Odisha govt to promote homestays at eco-tourist spots

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Bhubaneswar, Nov 16 (PTI) The Odisha government on Monday decided to promote homestay facilities at nature trails and eco-tourist spots to attract tourists to remote areas of the state.

At a high-level virtual meeting held under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary A K Tripathy, it was decided that homestays would be supported from the 2021-22 fiscal for a period of ten years, an official said.

'Nature trail and experiential tourism is the current fad, and Odisha has much to offer in this sector. Develop homestay facilities in the remote areas untouched by hotel network,' the chief secretary said.

Places like Diamond Triangle Buddhist Circuit (Ratnagiri Udayagiri Lalitgiri), Onkadelli in Koraput district, Khola, Gupti, Dangmala and Bhitarkanika national park in Kendrapara district, Daringibadi, Belghar in Kandhamal, and Simlipal, Pithabata, Jashipur in Mayurbhanj have been prioritised for development of homestay facilities in the first phase.

The other locations include Tikarpada, Satakosia in Angul, Magalajodi, Chilika in Khurda district and Dhodrokusum, Zero point in Bargarh district, he said.

Around 80 homestay providers at these places would be incentivised each year with financial support, the chief secretary said.

Mentioning that homestays have the potential to promote local entrepreneuship, Tripathy said, quality hospitality, hygiene and safety of the tourists should be ensured.

Each homestay unit can let out 1-6 rooms (up to 12 beds) to guests. The rooms must be located in the premises where the owner or his family members normally resides. The owner or his family should be directly involved in providing hospitality to the guests.

A room should be at least 120 sq ft in size for twin sharing with attached bathroom. There should be proper fan and air cooler arrangements, kitchen, power back, pest control and first aid facilities in the homestay units.

Officials of the tourism department were asked to work out details for providing one time financial support to the owners for proper furnishing and addition of amenities.

He also suggested that the facilities should be linked with global online travel aggregators and integrated to their websites.

The chief secretary asked the departments of Tourism, Forest and Environment to train the local homestay unit owners and field level officials properly so that they could provide best cultural, cuisine and social experiences to the tourists.

Development Commissioner S C Mohapatra said, 'Presently homestay facilities in Magalajodi near Chilika lake and Dangmala in Bhitarkanika sanctuary area are showing encouraging results.

'Such facilities at other places will attract more tourists and will expand economic activities in the rural sector. It can be tapped as a sustainable source of livelihood and income generation activity.' PTI AAM MM MM