Tourism to Combat Global Warming

With World Tourism Day fast approaching, Nepal officials have come up with a rather unique way of combating global warming. They plan to institute a law that requires that all tourists entering Nepal will have to either plant a tree or sponsor one. This will go a long way reducing the carbon footprint left by these tourists when they are visiting the country.

The Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) announced their decision on Friday, September 26. This year World Tourism Day has been given the slogan “Tourism Responding to the Challenge of Climate Change” and Nepal’s decision certainly falls in line with that objective. According to the acting chief executive officer of the NTB, Prachanda Man Shrestha, “it is the price they (tourists) will have to pay for their contribution to carbon emissions generated through the goods they use while in Nepal.” What’s more, the program isn’t just limited to the main districts frequented by tourists, but will be spread out across the country for the benefit of all. In fact, it will involve all 75 districts of the country and will not only help to reduce the effects of climate change, but will go a long way to protecting and enhancing the natural beauty of the country.

In line with the new directive, the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoTCA) joined forces with NTB on the same day and set up a Climate Neutral Planet Fund. The fund was launched with a whopping Rs 100 000, which was contributed by MoTCA and NTB. All funds raised by tourists sponsoring trees will also go into this fund. According to Shrestha, “The fund will be used for tree plantation by community forest users’ groups in all 75 districts and will also help contribute to sustainable development.”

It seems like a very good idea, but will tourists be put off at the idea of being forced to spend their hard earned cash on a tree? That’s unlikely, since most tourists visiting Nepal do so to enjoy the wonderful natural and spiritual aspects of the country. The trees will also likely not be very expensive, making this small contribution to the local environment a very positive thing. The Nepali tourism sector will now continue to focus on adopting environmentally-friendly approaches, including encouraging national and international tourists to adopt more eco-friendly lifestyles.