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Nepal reviving its tourism sector through women’s participation

Nepal reviving its tourism sector through women's participation

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In order to revive the hard-hit tourism sector, Nepal Government has begun providing skill training to locals in the tourism business. Nepal’s tourism and hospitality industry continues to face shortages as the majority of employees left the sector during the pandemic.

Many tour guides and service staff either changed their profession or left the country in search of work.

In 2020, Nepal was expecting to double the number of tourists visiting the country, which was above 1 million in 2019. But 2020 brought catastrophe, COVID-19 which affected the lives of millions of people. 

As a result, tourist arrival in 2021 was almost, 34.3 percent less, and earnings also from the tourism sector decreased by almost 46 percent in comparison to the previous year. 

Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has launched the Sustainable Tourism for Livelihood Recovery Project (STLRP). The project is aimed at bringing relief, especially to the workers and laborers in the tourism sector.

A total of US dollars 2.05 million- USD 1 million from NTB and USD 1.05 million from UNDP in the project. 

Through the project, the Nepal Government is now trying to revive the tourism sector by increasing women’s participation as men are away for extended periods working overseas mainly as migrant laborers. 

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There is a pronounced gender imbalance in Nepal’s tourism sector. For many years, men have dominated the tourism sector. 

“We are facing skilled manpower shortage. During the pandemic, many people migrated from Kathmandu or tourist areas to their villages and started new occupations. So, NTB is focusing on giving training to different people to serve different parts of the industries,” NTB Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dhananjaya Regmi told WION. 

“We realized that training given to women is going to be more sustainable because they are going to live in the villages while male members of the family look for new occupations. So, providing training to women will also help to keep them sustainable. Our focus is to empower women,” he added. 

WION visited the Sindhupalchok district of Nepal, which is prone to natural disasters like landslides, floods, and earthquakes. However, it also receives hundreds of tourists on average majorly for river rafting in the Bhote Kosi (river).

The river is regarded as one of the best short whitewater rafting trips in the world. It is the steepest river that is rafted in Nepal, with continuous rapid action making this river a full-on commitment and a huge adrenaline rush. 

The government of Nepal has provided training for river rafting guides to as many as 45 women and trek guides to almost 50 women in the district.

The training was organized for the first time only for women in Nepal. It is expected to be a milestone in workforce development in water tourism. The training is being organized with the objective of increasing the attraction of youth and making women self-reliant as the participation of women in water tourism is comparatively very low. 

The training is helping women to build a career for themselves in the tourism sector, as a result, it is generating employment. 

Deuralee Chamling Rai, a participant in rafting training who also scaled Mt. Everest in 2018, is waiting for her license exam result. 

“Today I appeared for the license exam for the river rafting guide. A few days I took training. The training was very helpful and helped me build my career. I am an adventure lover so that really motivated me to take this rafting training. So, once I receive my license, it can take my career forward as a rafting guide.”

Tourism is an important sector of economic development, and this project has helped in job creation and expansion of tourist destinations. 

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Nepal is focusing on economic development and job creation while promoting sustainable tourism.

Due to a lack of skilled workforce, the tourism board is also focusing on providing training in the hospitality sector. Almost 30 men and women were given training in Hotel Management. 

In the training, workers are trained to manage a successful bar and hospitality business, recognize the importance of customer service, and deliver top-quality experiences for customers, especially tourists. 

Providing the essential skills and duties of restaurants to workers has helped business people to run hotels. 

“During COVID we faced a lot of problems in terms of workers as many migrated to other countries for jobs when hotels were closed. After the lockdown was over, we faced problems due to a lack of skilled workforce. This training has helped us to get a skilled workforce for our hotels,” Jyotsana, owner of Mount Princess Hotel in Dhulikhel, Nepal told WION.

Hundreds of hotels and resorts and businesses related to tourism have been operating in the Himalayan nation. Hundreds have been employed after receiving the training. 



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TIMESOFUP

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