How far has eco-tourism been developed in your country?
The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) defines ecotourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that improves the well-being of local people and conserves the natural environment”. According to TIES, ecotourism should minimize impact; build environmental and cultural awareness and respect; provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts, financial benefits for conservation, financial benefits and empowerment for local people. Since the advent of democracy in 1950s, the tourism industry has been able to attract thousands of tourists every year and generate significant national income; however there has been significant pressure on the natural biodiversity and social cost to this type of mainstream tourism. Following the Stockholm conference in 1972, the First World conservation strategy was published in 1980 jointly by International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN), WWF and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Nepal endorsed this strategy in 1988 and ratified the Biodiversoty convention in 1992. The Country's Ninth Plan, include promotion of eco-tourism, development of model tourist villages, development of new trekking areas and co-ordination of local bodies and local people to maintain environment conducive of tourism. It also includes monitoring of pollution in eco-sensitive activities like: trekking and mountaineering In 1986, the Asian Development Bank with joint collaboration of Government of Nepal funded for the development of Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) spread out to 5 districts comprises of foot-trail construction, forest zoning, proper camping for trekkers and other environment conservation programmes. This project has resulted in the development of alternative energy sources, preservation of environment, minimized the negative impacts of tourism and enhanced the living standards of people. In Lho Manthang, upper Mustang, focus has been on managing...
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