Bengal to give financial boost to families promoting homestay
It would also facilitate sanctioning of bank loans to the families so as to prepare the infrastructure for homestay for foreign tourists.
“We will even make houses in those areas and go for agreement with the local residents. They will get 80 per cent of the total income and the government will get 20 per cent,” said a source in the state Tourism department.
The Bengal government will soon be ready with its ‘Homestay’ policy to help out thousands of middle-class families living in tourist hotspots in the state.
The homestays would enhance micro and small entrepreneurs (MSEs) engaging the local work force. As a result, the government decided to formulate a distinct policy.
Establishing homestays in tourist hotspots is now a popular concept round the world. It is a practice which allows tourists or visitors to rent rooms in accommodations owned by local families. It is sometimes used by people who wish to improve their language skills and become familiar with the local lifestyle.
Many foreign researchers are nowadays finding comfortable accommodation at homestays in Bengal. Some countries even encourage homestays as a means of developing their tourism industry. Having a homestay participant allows the host family to earn an income as well. The Bengal Tourism department is set to formulate the homestay policy to boost revenue for tourism.
The local police will inspect important conditions for the homestays, such as legal status and safety, food and accommodation, rent as well as tour guides for the guests. The families involved in the upkeep of the homestay will also be covered under the Bed and Breakfast Scheme, which will help them by tying up with the Incredible India campaign.
Plans are also in place to start community development and organic farming projects in several tourist location, such as Darjeeling, Lamahatta, Purulia, Bankura, Mandarmani and many others. The hills of Bengal are one of the many viable destinations where homestays will be popular among tourists.
Several homestays have come up in various places of North Bengal, mainly in the Dooars region — the floodplains and foothills of the eastern Himalayas in North-East India around Bhutan.
The draft of the policy is ready as per instructions from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and state Tourism minister Goutam Deb.