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.
As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post.
Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.
this is good but i have written to himachal tourism what are the conditions and what are the facillities reqd.for home stay nobody replies.If a websitemade by govt.and any person asking question they should reply.
Our govt does not understand the art of communication and seems also does not believe. At MH we do our best to promote rural tourism and would keep doing so.
Home stay as a vehicle for promotion of tourism and better understanding of the local culture, folk lore, traditions, living styles and what not has a been used world over. Himachal’s experiment with the idea needs to learn several things from the scheme’s forerunner in Europe and Japan, to quote a few. It needs to be de-bureaucratized for one. Secondly, it needs to open up for the urban areas where the instances of fleecing of the tourists by the so called organized industry are abundant. Last of all, it is not only the brick and mortar one to three rooms that is the cornerstone of the Home stay scheme but the local households offering to join the scheme need to be knowledgeable about the State, place and people at large. Home staying tourists should be able to take back with them the memories to be spread around and become ambassadors of tourism for Himachal Pradesh.