Through this digital report, we hope to give you a glimpse into our company’s efforts towards becoming a responsible company.
We are excited to share with you our digital report on our social and environmental performance.
Between the high start of Visit Nepal 2020 and then waiting for sound news in the media about travel restrictions after two lockdowns during the Covid-19 Pandemic, we were preparing for every possible scenario.
We went through the steps of reflection, realization and reconciliation in 2020 and slowly built back our business by 2021. Looking back in these past two tumultuous years, there’s only one word that sums it all: resilience.
Follow our journey as we look back to our efforts since 2019 and how we overcame the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic to make the most of our resources.
Early 2020 was a hopeful time as the government had announced Visit Nepal Year 2020. We celebrated our gains from 2019 when the impact and sustainability department was set up at Royal Mountain Travel.
There was a 9% growth rate of our staff. We had set hefty goals to create more positive impact and expand our sustainability initiatives.
But the Covid-19 pandemic gave us a jolt. People all over the world lost or got separated from their loved ones. Many lost their income and jobs due to the government imposed lockdowns and economic uncertainties.
Amidst such uncertainties in Nepal, our team turned inwards to seek help.
While the offices closed due to the stringent lockdown restrictions from the government, we at Royal Mountain Travel worked on building solidarity among our team even when we felt disconnected from the physical office and the destinations.
We initiated Virtual Tours along with some local partners to engage our leaders and guides.
We gave Covid-19 Management training to the communities and staff.
to the Planet
While our physical and office-based work moved online, we had minimal office waste. We continued our collaboration with maintenance and recycling partners Khalisisi and Sajilo Marmat Sewa. We prioritised the use of our electric vehicles.
It was amazing to see our tour leaders induce much needed sustainable travel perspectives and help locals start the Panauti Bike Station and bike trails.
We focused on communication through Zoom where we conducted daily team building and motivational activities. We brainstormed how to make our trips sustainable and made preparations for rebuilding our website. We followed the innovation of virtual tours so that we could continue supporting the leaders and guides.
to our People
We ensured that our staff were supported despite the stagnancy in the tourism sector. Our staff remained gender equal. Women empowerment continues to be our goal.
Tourist Guide Day was celebrated on 21st February 2020 at Hotel Traditional Comfort with our tour leaders taking social distancing in mind. We asked our Agents to send a video message of hope for our guides and leaders. We celebrated our guides being the unofficial brand ambassadors of the country
Women’s Day 2020 was celebrated in our office.
The virtual tours in collaboration with our local and international partners helped bring some much needed income support for guides and leaders. Similarly, one of our guides took leadership in his hometown for cleaning and repainting the mani walls, an important cultural heritage in the Khumbu region.
to our Community
Our communities remained resilient.
Leaders conducted Covid-19 training in the communities of Barauli, Nagarkot Nuwakot, Panauti, Patalekhet, Maipokhari and Bardiya.
Project Koseli was initiated in Barauli with investment in packaging equipment.
We remained connected with our esteemed partners and stayed hopeful.
We are honored to have received the PATA 2020 Gold Award for Community-Based Tourism.
Workshops were held for staff engagement.
which we supported initially, expanded from 4 to 8 communities between 2020 and 2021 with the help of Booking Booster Grant.
Yoga sessions, sustainability training and product development consulting opportunities were given to Guides and Leaders.
We shared a 10-part Sustainability Series via YouTube with almost 54,000 views and 13,500 members subscribing to our YouTube channel. We hope that this series provided a much-needed contextual understanding of tourism and sustainability in Nepal and a call to action to fill in the gaps.
Our commitment within our operations remained intact. Post lockdown, store management was carried out. Staff also were engaged in Travelife training. We continued our partnership with recycling and maintenance partners. While we could not expand our electric fleet like we aimed for, we prioritised their use.
With our partner Khalisisi, we have recycled 445 kgs of paper, 60 kgs of metal, 300 pieces of bottles and 20kgs of plastic since 2019. We continue to be responsible and reduce consumption.
to the Planet
We introduced a Sustainability Performance measurement system for accomodation suppliers after assessing 37 hotels. Now our travel consultants have a better understanding of sustainable offerings for guests. We are also leading the way to help more suppliers perform better in their sustainability efforts.
We are a signatory and launch partner of the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism 2021. With this, we are continuing our efforts in environmental stewardship that began since our inception in 2005.
We have completed our fifth year of collaboration with Travelife. We are committed to move forward as we also complete the two-year term of the Travelife Certified Award for Excellence in Sustainability. We will continue our partnership in leading the sustainability efforts for businesses in Nepal.
Commitment to our Products
Our staff worked from home most of the beginning of 2020. However, by June with the lifting of the second nation-wide lockdown, all staff started coming to the workplace. It called for extra caution and Covid-19 management among our operations. We provided health and safety training as well as appointed Covid Liaison Officer to take lead during infection incidences.
