June 4, 2018
Focus on home stay tourism in Bengal’s new tourism policy
The Bengal Government is coming up with a new tourism policy, to be finalised before Durga Puja. The policy will give a lot of stress on two areas – home stay tourism, and as a consequence of that, helping the local economy.
There is an existing home stay policy but now home stays are confined mostly to hill stations like Kalimpong, Kurseong and places in the Dooars. The new policy will open up opportunities for such accommodations all across the State. In recent times, efforts have been made to open home stays in the Ayodhya Hills in the district of Purulia.
Home stays provide, in many ways, a more authentic experience. Staying with a local family familiarises one with the local culture, thus providing for a more wholesome experience. This is not always possible in a hotel. It also provides income opportunities for locals in many ways, and not just for home stay owners.
Taking an example, local handicraft makers can get an opportunity to earn a decent livelihood. To enable that, the new policy will have provisions for enabling the establishment of home stays near the various handicraft hubs being set up by the State Government.
Then, the policy would have provisions for setting up organic farming practices near home stays so that healthy food can be provided to tourists. All types of help for setting up organic farming would also be provided.
Rules and regulations regarding the setting up of home stays would be clearly spelt out in the policy. The minimum number of rooms required for setting up a home stay, the size of kitchen and various other details would find a mention. Ways of getting loans on easy terms for setting up home stays would also be mentioned.
Details of home stays would be listed on the website of the Tourism Department – location, cost, ways to book rooms, facilities provided, etc.
Besides home stay tourism, other types of tourism like adventure tourism, sports tourism, etc. would also be promoted through the new policy.