NARA advocating for adventure tourism through rafting sector


16th Mar, 2018 | Tourism Mail Crew


KATHMANDU, Mar 16: Established in 1989, Nepal Association of Rafting Agencies (NARA) is currently operating in 16 rivers of Nepal. They are: Trishuli, Upper Kali Gandaki, Lower Kali Gandaki, Seti Khola, Marshyangdi, Budhi Gandaki, Sunkoshi, Upper Sunkoshi, Bhotekoshi, Balephi, Lower Arun, Tamur, Karnali, Mahakali, Seti Karnali and Bheri. Among these, Karnali, Seti and Bhotekoshi are the top rivers for rafting throughout the world.

NARA was established with the objective of conserving rivers and making the rafting sector more organized. It works to promote the adventure tourism sector of Nepal. It is also dedicated towards planning and implementation of projects and the safety of the people who participate in rafting. NARA, in collaboration with NATHM, is also conducting various trainings to river guides such as First Aid, AR, CPR, SWRT, WRT and rescue trainings. Among the various rivers for rafting, Upper Kali Gandaki, Marshyangdi, Sunkoshi, Bhote Koshi, Balephi, Tamur and Karnali are highly recommended rivers.

Out of the 16 major rivers permitted by the government for whitewater rafting and kayaking, the following rivers are the most popular adventure destination:

Rafting Summery

Rivers Class Volumes

Cumees

m/km Total days River Days Scenic wild? River Star
Trishuli 2/3+ 300 3 1-4 1-4 * **
Upper Kali Gandaki 4- 120 5 3 3 ** ***
Lower Kaligandaki 2 250 1.5 5 4 ** **
Seti Khola 3- 40 3 2 2 ** **
Marshyangdi 4+ 80 10 5 4 ** ***
Budhi Gandaki 3 90 04 03 02 * *
Sun Koshi 4- 400 02 10 09 ** ***
Upper Sunkoshi 2 40 2 1 1 * **
Bhote Koshi 4+ 90 16 2 2 ** ***
Balephi 3- 25 11 1 1/2 ** ***
Lower Arun 4- 215 2 4 3 ** **
Tamur 4 150 4 11 6 ** ***
Dudh Koshi 5 100 17 9 5 ** *
Karnali 4 300 4 10 8 *** ***
Mahakali 3 30 3 10 6 *** *
Seti/Karnali 3 130 4 9 6 *** **
Bheri 3+ 200 3 8 6 *** **
Babai Nadi 2 35 3 4 2 *** *

 NARA has also organized international level “Himalayan White Water Challenge” festival in 2002. Nowadays, hydropower projects running in Kali Gandaki, Marshyangdi, and Bhotekoshi are becoming a barrier in this sector. According to the General Secretary of NARA, Shiva Adhikari, “We must let the river flow freely, due to these construction projects we are facing difficulties in conducting rafting in those areas so we should support the free flow of river.”  

Though NARA has passed different proposals to the concerned authorities, government bodies have not been keen to pay attention to such proposals. Also, the condition of rafting is being deteriorated day by day due to pollution. As a result, the number of foreign tourists coming to Nepal is going down every year. According to NARA, around 25 percent of tourists coming to Nepal used to go for rafting a decade ago. However, in the recent years hardly 10 percent of foreign tourists come to the country for rafting.

Different peaceful rallies are regularly conducted by NARA for conserving the rafting sector like awareness campaigns, signature campaigns and it has also conducted various meeting with the government bodies. NARA is also demanding free flow river in each province which can attract more tourists in our country. On the occasion of World Tourism Day, every year NARA conducts cleanliness campaigns in rivers. Regarding its aim, General Secretary Adhikari said, “Our mission is to attract international tourists for rafting in Nepal. Environmental conservation and safety would play great role in attracting tourists in our country. Government authorities should pay their attention towards improving the rafting sector in Nepal.”