KATHMANDU, Dec 28: Trekking Agencies' Association of Nepal (TAAN) has earmarked nearly Rs 100 million for exploration of new trekking trails, maintenance of existing trails and building infrastructure on major trails as well as promotion in domestic and international market.
The annual budget of the association for Fiscal Year 2073/74 presented by Treasurer Lila Baldab Dahal has allocated Rs 8.79 million for development of infrastructure and maintenance as well as promotion of trekking trails.
According to Dahal, TAAN has maintained geographical balance while selecting trails for reconstruction, maintenance and infrastructure development. "We have selected trails starting from Kanchanjunga region in eastern Nepal to Api Himal in far-western Nepal," he said, adding that TAAN will build necessary infrastructure, build capacity of local so that they can cater to tourists, and produce promotional collaterals to promote the trails in national and international market," he added.
TAAN has selected 63 trails for maintenance, infrastructure development and promotion.
Similarly, TAAN is investing Rs 9 million for exploration of new trekking trails. According to Dahal, TAAN is exploring Lamjung-Dudhpokhari, North Annapurna Base Camp trail from Lete, Sailung-Timal, Gaja Hill (Jogimara-Shaktikhor), Round Ramechhap, and Chatara-Mainamini trails in the current fiscal year.
"The trails have been selected as per the request of the local community and their tourism potentials," he added.
Similarly, TAAN plans to conduct mapping of Hillary Trail and Lower Solu in the current fiscal year.
TAAN has also allocated substantial funds for development programs. Tourism Memorial Park in Timal, setting up mobile washrooms in tourist bus parks, development of cycling trails, installation of solar street lights in Thamel, construction of bridge over Mardi Khola and Khaptad Development Program are some of the programs that TAAN is starting in the current fiscal year.
TAAN is also building weather information centers in major trekking areas, mountaineering school in Dhading, and porter shelters in Gorkha, and implementing trekking trail development program in Api Himal in far-western Nepal and Dhaulagiri Sanctuary, among others.
According to Dahal, TAAN is also building short trekking trails in the ridge of Kathmandu Valley. "To begin with, we will develop Thankot-Dahachowk-Ramkot-Sitapaila trail," he added.
TAAN has also kept development of a new trekking trail in Sankhuwasabha in priority. The trail starts from Amrang and passes through Lower Walung, Upper Walung, Ale Danda, Tashijongtar, Eyuwakhola and Mera Base Camp before ending at Makalu Base Camp. "We have allocated Rs 1.6 million for the project," added Dahal.
TAAN is also building porter shelters in Damodar Kunda, Larkya Pass, Kagmara BC and Lumbasumba trekking trails.
Similarly, TAAN is investing substantial amount for tourism marketing and promotion in the international market. It has allocated Rs 2.4 million for US, Rs 640,000 for Russia, Rs 3.2 million for Russia, Rs 2 million for South Asia, Rs 800,000 each for Middle East and Australia and Rs 1.2 million for Asian markets.
TAAN has also set aside Rs 2.4 million to organize cycling competition on Lukla-Salleri-Patale-Okhaldhunga-Sindhuligadhi-Namobuddha-Dhulikhel route. Similarly, Rs 1.2 million has been earmarked to promote 'Overland Route to Everest' (Kavre Namobuddha-Sindhuli-Sindhuligadi- Khotang Halesi-Okhaldhunga-Siddhicharan Park-Okhaldhunga-Salleri-Surke-Chaurikharka-Everest Base Camp)
TAAN has also announced a research fellowship of up to Rs 100,000 for firms, researchers interested to conduct study on issues/subject selected by it, a statement issued by the association on Tuesday states.