Global Himalayan Expedition wins tourism award


Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE), a Mountain Partnership member from India, won the Start-Up Innovation Award for the category of “impact tourism” at the fifth World Tourism Forum Lucerne in Lucerne, Switzerland on 4-5 May 2017. GHE earned this prize for their business model of leveraging tourism and technology to provide clean energy, digital education, livelihoods creation and wireless connectivity to remote mountain communities of the Indian Himalayas.

A social impact initiative that combines development initiatives with adventure tourism as a means of creating positive social impacts, GHE focuses on reaching out to marginalized mountain communities to promote sustainable and inclusive progress. Grounded in the notion that energy can enable income generation and change lives, their overall aim is to foster self-sufficiency and sustainable development in the Himalayan region by setting up solar micro-grids, providing electricity to previously off-grid communities.

Paras Loomba, founder of Global Himalayan Expedition, presents at the World Tourism Forum LucerneGHE was one of four winning start-ups chosen from the participants of the first-ever Start-Up Innovation Camp, which was held on 3 May with the aim of promoting new and innovative tourism business models. Over 170 start-ups from 50 countries applied to participate in the Camp, and 16 were selected to attend (four per category, including destination, impact, hospitality and transaction tourism). At the full-day Camp, the young entrepreneurs had the opportunity to pitch to investors, to grow in their roles as business leaders and to receive valuable advice from experienced coaches. The best start-up from each category was honoured with the Start-Up Innovation Award, worth 20 000 Swiss Francs ($20 033), had the unique opportunity to present its business model on the main stage of the World Tourism Forum Lucerne and will receive free coaching from an experienced business expert for the next two years.

“Impact tourism is being hailed as the next big thing in the world of transformational tourism. We feel that this award is a recognition of the fact that remote mountain communities hold a big tourism potential, and, if combined with impact tourism, not only will the communities benefit, but also travellers will have the experience of a life time,” said Paras Loomba, GHE founder. “We would like to actively promote impact tourism in other mountain communities around the world by forming a partnership with other Mountain Partnership members. Our model of implementing solar micro-grids, homestays and impacting communities can be replicated around the world.”

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See Global Himalayan Expedition's presentation

Photo: World Tourism Forum Lucerne

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