Sustaining village life

Rural communities in remote places often struggle to survive – and as they lose economic viability and their young people head for the cities, so too they lose traditional knowledge and skills.

Village Ways, right from its start in the foothills of the Himalayas, determined that sustainability is key to the survival of rural villages, that economic opportunity is best achieved by encouraging and building on the villagers’ own strengths, skills and knowledge to develop enterprise. Working in partnership with the villagers, we encourage low-key tourism that runs alongside, but does not displace, traditional livelihoods.

Village ownership

As active partners with Village Ways in the business of sustainable tourism, the communities share in the work, the pleasure and the profit that a successful tourism venture creates.

Participating villages work with the support of the Village Ways network in attracting visitors to come and share in the beauty of their surroundings and the fascination of their traditional lifestyles. Working through local committees and taking a full share of the responsibilities that tourism involves, the villages develop economic and social strengths – while their guests, warmly welcomed, find themselves on a voyage of discovery of wonderful remote places and deeply rooted rural lives.

 

Village Ways and the environment - true eco-tourism

Village Ways works to raise environmental awareness among its participating villages, to nurture the traditions and local knowledge that have long allowed them to live in balance with their surroundings, and to develop understanding of the changes (positive and negative) that the modern world can bring.

Guides are trained to value and share their knowledge of local flora and fauna; local craftsmen use traditional skills and materials to build or restore guesthouses and at the same time incorporate energy-saving technology such as solar panels for lighting and heating water.

The result is true and effective ecotourism that is bringing benefits to rural regions of India and Nepal.

Economic impact

It is important that the income created through tourism is supplementary to traditional livelihoods, without displacing it or creating dependency.

Village Ways works with the Responsible Tourism Partnership to monitor the local economic impact of the tourism we bring to these villages. We have provided data for our partner villages in Binsar, where we generate 14% of the income to these villages. To view the infographic for Binsar, click here.

 We will be providing similar data across our other Village Tourism Enterprises using the same Binsar model.