The Environmental and Social Impacts of Tourism in Nepal
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Nepal is a country that is vastly diverse, from the lowlands (terai) to the mountains. Nepal’s diversity doesn’t end with its nature – the inhabitants are also diverse, with over 100 caste/ethnic groups. Such diversity can attract many tourists and visitors to the nation. However, climate change is affecting Nepal in a number of ways and with a large portion of Nepal’s tourism being based on the nature, it is important to understand the relationship between the environment and tourism. Tourism can also impact the social dynamics and society as a whole. Chitwan National Park and Gaurishankar Conservation are used as the study sites in this paper as they are two emerging tourist hotspots. Through an intensive literature review analysis and interviews of key informants, this paper attempts to show the relationship between tourism, the environment ,society and why it is important to develop a sustainable tourism infrastructure. This paper found that the current tourism infrastructure prolongs and worsens the environmental and social issues in Chitwan National Park and Gaurishankar Conservation Area. However, if the public and private sectors of Nepal use the following recommendations listed in this paper, then the tourism sector could be used to benefit the study sites from an environment and social standpoint.