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September 30, 2020

Three Sisters: Women’s campaign for women in tourism

Kathmandu: Around 35 years ago, when three sisters Lucky, Dicky and Nicky arrived in Pokhara and decided to make Pokhara as their work place, they had never thought that their work will one day be a prime source of inspiration for hundreds and thousands of Nepali women.

Initially when they started running restaurant and lodge in Pokhara the three sisters were pricked by one thing  that there were no female trekking guides at that time.

The three sisters of Three Sisters Adventure Treks had met with many female trekkers from around the world during their trekking trips and heard about the horrible as well as pathetic stories of female trekkers about how they had encountered maltreatment at the hands of the male guides. It moved the three sisters and encouraged them to produce female guides.

The most significant work of these three sisters is to produce female guides although they are running hotels and trekking agency too. The sisters believe that their single effort has contributed to free movement of women in tourism.

So. this time we narrated the success story of three sisters Lucky, Dicky and Nicky who had come to Nepal from Darjeeling. The excerpts follows:

Lucky Chhetri

Speaking to highlightstourism, Lucky Chhetri who is one of the founding board of directors of ‘three sisters adventure treks’  said that the first thing to do in Covid -19 pandemic is to stay safe for which we are doing yoga, meditation to ease or balance our tension.

We should also thank the modern technology that has enabled us to take part in various virtual seminars. We are also planning to make further strategy to restart our future tourism business.

Being a pioneering female guide has been an opportunity for us as we have got several awards, scholarships and recognitions, while challenges are also many.

As for challenges, cultural issues are many as people think that female guides should not do trekking guide jobs. We were blamed on many occasions and we were even sued to the courts in some cases. However, we have continued to pull on with our business.

The three sisters adventure trekking was named when our well known clients started looking for us in Pokhara as three sisters and three chhetris.

Actually, we think the 25 years have passed not in vain. Now we have realized that we have been able to create new jobs for the women which have given us satisfaction because luckily we were the first women to do it.

Our target groups are female tourists, so we usually give our services through female guides. But if the couples and families come and demand either female or male guides then we do accordingly. All male and female guides are given equal wages.

Female guides carry around 12 kg luggage, while male guides carry around 15 kg luggage. We suggest that the government ensures PCR test to be done immediately. So that tourism sector can remain safe.

Our safety protocol should be good enough. We pay 25% tax. But tourism is something that does not remain same all the time. So government should make flexible provisions in tax payment. There must be emergency fund for the tourism sector which is what we have learnt from this coronavirus pandemic.

Dicky Chhetri

Now our social distance has estranged all our family members. Our daily routine is to do yoga, meditation and reading lovable books.

We came to Nepal on November 1993. We stayed at Mahendrapool in Pokhara. We started restaurant at Puskar Guest House. Then we came to know that the female trekkers had had bad experience with male guides and there were no female guides at that time.

Then we thought of producing new female guides for the upcoming female trekkers. The female trekkers then became very interested in our female guides. The female tourists themselves advertized about our female guides. Soon we were popular in Pokhara.

Now, we are receiving female guides from well educated families, while in the initial  stage the female from poor family used to come to us.

Language is the main barrier for our female guides now. During season time also the lodges remain packed and female guides find difficult to get accommodation. Then due to global warming the weather remains unpredictable which makes it risky for female guides to encounter avalanches although there has not been any casualties so far. Sometimes male guides tell fabricated bad stories about female guides to discourage them.

All female guides undergo basic trainings related to first aid, emergency, special Red Cross training to update them about the safety measures related to tourism sector. My suggestion for the government is that we should give more facility related to visas so that we could receive more tourists in the country.

Nicky Chhetri

The lock down period has given us opportunity to explore our hidden talents. We have also been able to recheck our lacking in our work which we are improving for the future work. We three sisters do anything in close consultation with one another.

Initially, it was difficult to convince the females to come into this guide profession. But after six months when people saw changes in the life style of the female guides, the people started developing interest in us and in female guide profession.

Now our country is not safe. We can only do good service in 2021. So we expect to receive more tourists in 2021. We should go for quality tourism too.

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