In order to revive the hard-hit tourism sector, the Nepalese government has started offering vocational training to locals in the tourism sector. The tourism and hospitality industry in Nepal continues to face shortages with the majority of employees leaving the sector during the pandemic.
Many tour guides and service personnel have changed professions or left the country in search of employment.
In 2020, Nepal expected to double the number of tourists visiting the country from over 1 million in 2019. But 2020 brought disaster, COVID-19 which affected the lives of millions of people.
As a result, tourist arrivals in 2021 were lower by almost 34.3% and tourism sector revenues also fell by almost 46% compared to the previous year.
The Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), has launched the Sustainable Tourism for Livelihood Restoration Project (STLRP). The project aims to bring relief, especially to laborers and laborers in the tourism sector.
A total of US$2.05 million – $1 million from NTB and $1.05 million from UNDP in the project.
Through this project, the Nepalese government is now trying to revive the tourism sector by increasing the participation of women as men are absent for long periods to work abroad, mainly as migrant workers.
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There is a pronounced gender imbalance in the tourism sector in Nepal. For many years, men dominated the tourism sector.
“We are facing a shortage of skilled labour. During the pandemic, many people migrated from Kathmandu or tourist areas to their villages and started new occupations. Thus, NTB focuses on training different people to serve different parts of the industries,” NTB CEO Dhananjaya Regmi told WION.
“We realized that the training provided to women will be more sustainable because they will live in the villages while the male family members seek new occupations. Thus, providing training to women will also help ensure their sustainability. Our goal is to empower women,” he added.
WION traveled to Sindhupalchok district in Nepal which is prone to natural disasters like landslides, floods and earthquakes. However, it also receives hundreds of tourists on average mainly for rafting in the Bhote Kosi (river).
The river is considered one of the best short white water rafting trips in the world. It is the steepest river in Nepal, with fast and continuous action making this river totally engaging and a huge adrenaline rush.
The Government of Nepal provided training as rafting guides to 45 women and as trekking guides to nearly 50 women in the district.
The training was organized for the first time only for women in Nepal. This is expected to be a milestone in the development of the nautical tourism workforce. The training is organized with the aim of increasing the attraction of young people and empowering women because the participation of women in nautical tourism is relatively very low.
The training helps women build careers in the tourism sector, which creates jobs.
Deuralee Chamling Rai, a rafting training participant who also climbed Mount Everest in 2018, is awaiting the result of her licensing exam.
“Today I sat for the license exam for rafting guide. A few days I did training. The training was very useful and helped me build my career. I am a adventure lover, which really motivated me to take this rafting course, so once I get my license, it can further my career as a rafting guide.”
Tourism is an important sector of economic development, and this project has contributed to job creation and the expansion of tourist destinations.
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Nepal focuses on economic development and job creation while promoting sustainable tourism.
Due to a lack of skilled labor, the tourist board is also focusing on training in the hospitality industry. Nearly 30 men and women have been trained in hotel management.
During training, workers are trained to run a successful bar and hospitality business, recognize the importance of customer service, and provide superior experiences for customers, especially tourists.
Providing essential restaurant skills and tasks to workers has helped businessmen run hotels.
“During COVID, we faced many problems in terms of workers as many migrated to other countries for jobs when hotels were closed. After the lockdown ended, we faced problems due to a lack This training has helped us get skilled labor for our hotels,” Jyotsana, owner of Mount Princess Hotel in Dhulikhel, Nepal, told WION.
Hundreds of hotels, resorts and tourism related businesses operate in the Himalayan nation. Hundreds have found employment after receiving the training.