Rojan Baniya is a second year PhD student in Tourism and Hospitality. His researches focus on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Ecotourism, Sustainability and Social Marketing.

CV
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Nationality: Nepali 

Past Experience: Assistant Professor of Marketing in Kathmandu University School of Management, Senior Research Analyst/Statistician in MMGY Global, Research Project Manager in Brand Asset Consulting, Young & Rubicam. 

Past Education: MBA from Kathmandu University School of Management and Masters of Marketing Research from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville 

Favorite UF experience: UF homecoming parade  

Favorite project: Designing “Smart City Framework for Kathmandu” in Smart Tourism Class  

Valuable Learning from EFTI and UF: Never do research for the sake of research, always look for the impact your research can create to the society - from his advisor.  

Favorite travel experience: A memorable drive to Miami, spending two days in a conference there, and roaming late night in the electrified Miami streets purposelessly.    

Dream place to visit: Santorini, Greece. He is looking forward to seeing the sunset there!  

Hobbies: Watching movies and cricket 

Fun Fact: Seinfeld fan – he can watch Seinfeld any number of times 

 


Corporate Social Responsibility Among Travel and Tour Operators in Nepal

Rojan Baniya, Brijesh Thapa, and Min-Seong Kim

Travel and tour operators (TTOs) have become increasingly and positively engaged in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) due to increased consumer awareness and responsible business practices. However, CSR engagement has not fully permeated the travel and tourism industry in Nepal as it is still considered ambiguous. There is a need to identify baseline knowledge, and to institute programs and policies for CSR engagement. This study formulated a conceptual model to empirically test the relationship between perceptions of CSR (comparative, benefits and favorability) and its association with the importance, participation and future engagement intentions among TTOs in Nepal. Data were collected via a questionnaire among TTO (n = 138) that were registered with the National Association of Tour and Travel Agents. Based on the results, CSR was deemed to be important due to customers’ favorability toward organizations that implemented related activities. This relationship influenced CSR participation and subsequently led to future intentions to engage. Overall, it was apparent that the TTOs which were essentially small and medium enterprises were focused on CSR implementation largely due to customers’ pressure and/or demand. This study provides knowledge to devise appropriate strategies to drive CSR implementation in the tourism industry via TTO in Nepal.

Keywords: travel and tour operators; corporate social responsibility; tourism industry; path analysis; South Asia


More about Rojan…

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Originally from Nepal, Rojan is proud to share his nationality with the tallest mountain in the world, the Mount Everest. Rojan has a very unique academic and work experience: before starting his PhD, he graduated with an MBA from the Kathmandu University School of Management and got a Master of Marketing Research from the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He also worked as a Research Project Manager in Brand Asset Consulting at Young and Rubicam in New York for two years, was a Senior Research Analyst at MMGY Global in Orlando, and was an Assistant Professor of Marketing in Kathmandu University School of Management.

Having studied marketing, Rojan had contact with the commercial aspects of the business; however, he was always drawn by the social aspects of marketing, which made him interested in Corporate Social Responsibility. For Rojan, businesses should focus on solving their negative impacts such as pollution, unequal pay, and work-life balance issues. The tourism industry is not exempt of acting poorly as well, and his study focuses on analyzing and showing these businesses how to minimize their negative impacts and maximize positive impacts of tourism.

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In a project done in collaboration with Dr. Brijesh Thapa, his advisor, more than a hundred tour operators in Nepal were interviewed to determine how they perceived CSR, whether they would use it or not, the motivations behind using it, etc. The study found out that tour operators would just implement CSR focusing on environmental aspects if their consumers require it, not because of marketing reasons or because they actually care and follow these principles. Rojan highlights the importance of these findings on the success of CSR practices: if tourism organizations such as UNWTO, private companies and the public are interested in making tour operators engage in CSR, the request has to come from consumers.  Organizations should educate individuals enough so they can perceive the importance of social and environmentally responsible practices and demand it from the tour operators, which is the only way they will hear and work on a change. Also collaborating with Dr. Thapa, Rojan has worked in a few papers about service quality of ecotourism destinations, and a motive-based segmentation of tourists visiting ecotourism destination.

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While enjoying research, Rojan also enjoys attending conferences and networking with Alumni who currently work in the field. In May, he presented his study of Corporate Social Responsibility among Travel and Tour Operators in Nepal at the Fourth International Conference on Tourism and Leisure Studies in Miami, an experience he describes as unforgettable.

Rojan is always looking forward to interesting learning in classes and research, constantly keeping with himself the wise thought of “not doing research just for the sake of research, but seeking making an impact”.