Sagarmatha park tourist hotspot

Kathmandu, December 25:

Sagarmatha National Park has been a major attraction for tourists lately.

According to a survey of visitors to Sagarmatha National Park and its buffer zone, over 25,800 tourists from over 80 different countries visited the park in 2007. Over 90 per cent of them had the purpose of trekking in high-altitude terrain and their average length of stay was about two weeks. Over 55 per cent of the total visitors suggested raising the entry fee to the park provided sanitation there was maintained at the satisfactory level.

Nepal Tourism Board chief executive officer Prachanda Man Shrestha opined that the visitors’ survey in Sagarmatha National Park would present an example for other tourist destinations in the country. He said, “Scientific information generated from the survey would also help develop and manage tourism activities in a sustained way.”

Department of the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation director general Shyam Bajimaya commended the initiative for the visitors’ survey and hoped that the findings would be helpful in better managing the local environment as well as providing better facilities to visitors.

The number of visitors to Sagarmatha National Park has increased over the years. The year 2006 was the starting point for this positive trend and 2007 saw the number grow to 25,818. The year 2008 is expected to record an even greater number. CESVI, an Italian NGO, under the framework of Hindu-Kush Karakorum Himalayan (HKKH) partnership project in cooperation

with a local institute, Mountain Spirit, carried out the survey during autumn 2007 and spring 2008.

During a workshop on outcomes and findings from the survey of visitors to Sagarmatha National Park, organized by HKKH Partnership Project, CESVI consultant Paolo Caroli said,

“Data collected from the study has generated information on tourist profiles, expectations, habits and evaluations, all of which which can serve many purposes - from management to systematic modeling and from planning and setting priorities to marketing.”