KATHMANDU, June 9: Indra Kala Rai, 24, is pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Education at Prithvi Narayan Campus in Pokhara. She has been working as a tourist guide during her free time for four years, which helps her fund her education.
“I’ve always loved travelling. This is what landed me a job in the tourism sector,” says Indra Kala Rai, who is originally from Solukhumbu.
“My profession takes me to different parts of Nepal. So while working as a tour guide, I’m actually learning so much more about my own country and people,” she says, adding that learning about the culture and lifestyle of different countries from the tourists she works with is interesting, too.
“Another thing I like the most about my job is the fact that I’ve turned into an outspoken person from a shy one. I now love making new friends, irrespective of their nationalities,” she quips. Her communication skills have become better and she has already gained practical knowledge about things she had only theoretically studied in textbooks.
Indra Kala works with 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking, a women owned company that emphasizes on women empowerment, and for the same reason, work for her has been much easier, she says.
Catering to the needs of aspiring tourist guides in Nepal, the company provides training and jobs on tour guiding. Co-founder Lucky Chhetri says that their formal training lasts for around one month, followed by four to five months’ long on-the-job training, during which the guides are paid, too.
“While providing training and job, we emphasize on women, especially from rural areas who need empowerment,” she informs. And since youngsters are more appropriate for adventure tourism, scores of college going youngsters come for the jobs for pocket money, she observes.
On the other hand, 30-year-old Shyam Limbu, a cycling guide and Director of a mountain biking company, El Yak, got into the profession because of his passion for mountain biking. “I loved mountain biking and wanted to make it my profession,” he says, adding that it has been paying him well.
“Cycling guides can earn Rs 3,000 to Rs 9,000 per day, depending on how good one is. So, the career of a cycling guide is quite lucrative,” he maintains.
However, the job is sort of seasonal as only around six months of the year sees a satisfactory number of tourists in Nepal. “But working hard during the season will fetch you enough income for the entire year,” he affirms.
Talking about the traits of a tour guide, Param Lamichhane, Tour Executive of Yeti Travels Pvt Ltd shares, “Nepal is a beautiful country and there are numerous things that can fascinate tourists from all over the world. So, besides being enthusiastic and polite, tour guides should be well informed and have ample knowledge about the landscapes, religious and historical sites of the places they’re guiding on in order to give the right information to the tourists.” Also, having a good command over different languages, beside English, is an added benefit.
Chhetri adds, “It is also better if the guides have proper marketing skills so that sustainability in the nation’s tourism industry can be ensured”.
So friends, if you love travelling and don’t shy away from dealing with new people, and are proud to present what our country has to offer, becoming a tour guide could be your calling.
To acquire trekking guide’s license from Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, you have to have basic knowledge on English language and get a four-week long training. While for tourist guide’s license, you must have a diploma in any subject and get an eight-week long training. The trainings are provided by Nepal Academy of Tourism and Hotel Management (NATHM) on a yearly basis. The Ministry will issue the license after you present the training’s certificate provided by NATHM.