The buzz word in global tourism today is eco-tourism. Eco-tourism ensures that traveling to any part of the globe is both environmentally and culturally safe and sound. Whether you are traveling to Africa to watch the big-game hunting or trekking in the precarious Everest region of Nepal, your impact on the environment, nature and culture is reduced to such an extent that your presence in that region is felt only in memory. ‘Leaving footprints only’ is a popular phrase which has become synonymous with every green or interactive traveler who cares about the destination they are traveling to.
Nepal has also been promoting Eco-tourism for the past two decades. One of the best examples of eco-tourism can be taken of Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP). Started in 1986, ACAP has become a world popular trekking destination for its environmental based activities and community participation. ACAP falls on the most popular Annapurna trek where every year 25,000 trekkers go. Here one can see the best practice of environmental conservation; local participation and tourism promotion go hand in hand. Avoiding plastic bottles and cans, eating local food, respecting local culture are some of the common activities carried out by tourists and trekkers. In Nepal eco tourism has been practiced and promoted in almost all the trekking areas including Everest, Langtang, Manaslu, and Kanchanjunga. Local environmental committees have been formed in participation of local people which conduct regular cleaning campaigns, awareness classes, and manage rubbish pits. Similarly the 16 national parks and protected areas also promote eco-tourism packages like watching rhinos and sightseeing on elephant back, jungle walk, bird watching activities etc.
Moreover there is a tourism ministry, authorized liaison officers, various agencies and respective tourism associations which oversees the monitoring and effective implementation of environmental rules and regulations formulated by the government. For instance, Nepal Mountaineering Association is responsible in collecting garbage fees from climbers and mountaineers before they travel to intended destination. Similarly Sagarmatha Pollution Committee which look after the collection and implementation of environmental rules. It is still mandatory for tourists who are going to high altitude regions to pay certain amount of refundable fees as pledge to environmental conservation.
But ultimately the responsibility of operating environmental friendly trekking trips and tours comes to private travel and tour agent. This is where Green Horizon Tours and Travels step in. Green Horizon is fully committed to eco-tourism and ensures its clients do the same. Before every trip it makes it a point to brief its client thoroughly about host communities and the vulnerability of the local environment. At the same time it shares adequate knowledge on what a traveler can do to reduce his/her negative impact on environment and culture. Over the years this initiative taken by Green Horizon Tours and Travels has helped a great deal in achieving its environmental and social commitments.
Even today we constantly update and evaluate the environmental risks with the changing times and produce flyers and brochures to be distributed to our clients. We have found this to be effective in promoting eco-tourism.