Community Based Home-Stay Tourism- Pachvaiya Home-Stay Pokhara

In the era where demand and tendency for tourism are rapidly increasing around the world with different incentives, Nepal has ample opportunities to develop the tourism sector as the country possesses a majestic view of the highest white-capped mountains, panoramic landscape, deep gorges, clear lakes, unexplored forests, biodiversity, different indigenous cultures, their unique lifestyle, and foods in the villages. Nepal’s tourism sector generated Rs. 240.7 billion (7.9 % of total country GDP 2018) in revenue out of which 56% spent by domestic tourists and supported more than 1.05 million jobs directly and indirectly in 2018 (WTTC, 2019). 

Village tourism for the first time it was introduced by the government in 1997 to address the issues of centralized industrial development and poverty alleviation from the rural area. Sirubari (Syangja District, west Nepal) and Ghalegaon (Lamjung District, north-central Nepal) were the first two villages to implement the concept of community homestay (Thapa, 2010).

The government's program 'Nepal Tourism Year 2011' is one of the major reasons to boost up homestay tourism in Nepal. In developing countries like Nepal, the homestay program has received remarkable adoption over the last decade as alternative tourism to contribute effectively towards the economic empowerment of rural people (Devkota, 2008; Gangotia, 2013) and environmental conservation initiatives ((Devkota, 2008; Yahaya, 2004). The homestay tourism program became more popular after the government of Nepal officially introduced the ‘Homestay Regulation 2067’ (Devkota, 2008). According to 'homestay working procedure 2067', homestay is defined as an accommodation where the host provides foods, accommodation, and other related services to their guest and operates it individually or in community groups as a private homestay, and village community homestay program (MCTCA, 2010) and are often supported by the government authorities. Home-stay is a popular form of hospitality and lodging among both local and international tourists whereby visitors share a residence with locals. It offers the traveler a unique chance to have a local experience, possibilities of interaction with the host family, observing their customs and culture, relish the local cuisine, exploring untapped places, and get to know the real local lifestyle.  

Home-Stay Tourism. Pic. Courtesy: The Himalayan Times


Homestays are successful in some developing countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, Nepal (Kwaramba et al., 2012) and have growing recognition as Pro-poor Tourism (PPT) approach, to achieve economic goals, ecological sustainability, generate self-employment in rural areas of many countries (Devkota, 2008). Often located in rural areas it offers the available natural and cultural attractions to tourists (Anand et al., 2012; Gu & Wong, 2006; MacDonald & Jolliffe, 2003; Musa et al., 2010), thus somehow creates pressure on the environment and socio-cultural fabric. Thus, in order to preserve the nature and local rural lifestyle, culture, and identity for the sustainability of homestay tourism, it is increasingly felt that appropriate strategies should be devised for rural tourism with regard to environmental conditions, attractions, and products of each area. Analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats can provide greater insight of tourism in the area and can help in developing proper strategies for optimum utilization of strengths and opportunities and removing weaknesses and threats in order to achieve rural tourism development.

Map of Kaski showing Home-stays
Home-stay location in Kaski District


Pachvaiya Community Home-Stay 

The home-stay under our study is located in Sundaridanda, Pachvaiya. Now, lies under Pokhara Metropolitan ward no. 31 after the restructuring of the local level. Pachvaiya Home-stay is 15 Km East of Pokhara city center, on a hill between Begnas and Rupa Lake. The spot home-stay located is its merits. The scenic beauty of green forests in its surrounding, panoramic view of the long mountain range along with the charming beauty of Begnas and Rupa Lakes is its identity. These can be easily be observed and experienced from the Sundaridanda. However, every house of home-stay may not view both lakes simultaneously depending on their orientation. Capabilities including natural landscapes, good weather, and easy access make this area one of the attractive tourism areas.  The important tourism site of that place includes Zoological Park and religious sites such as the temple of ‘Devi ko Deurali Mandir’ and Boudha Gumba. Vipassana Dhayan Aasram.

Brief History/ Motivation for Pachvaiya Home-Stay Operation:

People in the community used to host guests individually before the formal establishment of homestay tourism. Later, people realized that the ease of work being together. Thus, with the thought of developing homestay tourism by improving tourism infrastructure so as to increase the tourist flow, the homestay was registered in 2068 B.S. Initially, the Pachvaiya home-stay started with 10 members and now homestay is operated in 22 houses.

Socioeconomic and Demographic Features of Pachvaiya Home-Stay

Of the 400 households in the community, about 80% of people belong to ethnic groups of Brahmins and Chhetri while the rest of the others is Gurung, Magar, Newar, and so on. As the community is mixed rather than the dominance of certain specific ethnic groups, the area is rich in culture and tradition. Mother groups in the community organize a general cultural program to the visitors on their demand.

