Adventure sports lure youngsters
Nepal welcomes a large number of tourists from across the globe every year. Around 60 per cent of them are supposed to come here for experiencing adventures in the high Himalayas as the country is home to hundreds of peaks, including eight highest mountains of the world, scores of trekking routes and rivers originating in the Himalayas.
Experts and tourism entrepreneurs say that the country is a paradise for adventure seekers, pilgrims and others willing to experience ultimate challenges.
Amar Man Shakya, the Immediate Past President of Hotel Association Nepal (HAN), said that the paradise needs promotion at this point of time for quality tourism.
Despite being a small nation geographically, the country is very rich in multitudes of terrain and landscape, facilitating some of the best adventure sports to take place. Being the destination well-known for adventure tourism, Nepal offers a myriad of adventure activities such as trekking, mountaineering, rock climbing, mountain biking, mountain flights, paragliding, ultra-light flights, rafting, kayaking, cannoning, boating, bungee jumping, hunting, honey hunting, jungle safari, bird watching and zip lining.
People like to enjoy with fear when they travel, for what they climb tough mountains, jump from the height, dive in a deep sea, skate in glaciers and take part in many other activities just to enjoy their lives.
Not only international tourists but also locals have developed the trend of exploring newer places and promoting them for tourism in the country. Youngsters today love to travel more.
Rabin Shrestha, a local visitor found in Dhulikhel Zipline, said that the culture of travelling has increased in the country. “Foreigners as well as many locals travel to new destinations nowadays,” he added.
Recently, Shrestha took part in a superman zip-fly with his eight other friends.
Zip-flying is an adventurous game in Dhulikhel. Located some 30-km east of Kathmandu, the rural town also offers a breathtaking view of numerous mountains. According to Anil Thapa, the owner of Dhulikhel Zipline, around 12-15 people experience zipline on an off day and 80-100 during normal holidays. The adventure product was launched there some months back.
Bhuwan Sharma, the managing director of The Last Resort, has a similar experience to share. Sharma said that after the 2015 earthquake, the number of domestic tourists visiting the resort for bungee jumping and others has been on the rise. Of them, about 70 per cent are locals, he said. These examples show that there has been a growing attraction of the people towards adventure activities.
The government has also taken tourism as an important means of revenue generation. The country is going to organise the Visit Nepal Year 2020 with a target to bring in 2 million international tourists.
Nepal has more than five-decade long history of commercial adventure tourism. Jimmy Roberts, a British citizen, had laid the foundation of commercial adventure tourism in the country by establishing Nepal’s first trekking and mountaineering company in 1964 to offer the opportunity for wealthy travellers to enjoy the experience of trekking and climbing. However, the boundless prospects have yet to be utilized fully. “The country definitely holds tremendous tourism potential, adventure tourism. But this has not been utilised properly because of unclear policies,” said Deepak Raj Joshi, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB).
Travel agents and tour operators are responsible for creating tour packages and selling them. They devise travel plans for tourists and manage trips for them. Other service industries like hotels, and spa also organise trips. A large number of people get jobs in the adventure tourism segment. Despite having huge potentialities in this sector, it is not free from risks. Senior entrepreneurs involved in this sector say that it is quite challenging for them to sustain the business and maintain the service quality all the times. Getting updated with new policies is also challenging.
As one of the most popular adventure travel destinations in the world, Nepal needs to focus on international promotion. Traditional tourism activities may not be able to satisfy modern travellers.
(Ranju is a TRN journalist)