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Economic Sustainability through Mountain Tourism: Trekking Tourism in Mustang, Nepal addressing Climate Change Impacts

Economic Sustainability through Mountain Tourism: Trekking Tourism in  Mustang, Nepal addressing Climate Change Impacts 
 Mr. Subash Duwadi


Despite the global nature of tourism industry and its economic contributions, scholars of Climate Change research have hardly acknowledged the threat of climate change to the tourism industry. Tourism scholar have rectified this situation to a certain extent by demonstrating how the industry has become vulnerable to climate change and drawing attention to the need for adaptation and the mitigation strategies specific to this sector.

Mountain regions worldwide are affected by climate change. Indeed, mountain represent unique
e areas for the detection of climate change and the assessment of climate-related impacts. The intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has predicted dramatic impacts on the mountain ecosystem as a result of climate change. Changing climates will potentially alter the seasonal patterns of tourism with consequences on the mountain environments. It is therefore critical to develop adaptation and mitigation strategies specific to mountain environment. Climate change can affect tourism in a variety of ways. It could affect the appeal of a destination, disrupt trans-port and energy-related infrastructures, damage the natural resources base, affect tourist satisfaction, impacts tourists' health and safety and influence the overall sustainability of facilities and destinations. Climate is one of the most important attributes of mountain tourism. Several types of the mountain recreational activities are primarily dependent on climatic conditions, like temperature increases are detrimental for glacier walking, mountain climbing and skiing. Many tourist consider the level of climate- related comfort when making vacation decisions.

While talking about the gaining economic sustainability, tourism has remained a major foreign exchange earner and a source of OFF-FARM EMPLOYMENT in some HKH countries, notably Nepal. The Case of the Jomsom-Marpha area in the Mustang District of Nepal exemplifies how the constraints of the relatives inaccessibility can be turned into opportunities through the growth of a number of the interlinked activities based on comparative advantages. The Jomsom-Marpha area lies in a trans-Himalayan valley north of the Great Himalayan ranges, has insular conditions, and because of the altitudes and the climate has very little cultivable land. Horticulture was introduced in the 1960s through a government extension farm, but the area was losing population due to out-migration.The area is connected by air to Kathmandu and Pokhara but does not have a motorable road and it takes about six to eight days from the nearest urban centres to reach the area. Over the last one and a half decades, the Jomsom- Marpha area has developed as a major destination for the trekking tourists to the Annapurna region. Over 11,000 western tourists visit the Jomsom-Marpha area each year. This has lead to the spontaneous development of a number of off-farm activities that revolve around or are linked with the trekking tourism.

The growth in tourism has provided the impetus for the local people to invest in the new economic activities. Spurred by the growth in tourism, hotel and lodge-keeping have emerged as a major activities in the area. Horticulture and vegetables production received a boost from the trekking tourism as fresh fruits were in demand both the tourists and the hotel/lodges. The increasing demand for the vegetables from the hotels and restaurants catering to the tourists induced the development of the commercial vegetables farming. The need to import food and the fuel for the tourists encouraged porterage as well as mule-based transportation. The rise in household income had created demand for the metal utensils which were fashioned by occupational caste groups out of imported raw materials. One of the innovations introduced in the area was the drying of the apples. This has reduced, to some extent, the imperative for 'disaster sales' during the apple season and has provided employment opportunities on an extended scale in many households. Although tourism had provided the initial push, apple production in the area had been growing annually, thus making the search for the new markets essentials. As a result new and novel ways of the storage, packaging, and transportation were being tried.
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