Samir Thapa : A Harbinger of Hospitality

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Samir Thapa : A Harbinger of Hospitality

Well educated and well travelled, Samir Thapa coalesced his vast experience with his desire to uplift the Nepali hospitality industry by establishing the Silver Mountain School of Hotel Management, a leading hospitality institution in Nepal.

According to Samir Thapa, executive chairman of the Silver Mountain School of Hotel Management (SMSH), the actions of the prevailing generation shape the circumstances of the subsequent generation. It is a reflection of our obligation to leave the earth in a better place than the one we found it in. "Always think about the future generation and how our efforts can change their standard of living," says Thapa, a pragmatic optimist.

Born in 1973, Thapa completed his schooling from Siddhartha Vanasthali Institute, Kathmandu, and subsequently, his High School education from Baldwin Boys School, Bangalore. He completed his Undergraduate degree in Hotel Management from Switzerland and his Graduate degree from Trinity College, Texas, USA.

While growing up, Thapa wanted to become a doctor, a profession undertaken by many of his relatives. "I always dreamt of being a doctor, I even took biology while I was in High School," he remarks, adding, "One day I went to a concert while studying in Bangalore, I saw a senior holding a book and asked him the reason behind bringing a book to a concert. He told me he had his medical school exams in a week so if he didn’t like the song, he would go sit in the corner to study." This encounter altered his perception towards his potential profession. He did not intend for his life to be drowned in a concoction of books and compromises.  

Food and hospitality had always fascinated Thapa, so he embarked on a journey into the realm of Hotel Management. "While pursuing my undergraduate degree, I had already decided I wanted to become an entrepreneur," says Thapa, adding, "I thought it would be difficult to set up a business in a foreign country since there would be a lot of competition and would require a huge investment." Hence, he returned to Nepal. Immediately after coming back, the Radisson Hotel offered him a position.

According to Thapa, when it first started, Radisson Hotel advertised a vacancy for 331 staff members. The announcement received 7,000 applications. He was part of the selection committee tasked with interviewing the 3000 short-listed candidates. "While holding the interviews, I realised that there were only 10 applicants who had a formal degree in Hotel Management," recalled Thapa, continuing, "I recognised the dearth of Hotel Management graduates in the country and decided to open a Hotel Management College to expedite the growth of the hospitality sector"

Thapa worked at the Radisson Hotel-Kathmandu for two years and left in 1999. His first venture upon departure was Wimpy Burgers; one of the first international fast-food franchises in Nepal. "Even though Wimpy was doing great at that point in time, I realised this was not my calling and left Wimpy to start my School of Hotel Management." Thapa opened Silver Mountain School of Hotel Management (SMSH) in 2001, a week before the Royal Massacre. As stated by Thapa, the tragedy led to the closure of his college for an entire year. The college was formally reopened in 2002.

Today, SMSH, located at Lainchour, Kathmandu runs a four-year Bachelor Degree in International Hospitality and Tourism Management in affiliation with Queen Margaret University, UK. The college also provides a Higher Diploma in International Culinary Arts; leading to a four-year hospitality degree.

A passionate wildlife enthusiast, Thapa is an ardent devotee of nature and its conservation. “During my teenage years I really enjoyed hunting but with time, age and understanding, I realised the need to conserve our flora and fauna was pressing and urgent.” He is also a self-described foodie and loves experimenting with new cuisines. Thapa enjoys his music. Once a huge fan of Heavy Metal, he says with time his taste in music is evolving.

Father to two lovely daughters, Thapa lives in a joint family in Kuleshwor with his parents and wife. He is a staunch believer in living life to the fullest and is proud of the choices that have led him to where he is today. 

Thapa has been an active member of Entrepreneur Organisation (EO) for the last five years. EO is a global peer-to-peer network of over 12,000 influential business owners with 160 chapters in 50 countries. According to Thapa, EO has helped him expand his networks and EO members have grown to become like family to him. Founded in 1987, EO is the catalyst that enables leading entrepreneurs to learn and grow, contributing to greater success in business and beyond. EO Nepal, which was established in 2003, is among the 160 chapters of the global organisation. Currently, it has 61 members.

As for the future, over the next five years, Thapa sees himself getting back into operations and running a Hotel of his own. Alongside that endeavour, he plans on expanding his institution to other districts in Nepal. SMSH has already established its branch in Nepalgunj and will shortly open one in Pokhara.

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