Mountain Legacy Resources
Multifunctionality of mountain ecosystems is a goal that is sometimes most compatible with independent backpacker tourism. Resilient to economic and political disturbance, undemanding in terms of infrastructure development, and driven by motives compatible with cultural and natural conservation, independent backpackers can also respond quickly to new recreational opportunities.
This paper has four sections. In the first, we review current trends in ecotourism. We conclude that the there are two distinct trends. On the one hand, the term has been widely used to promote a wide variety of operations, which collectively constitute "business as usual." On the other hand, the concept as used by "purists" does not, in the case of most remote mountain destinations, offer a means of sustainable development.
The second section describes an ecotourism project in Lijiang (Yunnan province, China). We believe that the failure of this project offers object lessons as to the pitfalls of benevolent development assistance. The objective was to promote independent backpacker tourism as a means of expanding economic opportunity while fostering cultural and natural conservation. This project may serve as a useful example of how opportunities can be recognized and yet missed.
The third section describes another tourism development program in Rolwaling, Nepal. This program is being implemented by Bridges: Projects in Rational Tourism Development, an organization directed by the authors of this paper. We hope that this innovative project will serve as a pilot for similar programs elsewhere.
In the fourth section we propose strategies for the expansion of independent trekking tourism, based on two survey studies as well as observations in Nepal and China.
ABSTRACT: Rolwaling Valley in north central Nepal presents an unusual combination of problems and opportunities linking biodiversity and tourism development. It is well-established that tea house trekking offers the most beneficial results both for the hosts and for most guests (Odell and Lama 1998). Relatively isolated and unimpacted, Rolwaling has been prevented from realizing its potential as an ecotourism destination by an unfair regulation requiring trekkers to acquire expensive trekking peak permits, which also entail traveling with fully-equipped caravans. The prominent models for tourism development are inappropriate in Rolwaling; with only modest external assistance, however, Rolwaling could easily transform itself into a popular trekking destination in its own right and a convenient route of access to or egress from Sagarmatha National Park.
ABSTRACT:Mountain tourism both increases the risks posed by mountain hazards and also provides the economic opportunity to effectively cope with those hazards. Salient points and recommendations from participants in Mountain Hazards, Mountain Tourism e-conference include:
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