Jan 3, 2019-
Newly opened homestays in Madi, Chitwan have been seen a spike in the number of visitors, with 11 homestays serving more than 10,000 visitors.
Homestay operators in Madi, a rural area in Chitwan, say that they were encouraged by the surge in business. On an average, a homestay earns Rs400,000 annually. The concept of setting up homestays in the area was formed by the Ayodhyapuri Madhyawarti Consumer Committee on December 27, 2015.
Mana Bahadur Pun Magar, chairman of the homestay committee board, said that most of the homestays are operated by entrepreneurs from Myagdi district.
Homestays are becoming a common sight in rural Nepal, where tourists pay to spend a few nights with locals in their homes, eating what they eat and living like locals.
“Apart from the local food and rural living experience, we also serve visitors with cultural programmes such as Sorathi, Maruni and Salejo,” Magar said.
Thil Bahadur Pun Magar, an operator of a homestay, said the community songs and dances entertain visitors during their stay. “Apart from attracting visitors, it also helps to preserve local cultures,” he added.
Despite being situated in the proximity of Chitwan National Park, Madi is still struggling to be recognised as a tourism destination. Visitors have to pass through 10 km of the forest area in the national park before reaching Madi. The area lacks basic infrastructure including availability of road access, electricity and telecommunications, among others.
In absence of smooth electricity supply, homestay operators have been using solar panel to operate electrical appliances.
Mathura Bhandari, chairman of the consumer committee, said the local residents continually encounter wild animals preserved by the national park.
“Homestays also undergo threat of the wild animals from time to time,” Bhandari said.
In the past three months, the homestays have served 10 teams of foreign tourists, with each team comprising of 4 to 12 visitors. Sightseeing of the national park area is one of the perks of staying at a homestay in Madi.
With the opening of homestays, it has also boosted economic activities in the area such as fish rearing.
The board chairman Mana Bahadur Pun Magar said, “Fish farming in the area has also helped attract visitors.”
Madi also contains historical places such as Baikunthe Taal and Someshwor Gadhi. “These have also helped in boosting tourism,” Magar said.
He added that the homestays can provide accommodation to 44 to 66 visitors at a time. “In a number of cases, many visitors had to be turned away due to full occupancy at the homestays.”
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