Homestay is still taken as a passive business for the uneducated, unemployed and dependent members of a family. If this trend continues, then homestay tourism can collapse within the next generation.
The spirit of Nepali tourism lies in the natural richness and its indigenous societies with their mystic cultures which can be best showcased through the homestay programme. Apart from the thousands of hotels and resorts catering to the tourists, the charm of homestay is also mounting.
Homestay, still an afterthought dimension of tourism in Nepal, is gradually becoming a dominant hospitality market. The main reason for its growth is it adds genuine socio-cultural components to a tourist’s experience. For many travel enthusiasts, homestay provides just the opportunity to assimilate with the local customs, relish the local cuisine and get to know the real local lifestyle. It is one among the inimitable chances to experience life as it is lived.
This particular hospitality industry must expand its offerings to move on. While upgrading homestay services, the stakeholders should strive to blend the domestic lifestyle with basic international standards, that is, offering the local experience in modern ways for international tourists. This would add more welcome doors at many virgin tourist destinations.
Homestays empower natives to become micro-entrepreneurs by capitalising on their way of life and space that already exist at home. It further monetise women’s household chores which otherwise would never have got any economic value and make women financially independent.
Despite some challenges, homestay programmes are growing. Namely Kavrepalanchok has registered more than 26 such homes while Makwanpur has at least 11 and Chitwan and Nuwakot have around 10 and 12 respectively. Gorkha, Ilam, Palpa, Syangja, Kailali and Chitlang too are on the bandwagon. The particular initiative will serve the government’s sustainable tourism development policies by building the capacity in the rural community.