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College of William and Mary

Publication Date

Spring 2015

Program Name

Nepal: Tibetan and Himalayan Peoples

Abstract

Before 1953, the year that Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay summited Everest, almost all Sherpas were subsistence farmers, traders, and herders. But ever since the 1980’s, Sherpas have taken over the trekking industry in this region. The increase of tourism and the monopolization of this industry have altered the livelihoods of Sherpas in Solu Khumbu. However, most tourism related research on Solu Khumbu has been done primarily on upper Khumbu, which has been affected by tourism drastically differently than Solu. I will be doing a case study of how the changes in tourism have affected Junbesi, a popular agriculture based town on a major route to Everest. I conducted 7 interviews with various residents of Junbesi including schoolteachers, lodge owners, and shopkeepers. I first asked questions about what kinds of things were changing tourism over time, and then I asked specific questions on how tourism had affected agriculture, economy, the physical geography and environment, culture, labor, and education. Everyone I interviewed was on the same page about the questions of factors of change but most had different opinions about how tourism had affected the specific part of their lives. However, what I was surprised about was that reoccurring trend of nonchalance about the trend of decreasing tourism and how the village viewed the future of their economy. Their nonchalance made me examine more deeply the implications of what tourism had done to Junbesi and how the village had been reacting and using tourism in ways, that one might not originally think.

Disciplines

Agricultural and Resource Economics | Asian Studies | Community-Based Research | Family, Life Course, and Society | Growth and Development | Place and Environment | Sociology of Culture | Tourism | Work, Economy and Organizations

 

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