Tourism in Sibuje

Karma Traverse

Of men ages 16 to 40, more than half are employed in the trekking and climbing industry. Their employment provides money that is used to send children to school and purchase supplies needed by the family. Tourism clients and companies frequently purchase clothing for their guides and porters, which is the most common way teenage boys in the village receive clothing that they use at work and on the farm. Because crops are not brought to a market where they can be exchanged for money, tourism is currently the only source of monetary income for the village. Tourism is also the primary way people receive education in the village after the age of 12. International tourism companies provide trainings and money for English lessons to their guides. Karma Sherpa has attended two cook trainings, seven guide trainings, three months of English language training, and a computer class as a result of his employment in tourism.

Currently, it is uncommon for women to work as porters, cooks, or guides. Karma hopes to change this by training and employing his younger sister as a guide through his company. Many Sherpa women are involved in tourism as workers in guesthouses, lodges, and tea houses where tourists eat and sleep. There are currently no lodges or teahouses in Sibuje. Karma says that the community hopes to bring tourists to the village to do homestays. Unlike lodges, homestays allow tourists to sleep in the same room with family members, eat the same food as families, and experience the same life for a short period of time. Homestays do not require construction of new facilities, which the community cannot currently afford. Also, tourists interested in homestays typically stay for several days or weeks, while those staying in a lodge stay for a single night. Providers of homestays would be paid a daily rate to provide food, lodging, and cultural education to tourists.