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Kailash Sacred Landscape
Nepal Tourism Board
29 September 2022
Janita Gurung & Sushmita Kunwar
Organisers: Namkha Rural Municipality; Khaptad Area Tourism Development Committee; Nepal Tourism Board; and Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative, ICIMOD
Kailash Confluence (KaiCon) 2022 aims to bring together tourism stakeholders from India and Nepal to develop a roadmap for promoting transboundary tourism in the Kailash Sacred Landscape. KaiCon 2022 will consist of an interactive workshop and a special exhibition of the culture and heritage of two unique communities of the landscape – the Limay and Rung communities.
The Kailash Confluence (KaiCon) is a transboundary platform for promoting trade and tourism among the three countries in the Kailash Sacred Landscape – China, India, and Nepal. Three iterations of the Kailash Confluence have been organised since 2018 with a focus on promoting transboundary trade and tourism between Pulan County in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China and Humla District in Nepal. These events were conducted in Halji Village in 2018; Yalbang Village in 2019; and Simikot, Humla, in 2021. These events have been extremely successful in highlighting the tourism potential of Namkha Rural Municipality at both national and international levels.
In 2019, a transboundary dialogue was conducted between Sudurpashchim Province, Nepal, and Uttarakhand State, India, to explore how tourism can be developed and implemented by the two states through cross-border collaboration. Sudurpashchim and Uttarakhand have common natural, cultural, and historical heritage, along with sharing a strong economic connection, providing the basis for achieving transboundary tourism and trade between the two areas.
Both tourism and trade were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021; international borders between the three countries in the landscape were sealed, and both internal as well as cross-border movement was curtailed for some time. At present, the border between India and Nepal is open, but their respective borders with China remains closed.
Today, tourism has regained momentum in the landscape, and this has provided learning towards ‘rethinking’ tourism in the post-pandemic era. Religious/spiritual tourism continues to be one of the most important categories of tourism in the landscape, providing opportunities for new tourism destinations. In particular, Limi Valley in Humla District is now gaining popularity as the new ‘Kailash–Manasarovar yatra’ destination since pilgrims are unable to visit the Mount Kailash region in the Tibet Autonomous Region, China.
The resumption of tourism in both already popular as well as recently operated tourism destinations highlight the need to prioritise several issues relating to sustainable tourism, including tourism skills development and capacity building, infrastructure upgrading, sustainable consumption, waste management, and equitable benefit sharing.
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