With its towering peaks, majestic landscape, and rich cultural heritage, the Himalayan region has long drawn fascinated visitors from around the world. For local people, tourism means valuable foreign currency, business opportunities and jobs. It’s an adaption strategy that can be harnessed to create additional and alternative livelihood options and has many potential benefits for poverty alleviation, social inclusion and environmental and biodiversity conservation.
ICIMOD aims to enhance community involvement in tourism by improving capacities to host tourists, strengthening product and service linkages, and valuing and preserving the natural and heritage elements that enable visitors to enjoy an authentic tourism experience.
Sustainable tourism can promote conservation on many ecological and cultural fronts, a benefit that also becomes evident at the trans-national level. For instance, the many trading routes and trails that are valuable for reaching agricultural fields, gathering wild products, traditional cross-border trading, and going on pilgrimages also connect the varied cultures and ecosystems of the Hindu Kush Himalaya. Through tourism, ICIMOD aims to revitalize these trading routes and trails – a process that can contribute to poverty reduction and sustainable development.
ICIMOD supports national and local authorities in crafting suitable tourism-related policies and strategies; stimulates national and regional platforms to share knowledge and shape policies and adaptation mechanisms; builds the capacity of host communities to improve service quality and value chain linkages; and collaborates with the private sector to encourage more responsible tourism practices.
The goal is a sustainable, winning strategy for local people and communities, the countries of the Hindu Kush Himalayas, and the visitors who appreciate the incomparable natural, cultural and spiritual heritage of this extraordinary region.