Sagarmatha National Park, Annapurna Conservation Area, Himalayan treks, Kathmandu Valley, hard currency
Tourism represents a growing sector of the economy. Foreign tourism is primarily confined to Kathmandu Valley and major national parks such as the Sagarmatha National Park (around the Mount Everest area), Annapurna Conservation Area, and Royal Chitwan National Park. Tourism has created demands for services and materials that are slowly changing the ecology, environment, and economy of the Himalayan region. Sherpas, well known for assisting as guides on Himalayan treks and mountain-climbing expeditions, benefit from Nepalís growing popularity as a tourist destination.
A unique part of Nepalís economy are the famous Gurkha mercenaries. Beginning with a treaty signed with British-controlled India in the early 1800s, young Nepali men served in the British, and later Indian, armies. Known for their brave fighting skills, these mercenaries have fought in nearly every major war, and with UN peacekeeping forces. Nepal receives more than $50 million in hard currency annually from soldiersí salaries sent home, pensions, and other Gurkha-related payments.
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