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Sustainable Tourism: A Vision For The Future

November 26, 2017
Agriculture has been the main livelihood for those living in the mountains and rural areas of Nepal. The onset of climate change has made their livelihood increasingly vulnerable to droughts, floods, landslides and other natural events. Add to the urbanisation of Nepal and opportunities abroad, villagers are under growing pressure to migrate away.

Over the years, tourism has been an alternative and complementary source of income leading to small business growth, better infrastructure and jobs creation. It has also come at a cost, namely, greater food demand, land degradation and over-development. To properly build resilience, tourism needs to be sustainable for the environment and the people.

In Nepal, there is an eco-resort bringing sustainability to a rural area. The Pavilions Himalayas is located within a farming village called Chisapani in Pokhara. Half of the village's estimated 900 inhabitants have migrated abroad, or to the urban areas of Kathmandu and Pokhara.

The solution for building resilience in the Hindu Kush Himalaya provided by this resort, includes having the technology or idea to:

- Generate its own renewable energy (solar for electricity, biogas for cooking);
- Harvest rainwater. Reuse grey water for irrigation;
- Design buildings to suit the landscape and climate;
- Use natural materials for construction and daily operation (minimising waste) ;
- Open new areas to tourism (spreading the impact and development);
- Apply agroforestry and permaculture techniques to improve food production and resilience;
- Retain land-use for agriculture (enabling the resort to grow food, provide employment, and offer an eco-friendly experience for travelers).

Most of its staff (65%) is from the village, allowing one person from each household employed, thus spreading the opportunities and reducing the need for migration. Other employees are staffed from neighbouring areas, which develops the local community.

The Pavilions Himalayas provide sustainable solutions for energy, food, water, tourism and community. The result is a social enterprise in the Hindu Kush Himalaya that builds resilience against climate change.

  • The Pavilions Himalayas is an eco-resort drawing a small number of high spending travelers to its village at the lowest environmental impact.
    Chisapani Nepal
  • Men and women from the village make up the majority of staff. Others are employed from neighbouring areas, all of which benefits the community.
    Chisapani Nepal
  • Much of its land has been retained for agriculture – growing crops and rearing farm animals. This maintains the livelihood of the village, while producing food for guests and livestock.
    Chisapani Nepal
  • Crops are grown within the gardens to coexist with the resort. Toiletries are biodegradable. Grey water from showers and sinks are naturally filtered, then reused for gardening.
    Chisapani Nepal
  • Farm animals including cows, buffalos and goats provide dairy as well as manure for biogas and compost.
    Chisapani Nepal
  • Planting crops next to trees improve food production. Trees provide nutrients to the soil, reduce soil erosion and absorb carbon from the air. Mixing and rotating crops help soil fertility, control pests, and removes the need for chemicals.
    Chisapani Nepal
  • Sustainable tourism encompassing agriculture, renewable energy, water reuse, building design and community development is one solution that builds resilience against climate change. It needs broad support from industry and travelers alike. For the future of the mountains and people in the Hindu Kush Himalaya, we must act now.
    near Chisapani Nepal