App to reduce hassle for international tourists to get TIMS and Permit

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Sagar has worked in the tourism industry for four years and is aware of the problems it is facing. Mostly in regards to TIMS and Permit that foreigners need to enter different trekking routes. At Udhyami Yuva Challenge, Sagar presented an idea that would solve this problem and make it easier for international tourists to have the best experience of traveling to different places in Nepal. 

Want to know what his idea actually is? Find out in this interview we had with him a few days back. 

Sagar-Gurung

1. Can you tell us briefly about your idea? And what inspired you to come up with it?
I’ll start with the inspiration first. During my work at Himalayan Deurali Resort, which was located around 20kms away from the Pokhara and trekking government offices, I saw that a lot of foreigners had to go all the way back there to get permits for their trekking. This was wasting their time and the process was very hectic too. So I thought maybe I could do something to reduce this hassle. After connecting the dots, I came up with this idea that offers TIMS and Permits through an app along with  online booking services. I realized that we could build a great connection between Nepal’s  tourism and technology for travellers..

My idea- Everest Safari plans to offer digital TIMS and Permits by collaborating with the Department of Immigration and Nepal Tourism Board. Along with that,  we are introducing online booking of travel guides and porters  as per traveller’s  preference like Chinese/Dutch-speaking. The whole motive is to give proper information at a fair price. I have seen that many agents provide the same service at $5 and even at $100 which confuses the tourists and makes them bargain even when someone is offering a good price. So, my intention with this idea is to solve issues that I have seen in the tourism industry.

2. You mentioned that you had already begun setting up your company before the lockdown happened. Is it up and running now?
It’s not fully running as I wasn’t able to completely set up everything. I had met up with a CA to discuss legal procedures to set up the company. I had also posted a vacancy for a full stack developer on Facebook for which I had gotten few CVs. Other than that, I was also connecting with someone from Nepal Tourism Board to talk about the API integration. However, after the lockdown, I haven’t been able to take the idea further. Website and app development is under process during this lockdown.

3. How are you planning to collaborate with the government since your idea wants to offer legal documents to the tourists?
Yes, actually we need to get permission from the Department of Immigration and integrate its API within our system. As I mentioned earlier, I had talked to someone from Nepal Tourism Board regarding this idea and they seemed quite supportive.I had talked to people from PATA and they were very encouraging too. But, I haven’t been able to connect with the Department of Immigration as of now. 

4. Are there any existing competitors for your idea?
The idea that I have come up with hasn’t been done by any other companies as of now. I think the only competitor for me would be an international company called Kimkim. They have an app that gives the users information about local experts, guides and porters. Plus, they have a huge massive reach in the international market so it’ll be a challenge to compete with them. However, since we’ll be the only company providing legal permits, there aren’t other competitors as such.

5. What are the challenges you might face while starting the company?
The main challenges for this idea would be getting permission from the department of immigration. It will be a very difficult process but the tourism industry is very supportive as I have been around the industry for four years. Another hurdle is definitely the pandemic which is for everyone else too. Besides these, I guess I’ll face a challenge in marketing about our services.

6. How was your experience at the UYC bootcamp?
It was very nice. Blincventures.com selected very diverse trainers who covered diverse topics and were also from different countries. It was amazing talking to those people who were experienced, asking questions one-one-one and getting direct feedback. It was way better than taking any other online classes. I took all the sessions live and the sessions were very helpful.

7. Was there any session you liked the most? Any other session you think could be added?
All of them were very nice. I loved the session on Digital Marketing done by Sanjhi Rajgarhia who gave us practical tips and great explanations that were to the point. There was a great interaction and Q/A session and she answered everything in a way we could understand. I think all the topics were included but I wasn’t able to grab the finance part the most because I didn’t have clear knowledge on this subject.

8. If you get the seed fund, how do you plan to take your idea further?
I don’t think I’ll proceed with this idea right away because of the current situation. If I work on it, the idea will be ready within a few months. All user experience and everything is almost ready but because of the current circumstance I won’t go ahead with this idea now but I’ll go ahead with something else that will be useful to solve problems of current situations. 

9. Has your business idea evolved post attending bootcamp, if so how?
Since the bootcamp was only for 5 days, I wouldn’t say my idea evolved as such but I grasped knowledge about various topics. I am more clear about the  step-by-step actions needed to kickstart our company. I was really pushing my head throughout the lockdown brainstorming for  new ideas or ways to evolve my idea, So, I found  one problem related to travel which I think we could solve.

For more information about this company, please connect with Sagar at sagargrgpkr@gmail.com

Interviewed and article by Yangzum Lama.