Himalaya Vacations for Tourists: Trekking Towards the Snow Clad Mountains Overview
The term Himalaya means ‘abode of snow’ in the Sanskrit language. They are the world’s highest mountain range stretching across five countries- Pakistan, India, China, Nepal and Bhutan with the last two being completely within them. They are considered as ‘roof of the world’ and are the ultimate mountaineering challenge for their pristine and savage beauty. They make the Alps and Rockies seem almost puny in comparison! The Himalayas vacation for tourists sector is as old as religion itself since the range has many mountains considered holy in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. With the advent of colonialism in the 19th Century, several hill stations were established by the British as a respite from the oppressive heat of India. Some famous examples include Darjeeling, Nainital, Mussorie, and Shimla which was the summer capital of British India. Modern Himalayan vacations that include trekking, mountain climbing, sightseeing, skiing and winter sports are just a few decades old. Westerners seeking ‘inner peace’ have begun to see the Himalayas as the ideal spiritual destination and have had a dramatic impact on the local environment and social structure recently.
Himalaya Vacations for Tourists: Drivers
There are three main drivers for tourists seeking Himalayan vacations- Religious pilgrimages, summer vacations for domestic tourists, and modern activities like trekking, hiking, sightseeing or winter sports for western ones. The Himalayas have played a key role in shaping religion in South Asia. The whole region has been sacred for Hindus & Buddhists because it is the source of major holy rivers like the Ganges, Indus and Brahmaputra. That is why they are thought of as not only a natural wonder but an actual representation of the divine. The Char Dham, Kailas Manasoravar, Vaishno Devi, Amarnath, and Kongpo Bonri pilgrimages attract millions of devotees each year. The second major driver is various hill station excursions to places like Darjeeling, Ranikhet, Mussoorie and Shimla. While they were popular with the British in the pre-Independence era, domestic tourism has surged there dramatically since the 1960’s. With global warming causing rising temperatures, the numbers are anticipated to only skyrocket in the times ahead. Westerners are attracted to Himalayan vacations for many adventure sports options like white water rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, skiing, mountain biking, bungee jumping and paragliding. The two largest nations China and India have spent billions on improving infrastructure and they also opened Himalayan vacations to foreign tourists in the 1980’s. This made an enormous impact on Himalayan tourism since the region became much more accessible and tourist numbers shot up by leaps and bounds.
Himalaya Vacations for Tourists: Restraints
There are some restraints challenging the long term growth of the Himalaya Vacation market. They are ecological, regulatory and geopolitical reasons. Tourists have begun to flock to the Himalayas for a variety of reasons. Many of them might not understand the impact that ecological degradation can have on the entire subcontinent. Mountains like Mount Everest have become dumping grounds and it is even pejoratively labelled as ‘the world’s highest junkyard’. While the Nepalese government has passed a rule stipulating that each mountaineer and support staff member climbing the mountain must bring back at least 8 KG of rubbish, the ground reality has hardly changed. This might make the governments pass stricter regulations which could even limit the number of tourist arrivals to preserve the ecological balance of the region. The final challenge to Himalayan vacations is geopolitical tensions between India & Pakistan and India and China. Political tensions and disputes could easily spiral into war which could make the regions out of bounds for tourists, both domestic and international.
Countries Offering Himalaya Vacations for Tourists
The largest source destination market for tourist arrivals is China according to 2015 government data of both Nepal and Bhutan. This is mainly due to a large, increasingly affluent population and easy road, air and even rail connectivity options between the three countries. The second largest market is India on account of the same reasons but western nations should not be overlooked by companies offering Himalaya Vacations for Tourists due to their affluence and desire to travel to adventure, exotic or spiritual destinations.
Companies Offering Himalaya Vacations for Tourists
Some global companies offering Himalaya Vacations for Tourists are SOTC, Thomas Cook, Cox and Kings etc.
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Himalaya Vacations Tourism Sector Overview
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