Nepal is a country of highly diverse and rich geography, culture, religions and political instability. The mountainous north contains eight of the world’s ten highest Himalayan Mountains, including the highest, Mount Everest. Nepal’s faces many problems caused by governmental clashes, surrounded by the complex situation that is Nepalese politics.
The fertile and humid south is heavily urbanized. By some measures, Hinduism is practiced by a greater majority of people in Nepal than in any other nation. As of the 2011 census, 81.3 of the Nepalese population is Hindu, 9.0% is Buddhist, 4.4% is Muslim, 3.0% is Kirant/Yumaist, 1.4% is Christian, and 0.9% follow other religions or none religion. The natural scenery, high mountains, incomparable cultural heritage and numerous specialties have made Nepal a well-known destination in the world of tourism with a distinct image of its own. However, the development of tourism is limited in numbers and within certain areas of the country only, like Bhutan. The new government has shown greater concerns about the real value of tourism and its role in contributing to economic growth, poverty alleviation, equity and overall tourism development in the country.
Nepal happens to be one of the poorest countries in the world. There are over 29 million people inhabiting the country today, and one third of which live under the poverty line. Nepal has a GDP per capita of 1,200 dollars. The mainstay of the economy is agriculture, and their main import and export partners are China and India. The Nepali government is categorized as a federal democratic republic. At this point in time, the country is currently unstable. There was a civil war for ten years, from 1996 to 2006. Nepal is still recovering, and occasionally has to deal with the Maoist rebels who try to overthrow the government (BBC News: Nepal Leaders). Nepali unstableness has affected the literacy rate by 63%, and Nepalese people go to school for about 9 years throughout their lifetime. On average, a Nepalese life expectancy is said to be about 67 years, ranking in the bottom lower half division compared to the rest of the world. Therefore, the government is placing high priority on the tourism sector in its new economic development policy.