Jean-Louis Ripoche, the General Manager of Kathmandu Marriott Hotel, believes Nepal offers something new and mystic to every traveler coming to this country. He says Nepal has always something new to offer to tourists such as its rich tradition, mystic culture, and hospitality.
As he continues to say, Marriott Hotel, too, has been offering new tastes and hospitality to its guests by adopting the local themes such as food, architecture, design, and other services.
The Marriott Hotel located in Kathmandu’s prime location, just a stone’s throw from the historic Narayanhiti Palace Museum (former Royal Palace), marks the debut of the flagship brand in Nepal.
He gently asserts that his hotel has been ‘blending’ the local culture with its services.
Nepal’s political stability is one of the reasons why Marriott is here. Some years back, investing in Nepal wasn’t a good idea. This is what he believes.
“I feel that we have moved into Nepal at the right time,” he said during the course of conversation with Khabarhub, indicating at the increased number of tourists and the stable government in recent years.
“We consistently try to give a cultural touch in our services,” asserts Ripoche elucidating further, “To be more precise, we want to keep Nepal’s culture very close to us.”
He, therefore, wants to see Kathmandu as a cultural city with all modern amenities, but not a modern city. “Kathmandu should be preserved as a cultural city, its cultural values need to be maintained,” he said suggesting that this city should not lose its unique identity since it has been recognized as a unique and mystic destination.
He, however, suggests Nepal’s infrastructure needs to be improved but without affecting its rich cultural identity and heritage.
“Will a tourist be fascinated by high-rise buildings in Kathmandu?” he queried, adding, “Perhaps not.”
For this reason, Ripoche asserts that the presence of Marriott will make a difference in the hotel business in Nepal.
At a time when Nepal is observing Visit Nepal 2020, an ambitious campaign to attract over 2 million tourists, Ripoche says there is a great expectation for next year.
“We are always ready to support the government in the campaign,” says he. Ripoche, however, has a question: “Was it the right year to observe the mega event?” In his opinion, the government could have carried out more discussions and prioritized more on publicity campaigning in major cities of the world to bring in more international tourists, which he argued has been lacking.
He, however, hastens to dub the government’s decision as appropriate.
Ripoche also suggests the concerned authorities to organize cultural events and festivals on a regular basis in Nepal major towns such as Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Lumbini to promote tourism.
“Someone needs to put it together and advertise the events and happenings on a monthly basis,” he said adding, “Tourists need to know what is coming next month. Moreover, they will take this as an opportunity since they should have a purpose to come to this beautiful country with beautiful weather.”
He is also concerned about the Thamel area, which he describes as an ‘amazing pedestrian tourist hub’ in Kathmandu where tourists should be able to walk freely and enjoy Thamel’s beauty sans vehicular movement.
“There are several cities such as in Belgium or Paris where vehicles are restricted inside the tourist areas,” he says adding, “Thamel, too, needs to be a vehicle-free zone.”
Another motivating aspect to attract tourists, according to him, should be a provision of free-visa during the peak season “If the number of tourists is doubled, whatever they spend in Nepal, the country will see economic growth.”
He also suggested the government to ensure hassle-free and flaw-less services at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA).
Coming back on the issue of his hotel, he said they have introduced several innovative approaches in their services, including the Thamel Kitchen, which he claims is interactive in nature.
The hotel has been organizing some weekly events such as Thamel Street every Friday by creating an ambiance of Thamel.
He states that the 214-room Kathmandu Marriott Hotel has been specially designed to ensure a brilliant stay adding, “We have been delivering unparalleled guest experiences along with comfort and great service offering both sumptuous local and international cuisines to the guests.”