We all know how badly Covid-19 has affected the tourism industry globally, and homestay business is no exception. It’s now only when Homestays started getting the fruit of their hard work after ages. But Covid-19 screwed up the whole thing. Anyway, we are not here to cry over spilt milk. We are interested in, what to do now and where do we go from here? Let’s read out our hosts.
Hishey of Lachung Homestay says, “I used to get 40-50 guests in a month which provided a huge support to my family. We have an old tradition in Sikkim of keeping a stock of ration which can last for 3 to 4 month but yes, financially it did affect us because all the bookings are cancelled. We are busy repairing our homestay, looking after our families and farms and praying this pandemic ends soon”.
Pooran Singh the host of Mukteshwar Homestay story is a bit different. “My home is built amidst a fruit and vegetable farm. Soon after the lockdown my workers left the farm to join their families. Now it’s me and my family only to look after the entire farm. Due to limited manpower and transportation, it has been very difficult to send the ready crop up to the main road and further to the market. But I trust, every dusk has a dawn. Tourism will make a comeback and I will reopen my Homestay soon”.
These stories can be related to almost every HOI’s host across India. It will be very difficult for them to sustain for long. But amongst all this chaos and uncertainty, we foresee Homestays are the future of Indian tourism. And we have reasons to say it.
People are locked inside their homes for so long. As soon as lockdown is lifted, they would want to get off. But they will prefer to use their own car instead of local transportations. Since they will have better mobility, the lesser crowded and offbeat places will see a surge soon after the situation gets better. They would like to live in small and safer places like Homestays where they hardly come in contact with other tourists. International travel takes a back seat, thus 2 million outbound Indian tourists will also choose to explore their very own country.
What should we do now?
Till we get rid of Covid-19, the Homestay owners should make the best use of it.
1. If you ever had a dream to create a garden in front of your home, do it now.
2. Now you have all the time to clean your Homestay and decorate it with local arts and wall paintings.
3. Use your creativity and do a photo shoot of your place and keep your social media alive.
4. Learn forgotten recipes from your grandparents to hand it over to your next generations and to serve to your future guests.
5. You could never stop the carbon footprint which tourists brought in your region, but nature did the job. This is the best time to clean your surroundings and take a vow to maintain it.
Where do we go from here?
Since Homestays will be a natural choice for tourists, you need to be really prepared. Safety and hygiene will be primarily required in the future.
1. Make sure you offer hand sanitizers to every guest and keep one in every room.
2. There should be a hand wash on the wash basin.
3. Linen must be changed every day.
4. You must take a bath on a daily basis and wear fresh clothes.
5. Most importantly, food has to be cooked and served in the most hygienic manner.
6. Do whatever the best you can for your guest’s safety and you too stay safe.
Trust the storm will pass soon and we will go out on fishing again. Obviously this is not the end of the world. It might be a new beginning.
Well written article. It’s a tough time for both the homestay owners and the intrepid travellers, who had made loads Of plans for the summer. Let’s just keep our heads down and focus on improving the quality of experience for the travellers once the situation takes a turn for the better. Let’s all be more responsible travellers as well as even better hosts! Best of luck.
p. s. The web page automatically changes everything to First Caps…even in the email.!! 😁
All very pertinent points guys. While I am sure this will also pass, I guess we are all in it for a slightly longer term than we thought. This is a good time for you guys to actually connect with the hosts and actually give them tips on improving hygiene and cleanliness around their stays.
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