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Tourism for Improving Livelihood in Dang

“Likelihood of Tourism Development in Dang”

Tourism can be and is the basic source of income for developing country like Nepal where it can increase its prospective development through tourism promotion. Not concentrating on few concerned areas only it should expand the promotion all over Nepal where the rich scenic diversity and biodiversity along with its ethnic culture and tradition can be the major attraction for Tourism. Ecotourism has become an important economic activity in natural areas around the world. It provides opportunities for visitors to experience powerful manifestations of nature and culture and to learn about the importance of biodiversity conservation and local cultures. At the same time, ecotourism generates income for conservation and economic benefits for communities living in rural and remote areas. There is growing market for ecotourism across the world. Ecotourism comprises over 50 percent of total tourist business worldwide and growth in ecotourism shows an increasing trend. Since tourism in Nepal is in one or the other way associated with nature and natural areas, tourism in Nepal is often viewed from an ecotourism perspective. Some estimates have shown that about 80 percent of the country’s tourism market is linked with nature tourism or ecotourism. Therefore ecotourism is of crucial importance to the nation.

Dang district lies in the Mid-Western development region of our country. The district is enriched with the ancient temples, palaces with immense historical importance, diverse ethnic groups, dialects and languages, landscapes, serenity and placidness of the lakes and valley, biologically significant flora, fauna and wildlife, waterfalls and hill-sides serrated in the form of an endless series of terraces. If all these resources are integrated for ecotourism development, the district can be developed as a visitor’s dreamland for ecotourism destination. But the district still lags behind in the tourism perspective and promotion of ecotourism is still at brink due lack of proper planning, management and promotion of tourism sites and resources as well. Hence, the need for this workshop is realized to promote and develop the ecotourism in Dang.

“Likelihood of Tourism Development in Dang-2009” was organized by District Development Committee-Dang and YONSED in support of UNDP/GEF/SGP and NTB at Nepal Tourism Board by organizing following activities like eco-cultural show, presentations, workshop and exhibition of cultural monuments to promote and enhance issues regarding the tourism development of Dang and imparted information considering the tourism possibilities in and major amenities available and the constraints that are visible in its possible development.

OBJECTIVES
§  To create a national platform to unfold the different findings and study made by the expert, researchers and tourism promoters regarding the development of tourism in Dang.
§  To maintain coordination and develop relationship with the concerned tourism entrepreneurs and with the organizations working in the field of ecotourism development and promotion.


PARTICIPANTS OF THE PROGRAM
A total of 95 participants representing policy makers, experts, tourism related entrepreneurs and NGOs/GOs/INGOs, donor agencies, and concerned peoples related to tourism and ecotourism, GoN ministries, Medias, participants from different colleges participated in the programme.

INAUGURAL SESSION
The programme began under the chairmanship of Mr. Madhusudan Poudyal, LDO, Dang. The programme was hosted by Ms. Komal Oli, National Folk Singer.

Mr. Pawan Kumar Yadav, YONSED, welcomed the programme participants. In his welcome speech, Mr. Yadav said that YONSED in association with DDC-Dang in support of NTB and UNDP/GEF/SGP has jointly taken the initiative to promote ecotourism in Dang as a pathway for sustainable development.

The programme initiated with inaugural speech of Honorable Nilamaber Acharya, President, Constitution Committee. Mr. Acharya thanked the organizers for managing the programme well and showed full support for the development of tourism in Dang. He also focused that all the members from different political parties should come together for development of tourism. He also highlighted that Dang can be the popular tourist destination and there are possibilities for tourism development in Dang and he showed full support for any help needed in the process. The major need of the country is the formation of Constitution and there should be coordination between different political parties and requested too for it.

Hon. Krishna Bahadur Mahara, CA Member also thanked the organizing team for giving such an opportunity to participate and showed a common ground for development and Tourism Promotion in Dang. He also appreciated the organizing committee for giving such a platform for different people. He also focused on the fact that Dang is the place bearing importance from cultural as well as natural perspective and Tourism promotion and development in the region would add up for the social and environmental development of the place.


