ASSESSING THE OPPORTUNITIES OF PROMOTING ECOTOURISM IN GABHAR VALLEY: A CASE STUDY FROM BUFFER ZONE OF BANKE NATIONAL PARK
Asian Journal of Arts, Humanities and Social Studies,
Nepal has an abundance of opportunities for the ecotourism industry and is very rich in nature and culture. Despite having a lot of tourism potentialities there are still many places in Nepal that are yet to be explored. Gabhar valley is a beautiful village which has recently been listed as one of the 100 ecotourism destinations in Nepal. The objective of this study was to explore the potential eco-tourism attractions/features, ecotourism activities and perception of local people and visitors towards ecotourism in Gabhar valley. Data were collected through key informant interviews, questionnaire surveys with households, visitors and focus group discussions. Out of 440 households in the valley, 25 percent (n=110) households were selected randomly. Three point Likert scale disagree to agree (0-2) was employed in analyzing the perception of local people and visitors towards ecotourism. chi-square test was used to see the variation in the perception of local people. Simple descriptive statistics such as frequency, percentage and mean were used to analyze the data, and are presented in different charts and tables. The ecotourism attraction/features such homestays, Lion's Gabhar park, ostrich farm, etc were identified and bird watching, jungle walk, jeep safari, cycling, etc are ecotourism activities in the area. Apart from existing ecotourism attractions/features and activities view tower, Tharu cultural museum, treehouse, horse riding and fishing pond can add further opportunities for ecotourism development in this area. Most of the local people and visitors were positive towards the ecotourism promotion in the area. Long term policy should be made to enhance tourism activities to attract more visitors in the area.
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