Vol17 No.8: 1840-1859
【Title】Landslide characteristics and its impact on tourism for two roadside towns along the Kathmandu Kyirong Highway
【Author】Susmita DHAKAL1,2,3; CUI Peng1,2,4*; Chandra Prasad RIJAL5; SU Li-jun1,2,4,6; ZOU Qiang1; MAVROULI Olga7; WU Chun-hao1
【Addresses】1 Institute of Mountain Hazard and Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu 610041, China; 2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China; 3 Central Department of Environmental Science, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu 44613, Nepal; 4 CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, Beijing 100101, China; 5 Tourism Search and Rescue Guidance Committee, Government of Nepal, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal; 6 China-Pakistan joint Research Center on Earth Sciences, Islamabad 45320, Pakistan; 7 Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation, University of Twente, Enschede 7500 AE, The Netherlands
【Corresponding author】CUI Peng
【Citation】Dhakal S, Cui P, Rijal CP, et al. (2020) Landslide characteristics and its impact on tourism for two roadside towns along the Kathmandu Kyirong Highway. Journal of Mountain Science 17(8). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11629-019-5871-3
【Abstract】Frequent landslide events affect the Kathmandu Kyirong Highway (KKH), one of the most strategic Sino-Nepal highways, with multiple social effects. Amongst them, the impacts on local tourism, although being substantial, have not been studied so far. The aim of this research is to analyze the characteristics of such landslides and their influence on road damages and/or blockages as well as on local tourism industry. We analyzed the co-seismic landslides triggered by the Gorkha Earthquake, 2015 (7.8 Mw), the post-seismic landslides that occurred during the monsoons following the earthquake, as well as landslides which occurred or reactivated in 2018, with relation to the damage that they caused to the highway. High resolution satellite images from 2015 to 2018, and field data were used for the analysis. The Langtang avalanche that locates off the highway was also mapped due to its high impacts on tourism. Between 2015 and 2018, the number of road damaging landslides in the Betrawati-Rasuwagadhi section of KKH (where Dhunche and Syafrubesi towns are located) was 101 in the main track (MT) and 103 in the new track (NT), with respective average density of 1.46/km and 3.63/km. The dominant observed landslide types were debris slides and rock falls. Landslides were mostly concentrated in the locations with the following characteristics: 1) having higher elevated area, 2) being located with the ‘main central thrust' and other lineaments' belts, 3) belonging to the Proterozoic lesser Himalayan rocks, 4) having a slope gradient of 25°-45°, 5) having northern, western and southern slope aspect, 6) being subjected to average annual rainfall of higher than 1,000 mm, and 7) having less than 4 km distance from the past earthquake epicenters. The results further indicated that 7 rain-induced and 4 co- and post-seismic landslides have great impact on tourist flows. An impact analysis was also assessed through a door to door questionnaire survey with local hotel operators from Dhunche and Syafrubesi towns (n = 29 + 31). The results reveal that out of six rigorously affected sectors by landslides leading to road blockage, tourism business is the most impacted livelihood sector in these towns. The reduction of visitors in different hotels ranged from 50%-100% in Dhunche and 70%-100% in Syafrubesi for the first year aftermath of the tremor. This is higher than the respective 5%-50%tourist reduction due to rain-induced landslides. Using as a reference the base year 2014, the income loss of hotels in both towns was found to be 50%-100% in 2015, 20%-100% in 2016, 5%-75% in 2017, and similar to 35% in 2018. These results provide insights on the synergic effect of contributing factors for cut slope as well as down slope instability along mountainous motorways and their impact on income sources for local communities.
【Keywords】Landslides; Tourism; Road damage; Local economic impact; Sino Nepal highway; Gorkha Earthquake 2015