A college in Pokhara has been running an academic programme which can be vital for the development of mountain tourism in Nepal.
After agriculture, tourism is the main sector contributing to the GDP and economic growth in Nepal. According to government data, the contribution of the tourism sector to the GDP increased to 4 percent in 2017 from 3.7 percent in 2016. The contribution which is projected at 4 percent for 2018 is expected to grow to 4.2 percent by 2028. In this context, the country’s mountain region can play a vital role in national economic development. Home to some of the world’s highest peaks, including Mt. Everest, Nepal has a tremendous potential in mountain tourism including mountain biking, bungee jumping,
rock climbing and mountain climbing, mountain flights, paragliding, canoeing, etc.
Considering these potentials, Janapriya Multiple Campus (JMC) at Pokhara has started doing its bit to develop mountain tourism through education. The college started the Bachelor’s in Mountain Tourism Management (BMTM) course after receiving affiliation from Tribhuvan University in 2074 BS. According to BBA coordinator of JMC, Megh Raj Poudel, infrastructures (physical and human resources) of mountain tourism are still in their infancy that required improvement in the existing situation. He shares, “There was no course for the students aspiring to study mountain tourism in Nepal before BMTM.
Many students would come here for studying mountain tourism but we didn’t have any course. On other hand, there was increasing demand for competent and capable human resources for increasing tourism business in Nepal. To produce such manpower, we started the course.”
According to Poudel, JMC conducted a feasibility study on BMTM with the help of tourism expert Pro Dr Ramesh Raj Kunwar for almost three years before launching the course. At present, it is the only college in Nepal running the course in Pokhara. “We are planning to develop a master’s degree course such as MBA in Mountain Tourism and working on it at present,” shares Poudel.
BMTM is a course on adventure tourism which is suitable for those who are keenly interested in pursuing a career in mountain tourism. Students are required to travel to adventurous places. The programme teaches the importance of mountain tourism management to the students. It introduces the students to the basic principles of mountain tourism and also the intricacies of the fast-growing global tourism industry. The programme makes students focus on mountain tourism development.
The BMTM syllabus includes 16 subjects including Sustainable Mountain Tourism Management, Institutional Growth in Mountain Tourism, Mountain Tourism Entrepreneurship, Disaster Management in Mountain Region, Mountain Adventures and Sports Tourism etc. Beside this, the programme includes subjects related to social sciences, management, analytical courses, different communication/languages (Chinese/Japanese/Korean/French) and IT.
Paudel says that BMTM is a completely practical course which provides theoretical as well as practical knowledge to the students. According to him, BMTM students are required to go to field visits for 10 to 15 weeks in each semester. “We divide the students into different groups to visit different possible areas of mountain tourism. They study the possibility of mountain tourism there. They prepare questions, collect data, analyse the data and make reports. They present the report to us as well as different business persons and encourage them in promoting the mountain tourism business,” he explains.
BTTM is different from Bachelor of Mountain Studies (BMS). Poudel shares, “Both BMTM and BMS were launched almost at the same time in Nepal. However, they are different from each other. BMS is a generalised programme that covers all kinds of tourism whereas BMTM is just focused on mountain tourism and its management. The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation took initiatives for BMS in the Kathmandu Valley while we started BMTM here.”
Scope and Collaboration
BMTM has a wide scope in Nepal. “We have collaboration with Higher Institutions and Secondary Schools’ Association of Nepal (HISSAN), Nepal Travel Agents Association (NATA), National Examinations Board (NEB),” shares Poudel. According to him, the college has signed memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with different organisations of Pokhara including Paschimanchal Hotel Association, Pokhara, Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN), Pokhara Tourism Council, Cosmic Trekking & Expedition Pvt Ltd , Peace Himalaya Paragliding Pvt Ltd, Hotel Point, Adams Treks and Expedition Pvt Ltd, Open Sky Paragliding Pvt Ltd, Heaven Nepal Travel and Treks Pvt Ltd, Travel and Trekking Pvt Ltd, Himshree Foods Pvt Ltd, Pokhara Foods Pvt Ltd, The Bluebird Hotel, Saleways Department Store, Shangrila Village and Nepal Bank Limited, Regional Office at Pokhara.
After completing the BMTM programme, the students can work as tour managers, tourism promoters/marketers, reservation officers/agents, ticketing officers, sales officers, event managers, travel agency staff, travel and tourism consultants, travel agents, tour operators, entrepreneurs, tour officers, customer service managers and at managerial positions at different travel and tour companies.
BMTM aims to introduce and address mountain tourism management issues and scope of the local, national and international arena. In addition, it provides the general as well as specific knowledge concerning the dynamics of mountain tourism components in Nepal. It aims to increase tourism business activities in a disciplined and ethical manner.
It communicates ideas, intentions and outcomes clearly to a variety of audiences. It contributes to an effective operational management of the various components of the mountain tourism industry.
Poudel says that the students will be able to recognize the factors necessary for the management of mountain tourism in the country after the completion of BMTM. The course will help them to identify and analyze the opportunities and challenges of mountain tourism in the country. It will also enable the students to be mountain entrepreneurs, identifying social, cultural, environmental and political impacts that tourism and mountain business has on a mountain.
BMTM students are required to make field visits, besides studying theoretical concepts, models, and frameworks in classroom to comprehend the real situation of mountain tourism. Prescribed readings from textbooks and industry bulletins are compulsory for the students.
According to Poudel, industry experts deliver lectures to the students from time to time. Students develop a sustainable tourism development argument to alleviate regional and global economic backwardness. There are structured, face-to-face seminars on the prevailing regional and global mountain tourism management and marketing issues.
JMC announces admission for BMTM generally at the end of July every year. Students passing intermediate level or equivalent in any discipline with a minimum 45 percent marks or a minimum CGPA 1.8 are eligible for the programme. Students who have appeared in grade improvement examination of 10+2 may also apply on provisional basis.
Applicants should pass the entrance test (MAT) conducted by the Faculty of Management, JMC. MAT test includes verbal ability, quantitative ability, logical reasoning, and general awareness. Only the candidates short-listed from the written test are interviewed and selected for admission. The admission is strictly based on a merit list which is prepared on the basis of 60 per cent of MAT test, 30 per cent of marks/grade secured in plus two or equivalent level and 10 per cent of interview.
“Many students apply for BMTM. However, we take only 30 students in each intake,” shares Poudel.
Fee Structure and Scholarship
For the academic year 2018, the total fee for the programme has been set at Rs 349, 000. Two students passing their SEE and 10+2 from government or community schools/colleges are provided 50 per cent scholarship.
BMTM is a four-year program with eight semesters. The college runs this programme in the day shift from 11:00 am to 4:30 pm.