Traveling safety is the major concern of anyone wanting to travel anywhere these days. Especially when visiting rural communities and staying anywhere as a homestay guest, it is understandable that there will be additional concerns over health and safety. Unlike in hotels or resorts, there may be doubts as to how far health and safety precautions are understood by the family hosts.
With this in mind, Community Homestay Network (CHN) has formulated, with their partners, rigorous safety guidelines and training programs to educate the communities in our network about COVID -19 and what precautions are needed to minimize the risks of spreading the virus, thus keeping guests and themselves safe.
The training that is being given includes not only a general understanding of the COVID-19 virus and how it is transmitted and controlled, but the precautions that need to be followed. Guidance is given that not only helps keep guests safe, but host families too.
The training covers how to properly sanitize the rooms, dining, and common areas to ensure that the homes are clean and free from infection. CHN is also advising families on how to arrange their accommodation, keeping rooms separate from the main household for their guests.
As there are several community homestays close to the major cities in Nepal, they are easily accessible for weekend breaks and even day trips, with increasing numbers of local tourists interested to visit. The health and safety guidelines, procedures and a checklist helps the hosts ensure that they have taken everything into consideration, to assure that travelers can experience Nepal with local communities safely. These have all been developed with reference to guidance from WHO and Nepal Tourism Board, and have been shared with homestays that are in the Community Homestay Network. View our health and safety guidelines here
Royal Mountain Travel has assisted with providing the logistics needed to provide training to the communities, providing staff to give training. Traditional Comfort Hotel in Kathmandu has been used as a training venue for training the trainers. Here they have practiced doing what is necessary to clean and sanitize rooms, as well as receiving training on the use of a cleaning and sanitation checklist.
Dr. Shovita Shrestha Dhakal, PhD(Microbiology) Microbiologist TU Teaching Hospital, is providing advice and support as a mentor on the health and safety guidelines and has trained the trainers. Planeterra has generously provided funding for sanitation equipment for the homestays in Panauti and Barauli. Items like stands for hand sanitizers, disinfectant guns, glycerin, HM15, thermal guns and supplies of sanitizer were made available, along with posters with guidelines to be displayed in the homes and community halls.
Following the training of trainers at the beginning of January 2021, training was carried out in Barauli and Panauti, with all the necessary equipment provided to ensure clean and safe accommodation. Further, training is planned soon for the communities at Nagarkot, Patlekhet, Illam, and Bardia.
By ensuring that community hosts and guides are aware of everything they need to do to try to keep their accommodation clean and safe, it is hoped that guests will feel assured that every precaution is being taken to keep them safe.