|dc.description.abstract||Tourism is widely recognized as one of the world’s largest industries (Torres, 2003, p. 546). With approximately one-third of all trekking costs spent on food, creating linkages between tourism and agriculture holds great potential as a mechanism for sustainable development at the village level. This is particularly true for developing countries that have large rural populations highly dependent on traditional farming. For several decades, linking tourism and agriculture to promote sustainable development has been a major focus of the Government of Nepal (GoN) (CR, 2002). Until now, however, the effectiveness of these efforts has not been studied. Therefore, it was considered important to conduct a case study of Kagbeni VDC, a remote village located in the high mountains of the Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA) of Nepal where tourism was first introduced over 50 years ago.
The field work was conducted in September and October of 2011 using qualitative methodology involving oral history interviews. On return from the field, transcription of the unstructured interviews was recorded in English, coded and analysis accomplished using computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software (NVivo). Sorting and memoing enabled the data to be divided into five, roughly equal, time periods and characterized into four themes in order to make the data more meaningful.
As documented by the results, a qualitative method proved to be effective in detailing the emerging linkages between tourism and agriculture in Kagbeni. It also enabled a comprehensive picture to be drawn of the economic, environmental, cultural, and lifestyle changes occurring over time stemming from the increase in tourism (from an occasional trekker or researcher in the 1960s to over 30,000 visitors per year at present).
In large part, because of the positive interaction between tourists and local villagers, and aided by GoN inputs (e.g., creation of the ACA, introduction of better seeds in the 1990s and completion of a road linking the village with the outside world in 2006), tourism and agriculture in Kagbeni have become symbiotically linked. Thus, as tourism has increased so has the need for local agricultural products and workers. Now, as a result of the growth in tourism and agriculture, nearly year around employment is available for local villagers at many levels, and villagers who previously emigrated are returning to Kagbeni. In conclusion, the positive linkages between tourism and agriculture documented in this case study demonstrate that, under the right conditions and given sufficient time, these two sectors can coexist and also become a driving force in sustainable development at the village level.||en