Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Home Stays and tourism

My recent visit to Coorg, which has been mentioned a lot on this blog, like my other trips set off a chain of thought. Coorg, as many know is a land of sprawling estates and coffee plantations. One need not stay in hotels which are essentially about the same rooms and shoddy service and paneer butter masala. An option thats catching on a big way is the home stay. It has been around in various forms and especially in a place like Coorg, there are quite a few well known estates. (A google search throws a lot more options). Heres one, heres another but many of them prefer to go only by word of mouth marketing since, as they say, you never know who can come in as a tourist. The beauty of the home stay is that one gets to interact with local people who live there. You can also taste authentic local food or view the estate activities such as coffee picking etc.

As Rashmi writes, these places let you relive your "native place" - something very few people have these days. Such holidays will become popular, if they arent already. You may have to pay to let your kid learn what you learnt for free like breaking the outer shell of a coconut, making pickles, mango jelly and the like. Summer camps for kids are available in this flavour.

Home stay, also known as bed and breakfast is prevalent in Kerala (each time I visit this website it seems to be updated - which is really good - now it has French and Dutch versions too) too with the government incentivising (check out the incentive section) them to protect ancient architectures and lifestyles. It is also popular in Hampi where the tourist influx is not high (thankfully). It does quite a few things. Instead of a big budget hotel that turns localites into bearers and waiters, the home stay makes the locals earn the spoils of tourism. That ensures that they have a stake in maintaining the heritage, greenery and customs of the place.


Ritesh said...

Wow...I am really surprised to hear that the Bed & Breakfast concept is actually getting that much traction in is definitely a great way to get a taste of the authenticity and is usally you see this getting much traction in metropolitan cities also?

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