Tourism is a powerful, and often, underused tool. It has the potential to ignite change and uplift communities that have traditionally lacked the resources to operate sustainably. Perhaps one of its most important benefits is its ability to improve the livelihoods of women – to bring gender equality into areas that have historically undervalued the positive impact women can make in the family, community and country.
At Royal Mountain Travel, we believe in the power of travel to empower. Our roots in sustainable tourism run deep, and we have a particular emphasis and interest in curating experiences that uplift women. One of these initiatives is Community Homestay, a program that seeks to connect travelers to the unique cultures embedded in Nepal through the eyes of locals. Community Homestay is a network of homestays that are run and operated by locals (predominantly women) throughout Nepal. Host families welcome travelers into their homes to participate in the activities of their daily lives, whether it be immersing in local festivals and joining in on celebrations, or simply preparing an authentic home-cooked meal.
Community Homestay is built with the vision to provide women with opportunities to succeed as entrepreneurs. It offers women the opportunity and resources to run their own businesses. World Economic Forum studies have found that when you invest in a woman, she will invest 80% of it back into families and communities. We’ve witnessed the power of this transition on a local scale, with a ripple-effect extending beyond the reach of a single household and integrated into the wider community. For example, because the women now have a say in how money is spent, community centers have been built as a gathering center to voice social issues, schools have received additional funding, and English programs have been implemented not only as a way for locals to communicate with travelers, but also to develop desired skills for employment across the country and abroad. As the result of taking steps toward women’s empowerment, the world is a better place for all.
We have developed our program in an effort to uplift communities and improve the local community’s quality of life, and as a result of this, we’re able to offer travelers a better way to get to know our country and fully immerse in our culture. Travelers have the opportunity to leave with a deeper understanding of Nepali traditions, as well as the satisfaction that a simple choice for lodging has benefited the local community. The travel industry as a whole is nuanced with both positive and negative impacts, but when utilized the right way, it can change our world. Community Homestay is just one example of the travel industry’s potential for positive impact. Make your next trip one that has purpose.