To Franklin D. Roosevelt, happiness was not in the mere possession of money. It lied in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. This is what applies in the career of Prithvi Bahadur Pande, the chairman of Nepal Investment Bank Ltd.
After taking the management of the Indo-Suez Bank, Pande, son of Nepal's renowned administrator, diplomat and scholar late Bhim Bahadur Pande, has turned Nepal Investment Bank not only into one of the most successful ventures but also demonstrated the capability and strength of the Nepali people to manage world class banks.
Despite staying in the forefront of Nepal's banking sector, as the highest tax payer among the commercial banks over a few years, Pande was looking for more than money. Last month, he launched the Himalaya Airlines, the biggest private airlines with the largest amount of investment as a first joint venture with the Tibet airlines. Pande was essentially jumping into investing in the infrastructure sector.
In his quest for creation, Pande has come out with a vision to establish the Chhaya Center, a multi-stored building, hosting the world renowned Starwood's Aloft brand in Nepal. As his father late Bhim Bahadur Pande contributed in the building of modern Nepal by serving in the bureaucracy, diplomacy and intellectual sector, Prithvi Bahadur Pande is also on the path of nation building through establishing private sector institutions in banking, aviation and tourism.
Endowed with many fine values, such as courtesy, confidence, ingenuity, thrift, and so on, Pande knows where his priority should go and can short list his assets to make them more useful.
At a time when Nepal is facing the scarcity of international flights to bring in more tourists and of hotel rooms for their accommodation, Pande has come up with a vision to address both these problems. Along with launching the new airlines, he announced that the global chain Starwood Hotels and Resorts, under Aloft Hotel chain, will be set up in Chhaya Centre in Kathmandu. This hotel will be among various popular brands in the world.
Located in Thamel, a popular tourist destination, the Chhaya Centre is owned by the Chhaya Devi Complex Private Limited. The hotel will be named Aloft Kathmandu Thamel.
"Nepal has outstanding prospects in tourism and needs huge investment in the tourism infrastructure," said Prithvi Bahadur Pande, founder chairperson of the Chhaya Devi Complex, while unveiling the plans for the hotel."The government’s efforts in building a regional airport in Pokhara and international airport in Bhairahawa will make a major contribution in boosting the tourism industry and Chhaya Centre is also a tourism-related infrastructure promoted by the private sector to contribute to the national economy," Pande told a press conference. "The country will be able to attract two million tourists by 2020 and said that the increasing number of hotels could help cater to their needs."
Spread over 14 ropanis of land, Chhaya Center comprises a shopping center and 14-floored hotel building house with 175 rooms. As seventy five per cent of the construction work of the Chhaya Centre has been completed, the center is likely to start its operation from mid-2017. The construction of the project began in January 2013.
“We are building 200 retail outlets, specialized restaurants, food courts and multi-complex cinema, not to mention two levels of underground car parking lots that can accommodate 400 cars and 300 motorcycles,” he further added.
The company owned by Pande and his group had signed a licensing agreement with Starwood South Asia Hotels and Resorts, Singapore, to bring the global chain here in September 2014. "As per the agreement, Starwood will expand Aloft Hotel chain in Chhaya Center," said Pande.
It is reported that the US-based Starwood has been operating in more than 1,200 properties across 100 countries.
Starwood launched its Aloft brand for the first time in 2008 and it focuses on the new generation travelers.
During the programme, it was also announced that the Aloft Kathmandu will be managed by Nidra Hospitality Pvt. Ltd of India.
"Nepal needs more investments like these to uplift its economy. It is entrepreneurship that contributes to the economy through investment, innovation and employment," said Peter Bode, United States Ambassador to Nepal.
Likewise, Sudeep Jain, vice president of acquisition and development at Starwood Asia Pacific Hotels and Resorts, highlighted that the hotel’s stylish design, buzzing bar and vibrant social scene will make Aloft Kathmandu a hotspot among travelers.
Although Pande has invested in such a diverse range of sectors, he has been quietly making investment in Nepal by establishing companies at par with international standards and creating jobs to continue with his efforts at nation building, something he inherited from his family.