Mobile App Launched to Promote Spice Garden Tourism in Kangchenjunga Landscape, Nepal


The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) has collaborated with the Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN), Wolfmatrix Pvt Ltd, and the Environment Conservation and Development Forum (ECDF) to develop large cardamom spice garden tourism in Taplejung under its EU-funded Support to Rural Livelihoods and Climate Change Adaptation in the Himalaya (Himalica) initiative. 

Large cardamom is a high-value export commodity contributing to enhanced income of farmers in Taplejung. However, overdependence of farmers on large cardamom for their livelihoods, fluctuations in its market prices and production, and climate change risks are matters of concern. 

Ghanendra Maden – Chair District Coordination Committee, Taplejung launching the mobile app, Photo by Ujol Sherchan

A mobile app has been developed under the Himalica initiative for promoting spice garden tourism destinations and related products and services in Taplejung. It provides customized information on (cardamom) spice garden tourism trails, homestays, and facilities. Tourists can customize their itinerary based on criteria such as the budget, activity type, number of days, and preferred time of the year. The app was officially launched at the Regional Himalica Workshop in Phungling, Taplejung, on 15 October 2017. 

The development of spice garden tourism in Kangchenjunga has been initiated under the Himalica initiative in Phungling, Furumbu and Sikaicha areas of Taplejung.  The aim is to diversify livelihood options for large cardamom farmers and lessen their risk exposures while providing alternative destination  to visitors to Taplejung. 

Tourists and visitors to the Kangchenjunga Spice Garden Trail can engage in cardamom farming activities such as planting and harvesting, and sample cardamom-flavoured local cuisine. They can also experience the area’s culture, rituals, traditions, and lifestyle first hand. 

Spice Garden Tourism poster, Photo by Ujol Sherchan

The information and communications technology (ICT)-assisted spice garden tourism concept in Taplejung has been designed to take advantage of the fact that that these three areas serve as gateways to more established tourism destinations such as the Kangchenjunga Conservation Area, Pathivara, and Tinjure Milke Jaljale, known, respectively, for adventure tourism, pilgrimage, and rhododendron forests. However, the benefits of such tourism do not trickle down to Phungling, Furumbu, and Sikaicha.

As these areas are known for the cultivation of large cardamom, the mobile application was developed as a strategic tool to promote sustainable spice garden tourism. The app has multiple utility values: it is a tool to choose tourism products and services from, market and promote spice garden tourism, and plan travel itineraries. It will also allow multiple stakeholders—cardamom farmers operating homestays along the spice garden trail, tour and travel operators, visitors and tourists—to design customized tourism packages.

Nepal has yet to tap the immense potential inherent in two innovative concepts—namely, the use of ICT in sustainable tourism development and the mainstreaming of spice gardens as a niche tourism product and service. The spice garden tourism app is an innovative and important step towards tapping the potentials of both.

 You can downloaded the app here.