the Ninth Five Year Plan (1997-2002) also
envisaged the policy and implementation strategy for establishing Nepal as a ‘premium
tourist destination of the world’ with introduction of ecotourism including the strategy of
developing village tourism, new trekking sites and other required tourism infrastructure
(NPC, 2003; MOPE, 2004). Furthermore the plan also gave stress to review of tourism
policies, related regulations, institutional arrangements and coordination, and overall
assessment of tourism impacts (ibid).
Also acknowledging the negative impacts of tourism, government of Nepal has also
developed a strategy to promote ecotourism and introduced a legislation of Environmental
Impact Assessment (EIA) in the industry. But the Ninth Plan states that tourism policy
development and implementation is not as easy as it is envisioned in the plan. Thus, Banskota
and et al. (1995) say that the tourism policy and institutional framework is not effective and
the consequence of this brings lack of coordination of supply and demand in which private
sectors of tourism generally aim to earn much more income than on the conservation side
(Banskota and et al, 1995). Lack of policy implementation, especially in the case of
ecotourism in Nepal, creates major problems in the whole industry as well as in other sectors.

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