AIRBNB-STYLE HOUSING LAUNCHES IN NEPAL
By Lamya Hussain: Villagers in Nepal are battling preconceived notions of their country by using creative models to attract tourists, this is quickly becoming a popular destination referred to as “the homestay village.” After a decade-long conflict that ended in 2006, local communities in villages like Ghalegaun, which is approximately 60 miles West of the Nepali capital Kathmandu, are inviting distant travelers into their homes. Reported in Reuters:
‘Come as guests, go as friends is out motto,’ said Gurung, 50, who lives in the stone hut that has been set up with rooms with clean beds and toilets to accommodate visitors in this hill-top village overlooking some of the world’s tallest peaks.
This is more than just a creative marketing tool to attract tourists, it is an exchange of culture that is allowing tourists to truly connect with the spaces they visit as opposed to luxurious western format hotel stays. Ghalegaun is a key destination given its close proximity to Mount Manaslu which is the eight highest peak at 8,163 meters (26,781 feet). It is also home to a community with a renowned culture of hospitality.
Tourists stay and eat with the locals in their hones, whose doorways are so low that anybody entering has to stoop. The prices for food and lodging are determined collectively by the villages—a system now copied by dozens of other villages across Nepal, though Ghalegaun is the most popular.
While it may not be intentional but the residents of Ghalegaun are using social-enterprise models to build local livelihoods. This is helping the tourist industry while also creating sustainable income for local communities through a sincere opportunity for travelers to experience the local culture and tradition.