RTEES Nepal (NGO)

Rural Tourism & Environmental Education Society (RTEES) Nepal

About US

´´Rural Tourism and Environment Education Society´´ (RTEES Nepal) is a non governmental, non-political, non-profit development organization. It was established by Durga Tamang in 2009 in order to support remote villages in the Rasuwa district in the north of Nepal. The Rasuwa district, which is mainly inhabited by the Tamang ethnical group, includes 18 village development committees (VCD) of which, the 6 most impoverished VDCs (Gatlang, Goljung, Chilime, Thuman, Timure and Briddim) are in our special focus. While rich in culture, religion and history the people from these 6 VDCs are economically very poor and they lack the availability of health and education facilities. Even only 130 km from the capital, the district’s geographical and topographical features have made it hard to gain access to development aid.

However, the region has proven to be very well suitable for outdoor tourism such as trekking and hiking. Although tourism offers a great opportunity to generate income it also has a serious impact on biodiversity and thus potentially endangers the traditional culture and livelihood of the communities.

Therefore it is RTEES Nepal’s mission to promote sustainable or eco tourism for the region and thereby creating a fertile future for the communities and the Tamang people with their unique culture.

Background on Ecotourism

Ecotourism is responsible travel to fragile, pristine, and usually protected areas that strive to be low impact and (often) small scale (as an alternative to mass tourism). Its purpose is to educate the traveler; provide funds for ecological conservation; directly benefit the economic development and political empowerment of local communities; and foster respect for different cultures and for human rights. Since the 1980s ecotourism has been considered a critical endeavor by environmentalists, so that future generations may experience destinations relatively untouched by human intervention.

Generally, ecotourism focuses on volunteering, or volunteerism, personal growth and environmental responsibility. Ecotourism typically involves travel to destinations where flora, fauna, and cultural heritage are the primary attractions. One of the goals of ecotourism is to offer tourists insight into the impact of human beings on the environment, and to foster a greater appreciation of our natural habitats.

Responsible ecotourism includes programs that minimize the negative aspects of conventional tourism on the environment and enhance the cultural integrity of local people. Therefore, in addition to evaluating environmental and cultural factors, an integral part of ecotourism is the promotion of recycling, energy efficiency, water conservation, and creation of economic opportunities for local communities.

Ecotourism in Nepal

In the Nepalese context, the prime aim of ecotourism has been to promote a symbiotic relationship between tourism and the environment with a particular focus on uplifting the local village economies. In order to fully tap Nepal’s tourism potential and give it long-term sustainability, the impact of tourism needs careful assessment. Ecotourism has been touted as an attractive sustainable development alternative to mass tourism for two main reasons. The first is that ecotourism has fewer negative impacts on natural resources than mass tourism, while the other reason is that ecotourism-related activities can enhance conservation of natural resources, community development and overall socio-economic improvement of the area. In this light, the practice of ecotourism, per se, is a new phenomenon in Nepal. However, the country has seen environmental conservation and tourism being integrated in the name of sustainable development for quite some time. This is largely due to management of the protected areas such as Annapurna and Sagarmatha where considerable conservation works are being carried out. It is interesting to note that when the Annapurna Conservation Area Project, one of the pioneer projects, was launched, ecotourism as such was not in the planners’ minds. It was what their initiatives have been labeled more recently.

RTEES Nepal’s main objectives

  • Bring about active peoples participation in conservation and protection of natural resources including wildlife, water and forests.
  • Economic development of the local people through non-consumptive management and use of forest areas of natural, historical and mythological importance.
  • Revive the pride and interest of local communities in their rich natural and cultural heritage thereby steering them towards conservation and preservation of these common resources.
  • Eco-restoration and conservation of existing forested areas of scenic beauty.
  • Increase the use of renewable energy sources including solar and ICS.
  • Capacity building and enhancement of interpretive skills of local guides
  • Interpretive information at the destination through creation of ethnic information and exhibition signs and cottages,
  • Improve production and marketing skills of the communities particularly on local artifacts, handicrafts, souvenir items etc.
  • To popularize ethnic culture and cuisine through the establishment of tribal canteens and food stalls, etc.
  • To provide of a “virtual reality” experience to visitors through close intermingling with local communities in ethnic settings.
  • To make travelers to these sanctuaries more responsible, aware, nature and environment friendly by carrying out campaigns through advertisements, multimedia coverage etc.
  • Packaging and publicity of destination areas through creation of websites, calendars, brochures, pamphlets, travelogues etc.

Activities

  • Introducing volunteers to the area
  • Development of new trekking trails and improvement of existing trails
  • Provision of drinking water facilities
  • (Re-)Forestation of bare land
  • Creation of environmentally friendly sanitation
  • Road repairs to improve access and safety
  • Introduction of watchtowers, panorama points and information centers
  • Introduction of solar cooking systems
  • Introduction and improvement of local guesthouses
  • Training of the local communities to improve their guiding, cooking and English skills to serve as translators, guides, hosts and cooks
  • Improved publicity for and information on the region to facilitate tourism

Expected results

  • Improved visibility of the region for potential tourists (hikers, trekkers and bird lovers in specific)
  • Increased number of tourists to the district
  • Preservation the Tamang culture
  • Preservation the environment in the district
  • Improvement of the economic situation of the communities in the Rasuwa district

Target groups

Target group 1: The youth of the Rasuwa district who currently have very little economic perspective in the region

Target group 2: International tourists with an interest in nature and outdoor activities

To fulfill our objectives, the support and help of volunteers, partners and local people is required.

Those interested in volunterring, please check out our volunterring projects and programs in the section VOLUNTEERING

We also welcome new members at all times. To become a member, please contact us for further details.

Partnerships and cooperation

In order to reach our targets we are working in close partnership with various national and international organizations some of them listed below:

The Mountain Institute (TMI)

The Mountain Institute empowers communities in the world’s great mountain systems through education, conservation and sustainable development. Since its founding more than 38 years ago, TMI has worked closely with the people who know mountains best – those who actually live there – to help identify and implement solutions to challenges that threaten their livelihoods and the health of their local environments. Mountains matter to all of us, as providers of natural resources such as water, barometers of climate change, and places of beauty and inspiration. Through a dedicated staff based in mountain communities themselves, The Mountain Institute facilitates processes that promote education and capacity building, enabling those communities to take responsibility for the well-being of mountain environments upon which we all depend. TMI works to ensure that the mountains continue to sustain and enrich our world for generations to come.

TMI has been working in close cooperation with RTEES Nepal with their Medical and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) cultivation and conservation program. Together, we have been implementing the MAPs program since 2008 in the Rasuwa and Dhading districts of Nepal.

Universitat Politécnica de Catalunya (UPC), Spain

We are in the process of implementing a cooperation project “Technical support for the water sanitation and organic waste management in Gatlang (Nepal)” with the Universitat Politécnica de Catalunya in Spain.

In addition we are looking forward to be working with Orche-Nepal regarding above mentioned sanitation and waste management program.

Organization Registration details:

  • Registration Number: 231/66/67 ( Government of Nepal, District Administrative Office, Rasuwa )
  • Social Welfare Council Affiliation Number: 29018
  • Permanent Account Number ( PAN ): 304311260
  • Nepal mountain neering  ( 

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