Anticipating a tremendous shortage of budget accommodation for visitors during the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the Union Tourism Ministry on Wednesday launched a unique 'Bed & Breakfast Scheme' in Delhi and nearby areas of the National Capital Region (NCR) to utilise the spare capacity in private homes for putting up tourists.
The scheme aims at building up a capacity of over 10,000 rooms in the Capital by the time of Commonwealth Games to house the common tourists, particularly foreigners, at an affordable price.
Under the scheme, which is quite common in many places abroad, house owners can offer upto five rooms or 10 beds, confirming to certain minimum standards laid down by the tourism authorities, for putting up guests.
The Tourism Ministry will grant them recognition as ‘Incredible India bed & breakfast establishments’ and classify them under ‘Gold’ or ‘Silver’ categories depending upon the quality of facilities provided.
"This will be a unique opportunity for house owners, especially the housewives, to earn an extra income while being at home... It will also make rooms available at an affordable cost for the foreign tourists while giving them an opportunity to stay with Indian families and experience their culture," said Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni who launched the scheme.
Based on the experiences at Melbourne Commonwealth Games, it has been estimated that there would be a requirement of between 40,000 and 50,000 budget category rooms for tourists in Delhi and surrounding areas in 2010, according to the minister.
Efforts are on to set up a large number of budget hotels as well as star-category hotels in the NCR within the next three years, she stated.
Once the establishments are recognised under the bed & breakfast scheme, the ministry will provide professional training to the house owners for running them efficiently.
It will also publicise them widely through its Incredible India website and other facilities in the print and electronic media, explained Tourism Ministry’s Joint Secretary Amitabh Kant.
Apart from other comfortable facilities for their stay, the owners will also be required to provide Indian and continental breakfast to guests and display the rates to be charged for the rooms as well as meals.These rates will be fixed by the tourism authorities, he said.
Those interested in running such establishments will have to apply in prescribed application forms to the India Tourism offices.The bed & breakfast scheme has also been simultaneously launched in all other states across the country and will become functional soon , Kant said.
The Tourism Ministry has launched a high-profile publicity campaign abroad called ‘Incredible India’ to attract international travellers to the country.Covering Europe, US, Canada, Australia, the Far East and Asia Pacific region, the campaign cost will be in the region of Rs 80 crore for the print, electronic, online and outdoor media.