Rolwaling Ecotourism Project

In remote mountain regions, tourism can play an important role in curbing out-migration and improving living conditions in the local communities. However, careful consideration must be given to the needs and requirements of the local population and the tourists, as well as those of the environment. South of the holy mountain Gauri Shankar in the hills of the Rolwaling region, EcoHimal operated an ecotourism project from 1996 to 2008.

A special kind of tourism planning which is compatible with local culture and environment generated new jobs and allowed for a controlled development of tourism as an important contribution to sustainable regional development. The local villagers have been involved in all project activities, from the very beginning and play an active role. 20 Community Development Committees (CDCs) were established and formally registered as cooperatives.

The first phase of the project focused on basic infrastructure such as the construction of pit toilets and the improvement of trails and bridges. The next step was to create the necessary tourism infrastructure (drinking water supply, lodges, campgrounds) and to prepare the villagers for tourism by means of workshops and trainings. Strengthening of the village communities and training programmes for the villagers were central parts of the project. The project was completed at the end of 2008. Management of the lodges and campgrounds was handed over to the communities. Efforts by the local villagers to promote the Rolwaling as a tourist destination through targeted advertising and promotion have already been successful.

The Gauri Shankar/Rolwaling region is very different from the Everest, Annapurna and Lantang trekking areas, with their long history of tourism development. Throughout this region, the local communities are involved in tourism solely as a supplement to their minimal subsistance agriculture, not as a main activity. Some of the lodges have been leased to the administration of the recently established Gauri Shankar Conservation Area; in addition there are several privately run lodges and inns which make it possible to trek without tents and full camping equipment.

However, in comparison with the more popular and intensively visited trekking areas of Nepal, tourism is still low in volume and the infrastructure is of admittedly modest dimensions. Visitors may not experience the full range of comforts currently available in other regions; on the other hand, trekking in the Gauri Shankar/Rolwaling area offers insights into the daily lives of hardworking people struggling to make a living in a beautiful but less affluent region of the country. The Eco Himal office in Kathmandu will be glad to assist you with updated information for your visit.

In 2015 the region was severely hit by a series of earthquakes, many buildings like the lodge in Simigaon collapsed. The former project region is now part of the Gaurishankar Conservation Area.



EcoHimal Austria Gesellschaft für Zusammenarbeit Alpen-Himalaya
Hofhaymer Allee 11/17
5020 Salzburg
T: +43 662 829492
ZVR Zahl: 886266575

Unsere Partner