Nepali Times: What's behind your renewed push in Nepal?
Ramesh Tainwala: We entered the Nepali market four years ago and have had to bear a lot of loss. But with the peace process underway, our assessment is that the market environment will be much better. We are confident about launching our products once again.
What do you see is the future of the Nepali market?
Boston Consulting in the United States advises the Samsonite Corporation about how to deal with international markets. We know from the tour operators Carlson Wagonlit that they alone will increase the numbers of tourists they bring into Nepal in 2008-09 by over 400 percent. In addition to tourism, business travel will also grow, and we need to be ready before they arrive.
So the tourist market is large enough?
We are trying to be more visible in Nepal not just because we want to sell more, but also to offer service. Existing customers will have access to repair services for their products.
You are offering a large range here; what's new in it?
The corporation offers five brands: Samsonite, the luxury Black Label, American Tourister for family travels, Timberland for outdoor activities, and Lacoste for women. Samsonite and Black Label are here, we will also introduce Lacoste and Timberland.
Does this mean a big investment?
We have four showrooms in Nepal. By the end of the year we plan to have 11. We will also open showrooms in Pokhara, because it is a big tourist destination. We expect additional investment of $700,000, at $100,000 per showroom. In addition, we are also organising a global sales meet in Nepal in November.