Go to Himachal Pradesh; stay at homeAugust 14th, 2008 - 10:50 am ICT by IANS
By Vishal Gulati
Shimla, Aug 14 (IANS) Want to go to Himachal Pradesh for a vacation but bored with hotels and guesthouses? Well, there’s good news for you, as the state government has taken the lead in promoting home stay in villages. Residents of this Himalayan state in northern India are now being encouraged to throw open their doors to both domestic and foreign tourists for home stay in rustic settings, formalising a practice that has anyway been prevalent in the state’s scenic Kullu valley for many years.
Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) managing director Ram Subhag Singh said under the ‘home stay scheme’ any villager can rent out a portion of his house to tourists.
“Today tourists do not want to remain cocooned in a five-star environment to which they are accustomed at home. Their actual requirement is rural tourism - the real experience of nature,” Singh told IANS.
He says the scheme not only generates self-employment for people living in villages but will also de-congest urban areas.
The scheme will also check fleecing by hoteliers at popular tourist destinations during the peak season. Now, the budget tourist has the option to stay in private houses in villages located on the outskirts of the city.
Under the scheme, an owner of a house located in a village can seek permission from the tourism department to rent out up to three rooms to tourists. Each room should have an attached toilet.
These home stay units will not have to pay luxury tax or sales tax. They will be charged domestic rates for electricity and water, as before.
“Tourists love to stay in my spacious wooden cottage with apple trees all around,” said Ram Kondal from Sairopa village in Kullu district.
“We can also take the tourists trout fishing in the Tirthan river.”
“From rock climbing or jungle trekking to white-water rafting or parasailing - it’s all here,” says Rikhi Ram who lives on the outskirts of the popular tourist town Manali.
“Tourists coming to the Kullu valley can be given an experience in plucking apples or sowing fields with bullocks or cooking from garden fresh vegetables,” he adds.
Ram Subhag Singh says the tourism department is also planning to impart training to the owners of the home stay units so that they can provide better service to tourists.
- Homestay high: Himachal expects 100,000 weekend tourists (With Image) - Aug 12, 2011
- Pastoral holiday on agenda? Drop in at a Himachal village (IANS Travel, With Image) - Jul 04, 2010
- Tourists throng Himachal - to milk cows, pluck vegetables - Apr 21, 2011
- High adrenaline adventures in Himachal's rugged trails - Jun 01, 2011
- Dharamsala plans 'home stay' for IPL fans - May 16, 2012
- Tourism: Kashmir's loss is Himachal's gain - Aug 05, 2010
- Warm home stays amid snow-clad Himachal mountains - Dec 22, 2009
- To parasail or trek across jungles, try Himachal (With Image) - May 12, 2010
- Tourist flow 17 percent up in Himachal - Jan 24, 2010
- Himachal hotel gets heritage status - Aug 23, 2012
- Himachal's snowy peaks pull in tourists - Dec 12, 2011
- Himachal likely to get 50,000 weekend tourists - Aug 09, 2012
- Himachal offers discount to Pakistani guests - Mar 30, 2011
- Himachal wooing newly weds with special discounts - Mar 22, 2010
- Himachal to exempt home-stay units from luxury tax - Dec 12, 2008
Tags: apple trees, guesthouses, gulati, himalayan state, home stay, hoteliers, jungle trekking, kullu valley, luxury tax, northern india, peak season, private houses, rural tourism, star environment, tourism department, tourism development corporation, tourist destinations, tourist town, trout fishing, white water rafting