Naglari bridge, Gushaini, Kullu, HP
About Himalayan Ecotourism

Our mission

Himalayan Ecotourism aims at restoring a symbiotic relationship between the rural communities and all other forms of life in the Himalayas.

Enhancing the welfare of the local villagers, building their capacities and raising their awareness by promoting nature-friendly income generating activities is our strategy.

Fairness, inclusiveness, transparency, respect and honesty are the set of values that we nurture to achieve our goals.

Follow one of these four sections

Himalayan Ecotourism Federation

Himalayan Ecotourism Federation

Working as a group of social enterprises throughout the Himalayas.

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Himalayan Ecotourism local social enterprise

Himalayan Ecotourism locally

Where and how the Himalayan Ecotourism initiative started locally.

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Himalayan Ecotourism about us

People behind

Some of those who made Himalayan Ecotourism to happen !

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Himalayan Ecotourism friends


Those who deserve our big thanks !

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Himalayan Ecotourism federation

The Himalayan Ecotourism Federation


In short

Himalayan Ecotourism is a federation of social enterprises that offers experience-focused tours and treks in the Himalayas
We stands for sustainable development in the Himalayas by promoting conservation and empowerment of the locals with a focus on women.
Hence, traveling with us you are sure to travel in a way that positively empowers the locals and that makes your travel ecological footprint insignificant.
And somehow our model works great !
The quality of our hospitality services is unmatched in the Himalayas, and we are able to contribute notably in terms of conservation of the Himalayan ecosystems.

The early-stage

In 2013, a group of persons decided to start a social movement among the people living and working as trekking staff in the ecozone of the Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP).
The purpose was to enhance their socioeconomic status and encourage conservation of the local ecosystems in and near the Park. Following this, the “GHNP Community-Based Ecotourism Cooperative” was established and registered in July 2014.
A sister organization of environmental and marketing experts was founded to assist them in making their mark.
Himalayan Ecotourism was born and initially functioned as the association of the cooperative and the group of experts.

On one hand, ecotourism is used as a business to meet a certain level of financial autonomy, on the other, ecotourism is also used as an instrument to enhance the awareness of the local community on many levels. Hence we could work for our social and environmental objectives in a self-reliant way.

After a couple of challenging years, we were recognized as a social enterprise that successfully empowers the local people and makes them responsible for their development in a sustainable way, i.e. with conservation as a crucial component of their efforts.

Himalayan Ecotourism Federation

Motivated by this encouraging development in the GHNP area, Himalayan Ecotourism decided to expand its work model in other regions of the Himalayas, by promoting and working with other organizations that have a similar vision of tourism and a genuine dedication to conservation and community welfare.

All affiliated organizations, including the GHNP cooperative, form together the Himalayan Ecotourism Federation. All members of the federation must comply with strict criteria in the field of sustainable tourism and business model.

The contribution to our social and environmental kitty is included in the prices of all the trips operated by Himalayan Ecotourism. The funds are used to support the projects of the affiliated organizations as per the decision of the committee of the federation.

Our Sustainable Tourism Guidelines

We have seen too many organizations claiming to operate in accordance with the principles of ecotourism, responsible or sustainable tourism, for the sake of mere greenwashing.

Rich of our 15 years of experience in the field of sustainable development in India, we could define our own guidelines for Sustainable Tourism which are much more constraining compared to the standard guidelines.

To be a member of the Himalayan Ecotourism Federation, any organization must abide by these guidelines.

The guidelines are listed in short on the right or below.
Our Sustainable Tourism Guidelines

  Tourism as a business is planned to perform and sustain actions for the conservation of the surrounding ecosystems and welfare of the local community.

  The locals are the primary beneficiaries of the generated revenues of this tourism-based business.

  The local stakeholders involved in the business must be organized in such a way that collaboration between the locals is encouraged and competition is avoided.

  A substantial part of the revenue generated by the tourism-based business must be reserved for implementing the social and environmental projects of the federation. These funds are ideally, but not imperatively, managed collectively with the local stakeholders.

  The organization must take care that the local stakeholders not only get economically empowered but also that their personal development is ensured: enhancement of their professional and soft skills, raising of their awareness, exposure to global affairs, ecology & political issues, and ability to implement local projects for sustainable development in their area.

  All operated tours and activities must minimize the ecological footprint and the adverse impacts on the local ecosystems and culture.

  The HET federation must hold a very high standard of quality in terms of hospitality, safety, and originality. Only those organizations that already have a solid reputation in this regard can become members of the federation.

Himalayan Ecotourism cooperative

Himalayan Ecotourism as a local social enterprise


Himalayan Ecotourism local social enterprise

Himalayan Ecotourism locally

An association between the local cooperative and a group of experts.

