Hotel built on a gemstone and a dream
Atar gave her son a piece of turquoise as a gift.
The gemstone became the catalyst for Konchok Tsethar’s business venture when a tourist took fancy to it. Because he had no savings, Konchok Tsethat jumped at the chance to sell the stone for 2,000 yuan ($326).
He went to Lhasa with the money he got from the visitor and spent 600 yuan on various tourist goods. He also bought a horse with the help of his uncle.
For the first year, he sold tourist goods and ran a business that provided horse rides. He made around 90,000 yuan.
“I was really pleased to make a large amount of money – the most I’d ever seen in my life — for the first time. I loved my horse deeply that I slept alongside him in the tent in the evenings,” Konchok Tsethar said.
The next year, mother and son opened the lakefront hotel, the first in that location, and although the first 10 years were occasionally tough, they persevered and followed their dream.
“We have never given up, despite many failures. I love doing business far more than herding,” the 28-year-old said.
The hotel has expanded, and now has 220 beds, a large restaurant and a team of six vehicles to transport tourists. The restaurant serves local cuisine, and delicacies from other parts of China.
Having been born on the grassland as a native nomad, Konchok Tsethar has a deep love of horses and horse racing, in addition to hos love of business.
He has three racehorses; two were bought at Yardrok Yutso Lake in Tibet for 46,000 yuan, while he paid 23,000 yuan for the other, which he bought on northern Palgong county.
Every year Konchok Tsethar attends the local horse racing festival on the grassland, and in recent years his horses have won the top three prizes.
The family no longer herds animals, instead they make their living by running the hotel.
Atar said life is now far easier than in the old days when they were nomads.
“With the business, I made a better income, and my life became far more comfortable,” she said.
The 53-year-old works during the summer, but stays in Lhasa during autumn and winter.
“The business has given me many opportunities to communicate with outsiders, and I have learned many new things.” Contact the writers at: palden_nyima@chinadaily. com.cn and daqiong@ chinadaily.com.cn
Konchok Tsethar, owner of the Holly Sheep Hotel, chats with his mother Atar.