Homestay Management in Nepal Perspective and Challenges
By Dr. Gyanendra Ratna Tuladhar
What is Homestay
Principally, homestay is a living arrangement with a host family who offers an extra private guestroom or space for a guest against a nominal charge in comparison with other expensive types of temporary or long-termaccommodations.In this regard, tourism sector provokes that homestay could become a form of tourist accommodation allowinga visitor to rent a room from a local family to experience the socio-culture, local lifestyle as well as hospitality of the host community.
Perspective of homestay Management.
Homestays can occur anywhere in the world, but certain countries encourage homestay in rural areas as a means of developing their rural tourism. Because, hosting a homestay participant also allows the local family to earn income.
Since, tourism is a service industry, where the services should use on time. It is highly sensitive and seasonal as well as dependent upon situation and environment. In thetourist season, tourist accommodationswould behighly over pressureto cater all queries while the same are unused in a slack season in the same tourism year. Slack season is greater bother for the tourism industry as well as bracket of national productivity and socio-economy. In this case, the European countries, like Spain, Greece, France, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria adopt more to encourage homestay program(as a means of socializing tourism industry) than others in tourist high-season, particularly in seaside and village tourist destination, to cater over pressure of visitors and to engage local people in tourism mainstream as well as to distribute tourism benefits to the grassroots people.
Hosting a homestay participant allows the local people to engage in tourism activities and earn some additional, needed income. Having low profitability, as it is, homestay cannot be regarded as strictly commercial activity, but more of cross cultural exchange.
Actually, homestay management is a commercialized form of socio-cultural hospitality, in a practice of accommodation, applied in upcoming form of tourism, allowing a visitor to rent a room from a local family in a homelike setting environment and ambiance. It is sometimes used for getting familiar with the local lifestyle.
Benefits of Homestay managements:
This arrangement is beneficial for both guests and hosts since a host can experience foreign culture and learn basic expressions in foreign languages without going abroad. Many hosts are very interested in foreign languages and foreign countries and can manage simple, practical conversations.
Geographically, a homestay can be occurring in any residential destination (village, city or urban residence). But it is designed for rural areas particularly remote areas and pristine villages, where tourist accommodation is harsh to manage.Because, homestay scenarios can be ranged from a completely immersive family experience, to a very basic room rental, depending on the requirement of a user (visitor), homestays, that can be paid or a type of paying guest.
In the immersive family experience a homestay guest lives, eats, and shares the majority of their time in the host country with the hosts and their family. Family events such as cultural participation, tour, picnicking, dining out, amusement parks, camping, travel, etc. usually involve the host who may or may not be expected to pay a portion for the participation (room, meal, tickets, parking, gas, travel expenses, et al). The guest is invited to participate in holiday festivities (thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.) and family events (weddings, birthdays, etc.).
Types of Homestay: different types of homestay can be organized.
Community Homestay: The first most commonly used homestay in Eastern Europe is community owned homestay, organized by registered community accommodating in hostel, factory houses, farm house, community home etc. against a nominal charge for the community organization. This type of homestay may commonly use dormitories rooms and is popular in exchange of foreign students, college and university students, internships relocation, farm holiday and international scholars when living aboard.
Communal Homestay: The second type of homestay is individual homes that have extra furnished rooms in their homes or apartments, is enlisted in registered community authorized agency to use as a tourist accommodation against some charges. These types of homestay may offer home meals and use of home equipment (telephone, computer, internet) other utilities against some individual charges.
Facilities expected or to be provided in Homestay
A private or shared bedroom that includes linens, bed, desk & lamp, and a place for clothing. A private or shared bathroom that includes towels. Meals that includes continental breakfast& dinner, if purchased, or, kitchen privileges to prepare meals. Lunch and snacks are not to be included.
Objective of Homestay management in Nepal
The general and foremost concept of homestay management in Nepal was conceived during the preparation period NTY’11, because the primarily objective of homestay program in Nepal was to expand the carrying capacity of tourist accommodation to rural area of the country to cater a million of tourist targeted in NTY 2011, without constructing new structures.
Secondly, to encourage villagers to engage in tourism main-stream, giving a tool of employment opportunity, through skill and knowledge of hospitality catering.
Thirdly, to build tourism environment in the villages and country sides, proving a opportunities of tourism economy for national as well as local economy.
Fourthly, to set a bottom-up participatory approach with an ownership of natural and cultural resources, conservation oriented communal self-regulation through the tourism activities.
Last, but not list, the focus of homestay program is on helping remote areas where physical infrastructure is still far to reach, people have no other economic opportunities, who are socially deprive, extreme in poverty, but natural resources are high.
Activities offered in a homestay program
Each homestay program offers different types of activities, depending on the culture, food, economic activity as well as location. Every village and ethnic group of Nepal has its own uniqueness in terms of culture, ranging from the tharu in Tarai to the sherpa in Himalayas, as well as Newar in Kathmandu. Examples of homestay activities include:
Culture and Lifestyle
- History of the cultural race and ethnic groups
- Traditional gathering, traditional dances, traditional songs and traditional food
- Traditional games and sports
- Culture: festival assembly, marriage ceremony, birth-day party and other traditional gathering
- Economic Activity
- Agriculture plantation/harvesting, paddy, tea and other harvesting assemblies
- Domestic animal breeding, cow/buffalo/goat milking, fish breeding
- Apple, Orange, Banana and other Fruit harvesting
- Sightseeing tour to culture and heritage sites
- Village tour, walk and guest/hosting
- Village/heritage sites and hill hiking/trekking, base camp trekking
- Jungle safari, walk, tour and animal siting
- White water rafting, cannoning, bungee-jumping
- Gliding, para-gliding, ultra-light flying
- Visit to nearby tourism sites and products
Homestay operations in Nepal
GoN/MoCTCA, Industrial Division, is sole authority to regulate the homestay management in Nepal. In 2018, there are altogether 208 homestay management forms are registered in the department. According to the division officer, the homestay management couldn’t expand in rural area as it objected in the directions. Although, the homestay management is oriented for rural tourism, and community based, most of the homestay management is registered are concentrated in Kathmandu Valley few are scattered in rural area.
In Kathmandu: Nanglevare, Labsiphedi, Kapan, Maharajgunj, KhadgaBhadrakali, Sorhakutte, Kalimati, Ichangu VDC, Nayabazar, Balaju, Banasthali, Jorpati, Kirtipur, Nagarkot, Sankhu, Ason, Mahadevsthan (Thankot), Basundhara, Golkhupakha, Dallu, Suntakha, Bhaktapur (Biasi), Lalitpur (Thechho), Bungamati, Swayambhu, Panauti
In Rural Area: Kavre, Chitwan, Makvanpur, Ramechhap (Doramba), Nuwakot (Bidur), Ghyanphedi, Rara (Mugu), Dhading (Patle VDC)