Located in the serrated and natural environment of Northern Gorkha at an altitude from 1905m to 5093m on the Tibetan border, Tsum valley is new marvel for tourist attraction. An exploration program was organized by Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN) and Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) on May 11, 2008 which lasted for 17 days. Tsum Valley was recently opened by the government in last October 17, 2007 where previously, it was a restricted from any tourism or recreational activities. The exploration was conducted by 12 technical team members with 15 support team members for the survey of its feasibility as a trekking destination. According to the report forwarded by the team of Sonam Lama, Coordinator, Tsum Welfare Committee and Namgyal Sherpa Coordinator of the exploration and Executive member of Trekking Agents Association of Nepal (TAAN) stated, “The report addressed the issues on basic facilities and tourist attractions along the trail to uplift livelihoods of the inhabitants by developing and promoting sustainable tourism. The main objective of this project was to disclose the secrets of the hidden valley and make it feasible for all.” The specific objectives of the study limited with in following points: To study possibility of developing Tsum Valley as a new and peculiar destination. To study the tourism infrastructure available (camping, lodges, stores, bridges, helipads etc) for trekking groups To revise the cultural and natural heritages of the valley from the tourist standpoint. To study latent impact by the upcoming trekkers group on the socio-economic factor and the merits for the Tsumbas To ascertain the best possible area and daily chained itinerary with well detailed information that acquires optimum scenic and cultural experiences The report also forwarded recommendations like
1. Opening and Developing Tsum Valley Circuit Trek Route from Mu Gumba. This new circuit trek route can be developed by providing the basic facilities of water and improvement of trail. As the trail goes from high altitude, it can provide a spectacular panorama of surrounding peaks like Ganesh Himal, Poshyo peak, Langju peak and glacial lakes like Chho syong, Chho Lungyo and Yamdro,.
2. Opening and Development of Trans-Himalaya Circuit which would be linked from Kathmandu-Syabru Bensi-Kyirong-Takar Taso-Ngula Dhajen Pass-Tsum Valley-Arughat-Kathmandu.
3. Trail Improvement, The trail from Arughat to Tsum Valley is newly constructed. So a proper maintenance is the need.
4. Conservation and Renovation of Cultural heritage, since Tsum Valley is rich in its cultural heritage which needs to be conserved. As mani walls, chortens and gateway chortens and Gumbas play important role to attract tourists so timely renovation is a must. The exploration team observes the mani walls at Kalung, Gateway Chorten of Chhule are in deteriorated condition which should be addressed timely.
5. Tourism Awareness Program, This valley is recently opened for tourists, so most of the locals are unaware about the tourists and their relationship with the place. Hence, different programs should be initiated to aware the locals to understand about the tourism industry. Basically, these programs should be given to the school childrens.
6. Trainings for Tourism Promotion, In order to give the maximum benefit to the local community, it needs skilled manpower. Hence, different types of trainings should be carried out including Lodge management training, Cook-waiter training.
Likewise, talking about the prospect and tourism, Puspa Thapaliya President of the Gorkha Tourism said, “Tsum Valley is a high alpine virgin region which is famous for its unexplored rawness and wilderness. The way government declared its opening without any home work is really questionable.” “Despite its restriction, during the conflict time, tourists use to illegally camp in the valley, which has not only degraded the ecology but has questioned its future. As in the region, we have fewer numbers of trees and without proper mechanism they increase the high risk of deforestation and garbage problem. First thing that needs to be worked on is we should develop an effective mechanism involving all the stake holders where the pros and cons should be addressed, which seems to be sidelined,” said he. Regarding the royalty issue he added, “Currently we have a royalty of $90 in the peak season and $70 for the off season for Manaslu Region where as the government have declared royalty of $35 in the peak season and $25 in the off season for the Chum Valley which is totally absurd as Chum Valley is a new and virgin destination and when offered for less royalty. It would certainly attract large number of tourists and without proper mechanism in long run would surely invite problems.” “One more thing which needs to be thought of is just on the other side of the valley in China, we have all the facilities of infrastructure of road, communication etc but on our side we do not have any facility which needs to be understood and worked on,” stressed he. However, the business entrepreneurs are happy from the opening of Tsum valley but relatively a group of environmental activities are concerned with the lack of effective management from the government side. Perhaps the opening of the valley certainly highlights better prospect but on contrary it also discourages the illegal trekking and camping activities that were operated prior the opening. Jyoti Adhakari, President of Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal,” The government move to open Tsum Valley is very commendable. As Tsum valley holds lot of scope for productive tourism, it can prolong tourists stay for longer days due to it’s environ. It has huge scope for medium range adventure sites where it can easily attract trekkers and adventure enthusiasts. Firstly, we need to create local awareness about eco-tourism where all the stake holders should participate in creating an effecting mechanism for the overall development. We are also planning to donate $1 from the money raised to local bodies for awareness purpose as if people are aware about pros and cons then they can think for their betterment.” “We should promote local people and product for sustainability and this should be focused as the main mantra for tourism practice,” added he.
By Shreedeep Rayamajhi