There are only three authorised homestays in Dakshina Kannada - two in Mangalore and one in Belthangady.
This was revealed by the Assistant Director of Tourism U. Jithendranath following a discussion on “homestays” on the occasion of World Tourism Day. The discussion was organised jointly by the Tourism Department and the Dakshina Kannada district administration.
Mr. Jithendranath said all the three homestays were in the silver class group for which the operators have to pay Rs. 10,000 a year to the Government.
Licences to the three homestays were given following inspection from representatives of Comfort Homestay, a Delhi-based homestay, which has been authorised by the department to look into compliance issues for a homestay.
“Apart from these three, the remaining homestays are operating illegally,” he said.
There have been no fresh applications seeking license from the department, he added.
One of the primary requirements for running a homestay, Mr. Jitendranath said, was that its operator should reside on the premises.
Moreover, the number of rooms provided for the homestay cannot exceed five.
“The restrictions on the number of rooms came about in the 2009 Tourism policy following objections raised by the hotel industry,” he said.
Earlier, Suresh Mathaias, who runs a homestay, pointed out delay in obtaining license from the department. “The policy (about homestay) looks impressive on paper. But it is difficult to get the licence… it takes about three to five years. Measures need to be taken to expedite the process.”
He also sought more protection for the homestays following the attack on men and women partying at a rented accommodation couple of months ago.
Deputy Commissioner N.S. Channappa Gowda said homestays were a new thing for people in the district, where it was yet to catch up. “Some of the problems raised are the same as those that cropped up few years ago in Chikmagalur, where the concept is popular now.”
Mr. Gowda said that time taken for securing permission would be addressed.
“We need to create a conducive atmosphere for the growth of homestays here,” he added.