SNV, the Dutch development organization behind the trail, is training locals in villages across its 1,700km stretch to provide services for trekkers and to offer a better selection of cuisine and Western toilets.
However, the tourist dollar brings with it dangers of its own, according to Amchi Namgayal Rinpoche, 44, a senior Tibetan lama who has spent his life in Dho Tarap.
“People have a bit of money now and craftsmanship is slowly disappearing. They used to craft thanka paintings here and even make their own shoes,” he said. “Tourists come in with flashy clothes and shoes and, if people have money, they want the same. When people have money, there is always something to want.”
Television, he says, is a mixed blessing as the images of Western culture can be corrupting.
“It’s OK to see the outside world,” said the monk, who watches Nepali programs on his own television. “But our people need to retain their culture and take the good examples from the outside world, not the bad ones.”