Chau Bahadur Gurung is the newly elected president of Restaurant and Bar Association Nepal (REBAN) Pokhara. He is also a Managing Director of Billy Bunter Restaurant residing in touristy center Lakeside. He has been in tourism sector for about two decades. We have caught him for a short chitchat following his victory in REBAN chair. Excerpts:
Are you planning anything new as a newly elected president of REBAN Pokhara?
I am thinking of launching some programs to fulfill the shortage of skilled manpower that we have been facing for years. Training programs will also be organized to produce the manpower especially for restaurant sector. On top of that, I am also thinking of opening an institute that could produce skilled manpower.
REBAN Pokhara has been hosting Pokhara Street Festival for 17 years but it always has same nature and pattern; why is it so?
As we know the food, culture and fun are some of the key specialties of street festival. We every year try to add something new in our festival. Nature and culture are our tourism’s integral parts; so, we will try to add more culture groups with diversification in the festival. That will help to preserve our Nepali culture.
Visitors always complaint that the street festival charges high price to its visitors but REBAN announces discount offer prior to the festival.
The restaurant which is owned by REBAN member offers discount as previously committed however the shops or restaurants which are not a REBAN member could try to take bad-advantage of the festival but we are sensitive about the issue that you raised. However visitors should pay a bit higher inside the cordon park is a reality.
There is another charge on REBAN that the stalls during the street festival hardly maintain the hygiene; how sensitive are you REBAN restaurants about on that part?
This is not true that we sell the food items not maintaining the hygiene. We are very much aware about the hygiene of our cuisines that we offer. Not only in the time of festival but also in other regular time, we equally careful to serve the hygienic foods. For that, we have been launching various training programs to the restaurants staffers as well as to the owners, for years.
What are the major problems that REBAN members facing?
I have already mentioned that the shortage of skilled manpower is our major problem. Now the tourism season is about to start in Nepal but we haven’t enough manpower to serve the tourists who come to visit Nepal. Likewise, The Dashain is also in our doorstep, we couldn’t get enough time to celebrate that festival because of the peak tourism season. Neither we can off our staffers to their home to celebrate the festival.
What will REBAN do on the part of Pokhara promotion during your tenure?
Every year REBAN has been launching tourism promotion campaign targeting specially to domestic tourists. Likewise, this year too, we will come up with a campaign of promotion that will be done in various districts of Nepal.