Kathmandu, December 28
Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) has earmarked nearly Rs 100 million for exploration of new trekking trails, and maintenance and infrastructure development of existing trails as well as promotion in domestic and international market.
The annual budget of the association for fiscal year 2016-17 presented by Treasurer Lila BaldabDahal has allocated Rs 8.79 million for development of infrastructure and maintenance as well as promotion of existing trekking trails.
According to the statement issued by TAAN, the organisation has maintained geographical balance while selecting trails for reconstruction, maintenance and infrastructure development.
“We’ve selected trails starting from Kanchanjunga region in eastern Nepal to ApiHimal in far-west,” the statement has quoted Dahal as saying, “TAAN will build necessary infrastructure, develop capacity of locals so they can cater to tourists, and promote the trails in national and international markets.”
TAAN has selected 63 trails for maintenance, infrastructure development and promotion.
Similarly, TAAN is investing Rs nine million for exploration of new trekking trails. According to Dahal, TAAN is exploring Lamjung-Dudhpokhari, North Annapurna Base Camp trail from Lete, Sailung-Timal, Gaja Hill (Jogimara-Shaktikhor), Round Ramechhap, and Chatara-Mainamini trails in the current fiscal year.
The trails have been selected as per the request of the local community, as per the TAAN statement.
Similarly, TAAN will conduct mapping of Hillary Trails (RamechhapCyamaDanda to Lete) and Lower Solu.
TAAN has also allocated substantial funds for development programmes. Tourism Memorial Park in Timal, setting up mobile washrooms in tourist bus parks, development of cycling trails, installation of solar street lights in Thamel, construction of bridge over Mardi Khola and Khaptad Development Programme are some of the projects that TAAN is starting in the current fiscal year.
TAAN is also setting up weather information centres in major trekking areas, establishing a mountaineering school in Dhading, constructing porter shelters in Gorkha and implementing a trekking trail development programme in ApiHimal in far-western Nepal and Dhaulagiri Sanctuary, among others.
TAAN is also building short trekking trails in the rim of Kathmandu Valley. “To begin with, TAAN will develop Thankot-Dahachowk-Ramkot-Sitapaila trail,” reads the statement.
TAAN has also kept development of a new trekking trail in Sankhuwasabha in priority. The trail starts from Amrang and passes through Lower Walung, Upper Walung, Ale Danda, Tashijongtar, Eyuwakhola and Mera Base Camp before ending at Makalu Base Camp and has allocated Rs 1.6 million for this project, according to TAAN statement. “TAAN is also building porter shelters in DamodarKunda, Larkya Pass, Kagmara BC and Lumbasumba trekking trails.”
Similarly, TAAN is investing a substantial amount for tourism marketing and promotion in international market. It has allocated Rs 2.4 million for the United States, Rs 640,000 for Russia, Rs 3.2 million for Russia, Rs two million for South Asia, Rs 800,000 each for Middle East and Australia and Rs 1.2 million for Asian markets, as per the statement.
“TAAN has also set aside Rs 2.4 million to organise a cycling competition on Lukla-Salleri-Patale-Okhaldhunga-Sindhuligadhi-Namobuddha-Dhulikhel route. Also, Rs 1.2 million has been earmarked to promote Overland Way to Everest (KavreNamobuddha-Sindhuli-Sindhuligadi- KhotangHalesi-Okhaldhunga-Siddhicharan Park-Okhaldhunga-Salleri-Surke- Chaurikharka-Everest Base Camp).”
TAAN has also announced a research fellowship of up to Rs 100,000 for firms, researchers interested to conduct study and present report on issues or subjects selected by TAAN.
A version of this article appears in print on December 29, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.