Corona havoc in homestay revolution

Narayan Pangeni

April 4, 2021


Corona havoc in homestay revolution

POKHARA: A few days ago, a community ‘home stay’ has been opened in Byas-11, Tanahunsur in Tanahu.

Residents of Palpalithok, Patyarathok and Ganglithok have brought Tanahunsur Devasthal Community HomeStay into operation in this place of historical, religious, cultural and archeological importance.

The homestay conducted in 14 households of Tanahunsur has the capacity of accommodating 40 people at a time.

According to Padma Bahadur Thapa, chairman of the Home Stay Steering Committee, the area is rich in the culture of Magars, Newars, and Dalits; the visitors can enjoy typical local dishes made up of maize, millet, buckwheat, black gram, and black-eyed beans, horse-gram and soybean.

The Home Stay was inaugurated by the Minister for Internal Affairs of Gandaki Province Hari Bahadur Chuman.

Tanahunsur is a historical place ruled by the then Sen King.

As an infrastructure development priority for the homestay, a six-kilometer section of Khadga Devi Motorway reaching Tanahunsur is being tarred for Rs 100 million funded by the central and local governments.

Byas Municipality has another Home Stay in operation. Barahakhola Home Stay, now in operation for more than three years was started three years ago.

Baraha Khola Home Stay lies in Ward Number three of Byas Municipality.

Siruwari Homestay, Syangja

The concept of rural tourism was started in the Syangja district. The oldest homestay in operation is in Siruwari of Syangja.

Sirubari Village Homestay was started by an ex-British Army Rudraman Gurung in 1996. Tourism has raised the living standards of Siruwari. Even the travel agencies all over the country send tourists to Siruwari Home Stay.

In 1998, the Government of Nepal declared Sirubari a ‘Model Home Stay Village’. Apart from Siruwari, Syangja district has homestays in 20 more places.

Famous Ghalegaon Home Stay

Like Syangja’s Siruwari, Lamjung’s Ghalegaon is just as famous for homestays. Ghalegaon, located in Kwholasothar Rural Municipality-3, is also an attractive place for domestic tourists.

Ghalegaon, situated between Lamjung Himal and Annapurna Himal, is considered to be the model smart village of South Asia.

Out of 125 households in Ghalegaon, 38 have homestays.

Ethnic Identity in Homestay

There are about three dozen homestays in Kaski district, the province headquarter of Gandaki Province.

Ghandruk village of Annapurna Rural Municipality is one of the most popular homestays in the country.

Typically developed as a Gurung habitat, Ghandruk offers the Gurung culture and tradition to the visitors. Famous folk-performance is locally known as ‘Thado bhaka’ enchants the visitors there.

Meanwhile, Nawalparasi East, also known as Nawalpur, has also come up with a homestay. The Tharu community has run Prepahar Community Home Stay in Devachuli, in Nawalpur.

Similarly, Amaltari Community Home Stay and Rataul Community Homestays are in operation in Kawasoti, Municipality, Nawalpur.

Bote Majhi community has also run homestays in Devachuli. The Magar community has run a homestay in Baguban of Binai Triveni Rural Municipality, Nawalpur.

Parvat, another district of Gandaki Province has been operating homestays in more than a dozen villages.

Likewise, the Gorkha district is also reviving tourism operating homestays there.

Although Home Stays have helped promote rural tourism, the coronavirus infection has nearly crumbled the business. Homestays opened in villages have not been able to welcome tourists as per the investment.

According to Purnima Bote, secretary of the Bote Majhi Community Home Stays in Devchuli, Nawalpur, the business has slowed down due to the risk of coronavirus infection in less than two months after the operation of the homestay.

The occasional visitors have arrived, but rumors of a corona infection have crumbled the operators’ dream into pieces.

Gandaki Province introduces a procedure

Homestays have been opened in various areas at local levels. The Gandaki Province government has prepared ‘Homestay Operation Procedure, 2019’ to promote rural tourism.

Homestay operation procedure has been prepared to create self-employment opportunities with the involvement of the local community, to contribute to the rural economy, and to develop, promote, manage and regulate rural tourism, the procedure says about the objective of Operation Procedure enforced recently.

The working procedure, as provisioned in the Procedure, says that a community homestay can be run by managing at the private level in rural areas individually and/or by managing at least five differently owned households in rural areas collectively.

Local levels can grant permission

The local levels can grant permission for the operation of homestay provided at least five households agreed to run a homestay collectively in their home and if they apply at the concerned local level with the written recommendation of the ward.

A five-member committee formed under the coordination of the Mayor will inspect and if the criteria are met, grant permission for a fee of Rs 10,000.

To be eligible to keep the guests in the homestay, each house should have a minimum of two beds in one room and a maximum of eight beds in four rooms.

Similarly, each homestay community should have either a community building or a big hall to accommodate the guests during mass programs.

The procedure also covers the entertainment and other facilities of the guests and the environmental aspects related to the guests and their stay.