Rural Tourism & Environmental Education Society (RTEES) Nepal
´´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 151 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
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. Also the Orche Nepal has house reconstruction program and rebuilding traditionally culturally house those which was destroyed by earthquake in 2015 back then. This time we try to rebuild traditional house there, so you can join the program with them .
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