Karnataka

Pandemic forces homestays in Kodagu to register themselves

As many as 800 homestays had registered with the department so far, and over 450 of them had received certificates as well.

As many as 800 homestays had registered with the department so far, and over 450 of them had received certificates as well.  

Only authorised ones have been allowed to operate after easing of curbs

The post-COVID-19 era has provided a window of opportunity to unauthorised homestays in Kodagu to get registered with the Tourism Department to continue to be in the hospitality sector and for hassle-free operations.

For, the Kodagu district administration has issued permission only to registered homestays to operate from June 8 after the lockdown curbs were eased. With this, unregistered ones have no option but to fall in line, submitting relevant certificates and documents if they wish to continue in the tourism business.

In view of more powers vested on the district authorities under the Disaster Management Act to combat the pandemic, the homestay market is expected to be reigned in to make tourists’ stay safe and protected.

As many as 800 homestays had registered with the department so far and over 450 of them had received certificates as well. The registration was done online with a simple procedure.

Deputy Commissioner Annies Kanmani Joy has warned of legal action against unregistered homestays if they flout rules and operate. The taluk-wise registered homestays can be accessed by visiting http://kodagu.nic.in/en/tourism /accomodation

Speaking to The Hindu, Assistant Director of Tourism Raghavendra said inquiries from homestay operators had increased after the warning. “Many want to register now after the SOPs were issued and are asking us the procedure. It’s a simple process with a fee of ₹500. The department has been empowered to book cases if they do not comply with the rules,” he added.

Mr. Raghavendra said people can report the operation of illegal homestays to the department for immediate action. “The department is ready to facilitate registration provided the documents are valid,” he said.

Unconfirmed reports and estimates said Kodagu has over 4,000 homestays with about 20,000 rooms. Nearly 50-60% of them are being operated without valid licences.

Kodagu Home Stays’ Association president B.G. Ananthashayana said the association has 300 members whose properties had been registered and operated lawfully. “The DC has promised action this time,” he added.

Homestays are eligible to get registered if they have a maximum of five rooms and a minimum of two with attached bathroom, ample parking and CCTV surveillance. The property owner should reside on the same premises and the guests should have ample space to move around.

The NOC from the jurisdictional gram panchayat and the police are a must for approval. The approval is valid for five years.

Last year, after the floods, the department during a safety audit rejected approval for some homestays as it found them located in unsafe conditions.

No hurry to take bookings

Homestays running legally in Kodagu are in no hurry to start operations despite a ‘green’ signal from the government.

Although inquiries are being made for bookings, especially from Bengaluru, many homestays, located amidst the perfect landscape, are reluctant to take bookings in view of the conditions imposed on them over the pandemic.

Kodagu Home Stays’ Association president B.G. Ananthashayana said, “I have put off operations of my own homestay till November. Our members’ worry is over properties getting sealed down if a guest gets infected after the visit. Moreover, it hardly makes any difference for us since the homestays have been in crisis for the last two years over floods and landslips.”

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 7:03:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/pandemic-forces-homestays-in-kodagu-to-register-themselves/article31829611.ece

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