Bhubaneswar: Odisha government has decided to promote Home Stay facilities for nature tourist visiting the nature trails and eco-tourist spots in the State. The State to support 80 Home Stay facilities in nature destinations with linking these with global travel aggregators like AIRBNB, OYO, MakeMyTrip.

This was decided in at high level meeting held under the chairmanship of chief secretary Asit Tripathy in Lokseba Bhawan wherein secretary tourism Vishal Dev outlined the issues for discussion.

Tripathy directed the department of tourism to “develop home stay facilities in the remote areas untouched by hotel network”.

Tripathy said, “Nature trail and experiential tourism is the current fad, and, Odisha has much to offer in this sector”. He also directed to “ensure quality hospitality, hygiene and safety of the tourists at home stay facilities”. “Such facilities, added Tripathy, “should be linked with global online travel aggregators such as AIRBNB, OYO, MakeMyTrip etc and onboarded to their respective sites”.

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”.

Further, chief secretary said, “Home Stay has the potential to promote local entrepreneurship”. He asked the departments of Tourism, Forest & Environment to train the local home stay unit owners and field level officials properly so that they could provide best cultural, cuisine and social experiences to the tourists”.

It was decided in the meeting that the home stay facility would be supported from the FY 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 Kandhamala; Simlipal, Pithabata, Jashipur in Mayurbhanj; Tikarpada, Satakosia in Angul; Magalajodi, Chilika in Khordha district; and, Dhodrokusum, Zero pint in Bargarh district were prioritized for development of home stay facilities in the first phase.

The meeting deliberated on promotional assistance to home stay providers. It was decided that around 80 home stay providers at these places would be incentivised each year with financial support. Each home stay 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.

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.
Additional chief secretary forest & environment Dr Mona Sharma, principal secretary Ffnanace Ashok Kumar Meena, PCCF Wild Life Hari Shankar Upadhaya, director tourism Sachin Ramchadra Jagdev along with senior officers from concerned departments participated in the deliberations.