Publication: Economic Impacts of Protected Area Tourism on Local Communities in Nepal

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World Bank
Nepal is endowed with a wealth of natural resources including snow-capped mountains, abundant rivers, sub-tropical forests, significant biodiversity and wildlife, and pristine, diverse landscapes. A part of the Himalayan biodiversity hotspot, the country is recognized for its high endemicity and intact forest habitats. Over 45 percent of tourists to Nepal visit these protected areas, which play a significant role in driving tourism, and contribute to the country’s economy. Visitors, however, predominantly visit only four parks, and thus, there is much potential for protected areas in Nepal to further contribute to development goals while maintaining the country’s rich biodiversity asset base. This combination of protected areas and rich biodiversity is equally a major tourism asset in an industry which attracts eight billion visitors a year to protected areas. The potential of Nepal’s protected area network, and its contribution to the country’s economic development is yet to be fully realized. This situation mirrors that of many countries in which governments value protected areas in conservation strategies but overlook them in economic development plans. This oversight is of great concern, as countries, globally, struggle to contain unprecedented biodiversity losses while trying to address development setbacks inflicted by COVID-19. This study therefore sets out to strengthen the economic case for the government of Nepal to promote sustainable and inclusive tourism in its protected areas by estimating the direct and indirect benefits to local economies from protected area tourism.
World Bank. 2022. Economic Impacts of Protected Area Tourism on Local Communities in Nepal. © Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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