Story of a startup company that is promoting tourism in a faraway village in Makwanpur
A professional of IT, Arjun Singh Thakuri planned to start something to contribute the tourism development of his village in Tistung Deurali, located in the northern belt of Makwanpur district.
Seeing the possibility of tourism in the region, a virgin location in a faraway village, he pursued his dream buildingÂ a small resort with 8 rooms, in a trial phase some one year ago.
The resort received more than 1600 visitors in its first 6 months of operation itself. Overwhelmed by the response, he started constructing a bigger resort with an investment of 6 crore rupees, and spread over an area of 20 ropanis. The big resort in a new facility, built in a traditional architecture and looking more like an ancient palace, has recently come into operation.
The resort, located at the ethnic village of Bajrabarahi valley, at a distance of 65 Kilometers from Kathmandu, is a very serene place for the people who want to escape the city crowd and pollution. Furthermore, it is located on the lap of a hill that gets covered with rhododendron flowers every spring season.
19 staffs in total are currently handling the operation of the resort. And, all the employees working in the resort, from waiters to managers are the local manpower of Tistung Deurali itself.
The resort has 16 rooms in total, 2 dormitories, and 25 tents, and can accommodate 110-125 people at any single time. The resort has been getting around 200-300 visitors on a weekly basis, says Thakuri, the founder.
The resort boasts the facilities of conference hall accommodating 150 people, an amphitheater with 200 seat capacity to conduct concerts, movie screenings, and similar programmes. Volleyball court, Table Tennis, Snooker, etc. are some other facilities available at the resort.
Mainly the corporates and officials from various I/NGOs have been thronging to the resort for retreat purposes, and celebrating weekend holidays. Similarly, various colleges have also been to the resort for orientation programmes.
â€œThe main objective of starting the resort in this location is to promote the Tistung village, and practice rural tourism in Nepal,â€ says Thakuri.
The resort also has a facility of taking its guests to boating in Kulekhani, and hiking to the hilltop. They too have focused on agro-tourism, and have packages for the visitors, especially foreigners to get engaged on farming activities in local agro-farms.
Targeting the corporates, youths and social media-users in Kathmandu, they have currently been promoting the business through new-media marketing, through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. â€œAnd, the repetition of customers at the resort is also high and we are getting new customers mainly through the word of mouth of the old customers,â€ says Thakuri.
Starting up the resort in a remote location
At a time when the market in Pokhara, Nagarkot, and Dhulikhel is saturated and overcrowded, Thakuri wanted to start a resort in a faraway and virgin location, giving people a choice to visit a different destination.
The nearby travel destinations from the resort are Kulekhani reservoir, Bhedi Farm, Markhu, Chitlang, Daman, Palung, etc.
As the resort is located at an altitude of 2000 meters from sea level, the place is relatively cold and also gets snow-fall from December to February. Early summers and pre-winters are mostly suitable times to visit the place.
â€œAs we are located in an unexplored place, we are getting surprising feedback from the visitors,â€ shares Thakuri. â€œThey appreciate us for starting such a resort in a remote location that does not have proper road-access, and commercial electricity transmission lines yet,â€ he says adding, â€œThey too commend our services, and the organic local food that we serve.â€
Getting the clients from reputed organizations like UN, banks and corporates, business and trading houses, and various colleges in Kathmandu is what makes him satisfied. â€œGetting these sort of visitors to Tistung, and getting positive feedbacks from them makes me feel that I did a good job by starting the business,â€ he shares.
Current trend of starting luxury resorts in Nepal
â€œIn Nepal, along with doing many good things, most of the people have the habit to follow and copy whatever others do, resulting in mushrooming of every other things. Many start businesses without carrying out proper research, and studying its prospects. Many start without having their Unique Selling Proposition, and identifying target customers. Domestic tourism, and running resorts have seen the similar trends. We need to refrain from this,â€ Thakuri shares. â€œBut, starting resorts and promoting domestic tourism is a very good thing, I must say,â€ he adds.
â€œWe aimed to promote the tourism of the Tistung region, and give employment opportunities to the local people,â€ Thakuri says. â€œThere are many things that can be done in this place. Mulabari, a nearby location has very good possibility of being a paragliding spot. There is also a very good location nearby to conduct bungee jumping. We too are eying on that,â€ he adds.
â€œWe are willing to encourage the youths here for crowd-investment and begin working to start bungee, paragliding, and homestay services, and producing supplementary products for the resort. We have a dream to develop Tistung as an organized touristic destination,â€ he shares his dreams.
To the budding entrepreneurs:
â€œYou shouldnâ€™t fear failure, instead accept the challenge and start anything that you think will work. Iâ€™m also from the grassroots level, and have worked really hard to reach this position. Everyone gets 24 hours a day. Success depends on how many hours you invest on your business. Itâ€™s hard for startups if you canâ€™t dedicate majority of your time on your dream business. You need to have passion, and dedication to work for at least 12-16 hours a day,â€ says Thakuri.
â€œYou need to start any business in a way that it sustains, by identifying your target customers, and giving values to the customers. If you start anything like this, success is not that far,â€ he advises the emerging Nepali entrepreneurs.
Startups for a better Nepal!
Presentation: Basanta Kumar Dhakal