Make mountain tourism part of school studies, say experts

KATHMANDU: Mountain tourism should be a part of the curriculum of school and higher level students should treat successful mountaineers at par with successful sportsmen in other ventures, opined people related to the mountaineering sector.

During a programme organised by Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), tourism expert Dipendra Purush Dhakal said that mountains are a must-see destination. “A mountaineer provides the highest per capita income because a mountaineer spends 27 times more than an ordinary tourist,” he added.

Manang Mountaineering Training School was established in 1979. Thame was established and training has also started at Langtang. Till 2008, it has churned out 1346 trainees. Mountaineer Ang Karma Sherpa said, “Though there are several pioneers here, there is still a lack of proper training and specialisation in this field.” He added that there are not enough training centres and those present need to be more specialised with special curriculum in mountaineering. “We need updated training and for this, there is a requirement of special school and institutes,” said Sherpa.

People at the programme also urged for specific plans and programmes on mountaineering tourism. There must be development and implementation of code of conduct to resolve the conflict between the government, agencies and mountain workers said. “The mountaineering provisions need to be revised with more effective rules,” Dhakal said.

According to Dhakal, there is no special mention of and facilities for mountaineers in the UIAA Kathmandu Declaration, 1982. Royalty should always be free for Nepali mountaineering teams, Nepalese members in foreign teams or for specified mountains.

Nepal is the most expensive compared to Pakistan, Tibet and India — whether it is Everest or any other mountain 8000 metres, he said. Tibet charges as low as $6000 — a complete package for Everest as compared to around $25,000 in case of Nepal. Pakistan charges reasonably as its charges applicable are zero royalty for peaks up to 6500 metres, most of the peaks above 6500 metres there is only 10 per cent normal applicable fee (December-February only five per cent), and 50 per cent off on all 8000 metres peaks, said Dhaka.

According to him, government should emphasize on providing professional and international standard training and facilitate people to participate in training in foreign countries. It should fulfil its promise to open a National Mountaineering School of international standards in the country.