ROBIN MARSTON: The Trekking Guru

Robin Marston, tourism entrepreneur, has helped make Nepal a popular trekking destination

May 24, 2014, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 07 No. -22 May. 23- 2014 (Jestha 9, 2071)

One prominent name among the many foreigners who explored the beauty of Nepal is Swiss Geologist late Tony Hagen. Many other foreigners worked to popularize trekking in Nepal. Robin Marston is another such name. Trekking in the mountain ranges is now one of the popular brands for tourists from around the world visiting Nepal.

One of the founders of Mountain Travel, associated with Tiger Mountain, Summit Hotel and Temple Tiger Group, Robin Marston came to Nepal 35 years ago and he has been living in Nepal since then promoting Nepal’s tourism sector. Robin Marston travelled overland from the UK to Nepal 35 years ago and has stayed here ever since.

From his first visit, Marston fell in love with Nepal. His contribution to Nepalese tourism, particularly eco-tourism, is no less than anybody else's. At a time when thousands of Nepalese are leaving the country for foreign employment due to lack of work back home, the trekking sector still provides employment opportunities to rural people.

Although he was born in Britain, Marston has made Nepal his home. Thanks to his efforts, thousands of tourists come to visit Nepal for trek supporting the local as well as the national economy. Nepal’s tourism sector is incomplete without trekking.

The credit to formalize the trekking industry goes to Colonel Jimmy Roberts who founded Mountain Travel Nepal, the first registered trekking agency in Nepal, in 1964. He built up a very successful company, now owned by the Tiger Tops group. After he died on 1 Nov 1997, a fund was established in his name-The Jimmy Roberts Memorial Fund.

Along with promoting tourism, Marston is helping wildlife conservation. Supported by the Howman Family Trust and the UK based charity the ‘World Pheasant Association’, they now aid wildlife conservation on the flanks of Machapuchare (the Fish Tail mountain) and in the Annapurna foothills. The conservation effort is also practically linked with support for 10 local schools and the paying of 8 teachers' salaries.

Although he is getting older, Robert Marston has not lost his enthusiasm as he has been working to promote Nepal and Nepal’s beauty to the world. Although there are now several hundred trekking agencies working to provide services to the trekking lovers, Marston continues in his mission to make Nepal self reliant.

Although Nepal’s overall scenario has changed politically and physically, trekking remains a favorite around the world. Even other countries in South Asia including China, India, Bhutan and Pakistan are learning from Nepal’s successful experiment wiht trekking. Marston has worked in various star hotels in Nepal including Hotel Summit and Hotel Phulbari in Pokhara.

Along with many foreigners living in Nepal, Marston's contribution to make Nepal economically viable through the promotion of tourism is significant. Although he was by birth a British, he spent his entire life to make Nepal proud all over the world.

Nepal's current success in mountaineering, trekking, nature and cultural tourism  has a long way to go and it was the work of people like Robin Marston who raised these prospects. No one can imagine Nepal’s current tourism destination ignoring the contributions of people like Robin Marston.

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