How The Govt Push To Homestay Will Keep Indian Tourism Sector Warmer
Recent media reports that the government will provide incentives to those who offer homestay services to tourists show how you could earn money while keeping in line with India's great tradition of atithi devo bhava. The Centre plans to issues licences to homestay providers and extend several tax benefits to them. According to a report in The Economic Times, homestays in India make up for the shortage of 1,90,000 hotel rooms across the country.
The report quotes Union Tourism Secretary Vinod Zutshi as saying that the ministry will also urge state governments to make homestay a lucrative proposition for both service providers and tourists, and issue guidelines on this.
MakaanIQ tells you a few things that you should know about homestay.
What is homestay?
Homestay is a hospitality service where a tourist is accommodated in a family set-up. Like a 'home away from home', this service is more affordable than a hotel stay, even as it provides a warmer atmosphere.
What do tenants gain?
Homestay is gaining traction among tourists. It is a win-win for tourists as they not only save on their lodging expenditure but also get to learn and know more about the local culture and traditions.
Unique accommodation: Unlike hotels, every home is different -- the family, their living style, the food, etc, all vary from one another. Homestay, which could be at places as diverse as from a haveli to a rural cottage or even a plantation cottage, gives you a unique experience.
The local flavour: If you are a tourist who has come with the purpose to learn and understand the culture of a particular state, city or community, even as you enjoy your holiday, a homestay helps you learn by just being there. The family, the neighbourhood and the local markets tell you more than any book or brochure ever can.
Customised services: At a homestay, you get the services that you need, in the way that you need; it is tailor-made for you.
Culture on a plate: If you are interested in home-cooked Indian meals, there can't be a better way of experiencing those than being at a homestay.
What do providers get?
When the proposed new rules for the homestay segment are implemented and the benefits kick in, a provider will have much to gain.
Clicking your way: The licence-issuing process will become faster, as the government plans to make it online. The otherwise time-taking process of inspection will be done by a third party, making it even easier for the homestay provider.
More savings: A homestay provider will be exempted from service tax. This means there will more for him or her to save.
Home-like treatment: Non-commercial charges will apply for electricity and water bills, as well as property tax, to homestay providers. This will give them more scope to save and upgrade their services.
Will it promote tourism in India?
The relaxations announced by the government for homestay services will have a positive impact on this services sector, and give a push to tourism in the following ways:
- More and more people will want to enter this market, plugging the shortage in supply of hotel rooms across the country.
- When the existing homestays will save through tax exemptions, the owners will be able to invest more in enhancing their properties, and add services to offer more comfortable stays to tourists.
- This will pave the way for an increase in demand among tourists wanting to experience the real India.