Major tourists’ attractions of Pachvaiya Home-Stay (Nature, Culture & Adventure)

Following are the major tourist attraction area of Pachvaiya Homestay:

  • Panoramic view of Annapurna range
  • View of Begnas/ Rupa lake depending on the aspect
  • The suitable landscape for bird watchers 
  • Plentiful of butterflies' diversity and other wildlife.
  • Zoological Park
  • Deurali Devi Mandir, Buddha gumba
  • Rich in cultural diversity
  • Local/ organic products like vegetables, fishes, honey, maize, and coffee.

  

Status of Pachvaiya Community Based Home-Stay

Available services and facilities in Pachvaiya Home-Stay

  • Easy access to homestay via road network, and availability of trekking route around Begnas Lake. 
  • Warm and hospitable welcome as well as a farewell to guests
  • No problem regarding communication facilities as well as electricity, water, internet, and other utilities. Hot water facilities are made available during winter, rooms with separate beds.
  • Cultural programs as per the interest of guests are performed by the mother group.
  • Availability of healthy and affordable local and organic foods (including dhindo and Gundruk, local milk, millet, maize, boiled potato, coffee, fishes, vegetables, etc.).                 

Tourist flow varies with seasonality with Sep-May being the peak season while tourist flow decreases to about half in other months of the year. There is a health post nearby in case of any medical attention required.

Occupancy capacity of Pachvaiya Home-stay: 

The stated occupancy capacity is 100-150 with a total no. of 22 houses; each house has 2-4 rooms, which makes altogether a total of 80 beds in all home-stay in the community. In the near future, this home-stay is going to increase its capacity along with improving currently i.e. operated home-stays by improving services to maintain a certain standard. 

Pachvaiya Home-Stay management committee (governance and inclusiveness)

The governance of the management committee is satisfactory to the date. During the important meeting and decision-making process, each people of all ethnic communities in the inclusion manner participated according to the president of Home-stay. Any way participation is ensured. 

Each house represents one member to the home-stay committee, that committee forms an executive committee of 7. Out of 22 home-stay members, 11 are represented by females. In the executive team, 4 out of 7 members represented by female members, and thus female participation is appreciable. The general assembly was found to be conducted once in a year while the executive board team meeting held every month. All members from each homestay participate each year in the general assembly while less participation was recorded during the monthly meetings of the executive team.

Menu or pricing practice per guest in Pachvaiya Home-Stay

The rate for a 1-day package decided by the managerial community is Rs. 800, which includes dinner served with fish/meat, morning breakfast, and meal. The price slightly differs when local and foreign tourists are not doing a package tour. For the local tourist room, charges are Rs. 500 while for foreigners it ranges from Rs. 800 – 1000. Mostly, package tours are done by local tourists. A group should pay NRs. 1500 extra for the cultural program. All the rooms are of the same grades. i.e. with almost equal services and facilities. However, rooms may differ in size and shape.

The initial price rate for a 1-day package per person was Rs. 1300 decided by the committee but a year ago the price was reduced to 800 per day per person as visitors were unsatisfied with the high prices they paid for the given services. The community themselves can decide the pricing of the local goods available for sale such as honey, lentils, etc.

SITUATION ANALYSIS OF THE HOME-STAY DESTINATION-SWOT ANALYSIS 

SWOT strategic planning model, in fact, is a method for decision-making and selecting a strategy and can be designed for an organization or cooperation to determine a strategy to improve efficiency or situation. This model is composed of two matrices of internal factors related to weaknesses (W) and strengths (S) and external factors related to opportunities (O) and threats (T) of a region or system.

Strengths of Pachvaiya Home-Stay: 

  • Good customer service with a homely experience
  • Cheap alternative to a hotel 
  • Affordable access to the area
  • Beautiful and unique landscapes; Zoological Park nearby home-stay, 
  • A quiet environment without any noises (i.e. Dhyan Kendra for tourist interested in meditation) 
  • A relatively aware and educated community 
  • Adequate health and service facilities

Weakness of Pachvaiya Home-Stay: 

  • Lack of information center.
  • Takes longer distances between houses of the homestay. 
  • Lack of promotion and under-developed marketing strategies.
  • Lack of activities, inadequate recreational, and sports facilities for visitors during leisure.
  • Improper distribution of tourists during different seasons.
  • Lack of expertise, entrepreneurial ability, and networking with tourism industry players.
  • Over-dependence on outside assistance.

Opportunities of Pachvaiya Home-Stay: 

  • Proximity to Pokhara
  • Experiencing a glimpse of native culture 
  • Harness organic farming with homestay tourism.
  • Availability of tourist guides.
  • Increasing motivation for internal tourism. 
  • Increasing (province and local) government support for home-stay improvement. 
  • Support of respective (local and regional) institutions and organizations.
  • Improving people’s living standards (well-being) and regional employment support internal tourism.
  • Availability of experienced and semi-skilled laborers/manpower.

