Making Nepal tranquil

Aroma Therapy

On his two smartphones with two SIM cards each, Bhuwan Phaiju gets more than 150 calls a day. It disrupts his interviews, meetings, personal life and mainly his well-being. With life so hectic, what Phaiju probably needs is a wellness session in his own Tranquility Spa.

The calls are mostly related to construction of his new facility at Soaltee Crowne Plaza which got delayed by the BIMSTEC Summit last week. As CEO and Chairman of Tranquility, Phaiju is rushing to complete the outlet by first week of October. He says it will be a game changer in Nepal’s spa industry and he wants perfection.

“We have taken an acre of land in the vicinity of Soaltee Hotel on lease. In the history of the spa industry in Nepal, no one has ever used this much land for spa treatment and fitness centre,” says Phaiju, and he has reason to be slightly boastful.

Tranquility Spa at Soaltee will have Ayurvedic therapy, a well-equipped gymnasium, fitness hall for zumba, aerobics, yoga and meditation practice, swimming pool with reverse osmosis water, unisex beauty salon, and tennis clay court all under one roof. Employing more than 60 staff, the centre aspires to be a relaxation hub for Nepalis, expats and tourists.

Since its establishment in 2008, Tranquility Spa has expanded rapidly to 15 outlets, including the latest, in Kathmandu, Pokhara, Chitwan and even in Kuala Lumpur, generating employment for more than 300 staff. Two more hotels in Pokhara will also have Tranquility outlets each.

And Phaiju has more coming. He is beginning the search for land to build a vocational training academy that will prepare personnel in gym, anatomy, physiology and 15 different head to toe beauty and wellness treatments. The training will offer a 100% job guarantee.

Phaiju’s plan is simple: create employment so Nepalis do not have to migrate, and if they do go abroad so they can earn more and send more remittance back to the country.

And there is Phaiju’s dream project: a spa resort away from the hustle and bustle of Pokhara but not too far. A quiet and serene place surrounded by lush vegetation, a flowing river alongside with an open field, guests can book a stay to treat themselves with relaxation packages.

“We are looking for ways to influence tourists to extend their stay for a day or two. If we can at least influence 10,000 tourists, it means 10,000 more rooms are booked and 30,000 meals are sold. It links directly with tourism economy. And the best part is it will not be just for international tourists,” Phaiju explains.

During the early spa days in Nepal, 90% of the clients would be visiting tourists or foreigners and expats living in the country. Despite the frequent police raids, high-end spas and treatment centres continue to maintain quality and expand service. More and more Nepalis are now visiting spas with their families and friends, making up to 95% of the clientele.

With hectic modern lifestyles, the trend of staying fit and fresh is becoming more popular. The only reason the growing demand cannot be met is the lack of human resource in Nepal. Says Phaiju: “I have to do my part to slow the migration of Nepalis abroad by creating work here and contribute with productive investment.”

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