There is every other tourism product in Pokhara for the tourists to enjoy with, including trekking, boating, zip-flying, paragliding, ultralight flying and almost everything. HighGround Adventures (HGA) came up with an idea that the adventure tourism of Pokhara would be even better with the introducing of bungee jumping facility.
The company founded by Golchha organization in partnership with Mangalam industries, formally started bungee jumping in Pokhara on September 22, 2014. Prior to that, they also had already run Zip Flyer services since October 12, 2012.
As there is a trend of conducting bungee jumping from towers, and cranes in abroad, the team had been to visit various bungee jumping construction designs abroad, before starting the construction of bungee in Pokhara, Nepalâ€™s first and only tower bungee.
The spot of the bungee jumping is located in Hemja, a nearby suburb in the northern part of Pokhara, and offers a spellbinding view of the Himalayas, the hills and the rivers that will take oneâ€™s breath away.
â€œAdventure denotes that it should be somehow outside from the main city area, and while tracing various locations, we found that Hemja would be a suitable place. Finding it fit for everything, we chose the place as the ultimate spot for constructing bungee tower, and carry out the service,â€ shared Dinesh Maharjan, branch manager of HighGround Adventures for Pokhara, who has been with the company since the beginning, and was the project manager while constructing the tower bungee.
A total of 7 team members are handling the bungee jumping operations at the HighGround Adventures.
In the duration of 2 years, more than 5000 have already carried out bungee jumping from HighGround Adventures. â€œAs Pokhara is the synonym of the touristic destination place of Nepal, visitors from all around the nation have come for out bungee jumping,â€ says Maharjan. â€œAnd, around 45% of all the jumpers are Nepalese themselves,â€ he adds.
â€œThe Latvian technician, Norman, who constructed the bungee tower had inaugurated bungee jumping facility there by jumping from the tower to test the service,â€ Maharjan said.
For Nepalese, the price for bungee jumping is set at Rs. 3500 whereas, a foreigner should pay 68 USD.
The HighGround bungee is set-up and operated by highly trained professionals from Europe and comply with the highest safety standards, he shares. â€œWe have adopted the best technologies in the industry and the highest quality bungee cord to ensure the safety of our valued clients, he further says, adding that there is an insurance worth 5 lakh rupees for every jumper in case an accident happens. â€œBut, we make each of our clients to bungee jump only after making them fully assured about the security,â€ shares Maharjan.
As per Maharjan, about 20-25 people come for jumping on a daily basis.
Sharing about the growth of the company, Maharjan says, â€œWithin 7 months of starting the service, and when the business was finally taking off, we had to face the devastating earthquake, that stalled our operation for weeks. We couldnâ€™t carry out any business that time.â€
â€œAs there were so many obstacles, and speed-breakers after starting the company two years ago, we are not making profits yet, though the business is accelerating,â€ he shared, expressing that they are hopeful.
The tourism industry of Nepal has not bounced back to the situation it was before the earthquake, he says, adding that the political instability of Nepal has added to the woes.
â€œWe have a provision of making all the bungee jumpers to fill up a feedback slip, and share their experiences. And, we are receiving very good feedback till now,â€ he shared to Glocal Khabar.
Scope of adventure tourism in Nepal
â€œThe growth of adventure tourism market is very good in the present context and Nepal also has taken good pick-up. Rafting, paragliding, ultralight flying, trekking and many other services are available in Nepal,â€ he expresses optimism about the scope of adventure tourism in Nepal. â€œAs Nepal is highly placed in adventure tourism sector, if the government brings good policies to facilitate the sector, itâ€™ll help further promote to bring more visitors to Nepal and make those who have visited Nepal to visit again,â€ he adds.
In the duration of 7 years of being in the tourism industry, he finds that there is a vast difference in the industry then and now. â€œPeople have become more aware. New destinations have been explored, and many new practices have been tried in adventure tourism. That time, it was only the foreigners used to opt for adventure tourism, but now almost half of those experiencing the service are Nepalese themselves,â€ he says.
He feels that HighGround Adventures has played a vital role to make the tourism industry to grow in Pokhara. He says, â€œWe have met many of those clients who have come for bungee jumping and zip flyer only.â€
â€œOnly a few of those in the authority and policy-making positions know about the tourism industry,â€ he opines. â€œIf the government can set the daily minimum expenditure for every tourist coming to Nepal, the quality of tourism will surely flourish,â€ he adds.
â€œI had recently been to Bhutan, and was surprised to know how tourism industry operates there. We need to have such policies in Nepal as well. Setting minimum criteria for every tourist helps bring tourism to a standard level, ultimately helping the industry to grow,â€ he shares.
â€œThere is a lot of potential in Nepal. Pokhara is only a place where adventure tourism is mainly followed. We can promote many places in Nepal as adventure tourism destinations,â€ he expresses optimism.
They want to establish HighGround Adventures as a park of adventure tourism in Nepal. â€œWe are planning to launch a new type of adventure product in the market within next year,â€ he said.
To the tourism students:
There is a huge potential of tourism in Nepal, he says. â€œYou can go abroad and learn, but need to return back learning new technologies, and working mechanisms,â€ he says, requesting, â€œLetâ€™s contribute towards the growth.â€
To the budding entrepreneurs:
â€œAn entrepreneur shouldnâ€™t expect fast return from his business. You need to study and research in detail on any business you are gonna carry out. After the study, you can start it in such a way that you never have to face a failure. You need to have dedication towards whatever you do, and do it with passion. If you do it with full effort, everything is possible,â€ he shares to the emerging entrepreneurs.
Startups for a better Nepal!
Presentation: Basanta Kumar Dhakal