Nim Dorji | Trongsa

Priority safety over income, homestays in Bumthang have remained closed even to locals since the government issued restrictions on tourists in the wake of Covid-19 case.

Sherub Dema Farmhouse in Chhoekhor gewog stopped taking in local guests.

“If we allow the local guests, we have to report to the gewog.”

Villagers suspect the guests seeking accommodation are those who completed quarantine.

The farmhouse owner Karma Dolkar said with no tourist, the family is into vegetable farming. Around 900-1,000 tourists stay at her guest house and also a few locals every year.

Tshering Phuntsho runs Miserthang Farmhouse in Tang said, “We have stopped opening for locals with the fear of Covid-19 and started farming.”

The proprietor of Ura Bangba farmhouse, one of the oldest in the community, Tashi Wangmo said that being a single parent and to raise five children has become difficult after the business closed.

“We depend on the income we make from the farmhouse, now with no tourist, a single penny is generated,” she said. Every year her family earns around Nu 300,000.

There are six farmhouses in Ura and each of them has similar stories.

Others are doing community contract work.

“The little potato cultivated was dug out by the wild boars,” a farmhouse owner said.

Bumthang dzongkhag has 20 farmhouses.

Three houses in Korphu chiwog, Trongsa were identified as guesthouses last year but they are yet to receive any guest.