Bhitarkanika national park

Odisha to promote homestay facilities at nature trails, eco-tourism spots

Bhubaneswar: In another boost to Odisha tourism, the state government has decided to promote homestay facilities at nature trails and eco-tourism spots.

In a meeting, chief secretary Asit Tripathy directed the department of tourism to develop homestay facilities in the remote areas untouched by hotel network.

 “Nature trail and experiential tourism is the current fad, and, Odisha has much to offer in this sector,”he said.

He also directed to ensure quality hospitality, hygiene and safety of the tourists at home stay facilities.

Such facilities should be linked with global online travel aggregators such as AIRBNB, OYO, MakeMyTrip etc and onboarded to their respective sites, said Tripathy.

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 Suresh Chandra Mohapatra said, “Presently home stay facilities in Magalajodi and Dangmala show encouraging results. Such facilities at other places will attract more tourists and will expand economic activities in rural sector. It can be tapped as a sustainable source of livelihood and income generation activity.”  

It was decided in the meeting that the homestay facility would be supported from the financial year 2021-22 for a period of ten years.

The places like Diamond Triangle Buddhist Circuit (Ratnagiri – Udayagiri – Lalitgiri); Onkadelli in Koraput district; Khola, Gupti, Dangmala, Bhitarkanika national park in Kendrapara district; Daringibadi, Belghar in Kandhamal district; Simlipal, Pithabata, Jashipur  in Mayurbhanj district; Tikarpada, Satakosia in Angul district;  Magalajodi, Chilika in Khordha district;  and, Dhodrokusum, Zero pint in  Bargarh district  were prioritized for development of homestay facilities in the first phase.  

The meeting deliberated on promotional assistance to homestay providers. It was decided that around 80 homestay providers at these places would be incentivised each year with financial support.  Each homestay unit can let out 1-6 rooms (upto 12 beds) to guests.

The lettable rooms must be located in the premises where the owner or his family members normally resides. The owner or his family member should be directly involved in providing hospitality to the guests.

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

Chief Secretary Tripathy directed to work out details for providing onetime financial support to the owners for proper furnishing and addition of amenities.

The department was also advised to put in place proper mechanism at the district level to facilitate and carry forward the intervention.