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Fri, April 19, 2024

‘Poor coordination among agencies has been hurting tourism industry’

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Suresh Singh Budal

CEO, PATA Nepal Chapter

Lecturer, Nepal Academy of Tourism and Hotel Management

Member, CNI Tourism Committee

Young, proactive and passionate about tourism, Suresh Singh Budal, Chief Executive Officer of PATA Nepal Chapter, has always emphasised on sustainable development of tourism not only in Nepal but across the region. Holding a postgraduate degree in Travel and Tourism Management from Kathmandu Academy of Tourism and Hospitality, Budal has been actively engaged with Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Nepal Chapter since 2013. He started his career with PATA Nepal as an Executive Officer and is recognised for demonstrating multifaceted skills and competencies in taking forward PATA’s mission of engaging young tourism professionals and human capital development. Budal enjoys organising events and networking programmes creating insightful sessions on public-private sector stakeholder collaboration which is one of the strategic directions of PATA in building business, people, networks, brands and insights for its member organisations and stakeholders, as well as promoting tourism destinations. He also has keen interest in providing training on marketing and promotional activities and is the winner of PATA Face of the Future 2020 Award. In this issue of Business 360, he shares the five things that have impacted him professionally and personally. In his words:

Transforming my passion into a career

I feel that transforming my passion into a profession was the best decision. It changed my life’s course and helped build my career. As a child, I was inspired by my mother who was engaged in a government health post for three decades and I aspired to become a medical doctor. Moreover, a medical doctor is considered a very respected profession in our society. To be honest, at one point of time I also wanted to get into music and travel to various places. As a student, I was active in different extracurricular activities like the Junior Red Cross and participated in various competitions. My teachers and friends adored me for my vivacity. My dreams and aims kept changing with each passing year. After completing high school, I wanted to be a health assistant but I failed the entrance examination. Though I was disappointed back then, now I realise it was a blessing in disguise. If I had gotten through, I wouldn’t be where I am at present. I am very happy to be involved in tourism. Soon after graduating in tourism studies, I joined PATA Nepal Chapter and have worked here since. Joining PATA was a turning point in my career where I have been able to develop myself as a young tourism professional. As the CEO now, I am working towards developing and promoting our country’s travel and tourism industry.

Source of inspiration

My late grandfather was my role model because he was always devoted to social services. He was in the Indian Army and got early retirement at 26 as he lost an eye during a training camp in Myanmar. After retirement, he started a school and motivated many children to study. Though I was born and raised in a remote village of Baitadi in far-west Nepal, my childhood days were the most meaningful as I built a strong education base. At one point, my parents and teachers were my source of motivation. At present, I look up to my mentors and senior leaders of the tourism industry from who I have been learning so much. I think any person’s source of inspiration keeps changing according to time and situation. Actually, everyone and every situation around us are a source of inspiration and learning. The only thing we need to have is the passion to observe and learn.

Determination & Faith

Determination and faith are the two key factors that motivate me during adverse situations – my determination to undertake a particular course of action and my faith in the anticipated outcome of the determined acts.

"Studies and facts have proven that women have greater empathy, integrity and emotional intelligence, which are the most essential attributes of successful leadership. It has even been observed that women are prosocial as women executives with power or decision-making authority can help reduce corruption. However, women are under-represented in decision-making in politics, businesses and communities."

We all have to face different challenges in both our personal and professional life. I take life as a journey, not a destination, and whatever happens in life happens for a reason. With every experience, whether it be good or bad, there is something to learn. I might sound a bit philosophical but there is actually nothing to lose. Getting worried and doing nothing during difficult times never yields a solution. A crisis is always temporary and we will have the time to heal. So, we need to have patience and faith during the toughest of times and focus on what best we can do to overcome adversities. I am a firm believer and practitioner of the theory of karma. There is a popular saying in the Bhagavad Gita, ‘Karmanye Vadhikaraste, Ma Phaleshou Kada Chana’. What this means is - perform your prescribed duties without being attached to the results. If your actions or deeds are well-versed and good enough, the outcome automatically will be in your favour.

Women are prosocial

An educated/intelligent, competent and experienced woman in a leadership role is always beneficial for a family, society and the nation at large. Studies and facts have proven that women have greater empathy, integrity and emotional intelligence, which are the most essential attributes of successful leadership. It has even been observed that women are prosocial as women executives with power or decision-making authority can help reduce corruption. However, women are under-represented in decision-making in politics, businesses and communities. So, I think our society or nation needs more women leaders.

Tourism always has the potential

I have been involved in the tourism sector for the last one decade and in this time, I have seen many changes, disruptions and transformations in the industry. Within the last ten years, we have faced two big crises – the 2015 earthquake followed by the blockade in the southern borders and Covid 19 pandemic. People say that every crisis comes with opportunities. After the 2015 earthquake, all stakeholders came together to ‘build back better’ and we witnessed exponential growth in the industry. Similarly, the coronavirus pandemic disrupted not only tourism but the entire global economy. A lot of efforts and initiatives were undertaken by the public and private sector to cope with the unprecedented challenges. After the effects of the pandemic started waning, Nepal could not capitalise on the potential travel business by easing travel formalities and restrictions due to lack of coordination and timely decisions from decision-making bodies and authorities in the public sector. The recent growth of travellers in the country is obviously encouraging but all tourism stakeholders have to work closely together. There needs to be a collaborative effort if we want long-term solutions to crises like the pandemic we just faced. Integrated efforts are must for the sustainable growth and development of the tourism industry in the country. Though the government has placed tourism in high priority, the private sector has always had to contend with various obstacles. They say tourism is a priority sector but in reality, it has never felt like that. The inadequate infrastructure, weak national flag carrier, and lack of clarity and poor coordination among different decision-making agencies in the public sector have been hurting the industry. If we are able to correct these then I am sure there could be further growth in the sector. READ ALSO:
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MARCH 2024

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