Institutional Analysis of Tourism system from a Commons Perspective in Upper Mustang, Nepal

Resource System
Natural Landscape and Culture
Resource Units
Information flows (natural landscape views)

Before the introduction of tourism, people of Upper Mustang subsisted on only three occupations: agriculture, animal husbandry, and petty trans-Himalayan trade. The Upper Mustang region of Nepal has long been a tourist destination, especially for the westerners. Once popularly known as a Lost Kingdom of Nepal, this region is located in the rain-shadowed with harsh climatic conditions, but evokes a mystical and exotic image for tourists because of its unique landscapes and rich cultural heritage of the traditional Tibetan Buddhism. The region was isolated and remote, and more importantly, tourism was heavily restricted by the Government of Nepal until the turn of 21st century because of its unique geopolitical factors. In March 1992, Upper Mustang, was officially open to the outside world. Tourism definitely has lot of positive impacts, but there are negative impacts as well. The negative impacts are amplified when tourism is not managed properly. Tourism is a promising industry for the region of Upper Mustang if properly managed. Currently, the existing tourism system is at the risk of imposing more cost than benefits. The institutional arrangements are feeble, not effective, and limited. To enjoy the fruition of tourism for a long time while maintaining the natural beauty of majestic landscape and unique culture, the problem of over-appropriation, provision, and monitoring should be addressed. The overarching goal of this research is to study tourism in Upper Mustang as a complex adaptive system from a commons perspective to understand the role of institutional arrangements.