State Affairs

Coffee country is new tourism cash cow

MADIKERI

More than a decade after homestays became a part of Kodagu’s tourism circuit, the state government is looking at a slice of the pie by introducing a steep fee and regulating them.

This is a direct fallout of the increasing tourist flow to the district, which has led to the brisk growth of homestays. Tourism department officials said the government decided to issue guidelines and regulate them not just for revenue, but also to curtail illegal activities and fleecing of tourists in some illegal holiday homes. Not long ago, a homestay owner too was attacked and robbed near Gonikoppal in Kodagu by a gang posing as tourists, reports Times of India.

Welcoming the new guidelines, Shashi Monappa, a homestay owner, said the de partment of tourism should also undertake a survey to identify homestays and bring everyone under its ambit in the interest of tourism in Kodagu.

While the average number of tourists visiting Kodagu hovered around 4-5 lakh a year in 2005, it has now touched around 25 lakh a year. “Of these, at least 70% opt for homestays,” a tourism department official in Kodagu said.

Tourists have little choice because the Karnataka government has been not able to match the unprecedented footfalls in terms of infrastructural facilities and there aren’t many budget hotels available in Madikeri to meet the growing rush. So homestays have come to the rescue of people looking for budget accommodation.

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