Rishi Ram Paneru is not a new name in the tourism industry of Nepal. He is the chairman of Himalayan Planet Adventure based in Thamel of Kathmandu. With the experience of more than 15 years in the trekking sector, he has been successful in placing his name as an young and energetic entrepreneur in the Nepali trekking industry.
As someone who hails from a village that lies on the popular Manaslu Circuit trekking trail, he always was fascinated to see trekkers passing through his village. Also, his village was a popular stopover for trekkers in the area. He used to observe the activities of tourists up close in his childhood days.
“I would see Nepalis men bring along foreigners with them to our village. This inspired me to do something in the tourism sector,” says Paneru. He had a dream to become a trekking guide in his young days.
Paneru today is a successful tourism entrepreneur.
Born in Patedhunga-6 of Gorkha district on October 27, 1981 to a farming family of Liladhar Paneru and Ushadevi Paneru, he spent nine years in his birthplace before he traveled to Chitwan where he pursued high school education at Shree Panchakanya Secondary School. Then he came to Kathmandu for higher studies and ultimately graduate from Saraswati Multiple Campus.
Paneru’s first job happened to be in a tourism enterprise. As someone who was fascinated by tourism since his early days, Paneru worked with great dedication and he had already made mind to make a career in tourism sector. “It was not easy to find a job in Kathmandu at that time. We had to accept whatever we are offered. Fortunately, it was in the tourism sector,” he said. “I started my career from Gurkha Encounter working in the entry level position. I first worked as a helper, then as an assistant then started working as a guide.”
He worked there for eight years.
“It was tough in the initial years as I was inexperienced,” he shares. But working hard for years and learning from the years of experiences, various trainings and field job, Paneru finally became a trekking guide. “Trekking sector not only gave me a job but it has brought changes in my life too,” he adds.
Talking about his profession, Paneru says: “Trekking takes lots of endurance, willingness and patience. The job demands working in the extreme conditions in the high Himalayan regions. He says. It is due to my passion that i made a career in this sector, the job.”
Himalayan Planet Adventure currently employees 17 people. The company mainly caters to visitors from Canada, US, the Australia, and few European and Asian countries.
Paneru is also active socially. He is the executive member of Gorkha Tourism and is also the member of various travel trade associations.
With his long experience working in the tourism industry of Nepal, he feels Nepal has a bright future for tourism. “We are seeing a rise in the number of tourist in recent years and we should explore new avenues to attract more tourists to Nepal,” he added.
He also urge for favorable rules and the policies for the tourism sector to prosper. “Tourism is driven by the private sector. But it needs government support to prosper further,” he shares.
He also feels that the government should lower permit fee to restricted areas so that many trekkers can visit the area. “Also, the law that requires minimum group size of two trek in restricted areas should also be revisited,” he added. Paneru also suggested that the government build basic infrastructure in tourism areas and bring a policy of encouraging local people to build lodge, tea house and souvenir shops there. “It will help to trickle down tourism revenue to the grassroots level.”
The young entrepreneurs suggests to the government to improve management of our only international airport, get more international airlines to fly to Kathmandu, support the national flag carrier to expand its wings, and build quake-damaged monuments at the earliest, among others.
Paneru also suggests the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) to make its participation in international travel marts and shows more effective and result-oriented. “We have felt that its international marketing approach should be revisited by learning from other destinations,” he adds.
“Not only the NTB, the government, tourism industry and all stakeholders should join hands to make Nepal a happening destination in the international tourism market,” Paneru said.