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|Title: ||The characteristics and satisfactions of international visitors to Royal Chitwan National Park, Nepal|
|Author: ||Upadhyay, Gopal Prasad (Kafle)|
|Degree: ||Master of Parks and Recreation Management|
|Institution: ||Lincoln University|
|Date: ||1993 |
|Item Type: ||Thesis|
|Abstract: ||This study traces the nature of national park use for recreation and other human uses in Nepal. Particularly, it focuses on international visitors to Royal Chitwan National Park (RCNP) and the issues of nature conservation that are affecting the Park ecosystems. The Park, a World Heritage site, is the first National Park of Nepal and was established in 1973. The Park has a worldwide reputation as one of the best places in the South-east Asian region for nature tourism. More than fifty thousand people visit the Park annually. Of these, 76 percent are foreign tourists.
More than sixty thousand local people enter the Park under permit every year for a period of two weeks to cut grass for thatch and crafts. In addition, there is considerable illegal harvesting of forest products. The loss of the Park's adjacent forests and lack of suitable alternative sources of forest products have both contributed significantly to pressure from local people on the Park resources. Impacts of industrial development in the region and consequent river pollution are other forms of human development which are also affecting the Park's ecosystems. With increasing human pressure on RCNP, and other parks, reserves and natural areas of Nepal there is a compelling need for an integrated approach for studying recreational use and its relationship with natural resources conservation.
The aim of this research was to provide base line information on the nature of Park use, both for recreation and for fulfilment of the needs of local people. Research was completed in the Park during the winter months of 1991/92, November to February. Both qualitative (in-depth interviews and participant observation) and quantitative (survey questionnaires) methods were employed to collect information about Park visitors and the opinions of Park staff, local people and hotel/lodge managers. An understanding of the characteristics and motivations of Park users, the nature of local people's demands for natural resources from the Park and the factors which may influence their level of impacts on Park resources were central to this research. Visitors to Royal Chitwan National Park have many features in common with park visitors reported in park surveys in other countries and come with relatively similar socio-economic and demographic backgrounds. The majority of visitors to this Park originated from European, Australasian and North American regions, but Indians and foreigners working in Nepal also emerged as significant Park users. They have diverse reasons for visiting the Park, with 'Viewing Wildlife', 'Being With Nature', 'Peace and Quiet', and an 'Elephant Safari' being their prime motivations. From a tourist management perspective their satisfactions with the activities are of equal importance.
They appeared to seek more psychologically based benefits which vary from fulfilling social needs to appreciation and interaction with nature. A nine-point crowding scale and the number of encounters with other groups were used to measure social aspects of crowding in the Park. Similarly, responses to the question of impacts caused by other visitors were used to identify and measure issues directly relating to the 'optimal experience' available in the Park. These measures form the basis for establishing preferred levels of use and future monitoring procedures. Park visitation is a function of the psychological and sociological processes which are part of an individual's 'personal community'. This was evident in this study and offered the best understanding and explanation of recreational use while at the Park.
This research goes on to analyse current issues and conflicts between RCNP and local people. Evidence from this study suggests that establishment of the RCNP has resulted in the loss of traditional rights and benefits of local people. Grazing lands, grasses and fodder, timber, fuelwood, bamboo and other minor forest products are necessary to address the basic needs of these people. Problems of livestock and crop depredation, loss of human lives and injuries, damage to buildings and other properties caused by Park wildlife are discussed. Rhino, wild boar, chital deer, tiger, leopard, sloth bear, wild elephants, monkey and parakeet are the main cause of damage. The annual concession of grasscutting in the Park is a single benefit received by these people from the Park and makes a significant contribution to the local economy. There is an expressed need to develop and implement a strategic policy that can better address these issues without compromising the prime objective of conservation of the Park's ecosystems. Potential solutions discussed emphasise the compelling need for the RCNP to accept the responsibility of taking account of the needs of its local people. Solutions, such as community forestry, buffer zones and efficient use of available resources are examined. The protected area concept must be a compromise between protection and development if it is to serve humanitarian as well as conservation needs.
Finally, for a growing understanding of Park use for both recreation and other human uses as well as to safeguard sustainable and efficient use of natural resources, analysis of the changing use of this Park in terms of the nature of demands and extent of use and resources limitations, must be continued. A recommendation on the focus of future research is also made.|
|Supervisor: ||Devlin, Patrick J.|
|Persistent URL (URI): ||http://hdl.handle.net/10182/2794|
|Access Rights: ||Digital thesis can be viewed by current staff and students of Lincoln University only. Print copy available for reading in Lincoln University Library. May be available through inter-library loan.|
|Appears in Collections:||Theses and Dissertations with Restricted Access|
Department of Social Science, Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Sport
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