Guides are the mirror of the nation

Guide‘ is a regular column in Here, Nepalnamcha presents Kumar Rupakheti . He is a senior tour guide of Nepal.

Since when and how you became tourist guide ? Explain your tenure in this field.

Well, my journey in tourism started since 1998. When I had just finished my master’s degree in 1997, I had started a job in an NGO and got an opportunity to do an International training course in Jerusalem (Israel) for 6 weeks where I met many people interested about Nepal. There I got many ideas about importance of tourism for a nation. Even though Israel is a very small country, their tourism is so big. I was so impressed when many people asked me about Nepal, our  mountains and cultural heritage sites, but unfortunately I had very little knowledge about my own country and its prospective side of tourism. When I returned Nepal, I tried to gather some information of touristic places and next year Nepal declared visit Nepal 1998 that gave me the opportunity to enter in tourism. In the beginning, for some years I worked as corresponding personnel for a trekking agency in Thamel. I had to give information to their clients, fixing itinerary and costing was part of my job. Later I took the 10 weeks tourist guide training by NATHAM and became a tourist guide. You can say that it was not planned, I did not have any academic background and knowledge of tourism before entering the field. As I entered the field, I learned every prospective of our tourism both cultural and adventurer.

What is tourist guide in your view point ?

Tourist guiding is the major ancillary service within the tourism industry. A tourist guide is the person through whom a tourist gets all ideas of that nation, they are the mirror of the nation. Tourists get vision of the host country’s way of living to people’s behaviors and every information through a tourist guide is viewed authentic. Therefore, a tourist guide is a responsible person to create an image of his nation.

Exteriorly guiding looks like a fun having profession. What is your view and experiences in this field?

Tourist guides are selected because of their knowledge of the specific area and also their ability to organize and manage people, so our skills must include good communication and administration. They may be required to deal customer complaints and negotiate with other providers, such as the coach company, hotel accommodation or restaurants during their work. In contrary, you are correct, a tourist guide also does the same beautiful tour with beautiful people. You will have good accommodation, transfers, activities, foods and handsome gratitude at the end of the tour.So, it is a fun having profession but with lots of responsibilities.

What is quality guiding, can you explain 5 major points which you give priority ?

The quality of guiding happens when your guide has those qualities. There are many points I can explain to you and as your interest of listening just five I am going to point them as follows.

Guide should be knowledgeable, his level of knowledge must be authentic and unlimited about the country’s culture, history, art, language, philosophy, geography, people and vegetation, etc.

The second point is his capacity to deliver the information and story effectively. If the guide is well educated but his presentation is weak and not attractive, then the guide cannot hold a tourist and make them happy.

Third point is managerial capacity, during your tour you may have to face lots of unseen problems, that may be weather, road accident, health problem, etc. In such situation you have to manage them smoothly before your tourist feel them as problem or making them big issue.

Forth point in my list is attention and dedication to your profession. Do your job attentively, don’t bring your personal view, financial issue, political matters and other problems of yours and your country because they are here for fun and pleasure, not to solve your problem.

Fifth and final is be attractive. Your personality, grooming, and skill of telling story should be attractive, then your tourist will be happy to talk, share and appreciate you.

Share you valued time that you want to remember in your guiding career.

Yes, there are some, but I like to share an event. In 2015 in the month of June I had planned to visit Mt. Kailash Parikrama with an American group, but before that the disaster Earthquake happened in the month of April, so the tour cancelled. I had long dream to do that tour, I was experienced of western Tibetan landscape, but not yet Manasharovar and Kailash Parikrama, so little bit disappointed. At last, two years later in 2017 in the month of June, I did that planned tour with the same group of people. It’s memorable because I had long planned and dreamt to be there. So, we don’t have to be worry for any such situations where the plan is not successful. Every difficult situation has a solution and will be solved one day, time may be little bit delay, but not always.

Is your guiding career has brought any change in your behavior and way of living ?

Every profession has different module and terms. Medical doctor’s vocabulary is not common with lawyers. Because of my profession I have started to talk with people, started to listen to them, sometimes we have to work with leisurely and retired people. Many Tourist come here just for leisure holiday, they don’t have rush for anything. So, sometimes I get same thing in me too, I don’t feel any rush for anything.

During this pandemic your profession is totally stopped. So what are you doing nowadays, what changes are coming in your behaviors and daily life ?

Yes, last 12 months I have not done any work in my profession. And it is the first time I am facing such situation. Even in the Maoist movement time and the disaster earthquake of 2015 we had a little touristic activity. Now situation is different, world is fighting with this unpredictable situation. Every sector is affected, and we are more. Tourism is very sensitive field it needs more time to recover than other sectors. So, I have adapted different lifestyle than previous time. More time for children and family, participation in household work and study. There were lots of things in my bucket list, nowadays I have started to deal with them. And I am taking it as a long holiday after long haptic working schedule.

Are you satisfied in your profession ?

No doubt, I am very satisfied. First of all, I am interested in people. In my profession I can get different people with different background. Sometimes I learn many things through them and sometimes I share my experience with them. Money is a secondary thing, still anyone can easily survive in this field if everything goes smoothly.

Kumar with his valued guests.

What are your suggestions for new comers in your profession ?

Of course, Nepal has lots of potentiality in tourism. Every person has different background of different ethnic groups and different cultures, so we have lots of opportunities in tourism than any other country in the world. Everywhere we have different landscapes, mountains plus culture. So all new comers who would like to join this field should have to be knowledgeable, professional and efficient. Patience is key of this field, so you have todevelop the abilityto satisfy different types of people.

Do you like to add anything more in this interview ?

One last thing I would want to say to all your viewers is to develop their travel culture.It means every person, no matter whose profession is what should have to be knowledgeable about their country.They have to experience all cultures which we have in this colorful country and know the geography, I encourage them to know our own country what provides them peace and health. Thank you very much to and team for providing me to share my experiences and view.

Kumar with his beautiful family.

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