KATHMANDU: Gangasagar Pant, CEO of Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN), believes managers must be good listeners to derive best results from their employees.
Passionate about teaching and learning, Pant has a decade-long experience of teaching and was involved in the social sector simultaneously. Although only equipped with informal education in tourism, Pant states, “The work nature in the tourism industry is somewhat similar to the social sector as both involve working with local and inter-national clients. My flair in English language, and self-study helped enhance my knowledge and skills.”
TAAN employs 17 staffs and has more than 800 members. “Making my presence felt is very challenging because of our large network,” says Pant, who also heads a team at Social Welfare Council that evaluates programmes of NGOs and INGOs. According to him, each member has different ideas and potential, which makes it all the more difficult to maintain neutrality.
Pant feels that his staffs are little scattered regarding their duties and job responsibilities. And for this, he is mapping out clear succession plan, and providing employees an opportunity to learn and advance their career through training and seminars. Besides national level trainings, TAAN is planning to send employees abroad to enhance their leadership qualities and capacity building. “Employees deliver their best if they have sense of ownership, are sincere and follow set values and ethics. And to have these, leaders should equip the working environment accordingly,” adds Pant.
While the inflow of trekkers is increasing as compared to last year, Pant opines the numbers would be even higher if
the government had effect-ive mechanisms to check unscrupulous and illegal operations. “Unauthorised personnel conducting trek-king packages has lent a blow to professionals like us,” says Pant, adding that Nepal Tourism Board is also responsible for not identifying illegal operation, since it gives permits to individual trekkers without demanding proper identification.
Similarly, TAAN is facing problems because of missing tourists. Pant states that it has become hard to locate the whereabouts of missing trekkers because of a lack of rescue workers from the government. Pant adds, “To facilitate trekkers and locate missing trekkers
easily is a real challenge and for this, TAAN has developed the Trekking Inform-ation Management System (TIMS) software which will be implemented very soon.” TAAN is also restricting solo trekkers.
Though there are trekking agencies in every nook and corner of the country, only 20 per cent of them enjoy success as only a few of them provide quality service. Claiming that few trekking companies are also making commission from foreigners by accepting groups of trekkers, TAAN has warned such companies to refrain such practices.