Homestay boosts incomes, living standards in BardiaHomestay has a positive impact on the environment and improves the quality of people’s lives, a survey conducted by Nepal Rastra Bank has shown.
The study entitled Dallagaon Homestay and Its Sustainability, which was conducted in Bardia district, has revealed that this new kind of hospitality service in tourism has a great influence on creating awareness about health, education, income, social harmony and women empowerment in rural areas.
For example, prior to the launch of the homestay programme, Dallagaon village was very dirty. The people would throw garbage on the streets and even use them as a toilet. After the homestay programme, the picture has changed. Waste papers and plastics are put in dustbins. “There is an awareness to keep the village neat and clean to host visitors,” the report said.
Further, some husbands and wives would frequently quarrel over trivial issues before they began providing homestay services. The programme has made them maintain a good ambience at home. As a result, these couples have now learnt to live amicably with each other.
Similarly, the rise in homestay activities has increased sales of local agro products in the village benefiting the entire community, the study showed.
The largest impact has been on the environment. According to the study that included 22 households in the homestay system, 54.6 percent of the homestay households earn from Rs5,000 to Rs10,000 monthly, 22.7 percent from Rs10,000 to Rs15,000, 13.6 percent up to Rs5,000 and the rest earn more than Rs15,000. The average monthly earning of all the households was Rs9,068. The homestay households have a combined income of Rs2.3 million annually from homestay operations, as per their own report.
However, the Dallagaon Homestay Management Committee showed that the households earned Rs1.58 million in the fiscal year 2012-13. With an annual earning of Rs2.39 million, the income to investment ratio for homestay households is 2.35 times.
Households who have invested up to Rs25,000 have the highest income to investment ratio of 5.53 times and households investing more than Rs100,000 have the lowest income to investment ratio of 0.74 times. The income to investment ratio declines with a rise in investment, the report said.
The Tharu community in the Mid-West started their unique homestay programme named Khata Biological Corridor Homestay in 2011
in Dalla village which lies
in Suryapatuwa VDC of Bardia district.
The households here have invested Rs1.18 million in the programme. Half of them have taken short-term loans to launch homestay services, mostly from cooperatives. The debt-equity ratio for investment in homestay is 42.4 percent. The study has found that the income from homestay pays around 80 percent of their family expenses, and this has helped them to achieve a savings rate of 45.1 percent. More than 14,300 people have visited the place in the 40 months since it began.
Most of the guests visiting the place have learned local values and seen the rare one-horned rhino. The guests liked Tharu livelihoods, cultures and traditions in particular. The host households have also improved their skills through cross-cultural exchanges with the guests.