Balaram Thapa is the co-founder of Nepal Hiking Team, a tourism provider that focuses on providing quality, customer-focused, and ethical hiking through Nepal. The company is focused on ethical and eco-tourism, as well as providing customized itineraries and high-value tour packages to its customers.
Balaram was able to answer some questions about Nepal Hiking Team.
How did Nepal Hiking Team get started?
Officially, Nepal Hiking Team was incorporated in 2009, this is the official legal start year for the company. However, the journey started well before this date for me. I along with my brother, started this company wanting to evolve our working experience and knowledge about trekking and touring activities in Nepal. Before starting this company, my brother and I both were previously involved in this business as trekking support staff. We gradually upgraded our status from trekking support staff to trekking leaders after a few years of working in this industry. Travelling and trekking both being a significant part of our life, we decided to do something with our knowledge and experience. Hence, in this way, Nepal Hiking Team was started.
What is the aim of the Nepal Hiking Team, and how is it different from other tourism providers?
The main aim of Nepal Hiking Team is to provide the best quality services and wonderful experience to visitors while they are in Nepal. And what makes us different than other tourism providers is that we work as per the request of our customers. We have an assorted range of services that favors our clients. Also, we are very upfront about the cost and services inclusion and inclusion with our travelers when they book with us. With us there are no hidden cost and travelers can enjoy a wonderful vacation at a reasonable price.
How do you ensure that you provide ethical tourism to your customers?
There are various ways a tourist can explore the country, making a positive impact. Nepal Hiking Team diligently works to provide ethical tourism. If the visit entails going to remote and isolated places, we brief our travelers about the place and its conditions. Similarly, if the tour entails visiting monumental sites or heritage landmarks, the same thing is priory informed by the tour guides. We follow the various aspects of responsible eco-tourism as well. All in all, at the beginning of the tours or any trekking activities, we conduct a small but informative meeting with the clients about the aspects of their tours and treks what they can look forward to as well as the things they should refrain from doing while on the journey.
How do your priorities and protect the safety of your customers?
The safety of the customers stays on the same level as providing the best quality service and wonderful experience while in our country. Nepal Hiking Team from the office station always keeps checking what is going on the touring or trekking locations. Two ways communication happens with us. Our trekking and touring staff always brief us on what is happening and how customers are. And we do too as well. Since technology has gotten bigger in the world, now we can use cell service even in a remote location. Therefore, even if our customers are in remote places, we stay in contact through phones.
What kind of tour packages do you have available and which are the most popular?
Nepal Hiking Team offers a wide assortment of touring, trekking, and hiking packages. From visiting small villages through hiking activities to visiting monumental rich heritage sites and landmarks, we conduct all sorts of tour packages. Similarly, we conduct trekking packages allowing trekkers to explore any mountains of Nepal they desire. Likewise, with us they can customize their trip, and if they want, they include every bit of touring and trekking activities in their one trip.
Among many treks and tours that we operate, the most popular one is Everest Base Camp Trek and Annapurna Base Camp Trek. Additionally, we largely operate Annapurna Circuit trek, Langtang valley trek, Mardi Himal Trek, and Ghorepani Poon Hill trek. These all-amazing treks take travelers close to the mountains of their desire.
How do you help customers develop custom itineraries?
When customers customized their itineraries, we simply note what they are looking to do in their planned schedule. We understand the wants and needs of the customers and filter them to prepare the possibilities for a plan that fits them. Most of the time, clients come with an outline itinerary which they would like to follow. We highlight the attractions worth visiting in the mentioned places for clients. Similarly, we also share our tips and expert advice regarding their preferred place to visit. In general, we help them create a perfect custom made itinerary, taking reference to their travel requirements, interests and passion.
What are some tips you have for first-time travelers to Nepal who want to hike?
For all first-time travelers to Nepal who want to hike, our tip would be to hire a travel agent for your first visit to Nepal. Hiking/Trekking is one of the popular activities to do in Nepal, and many tend to go with the information found on the internet for their hiking/trekking journey in Nepal. Well, it is nice to be independent and visit on your own. But for the first-timer, it is not advisable. Information’s lack on the internet and with all the knowledge and experience, travel agencies exactly know what are the most enjoyed and appreciated experiences. You won’t be disappointed by taking services from travel managers. Also, Nepal’s hiking trails are tricky and confusing, and going with an experienced guide will make your journey more beautiful. It is always nice to see consultation from travel agents.
Has COVID-19 had a significant impact on your services?
If there is any business sector that has been massively impacted by the ongoing COVID-9, then it is the travel and hospitality industry. We have seen the decline that we have never imagined. And this year being VISIT NEPAL 2020, we had high expectations. Fortunately, our booked tours and treks were postponed for another time. But the cancellation rate also shocked us. COVID-19 has prevented people from making long distanced travel and our services involve traveling. We experienced a 0% booking inquiry at a time when we should be taking at least 2 or 3 bookings per day. And now that the world is slowing retracing back and adapting new normal, we have started to receive product inquiries.
Thank you Balaram for your time!
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