Pokhara tourism mainstreams itself in the list of responsible tourist destinations

Pokhara tourism mainstreams itself in the list of responsible tourist destinations

Pokhara, the second most popular destination of Nepal, has formally entered in the category of responsible tourism through the introduction of codes of conduct in its planning, management and operation at destination level. The guidelines for responsible tourism for Pokhara comes in the forms of ‘Codes of Conduct (CoC) for Peace Responsive Tourism in Pokhara: A Manual’ and ‘Corporate Social Responsibility Guideline for Promoting Peace in Tourism Sector in Pokhara’ at destination level.

These responsible tourism guidelines were formally released by Hon. Ram Kumar Shrestha Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation of Nepal amidst a grand programme titled ‘Pokhara Tourism Declaration 2013’ held on 20 April 2013 in Pokhara. At this event, the Presidents (heads) of a total of 12 tourism associations showed their public commitment by taking oath to apply tourism codes of conduct in their planning, management and operations for the sustainability of tourism in Pokhara.

These guidelines are formulated for 13 different sub-sectors of tourism by joint effort of Pokhara Tourism Council, Nepal Tourism Board, and Switzerland-based National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South in association with 15 tourism related professional associations of Pokhara. The various sub-sectors of tourism for which such conducts are formulated include hotels, trekking agencies, tour and travel agents, restaurant associations, tourism related media, trekking equipment shops associations, paragliding, workers in all categories of such tourism professions, tourists, etc. These guidelines are conceptually and theoretically based on the 10 points Global Code of Ethics for Tourism as laid down by United Nations World Tourism Organization for the sustainability of tourism in the world.

A one and half year long partnership actions for mitigating syndromes (PAMS) project titledMeeting the challenges of Peace-building in Tourism in Pokhara – Strengthening the corporate Social Responsibility and Ethical Business Operation’ as linked with a PhD research in the thematic area of ‘tourism, conflict and peace’ at Kathmandu University in association with NCCR was based and functional at Pokhara Tourism Council to formulate these guidelines. This research based project was earlier endorsed by Kaski District Tourism Development Committee which is headed by Chief District Officer and represented by all key stakeholders of tourism.

The project had made SWOT analysis and thus identified strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of a total of 22 tourism and semi-tourism professions under their respective professional associations through the continuous bilateral consultations. The refined outcomes of the SWOT analysis were published under the title Proceeding of a regional conference on facing the challenges of sustainable peace and prosperity in tourism [In Nepali] before the starting of the drafting of CoC. The information of SWOT analysis was significant for the proper implementation of the project in formulating codes of conduct for a total of 13 stakeholders of tourism including tourists in Pokhara.

The collaborative effort in formulating these guidelines not only opens the avenue but also strengthen the mutual relationships between responsible tourism and sustainable peace and prosperity through tourism in greater Pokhara valley. The whole process of the PAMS project, from the time of proposal formulation till the end in formulating these guidelines, was largely based on continuous interactions, dialogues, exchange of knowledge, and networking in Pokhara. Such careful steps were largely supportive to achieve operational unity, common understanding, building conflict mitigation strategy, effectuate collective and concerted actions between tourism practitioners and researchers, and gain societal learning that has attempted to institutionalize the peace responsive tourism at destination level in Pokhara.

After the successful formulation of commonly agreed CoC, and CSR; PTC is all set to formulate “CoC Implementation and Monitoring Sub-Committee” under Kaski district Tourism Development Committee very soon.

This effort of Pokhara tourism has succeeded to sensitize, bring awareness, build confidence and learnt lesson on the peace promoting aspects of tourism if it is responsible, sustainable and qualitative on its own apart of only quantitative growth.

By: Pranil Upadhayaya

Mr. Upadhayaya is coordinator of the PAMS project

at Pokhara Tourism Council for formulating tourism CoC in Pokhara. 

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