Homestay Rules in Kerala - Petition By Accredited Homestay Owners Association(AHOA)
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By the very concept and normal definition Homestay is primarily someone's home which the owner host shares with guests who get the advanatange of staying with a local and enjoy and learn about local customs, food and culture. This segment in tourism is becoming very popular among world travellers , especially in our "MYSTICAL" land called INDIA!! .
However, those who venture into this are in for a real surprise in the State of Kerala. Though Depatrment of Tourism of Kerala maintains (verbally) that Homestays are non-commercial establishments but through a recent order(GO(MS)/324/15/TSM dated 23.12.2015) has turned the tables on Homestays. This "Order" changes everything and complying with it will make someone's home look more like a lodge or a resort.(which is exactly what travellers are trying to get away from).
Not much thought has gone into the the above order which contradicts the very concept of a local homely environment and requires a home to take Food Safety Department Registartion, provide for power backups , have menus in the house and rooms etc etc. (make it look more like a commercial establishment) which deviates from the very concept of a home and make it look "very artificial" to guests. It just wont feel like a home or a Homestay. Why should an ORDINARY home needs Food Safety Registration ? Wouldnt that mean every home in Kerala should have this registration as we all get guests at home and serve food at home ????
So a HOMESTAY doesnt look and feel like a real HOME anymore.
Many who have ventured into this segment of Tourism are ordinary people with 1 or 2 rooms with limited financial resources. Some have invested their retirement money into this, some borrowed money to set up.
A Homestay owner in Kerala pays upto Rs.7000/- to Department of Tourism to get the accreditation certificate. However, there are many so called "homestays" which are not accredited and dont pay anything and Department of Tourism doesnt care or can not do anything about them.Department of Tourism gives accrediatation to a home upto 6 rooms to spare for guests.
Many of the Homestay owners are finding it difficult to survive with these conditions (many of which are contradictory to the very meaning and concept of a "HOME" and thus a HOMESTAY). Accredited HOMESTAY owners in Kerala get no financial or any other help from Department of Tourism whatsoever. Contacts are re-initiated only during renewal time and just to collect fees.
THIS MUST CHANGE.
Kerala Department of Tourism must re-think on these "illogical and contradictory" orders and really think if it is serious about "HOMESTAY" segment of Tourism in Kerala.
If it doesnt change, many genuine homestay owners will opt out of the scheme and will be out of pocket on their investments and many without a livelyhood.
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