Brands that matterMore and more international hotel chains are entering Nepal to tap the immense potential of Nepal’s travel trade sector.
More and more international hotel chains are entering Nepal to tap the immense potential of Nepal’s travel trade sector. Globally reputed bands like Hilton, Marriott, Sheraton and Aloft have recently entered into agreements with developers to make a foray into Nepal. Thailand-based Dusit International, London-based budget hotel chain easyHotel and Indian hotel brand OYO Rooms have also expressed interest in penetrating the Nepali market.
This is good news for Nepal. Given that the hospitality sector is labour-intensive, more jobs are likely to be created in the country in the coming days. This will reduce labour flight to the Gulf and Malaysia where many Nepalis take up menial jobs. Generating more employment opportunities at home will help buck this trend.
But the catch is that many globally renowned hotel brands are interested in setting up shop in Nepal because of the prospect of sharp hikes in international tourist arrivals once the construction of major international airports is completed. For example, construction of the Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairahawa is likely to be completed within 2019, while another international airport in Pokhara is likely to come into operation by 2020. If the government makes a push, the plan to build South Asia’s largest airport in Nijgadh, which will function as an alternative to the country’s only international airport in Kathmandu, will also materialise.
The government should now press for early completion of these projects so that more foreign tourists can visit Nepal. This is important because Tribhuvan International Airport, the sole international airport in Nepal, can only accommodate nine big aircrafts, including three wide-body airplanes. Also, the airport’s international terminal is overburdened, as it is handling 2,700 passengers per hour as against its capacity of 1,340 passengers per hour.
This means that a surge in the arrival of international visitors hinges on the timely completion of airport projects that are under construction. This will ultimately help in the growth of the tourism sector and encourage more international hotels chains to expand operation in Nepal.
The entry of globally reputed hotel brands into Nepal is important as they can help raise the standards of the hospitality sector and increase the inflow of tourists from all income groups and from various countries. This also helps bring in international expertise, best practices and cutting-edge technology. The skills acquired by those working in these international hotel brands will gradually be passed onto Nepalis engaged in the hotel business. This will eventually raise the standards of domestic hotels, helping them enhance their competitiveness.