Royal Mountain Travel from Nepal has been awarded with the 2020 Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) gold award for promoting community-based tourism through its Community Homestay Network project. The 2020 gold winners have been selected from 121 entries by an independent panel of judges for demonstrating excellence in their respective categories within the travel industry.
Royal Mountain Travel initiated its Community Homestay Network project in 2012 in collaboration with a community from Panauti. The project has now evolved into a social enterprise with support from Booking.com’s Booking Booster programme and works with communities across Nepal to develop and improve their tourist products. The platform connects international travelers with communities, providing travelers a unique opportunity to stay with Nepali families and experience authentic Nepali lifestyle. At the same time, local communities get the opportunity to share their culture and landscapes with the world while gaining access to a sustainable source of income through tourism.
Travel experts from Royal Mountain Travel and Community Homestay Network also support communities to design community-based experiences like cooking classes or village tours. The community-based experiences help enhance travelers’ visits while creating value addition for the local communities.
Through this project, families have reported increased income, women hosts have reported feeling more empowered, local economies have reported increased volume in business from tourist-related activities and communities have reported taking greater pride in their cultures.