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Kathmandu Valley Cultural Trekking Trail - An Initiative towards Responsible Tourism

NETIF has been developing the Kathmandu Valley Cultural Trekking Trail (KVCT) since the beginning of 2008. The trail starts from Sundarijal and passes through Shivapuri-Nagarjun National Park before ending in Panauti with possible overnight stops in Chisapani, Nagarkot, Dhulikhel and Namobuddha. The area covers 16 VDCs of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Kavre districts.

The main areas of action taken by NETIF along the Kathmandu Valley Cultural Trekking Trail are awareness raising and local Institutional development, small scale community infrastructure, local capacity development ,conservation and alternative energy, networking communication and alliance building, research and survey. Almost all the activities were directed towards mitigating the problems such as pollution, energy conservation, waste management, natural resource conservation, addressing the needs of communities as well as tourists.

NETIF has been addressing the issues of responsible tourism in following way’s -

Pollution and Waste Management
NETIF has already completed more than 10 awareness and cleanup campaigns throughout the project area. It has placed more than 300 waste bins, 8 incinerators and 4 garbage management centers with funding along the trail. Further, we have also trained villagers and advocated village waste management coordinators in areas where needed. Working with the Municipality of Dhulikhel, NETIF is developing a dialog with hotel managers, DDC’s and locals for a long term waste management project which includes rubbish bin placement and employment of gardeners and cleaners in the area.

Energy and Conservation
Green Energy is the way forward for a better environment. NETIF was played a part in the funding and installation of 35 fuel efficient stoves and a wind turbine in the project area. NETIF has also implemented extensive community training in organic farming and waste management. Last year, NETIF planted more than 5000 plants throughout the trail. In the near future we have plans to introduce high value crops and eco sound farming methods to aid villagers and also to establish green belts along the trail. To help manage deforestation by villagers, NETIF has also implemented a training program and support network for Briquette making as a renewable, sustainable source of energy for heating, cooking and also as a product for sale.

Community Involvement
The active involvement of local community members is essential to the success of NETIF’s projects. We encourage and support involvement of all community members throughout the project area. For example the Village Garbage Management Fund is managed by the local communities and even they have their partial contribution to it. In addition to it, local skills and expertise have been mobilized while constructing the infrastructure and in the mean time, local employment has been increasing through the transportation of construction materials to the trail. The local people's capacity has been enhanced through the trainings such as ‘Small Hotel and Lodge Management’, ‘Mushroom and off Seasonal Vegetable Cultivation’, ‘Local Guide Training’, ‘Folk Dance and Live Presentation’, ‘Corn Husk Training’ and ‘Basic Vegetable Farming’. NETIF’s training programs also target and include women and marginalized ethnic groups of the villages.

Natural Resource Conservation
NETIF's activities are also directed towards the conservation of natural resources. For example metal poles were used in the construction of incinerators and tourists shelters instead of wooden poles. The waste wood was reused to make signage and information boards that where placed along the trail. More than, 200 conservation of natural resources awareness boards were also placed along the trails. A simple map and guideline for tourist and locals has been developed and placed along the trail. In the future NETIF will make survey’s on visitor flow and carrying capacity of the trail and prepare a guideline for the operation of green hotels in the villages.

Addressing the needs of local people and the Tourists
For NETIF, local communities have always been the entry point for any activities in any geographical area. Their active participation and backup support from various stakeholders is necessary for the sustainability of the trail. Therefore NETIF has constructed 2 multipurpose community centers providing small tourism business development trainings such as vegetable farming, lodge management etc, to address the needs of local community. NETIF's activities have also addressed the needs of the trekkers travelling in the area. We have constructed 10 tourist shelters, 3 public toilet’s and 1 entrance gate. The trekking trail has been upgraded and marked, brochures, maps and hoarding boards have been published to address the needs of the tourists.

Health and Awareness
NETIF has been sensitive towards the health and awareness of visitors and host communities. It has developed brochures and information boards that create awareness among the tourists' health and security while utilizing the trekking trails. The brochures educate tourists what to do, what not to do, what to carry, what and where to eat and about the drinking water in the trails. Likewise, in the future we plan to promote volunteerism and internship programs in the health sector throughout communities touched by the trekking trail.

Our work through the trekking trail and project area is ongoing and in the future we plan to keep developing the trekking trail and extending to include other villages, in cooperate home stay and farm stay programs and also nature trails in Shivapuri - Nagarjun National Park.


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