Waters have been considered as economic and social asset since long. Beyond its well-known industrial and energy uses, water offers a wide variety of opportunities for recreational and tourist activities. Among various forms of water tourism, river tourism is one having great potential to flourish in Nepal. River constitute a major tourism resource, providing spectacular settings, recreation facilities, a means of transport, a sense of heritage and adventure, and links with the environment and natural world. River tourism accounts for a significant proportion of the world’s tourism consumption, making it an economically important area of tourism.
Nepal with around 6,000 rivers and rivulets, and with the gradient in its topography provides a viable location for river based tourism activities.
Major excitement activities that can be done through the river include water adventure tourism which comprises water-rafting, river-cruise, fishing, river exploration, boating, kayaking and leisure that could be interesting parts to attracts the tourist thus could potentially develop the selected area. Water sports and hikes are also a part of adventure along the riverside. Nepal provides a venue for world-class river based tourism especially rafting.
Many rivers have been explored for the possibilities of rafting. Government has opened sections of 10 rivers for commercial rafting; Bhotekoshi, Trishuli, Marshyangdi, Karnali, Seti and Sunkoshi among the popular one. River sections are graded on the basis of variation in rapids along the rafting sections. Bhotekoshi river is ranked top 6 in the world in case of rafting.
Kayaking is another adventurous sport done in warm and friendly river. Just with a single boat, and a paddle, a single person can enjoy the excitement of the river flows. Bhotekoshi and Trishuli river are popular destinations for Kayaking.
River tourism offers not just the adventure; it provides some of the most scenic views, and diverse wildlife and flora along the routes.
Tourism gives water resources great potential, combining their protection with respectful use. From an environmental perspective, river tourism provides opportunities to develop and implement new sustainable model of water resource management.
However, current rate of resource exploitation from river, dams and pollution load possesses a great threat for river based tourism in Nepal.