Wed, June 19, 2024

‘All stakeholders need to come together and work on innovative schemes’

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Ashish Chaloo

General Manager, The Everest Hotel

Ashish Chaloo joined The Everest Hotel, Kathmandu as its General Manager recently. He carries a rich hospitality experience of two decades having worked in many reputed hotel chains and brands globally. Before taking charge of The Everest Hotel, Chaloo was working in the United Kingdom. A thorough team player, he firmly believes that teamwork brings a sense of security, trust and loyalty among employees and employers. In this edition of Business 360, we spoke to Chaloo about the hospitality and tourism sector of the country and the revival of The Everest Hotel.

What is the current hospitality scenario in Nepal?

The tourism sector as the backbone of the Nepali economy came to a grinding halt in March 2020 due to the Covid 19 pandemic. This was one of the major sectors impacted globally and Nepal also had to bear the consequences. International travel is still emerging out of the shadows of a devastating pandemic. Nevertheless, now the sector is slowly picking up steam with the total number of active cases going down and more countries willing to open borders for vaccinated travellers and easing the restrictions. Inbound tourism has shown good signs of recovery as the overall number of tourists is considerably increasing year on year with majority of inbound travellers currently from the Indian market. Tourist arrivals are also gradually increasing from other countries including European nations and travellers are putting the pandemic behind them and are once again ready to pound the famous Himalayan trails of Nepal. We are slowly heading towards pre-pandemic levels and hopefully we should be able to bring the tourism sector back on track soon.

What are the challenges that The Everest Hotel is facing after revival?

The Everest Hotel Kathmandu is a well-recognised and established brand globally and has been regularly patronised by global travellers. However, the entire tourism and hospitality sector has suffered a lot over the last two years. The hotels were shut for most of this period and at times used to operate with a lot of restrictions for guests and staff. The Everest Hotel Kathmandu is well known for having one of the best convention and event spaced in the city but sadly, we did not see any major international event during this period as international travel was almost suspended. This obviously caused a lot of irreversible impact on the hotel and its revenues. However, as the saying goes, we have to look at the glass half full and we now certainly see the light at the end of the tunnel. Last six to seven months have seen some decent increase in the number of international and domestic travellers. People are now regularly booking our well-appointed rooms which have been recently refurbished and renovated. Guests are enjoying dining in our famous and well-known food and beverage outlets, our specialised events team is busy handling guest queries, and I am quite hopeful that we will be able to reach and exceed the pre-pandemic business levels very soon.

How many years was the hotel closed after the earthquake and during the Covid period?

After the earthquake, the hotel was closed till the end of 2019 for renovation and refurbishment. We utilised this time to completely redo our entire hotel, right from the entrance, lobby, restaurants, some guest rooms, banquet halls, meeting rooms as well as the kitchens. The hotel now boasts of a brand new and contemporary lobby along with premium event spaces. The restaurants have also been completed renovated and we now operate with a brand new multi cuisine coffee shop, newly done Asian specialty restaurant “Mandarin” which is also on the lobby level. A lot of time and effort have been invested to ensure that we offer nothing but the best to our guests who have been supporting and patronising the hotel for many decades.

Does the hospitality sector need changes in policy for its development?

Post pandemic, one of the most important tools that all the stakeholders have to lay emphasis on is the strong use of marketing. We need to take our product to the world and ensure that it reaches the right audience at the right time. Lot of collective decision-making needs to be done on multiple fronts. All stakeholders including the tourism board, hotel associations, aviation industry, hotel companies and managements need to come together and work on various innovative schemes to increase the overall tourist traffic into Nepal. The Nepali tourism industry is one of the main contributors to the national GDP apart from generating good employment in the country. With the right kind of tourism and tourist friendly policies, this sector has immense potential to grow further.

Is the hotel rebranding itself?

The Everest Hotel Kathmandu is a very famous and well-recognised hotel globally. The hotel has been offering the best of hospitality experiences for decades and has successfully managed to establish itself as one of the leading hotels in Nepal. The hotel has won a lot of accolades lately like the award for “Best Banquet/Wedding Hotel in Nepal” given to us in 2021 by ITA (International Travel Awards) which was very encouraging. In September 2022, we have also been honoured with the “Best Hotel Award” in the recently concluded South Asia Travel Awards event held in Maldives. These awards keep the team motivated to perform better and strengthens their faith in the brand. READ ALSO:
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MAY 2024

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