Homestay scheme not gaining enough traction in Uttarakhand
Launched with much hype, the homestay scheme is moving at a slow speed in Uttarakhand with less than 300 households getting registered since its notification in February last yeardehradun Updated: Dec 26, 2017 18:38 IST
Launched with much hype, the homestay scheme is moving at a slow speed in Uttarakhand with less than 300 households getting registered since its notification in February last year.
The homestay scheme - under which tourists can rent rooms at local homes - was launched by the Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board (UTDB) for offering affordable lodging to tourists and providing them a close interaction with locals.
Besides attracting tourists to remote areas that abound in natural beauty but lack adequate lodging facilities, the homestay concept aims to boost the local economy by generating self-employment opportunities for the host families.
But, according to the UTDB, only 268 homestays are registered so far. Tehri district tops the chart with total 65 registrations, followed by Almora (63), Dehradun (53) and Nainital (40). As per the official data, more than half of the state’s 13 districts don’t even have homestay registration in double digits. Haridwar and Pithoragarh (5 each), Udham Singh Nagar, Pauri, Champawat and Chamoli (2 each) and Rudraprayag (1) fall in this group.
Experts feel if implemented effectively, the concept of homestays can do wonders for Uttarakhand, which has a tremendous tourism potential. “Firstly, the government should work on spreading awareness among locals that such a concept exists. Secondly, emphasis on providing quality hospitality is a must...so, more and more training sessions should be held for capacity building of people operating homestays,” Sandeep Sahni, president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Uttarakhand, told HT.
A tourism official, however, said efforts were being made to popularise the scheme, especially in the remote areas. “Tourism officers are reaching out to locals through tehsil- and block-level government programmes and regional fairs to sensitise them about homestays. We have tied up with some leading (travel/hotel aggregator) agencies for promoting homestays,”said SS Samant, senior research officer of UTDB.
Consultants of Infrastructure Development Investment Program for Tourism (IDIPT) under the Asian Development Bank are working to sensitise villagers about homestays, he added.