Community-based ecotourism venture in Nepal

This partnership will establish community-based ecotourism homestays in the Madi Valley of Nepal, located in the southern ‘buffer zone’ of Chitwan National Park. Chitwan is a World Heritage Site and the second most popular tourist destination in Nepal. The current tourist products are short term and have limited positive impact for local communities, despite the popularity. Ecotourism is not well established in Madi Valley and the partners propose to address this imbalance by growing community-based ecotourism options in the valley. 

The partnership aims to build on the area's natural assets and to expand the opportunity for quality wildlife tourism which will in turn lead to greater diversification from the current, predominantly trekking, tourism in Nepal. The project will prove the viability of eco-based tourism in the region and provide significant business and employment opportunities for its inhabitants, foreign exchange for the economy and new experiences for Intrepid travelers.

Partnership aims

  • Provide ecotourism accommodation and experiences within the Madi Valley community.
  • Establish unique wildlife programs within Chitwan National Park.
  • Establish commercial activities within the community that support higher rates of medium stay visitors (such as handicraft skills and culinary opportunities).


Private sector funding


DFAT funding


Total Value



Start: August 2017

End: April 2019

Industry sector

Small Enterprise Development


The partnership will enable new operations to be established in the Madi Valley that will provide benefits to its people. The initiative will create an alternative, sustainable livelihood based on cultural and wildlife tourism that will see previously under-represented members of the community (females, youth and those with disabilities) contribute to their local economy while reducing the human/wildlife conflict that currently exists in the region.

Shared value

Shared value is defined as policies and practices that enhance the competitiveness of companies while improving social and environmental conditions in the regions where they operate. It is a business strategy focused on companies creating measurable economic benefit by identifying and addressing social problems that intersect with their business. To qualify as shared value, there must be an identifiable economic benefit to the company as well as measurable impact on a social or environmental issue. The BPP is helping businesses partner with the Australian aid program in achieving shared value – advancing both social and economic objectives. These partnerships are primarily being created in one or more of the following ways:

  • Reconceiving products and/or markets
  • Redefining productivity in the value chain
  • Enabling local cluster development
Intrepid Nepal local woman giving cultural performance

Reconceiving products and/or markets

By enhancing the tourism ‘product’, there will be an increase of direct income at the homestay level through increased international tourist visits to Madi Valley.

A number of new jobs will be created through the construction of wildlife viewing platforms and other infrastructure, cooking demonstrations, wildlife activities, food and beverage supply, transport provision, craft making, cultural activities, and other jobs servicing the newly established hosting of international tourists.

Intrepid Nepal Chitwan National Park entry

Enabling local cluster development

Revenue from this project will use existing successful governance systems in the region to ensure the community benefits as a whole. Nepal is often cited as having one of the world’s most participatory models of protected area management. The Buffer Zone Management Committee in the area, that includes park managers, local user groups and community leaders will enable local residents to use tourism activities to generate income and support community development of wildlife conservation.

Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment

Training will be delivered to enhance skills and capacity for alternative income generation activity for the local community of the Madi Valley. Women beneficiaries, traditionally engaged in ‘invisible’ and intensive work, will be empowered to seek alternative income opportunities.

The initiative will apply the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) policies and strategies of WWF and the Government of Nepal, initially directly benefitting 40 households and empowering over 200 women and girls economically, socially and personally. This empowerment will help reduce exclusion, discrimination and social disparity between women and men.

Partner information

The partnership is between Intrepid Group, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and DFAT.

Intrepid Group

Intrepid Nepal Madi Valley mother walking with child behind on path  

Intrepid group 

The Intrepid Group is the world’s largest provider of adventure travel experiences. Over its 37 years of operation, the company has adhered to a socially and environmentally responsible ethos. Intrepid Group will provide funding, create the travel product in Madi Valley, select appropriate suppliers/activities and provide training on safety and hygiene. Intrepid will also market and sell the trips through established marketing channels via distribution that reaches global audiences – guaranteeing almost immediate access to significant volume of visitors once infrastructure is in place.


Intrepid Nepal Chitwan National Park viewing tower  


The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is an international non-governmental organisation founded in 1961, working in the field of the wilderness preservation, and the reduction of humanity's footprint on the environment. WWF Nepal will lead the establishment of the ecotourism homestays, as it has done in other regions. It has the technical skills necessary to establish an ecotourism venture, including governance and management procedures, community benefit sharing mechanisms, hospitality industry skills, business skills and mentoring relationships between homestays and larger private sector operators. WWF Australia will act as a liaison between Intrepid and WWF Nepal.

Last Updated: 6 July 2017