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Agro-ecotourism, a combination of agrotourism and ecotourism, usesdiversified resources, both natural andman-made ranging from landscape andbiodiversity to cultural heritages.Agritourism and ecotourism arepracticed in many countries includingUSA, Europe, Latin America, Africa,and Asia. Looking into the possibilities,agritourism is getting attention fromresearchers, policy makers and plannersand developmental workers of manyparts of the world. This agrotourism canbe used to motivate and encouragefarming communities to raise their cropsin eco-friendly way to conserve theiragrobiodiversity on farm. In theacademic institutions, faculties andstudents are also trying to explore andexplain how agricultural activities (suchas organic farming, traditionalagriculture) can be used as a mosteffective means for tourismdevelopment and landscapeconservation. Similarly, ecotourism canbe used as a tool to aware people toprevent the negative impacts of tourismon environment, economy and social lifeof the people of particular areas whereit is in practice. The countries that harborextraordinary biodiversity have anuntapped potential for generatingagroecotourism business aroundbiodiversity-rich farms and forests. Inaddition, tour operators and farmers
Developing Agroecotourism in Nepal
could be actively involved in the agro-ecotour in community forests, protectedareas, organic villages and farms.Agroecotourism thus provides a strongeconomic incentive to small farmers tocommit to biodiversity-friendlyagriculture and forest management. InNepal, for the promotion of sustainableand responsible tourism, the need fordiversification of tourism products isbeing felt in recent days and new touristproducts are being introduced. Amongdifferent options of tourist products,agroecotourism is one of the mostpotential sectors in tourism of Nepal.
Efforts and Achievements
Academic Course Development for Higher Education
In 2002, the Institute of Agricultureand Animal Science of TribhuvanUniversity, Rampur realized theimportance of integrating tourism inagricultural education in Nepal andincorporated in Higher Education Link Programme to design a course ontourism for master level. One of theauthor (first author) visited WrittleCollege, Uk to consult with experts andlibrary and drafted a course on tourism(Dangol, 2002) which was discussedthoroughly in the meetings of theSubject Matter Committee. The SubjectMatter Committee named this course as“agroecotourism”. The Faculty Boardand TU Academic Council approved thiscourse in 2003 for M. Sc. Ag as a courseof Conservation Ecology program underthe Department of EnvironmentalScience (IAAS, 2006).
Non-academic Training Course Development for Community People
Executive director of EcologicalServices Centre (ECOS) had realized theimportance of agriecotourism training tothe community people of the tourismpromotion sites. He internalized“agroecotourism” in his organizationalactivities and designed a training course.
Participation in Tourism Planning Meetings and Workshops
Faculties and post-graduate studentsgot opportunities to participate in anumber of planning meetings andworkshops organized by DistrictDevelopment Committee or DistrictTourism Committee or TRPAP inChitwan. They contributed in preparingDistrict Tourism Development andManagement Plan for Chitwan district.
Resource Persons for Training
Faculties and students played theirrole as resource persons in a number of training programs either organized byEcological Services Centre or NationalTrust for Nature Conservation. This gaveopportunity to publicize and promoteagroecotourism in some parts of Nepal.
Introducing Agroecotourism, IAASis getting opportunities to collecteducational resources such as books,CDs and posters, especially from theTRPAP, Kathmandu. These resourcesare very valuable to teach students of agroecotourism.
Capacity Building of Post-graduate Students
Altogether 8 post-graduate studentshave already studied “Agroecotourism”course at the Institute of Agriculture andAnimal Science, Rampur. They gotopportunity to learn this course from theexperts of Nepal Tourism Board,Tourism for Rural Poverty AlleviationProgramme and Kathmandu Academyof Tourism and Hospitality.Besides, students wrote term papersaddressing different issues or problems