Chitwan National Park
Chitwan National Park is the tourist destination chosen for this assignment. Situated in southern central Nepal, Chitwan National Park formally known as Royal Chitwan National Park is the first National Park of the country. Formally established in 1973, Chitwan National Park covers an area of 932 sq.km including 4 different districts namely, Chitwan, Makwanpur, Parsa and Nawalparasi. It is the best example of sub tropical low lands in inner terai region of Nepal. It was originally separated as a reserve centre for the rare one horned rhino and many species of deer found in that area. This national park consists of vast forest and grassland. About 70% of forest in the region is “Sal”, which is used by local people to make plates that are used in festivals and 7% is Revarine forest. Approximately 20% of the area is grassland, which includes over 70 different species of grasses including the variety that grows up to 8m tall known as “ Elephant grass”(Shrestha, 2003). Short grasses are used by the people living in the surrounding area for roofing, making mats, rope and paper making. The park is home for about 50 different species of mammals including rare One Horned Rhino, Bengal Tiger, Wild Elephant, Four horned antelope etc. It has 55 different species of amphibians and reptiles including rare golden monitor lizard. The most interesting feature of this national park is the species of birds that it houses. There are more than 525 different bird species which include many migratory birds that come there between September to November and February to April. These bird species include the rare species like Bengal florican. Lesser florican, Giant hornbill, Black stork, While stork etc (ministry of forest and soil conservation, no date). Due to all these unique qualities and abundance of natural resources it was designated as a World Heritage site in November 1984 (UNESCO, no date). There are seven resorts run by the national park itself inside the area and many resorts and hotels in the surrounding area. The main attraction in Chitwan national park is the untouched natural beauty it has.
Among all the national parks and conservation areas open for the tourists, Chitwan national park is the one which attracts the highest number of tourists every year thus generating the highest revenue. In the year 2011 almost 63.01% of foreign visitors going to the national parks were for Chitwan national park thus generating about 35% of the total revenue from tourism (Government of Nepal Ministry of Culture, Tourism & Civil Aviation, 2011). Being such a popular tourist destination the income is not only generated by selling the holiday packages and park entry tickets but also by providing many different recreational and cultural activities. Holidays for 3 days and 2 nights inside the national park cost from $280 per person to $810 per person. (www.chitwannationalpark.net, 2009). In the holidays people get accommodation and food for their stay. The accommodation includes nights in the jungle lodge and tented camp. The tourists get to experience the wild nature by living in the wild with all the modern facilities. Tours also include jungle safari or elephant safari where the tourists are taken around the park in trained elephants. In these tours tourists get the opportunity to see the animals safely in the wild without any cages. They also get to see many cultural performances of local aboriginal Tharu community who have been a part of the area for a long time.
Tourism has always been one of the most important sources of income for the people living around the Chitwan national park and the country as a whole. But in recent years many different problems are surfacing which are thought to be caused directly or indirectly due to tourism. The direct impact is on the wild life of the area. Jungle safaris and elephant safaris mean tourists get to go into the habitat of...