Balaram Thapa is the founder of Nepal Hiking Team, a tourism provider that centers on providing quality, customer-focused, and ethical hiking through Nepal. The company is focused on ethical and eco-tourism and offers customized itineraries and high-value tour packages to its customers.
Further in the article, Balaram shares his thoughts on ethical and sustainable tourism in Nepal with Michael Bentley.
How did Nepal Hiking Team get started?
The idea for Nepal Hiking Team came to me after few years of working within the industry. When I first joined the industry, the internet was niche, and to flourish the business, one has to understand the power of the internet. Luckily for me, unique and new things always grabbed my attention. Henceforth, I understood the internet and decided to make my vision change into reality. And in that way, somewhere in 2009 Nepal Hiking Team was officially birthed in support of my brother.
What is the aim of the Nepal Hiking Team, and how is it different from other tourism providers?
As per aim, Nepal Hiking Team has always worked to offer quality service to their customer. And when we talk about quality service, it does not makes us any different than any other tourism provider because everybody works with that motive. But what essentially makes us different is we value our customer’s desires. We always ask what their interest are and what they look forward to while visiting Nepal. And incorporating their preferences and requirements, we build a trip for them.
How do you ensure that you provide ethical tourism to your customers?
Ethical tourism for a country like Nepal is a broad subject matter. People come to Nepal to experience its rich cultural values and to explore natural beauties. And it is significant for us; we offer such experiences to our travelers. With this intention, we design all our products in an environment-friendly way, and of course, offering a chance to immerse in the fascinating cultures of Nepal. Also, before any journey begins, we inform the nature of the destination they are visiting. With that, we also recommend dos and don’ts so that travelers are not put in uncomfortable situations.
How do your priorities and protect the safety of your customers?
Customer well-being is the core focus of Nepal Hiking Team. Our effort mostly goes on to provide a comfortable and smooth journey to the travelers. And for that, we maintain two-way communication with our clients on an everyday basis. Most of our trip takes place in remote places; thus, the city-based office always communicates with trek leader and clients to know their status. Similarly, trek leader is another critical aspect that maintains our priorities in terms of our clients. They are readily available to assist travelers if they want something.
What kind of tour packages do you have available, and which are the most popular?
Nepal Hiking Team offers a wide assortment of outings for travelers. Our journeys mainly incorporate staying outdoors and in nature. Similarly, most of our tours range from multiday tours to multi-week treks in the remote mountains of Nepal. Nevertheless, we primarily offer insightful, refreshing, engaging, and peace of mind offering outings. With that, our services extend to exuberant and thrilling activities such as peak climbing expeditions and spine-chilling adventure sports. NHT similarly operates journeys that take them back to ancient times. In general, NHT works diversely to create a trip of your dream.
On that note, we have several bestselling treks, but the most popular one is Everest Base Camp Trek and Annapurna Base Camp Trek. We also operate Annapurna Circuit Trek, Langtang valley trek, Mardi Himal Trek, and Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek.
How do you help customers develop custom itineraries?
Building a custom itinerary follows a general thumb rule, which is to listen to customer’s desires. When customers suggest customization, we simply note what they are looking to do in their vacation. Once their vision is clear, we use our expertise to plan a journey suitable for them. Overall, we assist clients in creating the best custom-made itinerary that considers their travel needs, interests, and enthusiasm.
What are some tips you have for first-time travelers to Nepal who want to hike?
Hiking in Nepal is famous around the world. These days one can find tons of information about hiking in Nepal and regarding different matters as well. But no amount of information prepares trekkers for the country that is beyond their internet research. Moreover, traveling to a country is not only about visiting top attractions or staying at the best hotels. Henceforth, for all first-time travelers looking to visit Nepal, plan your trip with a travel planner. Know a bit about the country, travel smoothly, and most importantly, have a local touch in your journey. Travel planner with their decades of experience exactly knows what customers are looking for in their journey. Therefore, they go above and beyond to serve the best services to clients. And lastly, they work wholeheartedly to present the best of the country to you.
Has COVID-19 had a significant impact on your services?
The tourism and hospitality service sectors probably were hit hardest because of COVID-19. The first COVID wave came right around the shoulder season in Nepal. We were anticipating arranging several tours and treks, but they all had to be halted for the future. Moreover, we saw a significant number of cancellations for the first time, which was financially burdening. The whole situation was chaos, but we were optimistic things will get better after some time. Now with vaccination rolling out globally, we are more than ready to get back on track and do what we always loved doing.