Ho­tel built on a gem­stone and a dream

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

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

DA QIONG / CHINA DAILY

Ti­betan pil­grims,

DA QIONG / CHINA DAILY

Kon­chok Tsethar, owner of the Holly Sheep Ho­tel, chats with his mother Atar.

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