When one moves ahead with the right mix of passion and innovation, nothing can impede his/her journey. This is at least what can be deduced from his professional career.
Bikram Pandey KAAJI, the founder of Himalaya Expeditions, had started his career in the tourism sector way back in the 1980s. That time, he worked at Yeti Travel handling various groups of tourists visiting Nepal as tour officer. While working at the company, he also looked after its trekking department as manager.
“Since my childhood, I have been very enthusiastic about adventure and traveling. This led me to join Yeti Travel where I also got an opportunity to learn about the fundamentals of tour/travel business,” shares KAAJI.
After acquiring the necessary knowledge and skills, he then decided to establish his own tourism venture i.e Himalayan Expeditions in 1988. “In a way, the very company was the culmination of my passion to do something innovative in the country’s tourism sector. And, fortunately, it has been able to bring some really innovative tourism products to help expedite the growth of the sector,” he states.
Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon and Lumbini Peace Marathon are amongst such products which are the brainchild of KAAJI.
Since 2003, Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon is being organized every year on May 29 as part of the Everest Day celebrations.
It is an international high altitude adventure sports event held from Mt Everest Base Camp, crisscrossing the high Sherpa trails of Khumbu valley. The event, which was recognized by the government by issuing a Postal Stamp in 2014, is covered by leading international media like Xinhua and The Washing Post.
Similarly, the Lumbini Peace Marathon is being organized every year on Full Moon Day when Lord Gautam Buddha returned to his birthplace after getting enlightened. Interestingly Lumbini Peace Marathon is planned to be held as Bodh Gaya Enlightenment Marathon on the same day of September in 2020.
Buddhistcircuits.com was conceptualized a year back with an aim to promote Buddhist tourism in Nepal. In fact, KAAJI is someone who is also making efforts to help develop cross border tourism between Nepal and India as well as between Nepal and China.
“Buddhist Circuits Pilgrimage Tour (which cover Lumbini of Nepal and three other places of India-Bodhgaya, Sarnath, and Kushinagar) and Hindu Circuits Pilgrimage Tour is among major programs that are intended to help foster cross border tourism between Nepal and India. Similarly, the activities like Lhasa to Kathmandu Mountain Bike Expeditions, Climbing Expeditions to Mount Everest via North Ridge from Tibet and Tour of Kathmandu to Lhasa via Tingri, Shigatse and Gyantse are designed to help promote cross border tourism between Nepal and China,” he elaborates.
One of the prime goals of Buddhist Circuits tourism is to help develop Lumbini as a hub of Buddhist tourists. “There are around 700 million people following Buddhism in the world. And, if we attract even a small percent of them in the birthplace of Buddha, it could prove instrumental in achieving this objective,” KAAJI justifies.
According to KAAJI, he always makes sure that local people benefit from while executing the programs and activities of Himalaya Expeditions. “After all, this is very crucial to make Nepali tourism, in particular, sustainable.
As a veteran tourism entrepreneur of the country, he even advocates for concentrated efforts for promoting sustainability in the tourism sector. Such efforts are simply mandatory if we are to leverage the sector as a viable tool for expediting the socio-economic growth of the country.
While talking about the major challenges facing tourism, Pandey points out the poor state of public infrastructures like roads, transportation, airports, etc as a prime factor inhibiting the growth of the sector. “The government does not have to do a lot to help turnaround the sector. It just needs to come up with a proper plan to upgrade such infrastructures for this.”
According to him, the adoption of well-orchestrated strategies and their effective implementation is simply vital for sustainable growth of any industry/organization. ‘This is exactly what defines the business modus operandi of the Himalaya Expeditions”.
While managing his companies, he seems inclined to put a premium on human resources more than anything else. “For me, the most important asset of any business organization is its people. If they feel discouraged and demotivated, it will directly mar the organizational productivity and vibrancy,” KAAJI says. “So, I make efforts to encourage my staff members to work according to their potentials and give them necessary support and guidance. This has truly proven beneficial in terms of impelling them to execute their tasks with full enthusiasm and dedication,’ he further explains.
1. Goodwill Ambassador, Lumbini Development Trust, Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Civil Aviation, Government of Nepal
2. Honorary Member
- Indian Mountaineering Foundation
- By 50th General Assembly’s Unanimous Resolution (2014)
3. Advisor / formerly Vice President
- Nepal Mountaineering Association
4. Advisor, Himalayan Rescue Association
5. Trustee (Nepal Side)
Himalayan Environment Trust
- Was born in 1953 AD in Kathmandu.
- Lives with his wife and two sons.
- Holds a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce.
- Loves to travel to new places for refreshment and recreation.
- Is greatly influenced by the philosophy of Buddha.