Though only in his 30s, Rajan Simkhada has already created a niche in tourism industry
Rajan Simkhada is a young and energetic entrepreneur with Nepali tourism industry. Born in 1976 in Darkha of Dhading district, Simkhada leads a number of companies including hotels, resorts and trekking agencies, among others.
But Simkhada, who wanted to be a chartered accountant when he completed graduation in first division, said he never imagined he would make a career in tourism industry. “It just happened,” he shares. “I used to see trekkers heading toward Ganesh Himal through my village and wonder who are they, where are they from and where are they heading to. I entered tourism sector searching answers to these questions.”
After completing early school education in his birthplace, he came to Kathmandu at the age of 16. He passed SLC examination from Shanti Vidya Griha and started studying commerce in Shankar Dev College. As he was in Kathmandu on his own, he did many odd jobs to eke out a living. His first job in the tourism industry was a front office attendant in a Thamel hotel. There he quickly learnt the trade and found himself getting more immersed into the industry. Eventually, he opened Earthbound Expeditions in 1997.
“As I am an outgoing person by nature, tourism is the most suitable career for me,” he added.
Today, he is involved in number of companies like Earthbound Expeditions, Thamel Eco Resort, Pokhara Eco Resort, Mo Mo Hut and Nepal Yoga Retreat, among others.
“I have been trying to introduce new dimensions in the tourism sector,” he said referring to his venture Nepal Yoga Retreat and Spa Centre in Chhaling of Bhaktapur. Nepal Yoga Retreat is a yoga center where one can find simple and wholesome organic food and learn yoga philosophy by trained experts.
Explaining the reasons behind opening yoga center, Simkhada said many people are in need of peace of mind. “Once can stay in our yoga center, learn yogic activities under guidance of trained expert and enjoy serenity of the place. They are served pure organic vegetables,” he said, adding, “This is a part of our effort to promote spiritual and health tourism.
He also unveiled his dream plan of running a spiritual resort in Nepal. “I want to open yoga and spiritual resort hotel or retreat having four or five star facilities because I have seen the prospect that this sector offers. If things go as planned, I will do that,” he added.
Simkhada is a man of multi-faceted personality. Not only a successful entrepreneur, he is a popular face in Nepali television as well – known mostly for comic roles. “I have acted in dozens of television films. People have appreciated by roles. Sometimes they even call me by my screen names,” he added.
As someone who started career in tourism industry as a front office attendant, Simkhada today employs more than 200 people. “Though I couldn’t be a chartered accountant, I am in a position to hire couple of them,” the successful tourism entrepreneur said.
Simkhada feels tourism is one sector which can stop exodus of youth to foreign job destinations and top brain drain. “My 16 cousins are plying their trade in foreign countries. But I am staying in Nepal. I want young people to realize that there is endless possibility in Nepal. You only need to know how to tap it,” he said, adding that with hard work and honesty there is nothing that cannot be achieved.
Simkhada is a busy bee. As he is busy in his different ventures, he has been failing to give proper time to his family. “As I started everything from scratch, I have to devote lot of time to my business. But my family is understanding,” he said. Simkhada married in 2006. The couple is blessed with two cute sons.
The young entrepreneur sees great potential for tourism development in Nepal. “We have tremendous possibilities. But we are failing to exploit it,” he said. “The government should do something for stopping exodus of youth. If young blood is in foreign land, who will build this country,” he wondered.
– Kishor Basnyat