Threats of Pachvaiya Home-Stay: 

  • The (risk of) loss of traditional culture and local customs by tourists; 
  • Increase in social crimes to some extent respect to the past i.e. drug use
  • Damage to the environment through scattering waste
  • The increase in noise pollution
  • Competition from other accommodation providers. 
  • Leakage: While importing beverages, meat, etc. from outside.

Strategic Plan for Ecotourism Development in Pachvaiya Community Home-Stay 

Vision: 

  • Contribute to the rural economy and conserving ecosystem through community-based sustainable homestay management

Goals: 

  • Support the livelihood of the local community by developing the site as one of the best tourism destinations along with nature conservation. 
  • Concern on reducing the negative impact of tourism

Objectives: 

  • To encourage people to carry out sustainable ecotourism activities for nature conservation.
  • To economically empower the local people 
  • To encourage local people to environment conservation initiatives

Strategies: 

SWOT analysis of home-stay helps to analyze the present conditions and formulate the future strategy based on the goals and objectives. Here, the strategies that will be adopted in the home-stay are listed as shown.

  • Identifying the distinctive attractions, potential activities and take advantages in order to compete with other areas
  • Promoting bird watching tourism 
  • Training to local guides 
  • Establish an information center at the entry point 
  • Designing marketing and advertisement programs    
  • Improvement of environmental infrastructures and facilities;  
  • Encourage people to invest and participate in the development of infrastructure and recreational facilities for tourism; 
  • Capacity building training for local communities especially targeting youths 
  • Encourage local people to agriculture.  
  • Plan development to reduce the negative impact on tourism site;   
  • To aware local people about environmental degradation and conservation

Strategic Program and Activities of Pachvaiya Community Home-Stay

The following strategies are suggested in order to develop homestay tourism in Pachvaiya homestay of Kaski district:

  • Sustainable village tourism: 
    • Identifying the distinctive attractions, potential activities, and take advantage in order to compete with other areas;
    • Mapping the potential areas with stakeholder consultation.
  • Diversifying tourism activities to increase satisfaction: 
    • Preparation of innovative homestay package through the participation of concerned stakeholders (entrepreneurs, TAAN, NATA, and NTB)

  • Promoting bird watching tourism:
    • Identification and mapping of important bird areas. 
    • Preparing the seasonal checklist of bird diversity. 
    • Organizing various programs such as bird watching competition for locals as well as tourists on various occasions.
  • To train local guides for guiding tourists
    • Conducting workshops and training to guides as per the need.
  • Designing marketing and advertisement programs:
    • Create websites 
    • Online booking system 
    • Construct signs boards for directions

  • Improvement of environmental infrastructures and facilities;
    • Maintenance of old trekking trails and the development of new trekking trails.
  • To preserve local culture and tradition
    • Raise awareness about the importance of our culture and minimize the influence of exotic culture.
    • Encourage the young generation toward adoption of the traditional attire at least during occasions.
    • Conduct training to train local youths on traditional music, cultural dances, and native language.

  • Economic empowerment to local people:
    • Encourage people to invest and participate in the development of infrastructure and recreational facilities for tourism; Locals can invest to build play-ground for outdoor games (like volleyball, basketball), sports houses for indoor games (like carrom board, chess, badminton, table tennis, etc.).
    • Capacity building training for local communities especially targeting youths in Homestay management and Hospitality, Handicraft development, Marketing of local product, Language and guide, Kitchenette, Leadership Development, and Entrepreneurship.
    • Encourage local people to agriculture.
    • Provide seedlings of fruits, vegetables, and NTFPs at a nominal cost
    • Providing training related to goat farming, fishery, etc.

  • Environment Conservation: 
    • Plan development to reduce the negative impact on tourism site;
    • Managing dustbins and no trash signs on trekking trails 
    • Fees and fines for polluters.
    • Calculating and managing tourism as per the optimum capacity of the area Local environment 
    • To aware local people about environmental degradation and conservation Conduct various awareness programs in schools, mother groups, etc.

Concluding Pachvaiya Community Home-Stay

Local culture, their homely environment, and nature act as the composite motivational factor for the visitors. However, continuous exploitation may place them at risk of deterioration which makes planning in homestay quite obvious.  Although the Homestay scheme in Pachvaiya has been initiated nearly eight years back, no specific strategic plans were made yet. Nature tourism should be based on quality rather than just trying to increase the number of tourists even at the cost of environmental resources. Homestay tourism can be sustainable only if hosts and guests both follow a certain code of conduct. There are numerous examples and success stories of homestay tourism where local residents have increased income through homestay operation as well as selling the local products. Moreover, it helps to flourish the native culture, arts, and tradition. Thus, province and local governments should ensure continuous support for the sustainability of rural tourism by providing certain incentives for investors, capacity building training, development of basic infrastructures, etc.

 

Community Based Home-Stay Tourism- Pachvaiya Home-Stay Pokhara Community Based Home-Stay Tourism- Pachvaiya Home-Stay Pokhara Reviewed by Amrit Devkota on October 02, 2020 Rating: 5

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