The clash – social, environmental and economical changes in tourism destination areas caused by tourism the case of Himalayan villages (India and Nepal)

Michal Apollo


Natural, social and economic factors all play a part in tourism induced change in the tourism destination area, especially in Global South countries like India and Nepal, where tourism is seen as an important component in the development process. The current study involved interviewing (n=162) the local population at three Himalayan villages: Sucto (India), Nagarkot and Birethanti (Nepal). Thus, the opinions and views of local communities concerning tourism industry are very important elements in the creation of the development process, as a negative attitude towards visitors can seriously limit development. The unique nature of the Himalayas has led to a considerable sociological evolution of these diverse mountain communities, which are very sensitive towards foreign influence. This delicate ecosystem is being invaded by increasing levels of tourism activity. This paper has proven the progressive nature (stadiums) of the interactions: initial, indirect and final, thus presenting that a tourist destination area that is more developed only shows, to the less developed, the image of its own future. The process (tourism) that generates such a large transformation must be taken into consideration when developing plans to protect the environment.

This paper concludes that local communities must: 1) look more critically upon the quality of the natural environment; 2) constructively combine the new with the old and not lose themselves (tradition, culture, etc.); 3) develop new or redevelop old in situ services to ensure tourists have a worthwhile stay; 4) maintain control of the local tourism market, because when locals see no material benefits from tourism, they may develop open hostility towards visitors; 5) maintain the division of social roles, mostly to control the diversity of employment. At the same time, tourists should: i) have knowledge of the culture, customs and living environment of the local community to minimise foreign influence and not annoy the locals; ii) behave as at home with respect to the customs and moral norms prevailing in their own living environment; iii) dress appropriately for the cultural circle of the destination area; iv) respects the principle of ‘Leave No Trace’.


tourism impact, culture, nature, economy, Himalayas


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