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Dalhousie University

Publication Date

Fall 2007

Program Name

Nepal: Culture and Development


Many papers and presentations pertaining to tourism have started something like the following:

The World Tourism Organization in its 1996/97 report states that 255 million people are employed in the tourism-related industries, which is one in every nine people employed in the world, making it the world’s number one industry and larger than the oil, automobile or weapons industries. Tourism also contributed US$653 billion to the international economy in the form of different tourism-related taxes. There is an annual growth rate of 4% in the world’s tourism market. (Bajracharya & Shakya, 1998)

Now this one begins that way, too.

It is clear that tourism is an enormous industry, and it is inconceivable that an industry so wealthy and widespread would not have enormous impacts. And indeed, much research has been dedicated to understanding how tourism has helped and hindered, developed and destroyed, lifted and laughed at peoples and societies all over the world. Nepal itself has many good examples of such investigations (including Bhatt, 2006; East, Luger & Inmann, 1998; Kunwar, 2002 and 2006; Nepal, 2003; Rogers 2007). Yet it is curious that an industry that functions as human movement has been so little discussed as a factor in human movement, especially when one considers the capacity of human migration to define the places they come to and the places they leave. The most immediate objective of this paper is to give that conversation a basis.

Following explanations of research methodologies and key terms and frameworks, this paper will discuss the various ways local circumstances in the Himalayan town of Khumjung, and the Tarai jungle town of Sauraha, interact with their tourism industries to significantly alter local migration patterns. It will, at times, point to environmental, socio-cultural, and economic impacts resulting from these changes, but the focus is on illustrating the changes themselves in the hopes that an awareness of the changes will stir the debate on the impacts and, eventually, how to mitigate the negative and propagate the positive ones. Application of a core-periphery model is used to illustrate how, in its various migrational impacts, tourism has changed receiving locations in fundamental ways by altering their relationship with other areas in the regional, national, and international arenas. The conclusion proposes a theoretical understanding of tourism impacts by looking at tourism itself as a form of migration, but it must be understood that this serves primarily as a basis for further investigations of the specifics.


Growth and Development



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