At Volunteer Society Treks Nepal we believe in responsible tourism. We invite you to take a moment to consider what this means, and how your tour in Nepal can be enriched by following these guidelines for responsible tourism in Nepal.
Responsible Tourism is about maximizing benefits for local communities while minimizing any negative social and environmental impacts of tourism. Responsible tourism can build respect for and help to preserve fragile cultures and ecosystems in developing countries, ensuring that they will remain living and thriving for future generations.
The practices outlined below are a guide for everyone involved in tourism in Nepal, including the guides, companies, and tourists themselves. The role of the guides and companies is to educate and encourage these practices in their tours, while the role of the tourists is to learn and engage in these practices while visiting Nepal.
Practicing responsible tourism is easy; it just requires mindfulness and a little attention to detail from both tourists and guides. In this way, the precious scenery and culture that makes Nepal unique will be cared for and preserved for many more years to come.
Responsible Tourism Practices followed by VSTN:
- Aiming for “Respect Through Understanding”, all tourists should be engaged in actively learning about what they see during their tour including customs, traditions, and practices that may seem unusual to them.
- Tourists should be informed about Nepali culture, including social issues, before and during their trip.
- This includes practicalities such as:
- Some temples are only accessible to practitioners, and unavailable for visitors.
- Many local people will be uncomfortable with having their photo taken; always ask first.
- Be aware of respectable dress codes that may be enforced when visiting holy places.
- During tours, local businesses and restaurants should be supported.
- Souvenirs can be bought from locally run shops, crafts markets, or the artisans themselves.
- Buying locally grown and made food reduces your carbon footprint.
- Supporting the local economy ensures that the money you spend stays in the community and supports local employment.
- Don’t support the purchase of ancient artefacts or goods made from endangered species! These are black market goods and will likely be confiscated at the airport anyway.
- Be environmentally conscious
- Don’t waste water; it is a precious resource in Nepal.
- Say no to plastic bags and bottles; try to bring or buy a reusable drink bottle and multipurpose cloth bags for purchases.
- Avoid purchasing too much pre-packaged food; try to stick with fruit or local snacks that won’t add too much waste to the environment.
- Pick up your own litter and other rubbish you see, particularly in the mountains. Waste in these natural environments is not only dangerous for wildlife but also pollutes local agriculture.