Langtang Ri trekking & Expedition- Female Empowerment in Nepal Tourism Sector
Langtang Ri Trekking and Expedition is one of the leading and longest established trek and tour agencies in Nepal. Since the company’s formation in 1991 it has assisted thousands of clients from all over the world to experience the fascinating Himalaya region and its wealth of adventure travel opportunities.
Langtang Ri is also recognised as one of the social innovators in the Nepal tourism industry. While the trek and tour industry of Nepal has always been, and remains, heavily male dominated Langtang Ri moved very early to appoint women in management and operational roles.
For many years now the company has employed women as tour guides and even trekking guides taking visitors to all the cultural and scenic highlights of the Kathmandu Valley and Nepal’s many Himalaya trekking trails. This decision made good sense from all perspectives. Almost half of all trek and tour visitors to Nepal are now female and so a skilled and knowledgeable Nepali woman can help build a lasting rapport with visitors and encourage repeat visitation through excellent client service. The employment of local female guides also fits the Langtang Ri social objective of trying to create and spread economic opportunity for all peoples of Nepal. This business philosophy helps encourage more focus on education and financial self-sufficiency for women.
Women have also played a very major role in the management of the company. For more than half of its 25 years of operation Langtang Ri has been very ably managed by Mrs Pamfa Dhamala. While initially trained and serving in the medical sector Ms Pamfa later joined the company to assist with operations coordination at a time of rapid growth. Her skills in coordinating the team of field and support staff and working with visitors to customise treks and tours to their many requirement quickly saw her move into the role of Chief Executive of Langtang Ri and the company continued its growth.
Even after more than 13 years managing Langtang Ri Ms Pamfa remains one just a few women in Nepal who manage a trek and tour agency. While this is disappointing for the national advancement of Nepal it has become a motivating force for Ms Pamfa to push even further ahead in the male dominated industry.
Most recently Ms Pamfa was invited to sit on the management board of the nation’s peak tourism authority, the Nepal Tourism Board. This is the leading government authority responsible for planning and directing global promotional initiatives and coordinating the multiple industry stakeholders across Nepal to grow the tourism industry. She brought a fresh woman’s perspective to the Board that also benefited from years of successful agency management experience. Her experience has necessitated negotiating the many economic, market and technology challenges that have impacted the industry over the decade.
In 2015 Ms Pamfa also took on the role of Treasurer in the Nepal Chapter of PATA, a very active association of local trek and tour operators seeking to build strong business relationships with out-bound operators around the world. She has happily taken on this new and demanding role and added it to her responsibilities. Nepal will be the better for it. She has shown once again she possesses the ability, leadership and determination to excel and push aside barriers, particularly for the women of Nepal, to achieve personal and national goals.