The Enriching Experience of Village Tourism
Village Tourism in Nepal was created and researched by Dr. Surendra Bhakta Pradhanang, who is well known in the tourism industry and is also the Chairman of the Kathmandu Research Centre. His efforts to expand tourism in Nepal and to bring an income to small villages through the tourism industry motivated him to research the possibility of Village Tourism, which is now offered by many tour operators in the country. Dr. Pradhanang’s commitment to improving the lives of villagers and boosting the overall economy of the country has been invaluable to tourism and to Nepal.
As most of Nepal consists of many rural communities with the majority being too remote and off the beaten track to be found unaided, it is not often that these quaint settlements are visited by tourists. However, an increasing number of tourists want to experience the essence of a foreign country and enjoy an authentic experience and Village Tourism offers this and more to tourists.
Tour operators will generally approach a village and find out if the community would be interested in hosting tourists. If a village agrees, members of the community who agree to participate are then taught how to prepare hygienic meals and assisted with any queries they might have. Guides accompany visitors to the villages and throughout their whole experience, as they also serve as translators between the hosts and their guests. Visitors to the villages are housed in private homes, being able to experience, be entertained and get to know their host family personally, while learning about their traditions and everyday lives. Because of the remoteness of some of the villages, tourists will have to trek from the road to the village, which adds to this unique experience.
Operators give half of the proceeds to the locals, as they provide accommodation and food, of which most of the ingredients are home grown. This money then helps the community to improve their lives and establish an economy within the village. As this new form of tourism starts to spread throughout Nepal, and operators begin to establish a consistent flow of business, it is hoped that their arrangement with the villages will remain the same, and that they do not withhold most of the funds. Visitors are therefore recommended to ask operators what their remuneration agreements are with the villages, when booking an excursion. Village Tourism is not only an exclusive opportunity for tourists, but brings hope and industry to communities.