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ECOTOURISM IN MOUNTAINS

Ecotourism in Nepal:
Ecotourism means tourism involving travel to areas of natural or ecological interest, typically under the guidance of a naturalist, for the purpose of observing wildlife and learning about the environment.

Nepal is a country of central Asia in the Himalaya Mountains between India and southwest China. Site of a flourishing civilization by the 4th century A.D., the region was later divided into principalities, one of which, Gurkha, became dominant in the 18th century. Gurkha's expansion into northern India led to border wars with Great Britain. A 1923 treaty affirmed Nepal's full sovereignty, and a constitutional monarchy was established in 1951. Katmandu is the capital and the largest city. Population: 27,000,000.

Geographically, Nepal comprises three major areas. The south, known as the Terai, is a comparatively low region of cultivable land, swamps, and forests that provide valuable timber. In the north is the main section of the Himalayas, including Mt. Everest (8,856 m), the world's highest peak. Nepal's major rivers, which rise in Tibet, rush through deep Himalayan gorges. In central Nepal, where there are moderately high mountains, the Katmandu valley, or Valley of Nepal, the country's most densely populated region and its administrative, economic, and cultural center. Nepal's railroads, connecting with lines in India, do not reach the valley, which is served by a highway and a bridgelike cable line. There are a few other modern highways.

The population of Nepal is the result of a long intermingling of Mongolians, who migrated from the north (especially Tibet), and peoples who came from the Ganges plain in the south. The chief ethnic group, the Newars, were probably the original inhabitants of the Katmandu valley. Several ethnic groups are classified together as Bhotias; among them are the Sherpas, famous for guiding mountain-climbing expeditions, and the Gurkhas, a term sometimes loosely applied to the fighting castes, who achieved fame in the British Indian army and continue to serve as mercenaries in India's army and in the British overseas forces. Nepali, the country's official language, is an Indo-European language and has similarities to Hindi. Tibeto-Burman languages, Munda languages, and various Indo-Aryan dialects are also spoken. Nepal has a very low literacy rate of 40% for men and 15% for women. About 90% of the people are Hindu, and there are small minorities of Tibetan Buddhists and Muslims. Tribal and caste distinctions are still important, and Brahmins (the Hindu priestly class) retain great political influence. The royal family is Hindu. The entrenched caste system and rural poverty provided fertile ground for the Maoist insurgency that began in the 1990s.

The tourism boom in Nepal, as in other countries, has had a mixed blessing. It has generated a sizeable share of Nepal's foreign currency revenue but few people in the tourist destinations have experienced an improvement in their standard of living.
Tourist numbers started at a mere 2,500 in 1960 to over 162, 870 by 1980.                        1960 = estimated 2,500                               1970 = estimated 5, 000                                          1980 = est. 190, 000                                    1990 = est. 270, 000                                               1995 = est. 390, 000                                    1996 = est. 400, 000                                                    1998 = est. 470, 000                                    1999 = est. 500, 000                                                  2000 = est. 490, 000             2001 = est. 390, 000              2002 = est. 300, 000

In numerous places, trekking groups have left littered trails and degraded forest in their wake. Against this alarming backdrop, the practice of ecologically friendly-tourism has been gaining increased momentum ¨C both in Nepal and around the World. Our approach to tourism seeks not only to preserve the environment and culture of a tourist destination but also to be of benefit to the local population¡­. By fostering environmental awareness, both among locals & visitors and by linking tourism to social and economic development, it is possible to preserve the natural and cultural heritage of an area through the promotion of sustainable tourism. This not only enhances the positive experience of those on holiday it also helps to increase the standard of living of the local residents. Such a lot has been said about environmentally friendly tourism and no doubt a lot more will be. We can say without hesitation that we have, along with a few other trekking companies in Nepal led the way in responsible tours to our Kingdom.
 
Ecotourism is a rapidly expanding part of the worldwide tourist industry. An important aspect of all eco-tourism operations is education. Tourists are given the opportunity to learn about the local environment, or a particular aspect of the natural flora, fauna or landscape. Ecotourism also educates people about other cultures, especially the ways indigenous cultures relate to the natural environment.

Nepal is 147, 181 km2 which is 0.03% of the worlds land mass .The country consists of 5 physiographical regions; High Himalayan Terrain (23% of Nepal), The Forested High Mountains (20% of Nepal), Middle Mountains of Central Nepal (30% of Nepal), Siwaliks or Foothills (13% of Nepal), and The Tropical Lowland (14% of Nepal)
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