A cooperative-based model of enterprise

Locally, Himalayan Ecotourism is a social enterprise based in the Tirthan Valley, Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh. We offer treks and other nature-centred activities in and around the Great Himalayan National Park.

Conservation of the Himalayas and empowerment of the local community, with a focus on women, is our mission.
Offering ecotourism services is a way to meet a certain level of financial independence to work towards our social/environmental objectives.

We have chosen a cooperative model to function as a social enterprise.
65 locals who were employed on daily wages basis as trekking staff earlier have joined the “GHNP Community-Based Ecotourism Cooperative society” that we promoted.
They are all shareholders of the society.

Himalayan Ecotourism is a association between the cooperative and a firm taking care of management and marketing.

Working and growing collectively

When the locals work together within one organization with the same rules and regulations for everyone, the unhealthy competition between neighbors evaporates.
Moreover, a substantial part of our income goes directly to the capital of the cooperative, and hence, all the members, shareholders, grow in a collective way.

This means that our business is arranged in such a way that individualistic behaviour is discouraged in favour of collective efforts and actions.
We believe that doing so, we are preparing a fertile soil for the seeds of conservation and sustainable development to grow.

Management of natural environment has better chance of being sustainable if performed in a collective way, right ?

Tourism for enjoyment and conservation

In addition to the social structure being organized we advocate a vision of tourism where anyone who benefits from tourism business create his/her own debt towards the environment and the local community.

Practically, at Himalayan ecotourism, it means that ecotourism is not only bringing joy to our guests and offering employment to the cooperative members. We see any new customer as an opportunity to pursue our mission by generating the required finances to implement our current social/environmental projects and to prepare the next ones.
Thank you for chosing us ! :)

You get more than what you pay for

Our way of functioning is relatively costlier. Hence, compared to other operators in our area, we are a bit more expensive …
So, why do our customers chose us ?

  1.   Most of our guests are environment and local community-conscious. They understand that caring for social/environmental causes has a cost that others may not have to bear. They do not mind paying a little more knowing that their visit brings a positive change.
  2.   We strive to be different, in a better way, not only on the social plane, but we also offer better quality ecotourism services, focusing on hospitality, comfort and safety.
  3.   The cooperative members, being the owner of the society, care about you like no other trekking staff. We have built a strong reputation in that respect, and so, people recognize us for the exceptional care and for the lovely interactions with the locals that you will enjoy.
  4.   We give a special attention to the ones who are usually neglected or seen as less fit for outdoor and adventure activities : women, senior and physically challenged persons.

Our ecotourism services 2018
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Our company profile
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Working with volunteers, interns and researchers

Responsible tourism is inherent to Himalayan Ecotourism as our price barrier keeps the "disrespectful" mass away. But it doesn’t mean that a right-minded tourist on a budget can’t travel with us.
We offer very affordable stay to those who wish to participate in our actions for conservation and empowerment of locals. They are our volunteers, interns and researchers, they play an important role within Himalayan Ecotourism.
Since we dedicate a large part of our income to social causes, we are left with less money to hire professionals. And so we do everything ourselves, from marketing (like this website) to social work. Therefore, the help of our volunteers, interns and researchers is vital.
Wanna get involved with Himalayan Ecotourism ? Check here.

What projects have we done so far ?

Beside supporting the Cooperative and its social movement, we have been actively working for :

   Reforestation. This initiative is the brainchild of our cooperative members and supported by our travellers who offset their travel carbon emissions. We organize two plantation sessions in a year in the ecozone of the Great Himalayan National Park. This is associated with several social objectives like women empowerment and improved education for the children.
   Fighting intentional forest fires. Raising awareness of the locals by placing posters and road signs, educating the children in their schools, making of documentaries for locals in Hindi, organizing discussions with the villagers and creating a social movement called "I am a defender".
   Women empowerment by promoting formation of women Self-Help Groups, involving them as trekking staff and offering them training for making of value-added local products (hand-made soaps, innovative woolen/hemp products, jam, pickles and chutney).
   Development of green technologies appropriate for the need and the cultural traits of the local community : three models of clean wood stoves and a model of solar cooker.
Read more about our work here.
Video about the work of Himalayan Ecotourism

We are a social enterprise

Stephan, co-founder of Himalayan Ecotourism, shows some of the work undertaken by Himalayan Ecotourism in the ecozone of the GHNP

Where are we ?

map location himalayan ecotourism

In the heart of the Himalayas

Himalayan Ecotourism is based in Himachal Pradesh, India.
We are located on the outskirts of the GHNP (Great Himalayan National Park) established in 1999 and inscribed as a World Heritage by UNESCO in June 2014.
We are close to the major tourist hubs in Himachal Pradesh – Spiti, Shimla, Dharamshala, Kullu-Manali but we remain far from their crowd. We are easily accessible from the main road linking New Delhi and the Indian plains to Ladakh, Zanskar and Lahaul Spiti via the Rohtang Pass.
Our affiliated organizations are spread across the Himalayas.

