Kul Bahadur Gurung is not an unheard name in Nepali tourism industry. Born in 2032 BS in Chalis village of Sertung VDC in northern Dhading, Gurung is a young and dynamic tourism entrepreneur, climate activist. He is the managing director of Alliance Nepal Treks and Expeditions. Gurung is involved in social works through number of organizations.
Born in a family with farming background, Gurung completed his early schooling in his birthplace itself. “Those were difficult days. Primary school was near our village, but we what to walk for two hours to lower secondary school and two hours to come back,” Gurung reminisces his childhood days.
His father had two wives. He is the only children from his mother, while he has three sisters and a brother from his stepmother.
Talking about his entry into the tourism sector, Gurung says Nepal Vision provided him a platform to make a career in tourism industry. “After coming to Kathmandu, I did some freelance works with other companies. However, it was after I joined Nepal Vision Trekking as a manager that I started talking tourism business seriously,” he said and adds: “Though I am now a owner my own company, I will never forget Nepal Vision Trekking.”
As his village lies in Ganesh Himal area — a popular area among trekkers, Gurung had knew what tourism is even during his childhood days. But he never thought he world earn bread and butter for his family from this sector, because his father was an Indian Army soldier and it was only natural for him to follow his father’s footsteps. “I was in recruitment phase with the Indian Army. But I don’t know why my father called me back,” he shares.
Talking about Nepali tourism industry, Gurung says the tourism industry is gradually coming on the track after shouldering devastations caused by 2015 earthquakes. “Tourist arrivals are growing with each passing year and so is the tourist spending. We now have a stable government. I am hopeful that tourism will prosper and grow further in the coming years,” he shares. He, however, warned that unhealthy competition among entrepreneurs could slow the momentum.
“Unhealthy competition among us has not only made our destination cheaper, but also deteriorating the quality of service that we offer to tourists. There are more sellers than buyers. It is high time we focused on quality tourism,” he said, adding that some sort of intervention is needed to control the situation. He also said that tourism entrepreneurs should also take blame for increasing politicization in travel trade associations.
Gurung worked with two working committees of TAAN — as executive member in the first term and 2nd vice president in the second term. During his tenure at TAAN, he led some remarkable works like Ruby Valley Tourism Development Program together with development partners. “I was given responsibility to negotiate between workers and trekking agency operators. Which I completed in a truly professional manner,” he adds.
The young entrepreneur is currently the general secretary of Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) — the alpine club of Nepal. Talking about programs initiated by NMA, Gurung says the main focus of NMA at present is building trails as well as other infrastructures to base camp of different mountain peaks. “We have already built two restrooms in high camp of Mera Peak. Simila
rly, NMA is organizing a joint expedition of UAAA in 2019 and are hosting UAAA meeting in 2021,” he adds.
The young entrepreneur is also the founding president of Gurung Tourism Entrepreneurs Association and Ganesh Himal Tourism Development Committee, secretary of Climate Alliance of Himalayan Communities and NEAT Nepal.
Talking about family life, Gurung is happily married and has a lovely daughter. “My wife used to help in my company until few years ago. Now, she looks after our new business,” he shares. He admits that he has not been able to give time to his family because of busy working schedule. “But as my wife is a working woman, we have a very good understanding. We spare some time from our business for some quality family time.”
Before concluding, he has a message for newcomers in tourism industry. “Please come with necessary trainings, study and experience. If you have passion and dedication, tourism has a big scope and one can make good career in this sector. But if you come without any operation, your business will not be sustainable,” he said.
When asked if there is anything that he would like to change, Gurung said: “I would stop politicization in travel trade associations.”