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People enjoying elephant ride in Chitwan National Park, on Saturday. Photo: THT

Amid increased activism by global animal rights activists against elephant ride, jungle safari operators based in Chitwan and Nawalparasi have demanded that the government come up with a regulations with minimum conditions to be fulfilled for using elephants for tourism and wildlife conservation.

Stating that elephant is a crucial part of Nepal’s wildlife tourism and conservation, they said banning their use completely would have an adverse impact on tourism, which is one of the major contributors to the national economy. At the same time, it would also hamper conservation efforts, and put at risk the livelihood of elephants in captivity.

According to elephant safari operators, tourism also provides livelihood to elephants in captivity. They say these elephants are not only earning money for the tourism business, they are ahelso earning for themselves.

Read the full article about the jungle safari operators’ demand for regulations here.

By Himalayan News Service for The Himalayan Times.

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Travel with Social Good in Nepal’s Community Homestays

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by Sudan Budathoki, Senior Office -Online Branding & Communication, Royal Mountain Travel, on behalf of CommunityHomestay.com

 

 

 

 

 

While luxurious hotels with all the mod-cons can be a lavish way to travel, with travelers interested in getting to know local people and exploring different cultures, some may find this a limiting way of experiencing a country. If you’ve seen the inside of one generic hotel, you’ve pretty much seen them all. But the Community Homestay Program, an initiative of Royal Mountain Travel, co-operating with multiple native communities of Nepal, offers an innovative and unique service for travelers wanting a comfortable place to sleep as well as local flavor, warm hospitality and the chance to see and experience things not otherwise accessible to tourists.

CommunityHomestay.com is a network of community homestays in Nepal, with the objective to empower women of vulnerable communities, preserving Nepalese ancient culture and traditions, supporting local business, and creating a memorable vacation for travelers visiting community Homestays.

Interaction with international cultures

Currently, the network envelops twelve community homestays from all over the Nepal. To become a family in the Community Homestay Network, a community is suggested to come forward with at least ten families (houses) to host guests. The homestay program recommends and prefers women to lead the project. Once the application is submitted, administration officers of CommunityHomestay.com pay their visit to the respective community. If a community meets the guidelines, CommunityHomestay.com begins promoting that community in the national and international travel industry. But, if a community does not meet the requirements, CommunityHomestay.com takes every possible measure to make a community competent to host guests. From a fund raising program (to maintain houses) to hospitality courses, from the English language learning classes and health and sanitation awareness, CommunityHomestay.com supports a community by every reasonable means. Once a community is comfortable to host guests, they are requested to reserve some certain amount of revenue to eradicate a social issue or to support a social situation. This is to say, not only a host family shall witness the benefits of community homestay, but eventually an entire community shall gain the positive impacts of responsible tourism.

One such example is Panauti Community Homestay. Like every other community homestay in the network, this homestay is a women-led project in a small town of Panauti, 32 kilometers outside the Kathmandu Valley. In 2009, 10 housewives and Royal Mountain Travel ventured for this very first project. In the initial days, housewives, who later became successful entrepreneurs, were shy and showed a lack of confidence to host foreign guests into their houses. They were concerned if a guest would not like the poor infrastructure of their houses or a guest would not like their home-cooked food or they would not be able to communicate with guests in a foreign language. Most of the housewives of Panauti Homestay are uneducated, and there was an urgent need to encourage them. Royal Mountain Travel provided training to these housewives regarding hospitality, service management, and gave English language learning classes. Royal Mountain also provided an idea and supported the houses to re-build toilets and bathrooms. Gradually, the owners/housewives began hosting guests in their houses. As every guest who visited their Homestay showed their tremendous support to housewives/owners of Panauti Community Homestay, the concept of community homestay came to an existence to empower women from every vulnerable community of Nepal.

 

Women of Panauti

Now the women of Panauti are full of confidence. The housewives are earning well, in some cases, more than their husbands. They can afford to send their children to better schools and their husbands are proud and happy for their wives’ success. With growing success, Panauti Community Homestay installed solar panel energy displaying their support for the natural energy. Once the kids of Panauti would chase a traveler for chocolates, now they communicate with guests in the English language and help lost travelers, if they spot one. A certain amount of revenue, generated from the homestay project, is set aside to support widowed women of Panauti; supporting financially to sponsor their children for education. The same revenue is also used to build a community hall, where younger generation are learning to play traditional Newari (ethnic) music, which was almost extinct.

Panauti Town

Such a success story has not limited its passion only to Panauti, rather it has encouraged other women from different communities to come forward to establish homestays. Other homestays in the Community Homestay Network are following the same principle. Women are in charge of other homestay projects, and so far it seems to be the fact that if a mother in a house becomes stronger, an entire family becomes stronger. If mothers of a community are stronger, the entire community sees only prosperity.

