Tourism bouquet adds variety with wetlands entry

 

KATHMANDU: Conservation and Sustainable Use of Wastelands in Nepal (CSUWN) has collaborated with Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) for the promotion of select wetlands as tourist destinations. In order to promote wetlands tourism, experts have recommended development of tour packages incorporating these sites in the route.

Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve (KTWR) and Ghodaghodi Lake Area (GLA) have been recognised to promote conservation and tourism. The experts have identified KTWR in Eastern Nepal and GLA in Far-Western Nepal for this purpose, saying these wetlands have great tourism prospects.

After studying both the sites for nine months, tourism expert Rabi Jung Pandey and his team from Nepal Tourism Research and Service Centre came up with designs to develop these wetlands into tourist destinations. The total of 350 hectares of land including the area of KTWR and its buffer zone that is sprawled over in three districts — Udaypur, Saptari and Sarlahi. This area is famous for its wild species of animals and vegetation, especially for bird-watching. The area is well connected with air and road transport with East-West Highway bordering the area and existence of a busy Biratnagar airport at the distance of 15 km.

Likewise, GLA spread over 2,563 hectares in Kailali district serves as a corridor for Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve and Bardiya National Park. This is also famous for its diverse flora and fauna along with the area’s cultural and religious importance. The area is also situated at convenient distance of 46 kilometres from the Dhangadi airport and bordered by East-West Highway. “It will be far better if a larger and longer tour package is developed such as starting in Bhadrapur and ending at KTWR via Ilam and Barahkhestra. Likewise, in Far-West also, GLA should be incorporated in the package with the other two neighbouring national parks,” suggested Pandey.

“Though both the areas are connected with transportation hub, there is still a need for local transportation also. Homestays and community lodges have to be developed so that tourists can live the culture,” he added. “Conservation and development has to go hand in hand and tourism is the vehicle for that,” pointed out Top B Khatri, member of CSUWN.

“If the wetlands can be developed into tourist destinations, not only the state can raise more revenues but also the population dependent on these wetlands can have better lives along with conservation,” he said, citing the example of Chitwan.

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