Homestay – Surge of ‘outsiders’ in homestay enterprise bothers stakeholders

Pattern of qualities getting leased out ‘ruining essence of village tourism’ in hills

Tourists flock at Chowrasta in Darjeeling

Tourists flock at Chowrasta in Darjeeling

File Photograph

Vivek Chhetri



Printed 27.03.22, 01:39 AM

Tourism stakeholders have raised worry over the rising trend of leasing out homestays in the Darjeeling hills to “outsiders” and have warned that this would ruin the essence of village tourism.

In Bengal, Kalimpong district has the optimum number of registered homestays at 337, way forward of South 24-Parganas’ 78 and Darjeeling’s 63, which hold the 2nd and 3rd place, respectively.

 “However, in the hills, all around 43 for every cent of the homestays have been leased out and this is not a nutritious craze,” explained Raj Basu, convener, Affiliation for Conservation & Tourism (ACT).

The point out government recognises houses, typically in rural regions, with considerably less than six rooms as homestays.

Basu, who had been instrumental in commencing the notion of homestays in the country from Tinchulay in Darjeeling district in the mid-90s, claimed the exercise of leases to “outsiders” was destroying the fundamental thought of the homestays wherever the visitor is associated with the way the host spouse and children life.

“While I was operating with the Union federal government, there was a suggestion that we work on the bed-and breakfast product. We, even so, persisted with the hearth-and-food design,” said Basu, incorporating that in the latter the visitor receives handled to a “slice-of-lifestyle experience”.

The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) has also taken exception to this emerging trend.

“A tourist seeking to check out a distinct space will not get the exact experience if the house is run by people today from the same spot from where the tourist is coming,” reported Suraj Sharma, assistant director, GTA tourism.

Basu described that a lot of businessmen were being having into homestays since of the gains the authorities is offering this sector. “Since a lot of commercial taxes are not levied on homestays, outsiders want to circumvent taxes by means of homestays. Some of them are setting up seven to 8 rooms and passing them off as homestays,” stated Basu.

All those associated in rural tourism preserve that homestays ought to not have extra than two rooms.

“The basic concept is to devote time with the rural family. The concept is also to empower gals with earnings. Commercialisation won’t assist,” Basu stated.

“Local persons give land and the developing cost is borne by the other get together and revenue are shared similarly. The condition authorities is offering Rs 1.5 lakh every to homestay proprietors as incentive, which is encouraging outsiders,” stated a source.