TECHNICAL SESSION
The technical session of the programme consisted of two presentations.


Presentation I: “Archeological Aspects of Dang District ”
Presenter: Dr. Shiva Kumar Subedi, Lecturer ,MM Campus Ghorahi , Dang

Dr. Subedi commenced his presentation with general introduction of Dang District along with its historical background. Tourism development has gaining wider acceptance in Dang along with the researches for geological and cultural history study as well as increased visit and study of religious sites. The potentialities for tourism development are high in Dang for internal as well as external tourism yet no significant development in the sector has been observed. The major reasons may be the lack of infrastructures for tourism like residential facilities, transportation and communication facilities, security, hospitality and other facilities.

He discussed on the various archaeological sites that could be converted to tourist destination sites along with its development. The popular cultural sites being Gadhiko Lake, Chhilikot, Basgadhi, Siddha Ratnanathpith, Sabarikot, Sukaura Gadh, Ambikeshwori temple, etc. the famous natural sites that should be promoted includes Bahrekune Daha, Jyamire Daha, Chamero Gufa, waterfalls as well as artificial caves. Dang could be well developed as the model village too.

He further discussed on the need of tourism development of Dang and other such areas of Nepal which carry high tourism values. In the present context where Nepal is facing challenges for development, tourism can be the better option. He also discussed on various challenges like public awareness, lack of market for local production, publicity of places, lack of accessibility and travel agencies and lack of financial resources for the tourism promotion.

Dr. Subedi concluded his presentation on the note that Dang district is rich in cultural as well as natural heritages and initiatives are being taken at local level for the tourism promotion which can be significantly observed with:
1. A tourism development committee has been established in Dang from the year 2056 B.S.
2. The preparation of famous heritages of tourist attraction in the year 2058 B.S.
3. The promotion of Dang Cultural Festival from the year 2055-2060 B.S.
4. DDC of Dang and Ministry of Tourism has carried out conservation program of Chamero Gufa, Barha Kune Barahchhetra and Charidange Daha.
5. Publication of “Dangka Paryatakiya Sampadaharu” in the year 2065 B.S.
6. Establishment of committee for the Celebration of Nepal Visit Year 2011 AD.



Presentation II: “A Baseline Study of Ecotourism Potential Sites of Dang”
Presenter: Mr. Jeevan Thapa, President, YONSED

Mr. Thapa initiated his speech with a general definition of Ecotourism -“Ecotourism is nature-based tourism that involves education and interpretation of the natural environment and is managed to be ecologically sustainable.” (Australian National Ecotourism Strategy, 1994). Ecotourism conveys tourism development with minimal impact to the natural environment, sensitivity and enhanced awareness of local environments and cultures, financial support for local conservation initiatives, empowerment and participation of local communities along with financial and other benefits for local communities. Ecotourism has been growing at the rate of 20% - 34% per year. Nepal is truly a remarkable country for development of tourism and Ecotourism in Nepal tends to blend with adventure tourism. Country's Ninth Plan's, Policy and Implementation strategies include promotion of Eco-tourism. Programmes such as development of model tourist villages, development of new trekking areas comes under these strategies.

He also provided a list of most potential eco-tourism sites of Dang which includes Mulkot, Shree Gaon, Ambapur, Sukaura, Chhilikot, Purandhara, Baraha Chhettra, Chaughera, Sonpur, Dharpani, Dhoreni and Rihar. He also discussed on the socio-economic status of the region including sex ratio, literacy status, occupation and income and food sufficiency. He also discussed on the environmental status of the region including pattern of energy consumption, community forest management, drinking water sources and various environmental problems in the area. He also put a light upon the tourism status of the area showing status of tourist flow, types of tourists, purpose of visit, future potentialities in the area as well as infrastructural facilities available in the area including transportation, lodging and fooding, and other various amenities. His presentation also showcased various historical and cultural sites, religious places, natural scenic beauty, destination for ecotours & Nepalese rural environment, denese collections of archeological resources and artificial infrastructures that could attract tourists.

