Published on : Friday, January 20, 2017
Travel And Tour World spoke to Mim Hamal, Co-Founder, Nepal’s National Trail Organisation for the Great Himalaya Trail at the PATA New Tourism Frontiers Forum 2016 conducted in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Mr. Hamal shared his thoughts about how the Himalayan Trail can be made more accessible to tourists and the potential of sustainable tourism in Nepal.
Travel And Tour World: How would you make Himalayan trail more accessible?
Mim Hamal: Yes, Himalayan trail has grown more accessible now. Actually, Himalayan trail runs for about 700 kms. It is divided into ten sections. Every section has different things to offer and based on the interests of tourists, some of them have been made accessible by air, while some can be accessed by roads.
Travel And Tour World: How do you plan to protect tourists from natural disasters in the Great Himalaya Trail?
Mim Hamal: The most important thing that would help protect tourists from natural disasters is education. From the very beginning, when we had started creating the Himalayan trail, we have tried to engage the local communities and educating them on the resilience that they need to follow. We make sure that people are trained right from the start. This would enable our tour operators to inform the tourists about the potential scope of natural disasters.
This would help the tourists plan about what things they need to carry and how to be careful. I think certain precautions have been taken, but tourists need to know the challenges they might face while visiting this trail.
Travel And Tour World: How would you promote sustainable tourism in Nepal?
Mim Hamal: The concept of sustainable tourism is such that the more you engage communities in the trail, the more it would become successful. Things can be more sustainable, if people wish to benefit from tourism. If the local people are not involved, it would not be sustainable. Therefore, we are trying to promote local homestays and also community-based tourism.
Travel And Tour World: What are your plans to beat China in terms of tourism?
Mim Hamal: China is one of our big markets, apart from India. China is closer to the Himalayan Trail, so we are planning to diversify our products. And, we are also trying to understand the demands of Chinese tourists. We would be analyzing what kind of products should be designed based on the demand.
Travel And Tour World: How did the Nepal earthquake of 2015 affect the regional tourism industry?
Mim Hamal: The Nepal earthquake did affect our tourism industry quite a lot. Right now, we are getting back tourists gradually. Most of the places here are being reconstructed and we wish to offer a message to tourists that currently, the Himalayan Trail is absolutely safe to travel.