Consultant

J.E. Austin Associates (JAA) is a highly respected and innovative development consulting firm that pioneers new approaches and on-the-ground implementation to help developing and emerging economies generate sound and inclusive business-led growth. For 35 years we have helped business and government leadership to achieve rapid growth that is economically, politically, and socially sustainable. We are a proven leader in adapting advanced business tools, management methodologies and analytical techniques to the contextual realities of business and policy environments in less developed and emerging economies. We typically work in over 30 countries each year, in areas such as strategic planning, competitiveness, value chain, entrepreneurship, agribusiness, investment, and workforce development.

J.E. Austin Associates (JAA) is a highly respected and innovative development consulting firm that pioneers new approaches and on-the-ground implementation to help developing and emerging economies generate sound and inclusive business-led growth. For 35 years we have helped business and government leadership to achieve rapid growth that is economically, politically, and socially sustainable. We are a proven leader in adapting advanced business tools, management …

Consultant

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Title of Assignment: To provide technical support in implementation, monitoring and assessing of tourism grants focused on enhancing the hospitality services in Manang and Mustang, Gandaki Province.

Type of Consultancy: 
Short Term Technical Assistance (STTA)
Period of implementation: 
March 2024 upto November 2024
LOE: 10 days per month for 9 months
Location: Manang, Mustang and Kathmandu

Background

USAID Trade and Competitiveness Activity is a five-year activity that will provide opportunities for the Nepali economy as it recovers from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Activity will enable Nepal to capitalize on global integration to diversify toward higher quality and higher value exports, foster sustainable job growth and income-generating opportunities for those that have previously been left behind by economic growth, and create greater sustainability and resiliency. The activity will also deliberately promote the integration of women, youth, and marginalized groups into markets to participate in economic opportunities created as Nepal’s economy grows. It will increase jobs and exports while supporting the private sector in managing risks from climate change, COVID-19, and other threats.

The goal is to accelerate firm and sector level competitiveness, generate employment opportunities, and increase sales of firms through interventions that incentivize public and private sector actors across the ecosystem to adopt new behaviors driving outcomes across three objectives:

  • To increase access to market-based financial and non-financial services.
  • To increase productivity in sectors with high growth and employment potential; and
  • To improve the investment climate and business enabling environment (BEE), especially for targeted sectors.
  • To support private sector-led economic recovery.

Purpose

The tourism sector is characterized as having the most opportunities to scale, both vertically and horizontally. It has an immense capacity to leverage on sector-level opportunities, generate employment and business opportunities, and translate benefits to all the actors involved in the sector. The constraints are poor infrastructure and connectivity; lack of skilled human resources; and limited promotion and market access. The Activity’s key interventions in improving the sector are to increase the value of its destination offering, including diversification of product, upgrading facilities and services, and upgrading the skills of tourism stakeholders.

The Annapurna Circuit Trail (ACT) is considered a popular tourist trekking route for Nepal and attracted the highest number of international visitors/trekkers before the pandemic. Despite being a popular destination, the area is presently challenged with inadequate touristic infrastructure limiting the access and stay of high-end tourists within the area. To address these challenges and to complement the growing demand for comfortable and adequately facilitated hotel accommodation services, scaling up and restructuring existing tourist facilities in the Annapurna Circuit Trekking route is a requirement.

Manang, one of the largest villages along the Annapurna Circuit, is the major acclimatization stop-over for trekkers before attempting the Thorong La Pass (5415 meters). Manang as a part of the Annapurna Circuit holds unique touristic value; and upgrading the tourist facilities such as hotel/accommodation within the area is expected to increase tourist flow in the ACT.

Similarly, Mustang lies within the trans-Himalayan region and covers about 47% of the Annapurna Conservation Area with the elevation ranging from 2,000 m to 8,168 m from the sea level. Mustang is well known tourism destination for its pristine biodiversity, spectacular scenery, world’s deepest Kali Gandaki gorge and lunar-like landscapes. Mustang has many interesting cultural and historical monuments such as historic places, forts, and walled city in Lo-Manthang. Jomsom, Muktinath, and Kagbeni serve as the primary destinations for many visitors. Mustang as a part of the hotel/accommodation within the area and is expected to increase the touristic flow in the ACT.

The Activity is providing grants to tourism enterprises in Manang and Mustang Districts to improve the overall customer experience, increase the quality-of-service offerings to high-end customers, and to increase the number of visitors through the upgradation tourism facilities. In addition to grants, the Activity plans to carry out training and other technical services to standardize the service offerings of these enterprises as part of developing an improved brand/image for the ACT beyond a backpacker’s market and catering to more diverse tourist segments.

Objective:

This STTA aims to provide management and monitoring support for the implementation of the T&C Grants in the ACT as well as to help in carrying out other technical assistance to upgrade and standardize services and facilities including enterprises beyond the grantees and to coordinate with other T&C activities or other donor activities that maybe carried out in the ACT area such as the SAVE Tourism to ensure complementation with T&C and other donor activities in the ACT.

Tasks:

Management of Grants’ implementation

  • Develop and implement a management plan for the implementation of T&C grants to 25 tourism enterprises (and potentially another 8-10 more enterprises) along the Annapurna Circuit Trail (ACT) to ensure accomplishment of targets and successful implementation of the grants.
  • Ensure compliance of activities with grant requirements and track achievement of milestones against the implementation plan,
  • Provide guidance and support to grant recipients to help them meet their grant obligations and requirements.
  • Facilitate communication between grant recipients and relevant internal and external stakeholders.
  • Oversee the disbursement of grant packages, identify, troubleshoot, and report issues in a timely manner, especially those that pose risks to compliance and reputation of the Activity, Deloitte and/or USAID.

Coordinate and facilitate implementation of capacity building activities

  • Work with the Tourism Value Chain Manager in identifying and facilitating capacity building initiatives aimed at standardization of tourism services and products. These may include training such as hygiene and sanitation, digital marketing, housekeeping, food, and beverage, etc. as appropriate.

Verification, Documentation and Reporting

  • Work with T&C MEL team and the Tourism Value Chain Manager to develop and implement a monitoring and assessment plan, data collection system, and timely monitoring of the progress and outcomes of the grants in ACT.
  • Monitor and report on the results of the grant implementation as well as the other technical assistance provided by T&C, including any challenges or successes.
  • Conduct site visits, evaluations, and assessments as needed to verify the accuracy of Grantee reported information.
  • Assist Grantees in the preparation and timely submission of grant reports as per the required deliverables.
  • Maintain and organize a comprehensive record of all grant-related documentation and reports, upload on shared folder of T&C.
  • Deliver a presentation at the end of the 4 th month of engagement to outline progress, findings, challenges, /threats and recommendations, including insights and learnings relating to the grants and other T&C initiatives in the ACT.

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s or master’s degree in management, economics, or relevant field.
  • Understanding and prior experience working in Tourism sector in Nepal.
  • Demonstrated experience in managing and coordinating project implementation.
  • Experience managing grants preferred.
  • Should be familiar with the geographical area, local resident preferred.
  • Prior experience working in the ACT.
  • Strong communication and presentation skills, including oral and written.
  • High degree of independence, flexibility, and ability to meet strict deadlines.
  • Fluent in spoken and written English and Nepali.
  • Individual pan account number registered in the inland revenue department in Nepal.
  • Should be able to provide the invoice stating the daily rate of previous consultations.
  • Business training/education/background preferred.

Payment:

  • The consultant must submit a timesheet, invoice, expense report as applicable, and a written progress report monthly to receive payment.

Reporting Requirements:

  • The consultant will report to the Tourism Value Chain Manager.

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