Interview| ‘Foreign tourists return home impressed by Nepal’s natural beauty, cultural diversity, hospitality and traditions’: Liladhar Bhandari, tourism entrepreneur

‘Sustainable tourism practices can help protect the natural environment, preserve local culture and heritage, and support local communities.’

NL Today

  • Read Time 4 min.

Liladhar Bhandari, Managing Director of Going Nepal Private Limited, a tourism company based in Nepal, has been in the tourism industry since the early 90s. Bhandari, who is also the member of Asia Pacific Tourism Association, has seen highs and lows of Nepal’s tourism industry and believes that given the right policies and improved infrastructure, Nepal’s tourism industry can thrive even better in the days to come. Nepal Live Today caught up with him to discuss issues related to tourism.

To start with, can you tell us about Going Nepal Private Limited?

Well, Going Nepal Pvt Ltd is a fully tailor-made luxury destination management company which offers tailor-made tourism services. We believe in quality and ethical tourism. With thousands of satisfied customers around the world, the company is committed to sustainable and environmentally friendly tourism.

Nepal is a beautiful country with diverse landscapes, cultures, and traditions.  History of tourism in Nepal dates back to the 1950s when the country first opened up for foreign visitors. The first organized trekking expedition to Nepal was in 1951 when a British team led by Eric Shipton explored the Khumbu region, including Mount Everest. Since then, the country has seen a steady growth in tourism, with many tourists coming to Nepal for its natural beauty, unique cultural heritage, and adventure opportunities like trekking, hiking, and mountain climbing.

Going Nepal Pvt Ltd has been a part of this tourism industry since the early 90s and has witnessed the changes and challenges in the industry over the years. The company is dedicated to providing quality tourism services to its clients while ensuring ethical and sustainable practices. We have established a reputation for providing tailor-made luxury tourism services to its clients.

What are the services provided by your company to the tourists and how are they different from other tourist management companies?

Our services cater to a diverse range of tourists, ensuring that everyone has a memorable and enjoyable experience in Nepal. We are specialized for different types of clients, including niche clients, corporate/business groups, incentive tours, wellness packages, private tours, family tours, comfortable tour packages for senior citizens, and student group tours. Similarly, Nepal is famous for its mountains and trekking routes, and the company offers packages for mountain trekking, hiking, and peak climbing. These packages cater to different levels of difficulty and provide an opportunity for tourists to explore the natural beauty of Nepal.

In addition to regular services, the company also hosts familiarization trips for international tour operators, travel agents, and travel writers. These trips provide an opportunity for these professionals to experience Nepal firsthand and gain a better understanding of the country’s tourism industry.

The company is committed to supporting the local economy and empowering the community through its tourism services. This commitment reflects our focus on sustainable tourism, which involves minimizing the negative impacts of tourism while maximizing the positive impacts. Sustainable tourism practices can help protect the natural environment, preserve local culture and heritage, and support local communities.

Tourism sector was hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.  How did you cope up with those challenges?

Nepal’s tourism industry faced a severe setback due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The country has seen a significant decline in the number of tourists since March 2020, resulting in a massive loss of revenue for the tourism industry. The government of Nepal imposed various restrictions on tourism activities, including closing trekking routes and suspending international flights. The impact of the pandemic on the tourism industry has been devastating, with many businesses shutting down, and thousands of people losing their jobs.

So what should be done to ensure full recovery of the tourism sector from the pandemic shocks?

 We believe that the recovery of the tourism industry in Nepal will require a collaborative effort from all stakeholders, including the government, tourism businesses, and local communities. The government of Nepal should focus on securing air and land transport services to enable tourists to travel safely to and within the country. The government should also develop quality control measures for food and hygiene to ensure the safety and well-being of tourists. Eco-friendly and environmentally friendly policies and guidelines are necessary for the sustainable development of the tourism industry in Nepal.

‘The recovery of the tourism industry from pandemic impacts requires a collaborative effort from all stakeholders, including the government, tourism businesses, and local communities.’  

We suggest that the government should prioritize the development of sustainable tourism practices that benefit local communities and preserve the country’s natural and cultural heritage. We need investment-friendly policies and guidelines to encourage private sector investment in the tourism industry.

You have been in the tourism industry for a long time. What general impressions do the tourists visiting Nepal take back home?

Apart from the famous landmarks and activities like trekking to Mount Everest or exploring the temples of Kathmandu, tourists often return home impressed by Nepal’s natural beauty, cultural diversification, Nepali hospitality and traditions.

Nepal is known for its stunning landscapes, from the majestic Himalayas to the lush green jungles of the Tarai region. 

Nepali people are known for their warm hospitality and friendly nature, which often leave a lasting impression on tourists. Visitors to Nepal often report feeling welcomed and embraced by the locals, who are always happy to share their traditions, customs, and beliefs.

Furthermore, Nepal is home to an incredible range of flora and fauna, including rare and exotic species that can be found nowhere else on earth. Tourists can enjoy bird watching, butterfly spotting, or simply marvel at the incredible array of plant and animal life that thrives in Nepal’s diverse ecosystems. Together, these factors are the key assets of Nepal’s tourism. We need to better  tap into these resources to ensure that the tourism industry thrives better in the days to come.