Some of the people behind


Stephan Marchal

'Tintin in the Himalayas'
Managing Director and Eco-development specialist

Keshav Thakur

of the cooperative

Avneet Singh


Sanju Negi

of the cooperative

Mohan Thakur

of the cooperative

Tara Chand

of the cooperative

Tek Singh

Alias 'Teku Pekhri'
Member of the cooperative

Akshit Awasthi

Trekking operations
Social media

Hema Devi

Customer care


Women-based ecotourism
Education program


Women-based ecotourism
Education program


Trekking equipment
Making of local products
Women-based ecotourism


Trekking equipment
Making of local products
Women-based ecotourism



Thank you friends !

A social enterprise needs friends to succeed ! We are so much grateful to :

Avneet Singh
for being heartily with us from the beginning. The professional skills of Avneet have greatly contributed to the story of Himalayan Ecotourism. His IT skills but also marketing and planning skills helped us to find our way in the ruthless business world. We need to mention that his generosity and selflessness probably lies at an even higher level !
Thierry Leneveu
for having being a crucial supporter of our organization when we were just trying to emerge. The quality we can offer you today as a trek operator would never had reached such high level without the immense contribution of Thierry.
Payson R. Stevens
for his continuous guidance. He offered us his experience as environmental scientist, businessmen and community-lover. Together we could give a concrete shape to our company as a social enterprise. Payson is an environment scientist who has been consulting organization like the NASA. He is now a painter artist and a decisive friend of the GHNP.
Sanjeeva Pandey
for his care and support to our fresh grassroot movement in the ecozone of the GHNP. He helped us going through all the troubles automatically coming with a local empowerment effort. Sanjeeva was the first director of the GHNP and held the position of PCCF of Himachal Pradesh.
Vinay Tandon
for his astonishing goodwill towards Himalayan Ecotourism. This must be related to his love for the Himalayan forests. Regarding the work, we agree on some essential principles on which, in the present context, social entrepreneurs striving for conservation should base their startegy. Women empowerment and genuine dedication are two of them ! Vinay was also Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, HP.
Tony Gaston
for his support and encouragement ! He was the main investigator of the early researches that led to the establishment of the GHNP. He has been the main supporter of our reforestation project in the ecozone of the GHNP.
Jean Drèze
longstanding friend of Stephan. Jean is always there to help us connect with interns and researchers across India. India would not be the same today without the incredible work of Jean as development economist and social activist.
Partha Mudgil
for his truly loyal friendship towards many members of HET. His yearly visit and trek to the GHNP is always a great time for all but also a time for strategic thinking, advice, and dreams about a better world !
Nimesh Ved
for his kind friendship and for being with us whenever the truth needs to be shared with the larger audience ! A writer and freelance journalist who has guts and who is passionate about conservation.
Emmanuel D’Silva
for helping and motivating us so much to reforest barren lands in the Himalayas. He is an Agriculture and Environment Scientist, writer, and lecturer. Previously, he worked at the World Bank on a variety of development projects in Asia and Africa; but now focuses on grassroots work in India relating to conservation agriculture, converting waste into biogas, and climate change projects.
Mohan Reddy
for shedding light on the difficult path to carbon market for us. He is advisor for Zenith Energy, Hyderabad, which provides consultancy services in the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and climate change. His passion is to study and act on the consequences of climate change, including mitigation and adaptation.

Photo credits

We are very grateful to all our members, guests or friends who have kindly shared their photographs. We proudly display some of them on this website. Our photo contributors :

Avneet Singh
Stephan Marchal
Rolf Leurink
Denis Harle
Anup Kulkarni
Simon Keizer
Mihir Mohit
Mohan Lal
Partha Mudgil
Saurabh Ganguli
Sanjeeva Pandey

Many thanks ! :-)

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Contact us

Contact us

Himalayan Ecotourism
Naglari bridge, Gushaini, Himachal Pradesh 175123, India

  info@himalayanecotourism.com     +91-9816-091-093

Recognition of Himalayan Ecotourism

Himalayan Ecotourism Awards

Our awards

Himalayan Ecotourism is the Overall Winner of the Indian Responsible Tourism Award 2019. We are also the Gold winner in the Best Adventure Operator category.
On the international scene, we have been declared winner of the Sustainable Tourism Award 2019 by Skal International and Biosphere.
Our cooperative-based model of social enterprise and our efforts to protect the Himalayas are the main reasons for winning these awards.
Thank you to all our cooperative members, our customers, our friends and well-wishers !