He concluded his presentation with the appeal to
· enhance the awareness activities at school and community level regarding biodiversity conservation and ecotourism,
· encourage study and research on ecotourism,
· prepare proper tourism guidelines,
· documentation of data and maintenance of better communication and publicity,
· develop and maintain better coordination among the local conservation committees CFUGs,
· manage the basic needs of lodging, fooding and communication at the tourism sites,
· establish network with national and foreign tourism organizations, give means to the local communities to take decisions in the tourism domain,
· education workshops on needs of tourist, biodiversity conservation, waste management, business skills, marketing, knowledge of cultural differences of tourists,
· adopt practices that offer employment possibilities to poor people and
· encourage multi-stakeholder participation

SPEECH

Mr. Krishna Gyawali, Secretary, Ministry of Local Development appreciated such an initiative and focused that Dang distirct lying between Chure and Mahabharat Range and the range of Dhaulagiri and Sisne Himal range visible from the valley can be the major Tourist attractions. Large numbers of temples lying around the district along with huge cultural diversity and various cultural and traditions can also be the major attractions for the tourists. The development of tourism in the area can be socially and economically helpful for all the residents of Dang.


Mr. Vijay Singh, ARR, UNDP thanked the organizer team and also appreciated the work of organizer team. The research work so conducted in Dang is an appreciable work. Although Nepal is moving in the path of sustainable development it lacks certain specific requirements in the process. The workshop has proved to be a new opportunity to fulfill this certain lacking requirements. He also commented that although a significant development in agriculture has been observed, the lack of conservation and concern for the existing biological diversity has affected the environment a lot. Development has been significant with the establishment of large no. of schools but the quality education is still lacking in these schools. The cultural diversity is also vanishing along with development. This workshop proves to be an initiation of development from district level along with conservation of natural and cultural biodiversity and would surely be effective. He also focused on the well conservation and preservation of wetland areas of Dang that holds a significant biological diversity and showed full support for the initiation as well as would show full support for tourism development in Nepal.

Dr. Govinda Acharya, DDC, Dang commented on the two papers presented on the workshop. He commented that the paper presented by Dr. Shiva Shrestha gave an introductory background of tourism and how the religion, ethnic groups and tradition plays a vital role in the conservation of cultural biodiversity. For Dang, the priority for the tourism attraction is cultural diversity followed by natural and scenic diversity and lastly the educational influence. Dang has the essence of primitive and historical human settlement which initiated around Dhime Dhime Lake. The Hadfore Dada, a popular place in Dang has been used by primitive human beings where they used to kill the vultures for the food. He also commented on the paper of the second presenter Mr. Jeevan Thapa who mainly focused on the ecotourism of Dang and many sites that could be developed in the perspective of tourism.

Prof. Dr. Madan Koirala, Assistant Dean, Tribhuvan University appreciated the work of YONSED and also appreciated the work of presenters. He expressed his genuine contentment of team where he supervised the work of the second presenter Mr. Jeevan Thapa. He supervised Mr. Thapa for the survey in Dang where 14 VDCs were studied. He also focused on the fact that such kind of surveys and studies should be further conducted including geological studies and Environmental Impact Assessment Studies that would be effective in the promotion of Ecotourism in Dang.

Mr. Amar Dangi, Former Mayor, Ghorahi Municipality, Dang focused that the development and tourism promotion should not be in the expense of exploitation of the natural and scenic diversity and this workshop has proved to be effective that development and conservation should go hand in hand. He is also content with the fact that various organizations and youths are working for it. Dang has been always well renowned for the high cultural diversity and this may be the platform for Dang to be well appreciated and preserved.