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Perspective: Sustainability in Nepal

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by Marcus Cotton, Managing Director, Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge & Jenefer Bobbin, Managing Director, JUSTreport Global

What do you see as the main as the main challenges for sustainability in Nepal?

One of the great challenges in tourism is to prevent both unintentional and deliberate ‘green-washing’ (the false presentation of pseudo-environmental policies and practices). All businesses have the ability to make a negative impact; often they are unaware of the detrimental effect their impacts are having, maybe through naivety or misinformation. Some are fully aware of the negative impacts but believe that they can ‘pull the wool’ over the industry’s eyes. Monitoring and reporting promotes transparency and accountability by being published in the public domain and hence businesses are more likely to manage these issues effectively. A sustainability report at best highlights the void between what people say and what people do, and at least shows potential guests that we are prepared to be transparent with our performance.

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Source: World Economic Forum (WEF):

This last use case from the Global Agenda Council on Risk and Resilience highlights tangible examples from Nepal of where multi-stakeholder partnerships between the public and private sectors and civil society organisations made a difference, and where they could be scaled up to be more effective in future.

Building resilience in Nepal through public-private partnerships

The report offers the following key observations based on the analysis of the aftermath of the earthquakes that struck Nepal in April and May 2015:

  • Resilience is a social and political issue as much as an economic and developmental one. Efforts to “build back better” must also incorporate support for Nepal’s political transition as a foundation for resilience;
  • Strengthening pre-established partnerships between the public and private sectors can improve responses to and reduce the impacts of future emergencies;
  • Crucial economic sectors, such as tourism and construction, can benefit from public-private cooperation for recovery and reconstruction;
  • Implementing and enforcing building codes and focusing on making schools safe should be a high priority in reconstruction efforts;
  • Retrofitting to make existing houses more “earthquake-resilient” can save lives and reduce economic losses,and can be done in an affordable way that uses locally available skills and technologies;
  • The private sector can offer unique expertise, capability and capacity for the Nepali government’s reconstruction efforts;
  • Public-private partnerships and innovative financing arrangements can be crucial parts of reconstruction and building resilience in Nepal.
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October 21 2015 – Following the earthquake that struck Nepal earlier this year, many in the country’s tourism industry, supported by friends and colleagues from around the world, began to collaborate on ideas and solutions for how to get its tourism industry back on its feet as quickly as possible. Jeremy Smith Read more.

 

Bringing Tourism Back to Nepal

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Tourism Back to Nepal: Most of the hiking trails in Nepal are open.

Most of the hiking trails in Nepal are open.

2 September 2015 – Darrell Wade, 54, is on a mission to bring tourism back to Nepal. The chief executive and a founder of Intrepid Travel recently spent a week in the country — his 14thvisit — and saw firsthand how far it has come in recovering from the devastating earthquakes in April. Shivani Vora Read more.

 

 

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Nepal earthquake

06 May 2015 – Nepal has been ravaged by the most devastating Earthquake to hit the country in recent memory. While this, like any other disaster has acted like a key to the humanity in the global community’s hearts. You and I can ensure that relief agencies can find the route to reach where they should reach. Read more.

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Nepal zero poaching

30 April 2015 – Nepal, the small Himalayan country that likens itself to a yam caught between two stones with China to the north and India to the south, has been able to achieve 365 days of zero poaching twice: in 2011 for rhinos, and for 12 months ending February 2014, for rhinos, tigers and elephants. Read more.

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Practical Action Nepal Office has initiated a project “Strengthening Local Capacities in Integrated Sustainable Waste Management (ISWM) in small and medium municipalities of Nepal” with the financial support from European Union under its EC Asia Eco Pro II programme and close partnership among Practical Action Nepal, GTZ/udle, MuAN and WASTE. The project aims to improve the health and environmental conditions of disadvantaged people living in the project municipalities. One of the major activities of the project is to disseminate best practices on sustainable waste management technologies, processes and approaches, from which it can develop and adapt the processes that are suitable in the context of urban centres of developing countries.

by www.practicalaction.org
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Orphanage Trafficking and Orphanage Voluntourism

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NYU Stern School of Business Dean Connor Grennan’s NGO, Next Generation Nepal (NGN), has put together a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document for orphanage tourism.

NGN receives many enquiries from concerned members of the public and organizations about the phenomenon of orphanage voluntourism and its connection to orphanage trafficking. Can volunteering in an orphanage really cause child trafficking? What ethical volunteering options are available as an alternative? What is being done to stop child trafficking into orphanages? To help answer these questions – and to provide an overview of an understandably confusing topic – NGN has prepared this briefing paper in which we answer the most frequently asked questions we receive about orphanage trafficking and orphanage voluntourism. Read more.

 

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