Women-managed hotels flourishing in Mustang

A new trend of having women-only floors in hotels is gaining popularity in Mustang. Most of the hotels here are run by women limiting the role of men in the hospitality industry.

Pemadoka Thakuri, 63, has been running a hotel for the last 25 years. She never went to school, and obtained basic training in operating a hotel when she was 15.

“Initially, I did not know much about operating hotel. But I started to learn gradually,” said Thakuri, the senior-most women hotel entrepreneur in the district. “If women are trained, they can operate hotels efficiently and earn money.”

Thakuri, along with her sisters, run a traditional hotel which has 14 rooms. She said that many tourists preferred to stay in old and traditional hotels, and so had no plans to build a new facility.

There are more than 100 tourist standard hotels in Mustang, including 20 in Kagbeni and 18 in Muktinath. The operators of almost all the hotels are women. As hotels have been earning more revenue than other sectors, a number of five-six storey hotels have been established in the district.

“We make a handsome income during the tourist season. As hotels are packed and the existing rooms are not enough to cater to tourist demand, entrepreneurs have started to build big hotels,” said another women entrepreneur Hiran Bhattachan, who has been operating a hotel at Muktinath for the last 13 years.

She, however, said that due to the development of motorable roads, tourists normally return on the same day. “Tourists used to stay for at least a couple of days in the past when there were no motorable roads,” Bhattachan said. “As a result, business has dropped slightly compare to what it used to be some years ago.”

Women do all the work, from taking loans from banks to making investments. “Women are also the decision makers,” said Tshering Gurung, president of a local women association. “As a result, more women are being involved in entrepreneurship, particularly in the hospitality industry.”

Besides hotels, homestays run by women are also popular in the district. Interestingly, hotels run by women have never incurred losses.  A woman works more efficiently than a man by using less energy to achieve the same or even better results, said another local woman Yutin Gurung. “I have never heard that hotels run by women have suffered a loss,” she said.  They are more efficient in financial transactions and managing guests and hotels compared to men. In terms of hygiene, hotels run by women are comparatively cleaner than those run by men.  According to a Tourism Ministry survey entitled Tourism Employment Survey 2014, women’s engagement in the tourism industry is nominal. Around 20 percent of the employees were female in the hospitality industry.thekathmandupost