Terms of Reference

Title: Tourism Specialist

Action Area : Livelihoods

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The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) is a regional intergovernmental learning and knowledge sharing centre serving the eight regional member countries of the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan. Our aim is to influence policy and practices to meet environmental and livelihood challenges emerging in the HKH region. To do this we bring together researchers, practitioners, and policy makers from the region and around the globe to generate and share knowledge, support evidence-based decision making, and encourage regional collaboration. ICIMOD delivers impact through its six Regional Programmes of Adaptation to Change, Transboundary Landscapes, River Basins, Cryosphere and Atmosphere, Mountain Environment Regional Information System, and Himalayan University Consortium. These regional programmes are supported by the four Thematic Areas of Livelihoods, Ecosystem Services, Water and Air, and Geospatial Solutions and underpinned by Knowledge Management and Communication. ICIMOD seeks to reduce poverty and vulnerability and improve the lives and livelihoods of mountain women and men, now and for the future. 

The Livelihood Thematic Area focuses on promoting diversified and sustainable livelihood options in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region. Tourism is an important aspect of livelihoods of mountain people. The steady increase in tourism across the region has brought about a new livelihood strategy for mountain people who are otherwise generally dependent on agriculture and livestock. While traditional livelihood options in the Hindu Kush Himalayas are rapidly deteriorating, mountain communities and governments increasingly prioritize tourism as a promising alternative livelihood opportunity. The hospitality and tourism industry provides an effective avenue to transform remote, rugged landscapes into economic assets for vulnerable groups. Properly planned and well-managed tourism can contribute to reducing poverty and increasing the resilience of mountain communities. 

ICIMOD seeks to promote mountain tourism with a pro-poor sustainable approach through better utilization of mountain natural and cultural resources and establishing strong linkages with local economies. ICIMOD wants to strengthen its existing capacity in promoting tourism as an innovative livelihood option in the HKH region. ICIMOD is looking for an expert with a sound understanding of tourism and hospitality concepts and practices, especially in promoting sustainable community engagement in tourism in the mountain context. The incumbent will work as a member of the Livelihoods Team and will provide support to regional programmes and initiatives on tourism issues.

Responsibilities and tasks

The Tourism Specialist will be responsible for the following tasks across different regional programmes:
  • Take initiative and support the development and implementation of strategies and policies for promoting sustainable tourism for the benefit of rural livelihoods and their resilience
  • Identify and harness opportunities in close collaboration with regional partners for promoting tourism activities that enhance livelihood options, conserve the natural environment, and preserve cultural values
  • Identify and implement innovative ideas and good practices on promoting community engagement in tourism, encouraging community participation in tourism-related supply and value chains, and establishing linkages with local economies to maximize benefits for local communities 
  • Improve the facilitation of tourism in ICIMOD’s regional member countries and provide technical support and backstopping to local and regional partners in implementing activities relating to tourism
  • Develop and facilitate demand-driven training courses on mountain environment and climate change and sustainable business practices for tourism entrepreneurs in the HKH region
  • Build and strengthen linkages and collaboration with institutions working on tourism development and/or management and organize and attend workshops and conferences in the region
  • Keep track of tourism development in the region and provide inputs to tourism investment in ICIMOD’s regional member countries
  • Contribute to the development of knowledge on responsible mountain tourism in the HKH, e.g., by preparing concept papers, case studies, synthesis reports, or scientific articles for relevant target audiences across the region
  • Work as a team player in the Livelihoods Thematic Area; work closely with ICIMOD regional programmes and with other tourism staff to promote institutional goals

Minimum Qualifications

  • Master’s in Tourism Development, Marketing, Economics, Business Management, or other relevant field
  • At least 6 years of work experience in designing and implementing tourism development activities with a focus on enhancing livelihoods from community engagement in tourism; experience working in the HKH region will be required 
  • Sound knowledge and experience on designing and operationalizing community engagement for sustainable tourism promotion in mountain areas
  • Good knowledge and experience on sustainable tourism policy, management, international and regional markets, and product development
  • Experience and skills in designing and piloting participatory action research on tourism
  • Knowledge of statistical and qualitative research approaches and methodologies will be an asset


  • Knowledge: Sound knowledge and understanding of pro-poor sustainable tourism principles and practices, policy, management, markets, product development, and community engagement, particularly in the context of the HKH
  • Research Skills: Sound knowledge and expertise of research methodologies and analysis; demonstrated ability to analyse and interpret data and prepare results in a manner in which private and public tourism stakeholders are clearly able to understand
  • Management and coordination: Ability to plan, budget, and coordinate work as well as work in an interdisciplinary team across different programmes and projects
  • Social/team competency: Ability to work smoothly across teams with intercultural sensitivity and contribute to establishing commitment among team members
  • Networking/stakeholder management: Ability to identify relevant partners, maintain existing relations, and strengthen networking on tourism and poverty issues
  • Results/impact orientation: Proactive approach within and outside the organization to generate concrete results on an output level; seek opportunities to transform output into outcome and impact
  • Flexibility/innovation: Stay abreast with the changing context of tourism issues in the HKH region and find ways to introduce innovative approaches; encourage others to come with new ideas; actively support the development of a continuous learning culture
  • Report and proposal writing: Excellent analytical and writing skills and demonstrated ability to write reports and publish findings in peer-reviewed journals

Duty Station

The duty station is Kathmandu; frequent travel and field work in the region will be required.


Initially for three years, of which the first six months will be on probation, with the possibility of extension subject to performance and ICIMOD’s future funding levels

Starting Date

As early as possible


Salaries and benefits of ICIMOD are competitive compared to those of other regional organizations; remuneration will be commensurate with experience and qualification

Gender and Equity Policy

Qualified and eligible women candidates and those from disadvantaged backgrounds are highly encouraged to apply. ICIMOD implements a gender fair policy and is supportive of working women. It operates a Day-Care Centre at the campus and is committed to gender mainstreaming at the organisational and programmatic levels.

Method of application

Applicants are requested to apply online before 14 Feb 2016 through ICIMOD's online application system.

Only shortlisted candidates will be notified.