BAGLUNG, Jan 25: Last year, the Gandaki Province government had announced that it would provide subsidy for the operation of homestay programs in the province. Hundreds of applications were filed in hopes of receiving the subsidy from the government. More than two dozen applications were filed from Baglung district for permission to operate homestay programs. One and half dozen applicants received the subsidy from the government. But homestay operators in Nishi Khola have not been attracted by the subsidy programs offered by the government.
Lal Bahadur Kuwar of Nishi Khola Rural Municipality-2, Arnakot has operated homestay with his own investment. He has operated homestay from mid-May and till now he has invested around Rs 2.5 million. “With the aim to provide home stay facility to guests who arrive in the village, I have invested my own money to operate homestay,” said Kuwar, “Around Rs 2.5 million has been spent till now in operating homestay. Earlier, the guests arriving in village faced the problem of accommodation and food.”
Kuwar has constructed the building himself and registered it with the Rural Municipality. “There are no hotels for tourists, and homestay can be attractive, so I have started it,” he said. He has provided employment to one person after Kuwar and his wife could not complete all the work and during the arrival of large number of tourists, more people are hired accordingly.
Kuwar's homestay is 11 kilometers away from the Arnakot Burtibang bazaar. Kuwar's building can accommodate 12 people at a time. Kuwar's homestay offers local organic food and traditional Maruni dance to attract guests. Majority of the guests at Kuwar's homestay are devotees of the Baraha temple. Dhaulagiri and Macchapuchure mountain ranges can also be observed from his homestay.
According to Kuwar announcing Arnakot as a tourist destination can help to attract tourists village and will help to expand homestay programs in his village. “Till now I have operated it by myself, the rural municipality should take the initiative to develop this place,” said Kuwar. “Nishi Khola is one of the important tourist places of Arnakot, we have already started constructing infrastructure for its development,” said Tara Nath Poudel, Chairperson of Nishi Khola Rural Municipality, “We also have programs to attract domestic and international tourists in line with the Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign announced by government.”