Nepal launches accessible trekking trail for differently-abled, elderly

Nepal has opened its first “accessible” trekking trail in the country’s famous tourism city Pokhara, targeting the disabled people with physical limitations and elderly population.

The trail was inaugurated as part of a three-day international conference on ‘Accessible Tourism’ held for the first time in the Himalayan nation from March 29 to March 31 in Pokhara.

Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari inaugurated the 1.3-km section of the 14-km long hiking path in the ridge connecting Sarangkot to Naudanda areas, the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) said in a statement. “The trail could be a benchmark of Nepal’s commitment to tourism and the ministry would look into this to establish it as a model trail in Nepal,” said Adhikari after inaugurating the trail.

“The trail offers a magnificent view of Mt. Annapurna, Fisthtail and Manaslu,” NTB statement said.

The NTB, one of the organizers of the conference, built the trail with the local trail development committee. The trail is expected to enhance the prospect of attracting a strong segment of disabled and elderly tourists’ population to Nepal. The trail is well endowed with proper signage and has an accessible washroom.

“The concerned authorities have pledged more support in the coming fiscal year that will begin in mid-July this year to lay down all the standards and facilities to establish the trail as ‘probably the best’ and ‘leading trail’ in Asia,” the NTB said.

Deepak Raj Joshi, the chief executive officer of NTB said the initiative to build the trail was taken to add innovation in product and to diversify the tourism trails to generate greater interest among visitors and to ensure that no one is left behind in experiencing the magnificence of Nepal’s beauty.

‘Accessible tourism’ is an emerging concept to ensure that tourist destinations, products and services are accessible to all people, irrespective of their physical limitations, disabilities or age. The global tourism off late has witnessed a major boom in accessible tourism.

The estimated population of the accessible segment is one billion in the world and considered as rapidly growing and one of the niche and high-end segment in tourism, according to the NTB.