MUMBAI: Homestays in Maharashtra are set for a major boost, with the State government on Tuesday signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with online apartment rental firm Airbnb that will sell tourism in the state to a wider clientele worldwide.
As per the agreement, Airbnb will showcase Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) properties in the State on its portal to ensure more bookings for them. Besides bed-and-breakfast accommodations and popular MTDC resorts, 72 indigenous experiences have been developed by the government and will be listed on Airbnb to attract foreign tourists, reports The Hindu.
MTDC has been looking for partners to develop resorts on its land, and improve and standardise the ones it already has. Airbnb operates in more than 191 countries, offering verified online users options of entire apartments, rooms and hotels, or even houseboats across the world.
“The idea is to give homestays across Maharashtra a global footprint. We want to share our best practices through hospitality workshops and sensitisation workshops,” Amanpreet Bajaj, country manager, Airbnb India, said. The government hopes to create at least 50,000 micro-entrepreneurs in the hospitality sector in the next three years, including 15,000 women hosts.
“MTDC has 1,400 bed-and-breakfast accommodations, which is the highest for government-run tourism departments in the country, but the 72 unique experiences, categorised under its Mahabhraman (experiential tourism) scheme will have to be marketed, and this is a great opportunity,” Tourism Minister Jaykumar Rawal said on Tuesday.
Airbnb has already partnered with the Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh governments. Senior MTDC officials said since 90% of their bookings are made online, the tie-up will help boost business. Around 22 lakh foreign tourists visit the State every year. Airbnb will verify accommodation facilities to check for safety and cleanliness before listing them on its website.