Durga Puja – Portal on homestays to help tourists

At present, there are over 2,000 homestay facilities in different districts of Bengal

A homestay in the Darjeeling hills.

File photo



Bireswar Banerjee

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Siliguri

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Published 18.07.22, 02:07 AM


The Bengal tourism department is making plans to launch a dedicated portal with detailed information on homestay facilities in the state to help both tourists and people who run the facilities.

“The project to develop a separate portal for homestay tourism facilities in the state is in progress. We have planned to introduce it before Durga Puja, so that people can book their accommodation through this portal,” an official source in the state tourism department said.

“Presently there are over 2,000 homestay facilities in different districts of Bengal that are registered with the department. Of these, 974 facilities are in Kalimpong district and we are expecting another 300 such facilities to get registered in the next couple of weeks. Darjeeling is the second highest, with about 200 homestays. Rest of the homestays are located in districts such as Alipurduar, Malda, North and South 24-Parganas, Hooghly and South Dinajpur,” the official said.

According to official sources, the new portal will have information on location of the home stay, the nearest airport and railway station, nearby accommodation and miscellaneous information about transport and places of interest near the respective homestay facilities.

An official said that the pandemic led to the popularity of homestays in less crowded and serene tourist spots.

“Keeping this in mind, the state government is emphasising on more and more home stay facilities to come up. The portal is meant to appraise tourists of homestay options and expedite and simplify their travel arrangements,” the source added.

The state government is presently providing Rs 1.5 lakh as financial assistance to a person or a group for developing a homestay facility.

“Homestay facilities and rural tourism are among the pet projects of chief minister Mamata Banerjee, and enjoy immense popularity among domestic and even foreign tourists. The government is relentlessly working to develop not only this new concept of tourism, but also the overall improvement of the industry to the benefit of its stakeholders,” said Jyoti Ghosh, deputy director (north), the state tourism department.