New trekking trails viewing NTY-2011
In an attempt to prolong tourist stay in Nepal, trekking agencies and the government have unveiled new trekking trails and upgraded old ones for Nepal Tourism Year 2011.
Since the trekking routes are at least seven days long, they will help to lengthen visitor stay and increase spending in remote areas. The response of over 132,000 visitors for trekking and mountaineering in Nepal last year has also encouraged trekking entrepreneurs to develop new products.
Currently, 95 percent of the 120,000 trekkers visiting Nepal annually do not go beyond the Annapurna, Langtang or Everest regions. Only around 6,200 trekkers venture off the beaten track.
On Sept. 27, the Trekking Agents Association of Nepal (TAAN) unveiled three trekking routes—Panch Pokhari-Bhairav Kunda in Sindhupalchok, Dhorpatan in Baglung and Galeshwar of Myagdi—aiming to diversify tourists to these destinations next year. Bhairav Kund will provide experience of 10 days trekking to a shaman pilgrimage site through its traditional villages in spectacular Himalayan landscapes to reach the holy lake Bhairav Kund.
Panch Pokhari gives an experience 12 days that passes five holy lakes. This area, northeast of Kathmandu, offers a combination of rich cultural heritage, unsurpassed beauty and biological diversity. The Galeshwar of Myagdi will give a seven-day experience to trekkers that starts from Beni and ends in the same place. TAAN is also introducing the Lower-Solu trekking route in the southern part of Lukla soon, Bachhu Narayan Shrestha, first vice-president of TAAN told the Post.
Similarly, the Great Himalaya Trail (GHT), the longest and highest alpine walking track in the world, is scheduled to be inaugurated on Jan. 14, 2011 in Kathmandu. The NTY 2011 implementing committee announced the launching of the trail as a new product aimed at attracting trekkers from around the world.
Trekking entrepreneurs said that the new product would help diversify a large number of tourists to different unexploited trekking destinations that would benefit the mountain people with employment and production opportunities who are isolated even though having huge tourism prospects. Mardi Trek is another new route that tourism entrepreneurs of Pokhara are looking to launch next year. The Mardi Management Committee in Pokhara plans to operate Mardi Himal Trek route explored in the Machhapuchchhre model trek area. On the other hand, the government is also planning to launch some trekking routes that were developed last year and are scheduled to be completed this year.
Rabi Shah, project manager at the Tourism Infrastructure Development Project under the Tourism Ministry, said that some new trekking trails are in the process of being launched this year while some of them are being improved.
The Tourism Ministry is planning to open a new trekking route circling the Kathmandu Valley and encompassing the capital and the neighbouring districts of Bhaktapur and Lalitpur. The route is 131 km in length.
This circular trekking route will link the four major peaks around the valley –Shivapuri (2,453 m), Phulchoki (2,765 m), Chandragiri (2,522 m) and Nagarjun (2,697 m). According
to Shah, the Budhanilkantha-Nuwakot-Gosaikunda, Dhulikhel-Nagarkot, Dakshinkali-Champagiri-Machhegaon, Nagarjun (Phoolbarigate)-Jamacho, Chandragiri-Tistung trekking routes in Makwanpur and Dhulikhel-Nagarkot are in progress, of which some will be launched within 2011.
The Nepal Ecological and Tourism Awareness Front (NETAF), the Nagar Naldum Tourism Development Committee and the Guide Association, Kavre have recently launched a hiking route from Nagarkot to Dhulikhel. However, Shah said that the trail was still not completed as work remains to be done on the Sanga side.
“The government has allocated Rs. 50 million to these projects for last year; however, the project was looking for new budget this year to get its final touch,” Shah added.
As Nepal is well known as one of the best destinations in the world for enjoying the real beauty of nature through trekking, trekking entrepreneurs are hopeful that they might double the existing number of trekkers next year.
Trekking in Nepal is an all season activity. It is possible at any time of the year depending on where one goes. However, the most popular seasons are spring (February-May) and autumn (September-November).