The Royal Highland Festival is transforming the lives of indigenous people, known as Layaps, by offering homestay opportunities for extra income, The Bhutan Live reported. This annual celebration of Bhutanese culture is not only a source of pride but also an avenue for Layaps to welcome travellers, share their heritage, and improve their financial prospects. The Royal Highland Festival attracts many domestic and international tourists to Bhutan. (Pexels) During the recent Royal Highland Festival, which attracts many domestic and international tourists, more than 500 visitors stayed in the homestays as there are no hotels in the area, making homestays the preferred lodging option for visitors, as reported by The Butan Live. One of the key attractions of these homestays is their modern amenities. This level of comfort impressed visitors like Rinchen Dema from Sakteng Gewog, who shared, “I came to Laya in the past as well. There is no problem with accommodation here. And the homestays have clean toilets. Moreover, all the rooms are neat and clean. I did not find any problem.” Talking to The Bhutan Live, Gyembo Tshering, a visitor from Lunana Gewog, echoed the sentiment, stating, “House owners are serving us the meals as per our desire. I am happy. Moreover, this year, the footpaths are also well maintained, which is convenient.” It is a win-win situation where the visitors are welcomed with satisfying services, and the homestay owners can earn thousands of ngultrum. “It has been three years since I started the homestay. I had eight guests this time, which earned me around Nu 25,000. The guests were saying that they were happy with the service compared to the past few years,” Tshering Pemo, a homestay owner said. To provide support and enhance the living standards of these homestay owners, the government has allocated funds for essential infrastructure. This includes funds for constructing toilets, proper horse stables for guest safety, and concrete footpaths within the villages. “In the second phase, along with the local leaders and engineer, we carried out a survey to construct the concrete footpath connecting all the houses. We proposed around Nu 20 million in the 130th Lhengye Zhungtshog, which was approved. The Cabinet Secretary also ordered the district administration to complete all the works in the 2024-2025 financial year,” said Tenzin, Khatoed-Laya MP. During the 12th Five-Year Plan, the Bhutan government invested Nu 6 million in these initiatives, with an additional Nu 3 million contributed by the Department of Tourism for the construction of flush toilets, The Bhutan Live reported. Laya Gewog, situated at an elevation of over 3,800 meters above sea level and home to approximately 1,200 people, continues to shine as a destination that combines natural beauty with warm hospitality and modern amenities. “Exciting news! Hindustan Times is now on WhatsApp Channels Subscribe today by clicking the link and stay updated with the latest news!” Click here! This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.