Udaya Subedi is the newly elected chairman of the Village Tourism Promotion Forum (VITOF) Nepal Gandaki. He is also a proprietor of Happy Village Treks and Expedition in Pokhara. In this concern, we caught Subedi for an interview about village tourism and its promotion. Excerpts:
As a VITOF Gandaki Chairman, what are your future plans?
First of all, I am thinking of working on the improvement of an application called Visit Gandaki that was launched last year and covers the homestay villages of Gandaki Provinces. As we revealed it, we have got so many positive comments. So, we will add more villages to make the application more comprehensive. Moreover, we are planning for some training programs to produce skillful village tour guides that lack Pokhara from the beginning. We hope, they will be able to elaborate the history of villages and productions from there following the completion of training.
How do you cover the promotional part?
We will continue our effort for the exploration of new destinations and their promotion. Potentialities of additional homestays will also be studied. Likewise, a total of 14 model villages will be developed collaborating with Lions Club International District 325. More importantly, the cooperation between entrepreneurs and the village to village connectivity is our key concern.
What do you find the Covid- 19 impact in village tourism?
Villages saw no tourists once the Covid 19 pandemic was at its peak but later when the lockdown was withdrawn, they welcomed nominal numbers of visitors. As the numbers of visitors were on the rise, the second and third waves of Covid, as well as lockdown, hit tourism simultaneously.
What do you find that lacks the village in the context of tourism?
Basically, villages lack infrastructure. Roads and streets should be upgraded. Entrepreneurs need homestay and hospitality training. So, we would like to reach out to villagers to support them, cooperating with stakeholders and the media.
What do you expect from the government for the promotion of rural tourism in Nepal?
The government should come up with some support packages to sustain the entrepreneurs and the hard-hit tourism. Similarly, the government work for the building of roads and infrastructures development. The promotion and training programs should also be supported to put the village tourism in government priority.