Sustainable Tourism and Green Growth in Settlements of Kathmandu Valley


The devastating 2015 Gorkha Earthquake caused extensive damage, especially to housing and human settlements (estimated at USD 3.5 billion) and a severe impact to the tourism sector, loosing USD 624 million. Two years down the line the country is still creeping towards recovery. Most of the programmes so far have targeted rural areas. In the affected urban areas, 80% of the 138,771 houses damaged are traditional. More than 50 historical urban centers in the Kathmandu Valley and beyond are badly damaged by the earthquake. In one of them, Bungamati, 95% of the houses were damaged. Poor before and poorer now, hardly 50 out of the 900 families started rebuilding. On the whole, the livelihood agenda, including support to Small Medium Entrepreneurship (SME), is overlooked in the recovery programming, which is an integral part of an owner driven reconstruction. 

Situated at the southern edge of the Kathmandu Valley, Bungamati is a traditional settlement where pre-dominantly the indigenous Newari reside. It is one of the oldest settlements in the Valley, with a written history of more than 1500 years. It is popular for the sacred shrine of Machhendranath, the deity worshiped by both Hindus and Buddhists. Furthermore, its Karyabinayak temple is one of the four great Ganesh temples of the Valley. In recent years, Bungamati became popular for wood carving shops primarily run as Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). The traditional layout of the town with pedestrian-friendly walkways and squares, public spaces and the greenery in the surrounding, was becoming an attractive destination for international tourists, off the beaten track. Towards the future, as Bungamati is still close to Kathmandu city but less crowded, it can become a good trip destination also for local people. A future outer ring road will make it more easily accessible to the 4 million plus population of the valley. This is true for many of the historical settlements – providing, of course, that they will be rebuilt and that local economic development towards sustainable tourism and green growth is supported.


The overall objective of this project is to promote Sustainable Tourism and Green Growth in Heritage Settlements of Kathmandu Valley thereby encouraging sustainable development, reducing poverty and mitigating climate change. Two specific objectives of this projects are:

  • Promote Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) in heritage settlement with the support of policy makers of reconstruction
  • Develop Bungamati as a center for sustainable tourism through green growth, sustainable rebuilding, entrepreneurship among women & youth, SME engagement & investment and product innovation.


  • Prepare comprehensive heritage settlement recovery plan and plan for public amenities of Bungamati and Pilachhen
  • Provide technical assistance in rebuilding of private houses as well as facilitate house owners to get subsidized home loans
  • Develop artisans with traditional house construction skills
  • Establish multipurpose training center and enhanced existing cultural museum of Bungamati
  • Improve public spaces compatible to heritage & tourism focusing on solid waste management
  • Prepare Heritage Settlement Policy, Green Development Policy and Sustainable Tourism Policy for the Lalitpur Metropolitan City. 
  • Prepare tourism=-based entrepreneurship development plan
  • Prepare Tourism Development Plan for Bungamati and Pilachhen 
  • Build capacity of youths and women in entrepreneurship skills
  • Form and mobilize youth and women led micro-saving groups 
  • Support to establish network of heritage settlements and promote sustainable tourism network

Donors and Key Project Stakeholders


European Union

Key Project Stakeholders:

Project Steering Committee, Ministry of Urban Development, Lalitpur Metropolitan City, Centre for Integrated Urban Development (CIUD), Lumanti Support Group for Shelter, SAARC Business Association of Home Based Workers (SABAH), Bungamati Area Reconstruction and Development Council (BaRDEC)

Relevant Links

UN-Habitat Nepal: Parya Sampada

Project Website: Bungamati

STORY: Nepal’s centuries-old heritage settlements get a revamp

Video: Carving Heritage of Bungamati Parya Sampada | V4 | Carving Heritage of Bungamati

Video: Nepal Lifetime Experiences | Rice Planting Festival Parya Sampada | V2 | Nepal Lifetime Experiences | Rice Planting Festival

STORY: European Union funded project in Nepal creates new opportunities for home workers during pandemic

Video: Preparing Resilient Communities against COVID-19 in Nepal

Relevant Publication

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