Tourism ministry policy to standardise homestays by October end
Homestays will soon get their own common national standard and accreditation with the tourism ministry in the process of finalising details of a comprehensive national policy, said a senior official. The policy could be announced as early as next week.
Earlier this month, senior officials of the tourism ministry had a meeting with aggregators like Air B&B, Makemytrip, Yatra and Oyo to discuss details and ways to promote homestays.
“Promoting homestays means providing employment to a local family, giving tourists a family experience and also to help turn unproductive real estate productive. We will come out with a national policy by October end,” Tourism Secretary Rashmi Verma told PTI.
According to a tourism ministry official, promoting homestays — that allows visitors to rent rooms from local families — is being explored as a viable alternative for the tourism sector, which is struggling to fill the void of around 200,000 hotel rooms.
“The idea is to turn existing establishments and give them a fillip to accommodate tourists without building more real estate,” said an official.
The ministry is also exploring if licensing norms and levies on homestay establishments registered under the bed- and-breakfast scheme can be eased to encourage more households to let out rooms for tourists, making up for the shortfall of hotels.
Homestay facilities now need to be licensed by regional classification committees comprising officials from the Centre, the state government concerned and representatives from the travel sector. They also have to renew their licences every two years.