The Odisha government has decided to promote homestay facilities at nature trails and eco-tourism spots in the state to attract tourists, an official said on Monday.
During a meeting chaired by Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy, it was decided that homestay facilities would be implemented by the Odisha government from the financial year 2021-22 for a period of 10 years.
Highlighting the treasure of nature tourism in Odisha, Tripathy ordered the tourism department to develop homestay facilities in the remote areas untouched by the hotel network.
"Nature trail and experiential tourism is the current fad and Odisha has much to offer in this sector," he said.
Tripathy also ordered to ensure quality hospitality, hygiene and safety of the tourists at the homestay facilities.
Such facilities should be linked with global online travel aggregators such as Airbnb, Oyo, MakeMyTrip etc. and onboarded to their respective sites, he added.
Maintaining that homestay has the potential to promote local entrepreneurship, the Chief Secretary asked the tourism, forest and environment departments to train the local homestay unit owners and field level officials properly so that they could provide the best cultural, cuisine and social experiences to the tourists.
Development Commissioner, Suresh Chandra Mohapatra, said, "At present, homestay facilities in Magalajodi and Dangmala show encouraging results. Such facilities at other places will attract more tourists and expand economic activities in the rural sector. It can be tapped as a sustainable source of livelihood and for income generation activity."
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 Point in Bargarh district were prioritised for development of homestay facilities in the first phase.
The meeting deliberated on promotional assistance to homestay providers. It was decided that nearly 80 homestay providers at these places would be incentivised each year with financial support. Each homestay unit can rent out one to six rooms (up to 12 beds) to tourists.