Lack of effective promotion hits home stay tourism
KATHMANDU, Aug 7: Despite growing interest of tourists toward home stay, tour operators are not being able to sell home stay packages in the lack of effective promotion.
Though many villages across the country provide home stay service, tour operators are not being able to take interested tourists there as they are not aware of the destinations, services offered and tariff of such service.
Operators, who are selling home stay package from their own efforts, said the number of tourist staying in home stay was negligible compared to those staying in hotels and lodges.
Pramod Kumar Shrestha, who has been promoting domestic tourism through Emery Travels, said enquiries for home stay is overwhelming as it is cheaper than hotels. “Unfortunately we are not being able to sell any package as we don´t have adequate information about the places offering home stay,” he said. “We are simply mediator. The government should come up with specific marketing strategy to promote home stay tourism.”
Though the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation last year announced to prioritize home stay tourism, no effective programs for the promotion of home stay tourism have been held so far.
Mohan Krishna Sapkota, joint secretary at the ministry, admitted that there was a gap between service providers and tourists as the home stay concept is new. “It is true that we are not being able to promote home stay tourism in a meaningful way,” he said, adding that the government was preparing to come up with some effective mechanism for home stay tourism in the near future.
Pitambar Gurung, who has been managing home stay for the past few years, sees the need for government support to promote home stay tourism in a massive way.
“At present, home stay is being run by the local community, which is not enough. Guests, who have stayed in home stay, have enjoyed the experience as it provides them the opportunity to mix up with local culture,” Gurung said, adding, “This is a very unique tourism product and it can help increase tourism arrivals if promoted effectively.”
Bijay Pradhan, executive chairman of Dream Nepal, feels home stay service providers should basic requirements of foreigners in terms of infrastructures and hygiene. “Most of the home stay service providers in the country lack basic facilities,” said Pradhan.
Balthali, Panauti, Tistung and Bandipur are some of the popular destinations that provide home stay service, according to Pradhan. Pradhan´s agency offers home stay package at Rs 1,500 per person per night inclusive of three meals a day and accommodation.
“With proper management and promotion, home stay service can help us get more tourists,” Pradhan said.