Sustainable tourism development: challenges for Nepal.

24, Feb 2021 |

“It is a set of interconnected principles and theories whose full implementation presents multilayered problems and challenges that are needed to be deeper investigation, more rigorous analysis, and more careful theatrical work.”

Yunish Dahal

With massive potential comes massive responsibility, the responsibility to utilize the resources properly and carefully, keeping in mind the needs of the local community and future generation. Nepal as a naturally rich and culturally diverse country has never been very careful in its tourism development until now.

Sustainable development became a global agenda 30 years ago.Though the promises are made to the UN and WTO but we still wipe an entire forest to construct roads and airports. Climate change has hit tourism, agriculture and many other sectors in the country while unmanaged urbanization has been dragging the quality of life down.

Despite millions of dollars being donated annually to solve these problems, the government has failed to take a full account of current and future economic, social and environmental impacts of various development activities.

The gigantic number of boundless International and National Non-government Organizations also have not made a very significant impact. They rarely change a village but can't set up a trend. Let us dig into why have we not been able to address sustainable tourism development in Nepal.

Public participation

The government has not been very successful in hooking the local people and stakeholders in their projects. Perhaps, they have failed to explain the advantages to the locals. There should have been a mutual understanding for development, instead the government has built its image as a station of corruption. People expect very less from the selected representatives and are pessimistic about new projects. The government alone can not assemble the project successfully and ends up ruining the natural environment and resources.

Complex concept

While there are things to be done, we cannot completely blame the government for the failure. The concept comprises various issues with a complex web of resources, stakeholders and conservation. It is overloaded with environmental, social and economic imperatives. The broad area of sustainability should be handled with care. “It is a set of interconnected principles and theories whose full implementation presents multilayered problems and challenges that are needed to be deeper investigation, more rigorous analysis, and more careful theatrical work.” says Martha Honey, Co-Founder and Director of Emeritus of the Center for Responsible Travel.


The physical structure of our land has been boon and curse as well. While it is a major attraction for tourism, tough terrains are hard to progress on. Sustainable energy sources and waste management becomes a very vast and expensive concept. Water resource management in various parts of the country are still reliant on traditional methods. That's why many places face water shortages during the dry season. The good ways are expensive to host. People and even the government prefers a cheaper model of development. 

Strategy Formulation and Leadership

Concrete strategies for sustainable tourism development in various developing countries like Nepal are, in fact, challenging issues. To encourage the active participation of all interested stakeholders; local people, tourism organizations, state bodies and tourists themselves is not an easy task. To accomplish the main goal of sustainability, there should be concrete leadership and a strategy that can help to facilitate the communication among stakeholders, access to development resources, local support and participation, local capabilities to maintain sustainable tourism development. Even after a federal system of governance, the expectations are nowhere near to be met.  

Immediate benefit deficit

The biggest contributors in Sustainable Tourism Development's success are the tourism businesses. They can actually make an impact, set a trend and change the traditional methods with new and sustainable ways. But the hotels, resorts, agencies, airlines and other businesses look for an immediate benefit. Though they show commitment for conservation, protection and clean business, the participation is only when there is a cost cutting policy or rise in profit. Hence, many ideas go unimplemented. Use of solar power, water recycling etc were tested and declared expensive by the businesses.

The Government has a big sack of challenges and with more understanding and help from outside the country, there is nothing more than to hope for a reformation. Until then, everyone should be accountable to nature and hope for the best.


Mustang, the dream destination of every tourist

The queen of Eastern Nepal; Illam

BIrgunj: The city with Busiest Land Port of Nepal

Janakpur, the central hub for religious and cultural tourism

Biratnagar, a city with a diverse cross-section of communities

Nepalgunj: Gem of far west region

Tumlingtar: The Gateway to the Mt. Makalu; 5th highest mount peak of the world

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