By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, November 16, 2020: In a bid to kick start the tourism sector, worst hit following the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, the Odisha government on Monday has decided to promote home stay facilities at nature trails and eco-tourist spots from the next fiscal 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 have been chosen as prior spots for development of home stay facilities in the first phase.

A high level virtual meeting held under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy decided to incentivize around 80 home stay providers at these places 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. He also asked the department to put in place proper mechanism at the district level to facilitate and carry forward the intervention.

Tripathy also directed the department to develop home stay facilities in the remote areas untouched by hotel network. a high level meeting held on digital mode under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary Sri Asit Tripathy. “Nature trail and experiential tourism is the current fad and Odisha has much to offer in this sector”, he remarked.

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”.

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