Nepal has always been a nation of traders and what we now consider trekking trails evolved from trade routes. Generations of porters have carried Indian goods to remote hill villages in Nepal and Tibet. The trails are also used by people moving between the colder Himalayan regions and the warmer climates of the Terai to the south. Some of the movement is caused by seasonal migration ,but many people move permanently because of the pres of increasing population in the hills .People also travel extensively fot weddings, funerals ,festivals, pilgrimages school and government or military business.
Because Nepal was closed to the outside world ,the only foreigners who visited the hills of the country were illgal visitors such as Japanese explorer Ekai Kawaguchi (see the boxed text Marpha’s first Tourist,p264 and secret map markets ,called ‘pundits ,who were sent into Nepal by the survey of India.
The first trekker in Nepal was Bill Tilman,who wrangled permission from maharaja in 1949 to make several treks, including around the Kali Gandaki,Helambu and Everest. Another early visitor was Maurice Herzog, who led a French expedition to Annapurna in 1950s.
During King Tribhuwan’s visits to India, he met Boris Lissannivich,a Russian ballet dancer who was running a club in Calcutta. Boris convinced the king that people would like to visit Nepal and would actually pay for the experience. Soon a few well-hilled ladies flew from panta to Kathmandu’s Gaucher (‘cow fields’) airport in an Indian Airlines Dakota .Boris accommodated them in his new establishment ,the Royal Hotel. The women were charmed by Boris and the exotic Kingdom of Nepal. Thus Nepal’s tourism industry was born. The Royal Hotel and its Yak and Yeti bar became the meeting place for climbers from the 1950s until 1971,when the hotel was closed.
Colonel James Om Roberts was the first person to realize that trekking would appeal to tourists.Jimmy’Roberts had spent years in Nepal attached to the British residency and accompanied Tilman on his first trek. In 1965 he took a group of ladies up the Kali Gandaki and founded Mountain Travel. the first of Nepal’s trekking companies and the inspiration for the adventure travel industry in Nepal.