The spirit of Nepali tourism lies in the natural richness and its indigenous societies with their mystic cultures which can be best showcased through the homestay program. Homestay, still an afterthought dimension of tourism in Nepal, is gradually becoming a dominant hospitality market. For many travel enthusiasts, homestay provides just the opportunity to assimilate with the local customs, relish the local cuisine and get to know the real local lifestyle. It is one among the inimitable chances to experience life as it is lived.
Taking the above fact into consideration, Trekking Agents’ Association of Nepal, Western Regional Association (TAAN WRA) and Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) Annapurna Chapter jointly organized a home-stay program under the slogan ‘”Tourism for Together ’’ to mark 69th Annapurna Summit Day on 3rd June 2019.In 1950 June 3, French Citizen, Maurice Herzog along with his team climbed 8019 m high Mt. Annapurna for the first time. So, moreover, the program was purposed to remember the first ascent to the Annapurna Himalaya.
The venue of the program was Yanjakot of Madi Rural Municipality, Kaski which is almost two and half hour off-road drive from Pokhara. Almost 100 plus tourism entrepreneurs and concerned ones along with journalists took part in the program. The team was welcomed with Nepali traditional Panche Baja and served with the traditional dishes. Krishna Charitra and other traditional dance were among other attraction of the homestay program. The visiting team was also provided with the visit of the local places of touristic interest such as Darbarkot and others.
A formal program was also held the next morning which was chaired by Mr. Hari Bhujel, the president of TAAN WRA whereas the chief guest was Honourable Gandaki Province Assembly Member Mr. Man Bahadur Gurung. The President of NMA Annapurna Chapter Mr.Krishna Prasad Kafle delivered the welcome speech. The session was inaugurated by lightning the Panas by the chief guest.
On the occasion, the mountain climber, Mr. Neema Gyalbo Sherpa was felicitated for his climbing on Annapurna first on 2013.He has also climbed Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world 6 times though he attempted 8 times. He has also proposed the Project Possible in which he is intended to climb many more mountains of the world in stipulated time.
The central secretary of Tourism Journalist Group, Ms. Jamuna Sharma gave suggestion for the better homestay whilst Tourism Assistant of ACAP, Mr. Tek Grg expressed happiness to join the event.
During the program, TAAN WRA president Mr. Bhujel along with program coordinator Mr. Dharma Raj Panthi handed over the map showing the trail to Kapuche lake of Madi, to the chief guest.A stretcher was also handed over to Mr. Bed Bahadur Gurung , the head of Madi Rural Municipality by TAAN President Hari Bhujel. The stretcher is purposed for the easy rescue in the remote areas of the village. The chief of Tourism Department of Gandaki Province, Mr. Kritan Raj Poudel speaking at the event told that Gandaki Province is trying its level best to make Internal Tourism Year, a grand success. To make this happen, he requested all the concerned ones to join hand in hand.
Similarly, the president of Pokhara Tourism council, Mr. Chiranjibi Pokhrel speaking at the occasion praised about the program. During the formal session, senior tourism entrepreneur, Mr. Ganesh Bahadur Bhattarai emphasised the fact that not only climbing the mountains is important but is equally important to clean the mountains. He also added that government also should come up with strategic plans to address today’s need of tourism sector. At the same time, past board member of Nepal Tourism Board, Mr. Tika Ram Sapkota said that Nepal was more known to the rest of the world right after French National Maurice Herzog wrote the book titled, ‘’Annapurna’’ after he successfully ascended Annapurna I for the first time on 3rd June 1950.
The central treasurer of NMA Mr. Sudarshan Neupane and Madi Rural Municipality Head Mr. Bed Bahadur Gurung were among other speakers during the program.Addressing the program Chief Guest, Mr. Man Bahadur Gurung told that we have nature, culture and resources and all we have to do is change our mind-set, attitude and behaviour to see the better days which will bring prosperity through tourism in nation.
TAAN WRA President Mr. Hari Bhujel as a chairperson of the program told that government also should assist the tourism entrepreneurs to uplift the Nepalese Tourism. He also assured the locals that TAAN will come up with some sort of hospitality related training to the people of Madi which he assumes will be helpful in homestay and trekking business.
The Master of ceremony of the program was Mr. Jeevan Raj Sapkota, the secretary of TAAN WRA and the Coordinator of the overall program was Mr. Dharma Raj Panthi who himself is the second Vice President of TAAN WRA. The program was promoted by Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), supported by Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), Gandaki Province Tourism Ministry and Madi Rural Municipality.