Within our office, staff were engaged in rebuilding our website. Our website is more efficient for those seeking to travel sustainably and make a difference.
We conducted 20 virtual tours between 2020 and 2021 in Kathmandu and Bhaktapur Durbar Square. We used the non-profit platform MyNepal.online. The main goal of the platform is to support the Nepalese working in tourism, in exchange for a virtual visit to Nepal. In addition to generating income for their family, it is also important for the local hosts to continue to share their knowledge and passion. It helps them hone their skills and develop new (online) skills. Most of the proceeds from the tickets go directly to the host. A fifth of the proceeds will go to the community member; for example, a driver or chambermaid who does not have the option of organizing a virtual tour.
Our resilience came from our community.
We have a diverse community within our business. For our office staff, our business became a second home where they could make a difference. With small steps, the staff remained calm and moved forward. We paid attention to everyone, from the community homestay hosts to our guides and drivers.
Constant communication was carried out to keep spirits high and continue developing our products and services. Morning meditations rejuvenated our staff and motivated them to take good care of themselves and stay positive. We also organized a Refresher hike for our staff . We ran workshops and training for our guides and tour leaders.
to our People
Yoga for Leaders and Guides was conducted both as a skills training and as a rejuvenating experience to prepare for post pandemic travel.
Women empowerment continues to be our goal. Our staff remained gender equal. Mardi Base Camp Trek was organized by Women in the Lead, our staff initiative in collaboration with Community Homestay Network and Women’s Day 2021 was celebrated with much gusto.
Women have easier access to period management facilities at work: Sanitary pad boxes were installed in the women’s bathroom and the first aid box was made more accommodating to women’s needs during menstruation.
To continue staff support, drivers and leaders were fairly given income opportunities when possible.
Impact stories of 6 staff were shared in internal sustainability newsletters to inspire staff initiatives of giving back to the communities.
Similarly, the Impact and Sustainability department took the lead to engage staff for their greater contribution and motivation towards positive impact and sustainability in their decision making.
Late 2021, we were enthused to serve new traveler groups and we are excited about our guests coming in 2022.
to our Community
We supported our sister company Community Homestay Network to stay at the forefront of community resilience.
Women from Community Homestays built resilience with new skills through Project Koseli
Tharu chef from Barauli came to Kathmandu in an attempt at benefitting from as well as knowledge-sharing through the locally sourced supply chain. Royal Mountain Travel facilitated this exchange for Project Koseli.
Staff photography workshops helped them synthesize their knowledge and understanding of sustainability. It helped them become stronger advocates for environment stewardship while building a new skill.
Baseline surveys in homestay providing communities were supported by the Impact and Sustainability Manager of Royal Mountain Travel.
We continued communication and restarted working with our esteemed partners.
We have stayed hopeful with the help of various recognitions and collaborations.
Our sister company Community Homestay Network (CHN) got the opportunity to present their vision of developing community-based tourism products In United World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). They were later awarded as winners for the global startup challenge for SDGs-8 (Decent Work and economic growth).
Community Homestay Network (CHN) also got an opportunity to participate in World Travel Market (WTM) London for Front runners global startup challenge in 2021. Their initiative to promote Nepal as a cultural and experiential travel destination was awarded the Front Runners Winner - Experience Revolution category.
Along with the awards, we were also able to emphasize the immense possibilities of experiencing Nepal beyond the traditional way by contributing a case study focusing on community-based initiation at Narchyang Community homestay on joint publication by FAO and World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) representing the Nepalese context.
Vaccination drives and efforts to rejuvenate the economy gave way to reconnecting with new travel groups. This came at the cusp of 2021 and was a much needed morale boost. Despite many trip cancellations caused by the uncertainties, we were able to serve a few guests as well as reconnect with our partners while providing our service.
Recognition from the national and international communities for our efforts and support to our sister companies gave us a morale boost.
Eve of Revival
On the hinge of the years 2021 and 2022, we are marveling at each new guest who is coming to Nepal with such inspiring determination. We are thrilled to serve them but are still calm and collected. These past years have taught us to stay so and to work on getting better.
As we head into 2022, we are excited to carry forward this pursuit to become more sustainable and to push ourselves further as a responsible company.
We would like to thank all our partners and travelers for yet another rewarding year and for entrusting us with curating experiences. Hopefully we have helped you take a part of Nepal back with you.
For more information on Royal Mountain Travel, feel free to visit our website at https://royalmt.com.np/
For any questions and/or feedback, please email our Impact and Sustainability Department at [email protected]
Thank you to Outside, a digital agency studio based in Kathmandu, for helping us with the strategy and design of our impact report.