No place like a homestay

By Prakash VL

People prefer to stay in open spaces and surrounded by nature

After the start of the pandemic, many tourists now prefer to stay with locals. This resulted in the addition of over 300 foster families in the state. During the third wave of covid-19, more than 300 host families started their activities. Over 600 applications have been received by the tourism department to start homestays. Tourists also prefer to spend their time in homestays as there is a family atmosphere and there is no tax for it.

There are 2,855 official foster families in the state. They are much more informal. There are 800 host families in Madikeri, 350 in Hassan, 600 in Chikkamagaluru320 in Uttara Kannada, 250 in Ballari. Dakshina Kannada which is known for its tourism and natural seaside tourism, has 63 homestays. In mangaluruthere are over 550 host families.

A homestay owner in Chikkamagaluru, Uttam Hulikere, said: “After the first wave of covid, we got good bookings. But, now we are not getting any reservations. We are respecting covid restrictions and providing food in the rooms. But, overall occupancy is low. We live in the middle of nature. Many have invested the money earned from their stays on the plantations. It is an alternative source of income for us.

Ranjit S, a technician from bangalore, said people not only seek foster homes for themselves, but also prefer those who allow their pets. There has been an increase in demand from pet lovers for homestays/resorts that accept pets. Homestay owners say they are slowly seeing demand. A homestay owner said, “Now with people traveling, especially revenge tourism, the demand is also slowly increasing.”

Another host family owner said restrictions during the first and second waves continued for months.

“The long confinements have destroyed tourist activity. We take every precaution when welcoming tourists and ensure physical distancing and other standards. The lockdown has affected us financially and also resulted in job losses. Now, with demand picking up, we are employing more locals.

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