Mr. Ramesh Adhikari, LDO, Dhading appreciated the work of presenters which were informative and would surely add up for the development and promotion of tourism in Dang. He also shared that the workshop has inspired the administrators and media persons to visit Dang and in this way this could be very effective for the development of Dang and inspired him too to participate in the programme. The cultural and natural biodiversity of Dang can create a special place in the heart of people and he believes in that too. He also appreciated the work of the presenters which has been very inspiring. He also focused on the promotion of agriculture based tourism Dang which can be promoted with creative ideas. He also focused on the fact that the potentiality is the major issue to be taken that could be turned into development and the action; decision and vision are the things that should be taken forward as a whole. It is the fact that a work starts in the initiation of one but it should lead to continuity where all should be involved.

Mr. Kashi Raj Bhandari, Director, NTB initiated his speech with the fact with the nearing of Nepal Tourism Year 2011, the workshop has proved to be an efficient way to convey the message of Nepal being the land of natural wonders. He also focused on the fact that Dang District should be developed in the perspective of ecotourism. The four major objectives he focused are listed below:
1. 5 lakhs tourist visiting Nepal each year should be concentrated and attracted to other major sites which are full of natural and scenic beauty.
2. The tourists should be diverted to other spots in addition to the famous tourist spots.
3. The investment in the tourism at national level should be increased.
4. The internal tourism should be promoted.
He concluded his speech with the remarks that tourism promotion and development is not the sole responsibility of Tourism Ministry only and should be promoted from various sectors and areas and it would provide its full support for it in the context.


Hon. Shanta Chaudhary, President, Natural Resource Means Committe focused on the fact this type of workshop would have been conducted earlier and although a late initiation she termed it as good. She also elaborated on the fact that Dang is a rich region with cultural and traditional diversity with its unique dialects and costumes. Different people involved in different political parties should stand up for the common goal that is development. They should speak up and make an initiation for the development of their related districts and communities which would lead to the holistic development of our country. As the program has put a clear picture of how Dang can be converted into the famous tourist destination site, now the time has come to prepare an action plan for the Tourism development. The various lakes and ponds important in both natural and cultural way are in a need of immediate conservation and maintenance. The initiation can be from the conservation and management of these historical and scenic sites of lakes and ponds. She concluded her speech with the concluding remark that she is in the team of Tourism Development in Dang and would do as far as possible for the development of Tourism in the Dang District.

Mr. Madhusudan Poudyal, LDO, Dang thanked all the participants of the programme and the organizer team for such an appreciable work. He also dedicated his vote of thanks to all the Constitution Assembly Members and Paper presenters. He also focused on the development of Dang in perspectives of Tourism where he had seen lot of possibilities of Dang as being the top tourist destination site. He also elaborated on the published book “Dang ka Paryatakiya Sampadaharu” whose major objective has been the conservation of ethnic culture and tradition of Dang along with the conservation of natural and cultural biodiversity.

Cultural Dance showcased by cultural group from Dang which was conducted to enhance the traditional costumes and dance by one of the many culture and tradition of Dang.

 

 

CLOSING SESSION
Ms. Komal Oli, National Singer, thanked the guests and participants for expressing their opinions, comments and suggestions on Tourism perspective of Dang District. She also said that these will be valuable in formulating the work plan and Tourism development programmes in Dang. Ms. Oli also informed that YONSED; a youth led organization along with other tourism related organizations and people at policy level will consider these issues and take action immediately.

MEDIA COVERAGE
· Avenues Television, Kathmandu
· Kantipur Daily, Kathmandu
· Gorkhapatra Daily, Kathmandu
· The Himalayan Times, Kathmandu


OUTPUT
Followings were the outputs of the programme:
i. The programme acted as a platform for the students to know more about tourism development in Nepal.
ii. The programme provided an opportunity to learn about the scenario of tourism development in developing country like Nepal.
iii. The programme proved as a platform where experts, professionals, professors and students from various field got an opportunity to learn issues of tourism development.

Conclusion

From Tourism development there are high possibilities to turn the opportunity available for the economic benefit of the country. The opportunities could be utilized for the sustainable use of resources and for the sustainable development of the country.