‘Garbage disposal, a major issue haunting the State, has affected the tourism sector’

The tourism sector plays a crucial role in ensuring the State’s development. Thus, steps must be taken to ensure basic infrastructure in tourism locales, the Union Minister for Food and Civil Supplies K. V. Thomas said.

But tourism promotion must not be at the cost of the State’s culture. Accommodation units like home stays help in showcasing the State’s culture and heritage to tourists.

They provide hospitality in a homely setting and numerous tourists prefer this, boosting the State’s tourism sector.

The State government’s announcement that home stays need not pay commercial tariff on power, is a welcome step, he said.

Speaking after inaugurating the fourth State-level annual convention and workshop organised here on Saturday by Kerala Homestay and Tourism Society (Kerala-HATS), Mr. Thomas added that garbage disposal is a major issue haunting the State.

“This has affected the tourism sector too. Most home stays have their own garbage-treatment systems and rain water-harvesting plants.”

Solar-powered village

Attempts are on to make Kumbalanghi a solar-powered village.

Under this initiative, street lights on either side of roads will be powered by solar energy, he said. A book titled ‘Home stay business’ too was released. In his address, the Minister for Tourism A. P. Anil Kumar said steps will be taken to prevent unlicensed home stays from cropping up at different locales in the State.

He said that an inter-departmental meeting will be convened to discuss the possibility of compounding the different taxes that are levied on home stays.

National confederation

The chairman of Kerala-HATS, P. N. Prasannakumar said attempts are being made to create a national confederation of home stays.

“We plan to organise a meeting of licensed home stay owners from South India, in a few months time. Kerala has around 700 licensed home stays, while illegal ones number over 2,000.”

Sessions were held on online marketing and the role of police in ensuring the safety of home stays and serviced villas.

The principal of Kerala Institute of Tourism and Travel Studies Vijaya Kumar, led a session on consumer awareness in the tourism sector.

Mayor Tony Chammany, the director of Kerala-HATS M. P. Sivadattan and its technical advisor Muraleedhara Menon also spoke on the occasion.

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