October 31: Chandragiri Municipality has upgraded a hiking and cycling trail to attract domestic and foreign adventure enthusiasts.
The municipality, in collaboration with Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and the United Nations Development Project (UNDP), has upgraded a hiking and cycling trail in the foothills of Chandragiri hill at Chandragiri-6 under Sustainable Tourism for Livelihood Recovery Project (STLRP).
Mani Lamichhane, director of NTB, informed that STLRP is an initiative of the tourism board to provide a short-term livelihood opportunity to tourism professionals affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Due to the catastrophic impact of the pandemic, many individuals involved in tourism have been struggling for their livelihood. So, NTB, analyzing the grim situation of the people involved in tourism, started a pilot project – STLRP.
“NTB is thankful to the UNDP for funds. UNDP was bound to allocate the grant to Vietnam. However, the multinational institute was impressed with the result of our pilot project and later offered the funding to us,” Lamichhane added.
Currently, NTB has collaborated with the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN) to recruit tourism profession under the STLRP for short-term employment.
The program aims to provide short-term work to around 3000 tourism professionals for 10-40 working days.
NTB, UNDP, and Chandragiri municipality have invested Rs 3.2 million to upgrade the hiking and cycling trail under STLRP.
According to Lamichhane, the STLRP has a budget of USD 1 million each from UNDP and NTB.
The local government of Chandragiri Municipality also has made its contribution to upgrading the trails.
Speaking at an event organized jointly by Chandragiri Municipality and NTB at Matatirtha premises on October 29 to introduce the trial to tourism journalists, Ghanshyam Giri, Mayor of Chandragiri Municipality, said that the trail upgraded under the SLTRP helps the municipality to attract tourists and create employment for the locals.
Chandragiri falls among the 100 destinations selected by the for tourism promotion and infrastructure development.
Giri added that the municipality is grateful to NTB for initiating the STLRP for developing tourism infrastructure. He further said that his team is committed to promoting and developing tourism from their level.
The SLTRP project has made a small but crucial contribution to tourism professionals like Abhishek BK, who have been rendered jobless for the past two years and are struggling to feed their families.
BK is a trekking guide from Solukhumbu and is currently residing in Lalitpur. He and 32 others involved in the tourism sector, including Everest submitters, have been employed at the hiking and cycling trail, starting from Matatirtha.
NTB and TAAN have provided BK with ten days of work at the rate of Rs 1000 per day.
The upgrading work initiated on September 12, 2021, is scheduled to be completed by November 2.
The Matatirtha hiking trail is about 2 km, and the cycling trail is 5 km in length.