Shimla: Providing employment avenues for many, the home stay tourism scheme has taken grip in many areas of the hill state as bed capacities expand; the traditional mode of travel is bound to change in times to come as in two years it churned an economy of Rs 4 Cr, say top officials.
Speaking about the initiative launched in 2008, Arun Sharma, director Himachal tourism said, â€œthe scheme has evoked an overwhelming response in Kull-Manali, Shimla, Dharamshala, Palampur, Dhalousie and Sangla valley of Kinnaur.
â€œEver since the scheme was launched, 338 home stay units with 891 rooms capacity have been registered. Of them 113 were in Kullu Manali region and there were 90 units registered in Shimla and Dharamshala,â€ he said.
Home stays that provided quality accommodation at reasonable rates during tourist seasons was gaining in popularity as it had a near 100 percent occupancy during peak times, said the director.
Snow bound regions of Lahaul-Spiti and and Kinnaur were popular with foreigners and there were as many as 75 units registered in these high altitude tribal regions.
In two year as many as 18,156 domestic tourists and 1485 foreign have supped the hospitality of rural folks in these home stay units, said Arun Sharma. The scheme has enabled the community to get directly involved in the tourism industry and derive its benefits, he added.
Besides it has also succeeded in moving the tourist from traditional popular tourist destinations to new places which has helped to popularize new destinations and provide alternative income source to rural enterprise. The scheme has generated an economic activity of about Rs 4 crore, said Sharma.
Home stays units are located in the midst of orchards and lush green valleys and mostly serve, traditional cuisine cooked in natural environment .
Promoted by the government, registered units under the scheme have been exempted from all kind of taxes and water as well as electricity is also provided at domestic consumer rates, said the tourism director.