KATHMANDU, Aug 12: Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN) is all set to promote existing trails and other adventure tourism activities in the Dolpo region.
A team led by TAAN President Mahindra Singh Thapa after completing a 28-day exploration in the Dolpo region has said that the association would promote existing trails and develop new ones in the region.
The team led by Thapa comprised report writer, cartographer, videographer, photographer and support staff.
“New routes of eight to 28 days can be developed in the region,” he said. The team also explored areas including Chharka, Phoksundo, Shey Gumba, Sallaghari, Kangla Pass, Saldang, Dho Tarap, Narpani, Tarako and Duani before flying to Kathmandu from Juphal airport.
TAAN is developing maps, itinerary and a documentary to promote trekking and adventure tourism in the region before unveiling new trails. The new trails will comprise places from lower Dolpo to Shey Ghumba of upper Dolpo.
“This exploration has also helped us identify new tourism activities for Dolpo. There is a huge tourism potential in the region,” said Thapa.
The government has listed Dolpo as a restricted area and tourists need to pay US $ 10 for a week trekking in lower Dolpo and US$ 50 per person in upper Dolpo per day. Trekkers need to pay a minimum of US $ 500 as entry fee for trekking in this region.
No wonder, the total number of trekkers in this region was a mere 1,300 of whom only 20 percent trekked the upper region. According to trekking agents, the number can be increased by at least 20 fold if the government reduces the fee and improves Juphal airport and Jumla airport.
The study has also found that dirt road between Jumla and Dolpa can be developed as mountain bike route. “We have explored that mountain biking can be promoted in this region along with kayaking and rafting in Thuli Bheri and Seti River,” he added.
According to the team, number of lodges, particularly in lower Dolpo, has also increased in the region. Tourism entrepreneurs are positive that the number of tourists visiting the area would go up once the entry fee for tourists is reduced. TAAN along with SNV Nepal and Nepal Tourism Board are developing existing trails in Dolpo into Great Himalaya Trail (GHT) cultural circuit.