Tourism sustainability and health impacts in high altitude adventure, cultural and ecotourism destinations: a case study of Nepal’s Sagarmatha National Park
Musa, Ghazali; Hall, C Michael; Higham, James E S
Sagarmatha National Park (SNP) is an ACE (adventure, cultural and ecotourism) high altitude destination. Many researchers argue that tourism development in the region is not sustainable and does not comply with ecotourism concepts. They report that SNP suffers considerable environmental, sociocultural and economic impacts. Health issues, despite the number of ailments commonly experienced by tourists, remain neglected in tourism literature. This study aims to investigate the health consequences of visiting SNP. Seven hundred and fifty questionnaires were given out during three separate seasons in 1999, of which 448 completed usable questionnaires were returned giving a 59.7% response rate. The results show that despite good travel preparation, the majority of tourists (89.4%) suffer some form of health ailment. The most common ailments are mountain sickness, musculoskeletal pain, diarrhoea and respiratory infection. The study also shows several significant relationships between the incidence of health ailments and demographic profiles, motivation and satisfaction. It proposes that for high altitude ACE destinations like SNP, health issues should be a core component of destination management in order to ensure the sustainability of tourism development. High risk groups should be identified and tourism education should be targeted to both tourists and locals.
Keywords: ACE; high altitude; sustainable; mountain sickness; Ecotourism; Health
Research Type: Journal Article
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