Govt to launch homestay concept soon

KATHMANDU: Homestay, a popular facility abroad, will soon get recognisation in Nepal with private players taking it to a higher level. Targeting Nepal Tourism Year (NTY) 2011, the government plans to introduce the homestay concept here. The Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoTCA) along with Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) is working to prepare bylaws and a code of conduct to start the homestay concept. The government will also launch a wide training programme to boost the scheme.

According to Kashi Raj Bhandari, research director of NTB's planning and monitoring wing, an awareness programme about homestay concept is already on to cater to the demands of tourist in the peak season along with NTY 2011 for the rural areas of Nepal. “ We are trying to develop a common website to provide information about homestay here,” said Raj Bhandari adding that the home stay concept is being developed for the rural areas and will soon be extended to urban areas too.

“It's time to initiate the homestay concept. It is already 2010 but no preparations have begun,” said Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA) former president Ram Kaji Koney. He added that the government should start special training programmes and develop its regulations at the earliest so that standards can be fixed and the concept started without ado.

Meanwhile, Raj Bhandari said awareness programmes are already on in a number of villages and the job wuld be completed within six months. “Let us first create the awareness and then regulations will be prepared at the earliest targeting NTY 2011 for urban areas,” Raj Bhandari said.

Homestay initiative provides economical accommodation to foreign tourists. Under this concept, a person having large accommodation can provide rooms on rent to tourists so that they get a taste of the local culture and food. The number of tourists visiting Nepal has increased manifold over the past few years. In view of NTY 2011, the government is hoping for a large tourist inflow. Even the rural people have started coming out of their shells and visiting every nook and corner of the country, giving a boost to domestic tourism.