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J&K rolls out 13,000 homestay rooms red carpet to tourists

A senior Tourism Department official said that 'homestays solve the problem of accommodation and food for tourists to a great extent.'
01:01 AM Feb 14, 2024 IST | MUKEET AKMALI

Srinagar, Feb 13: The homestay industry in Jammu and Kashmir is witnessing rapid growth, with 1,485 homestays boasting 13,000 rooms registered across the Union Territory.

This is in response to an initiative by the J&K government to bridge the gap of rooms for tourists, which is now paying dividends as more locals convert their properties into homestays for hosting visitors.


The homestay initiative was launched by the Jammu and Kashmir government to boost tourism and provide accommodation options for visitors. Under this, locals can register their homes to host tourists and offer them an authentic cultural experience.

"To accommodate the increasing tourist flow and provide quality services, the Union Territory Government devised homestay guidelines. More than 1,485 homestays with a bed capacity of 13,000 have been registered so far across Jammu and Kashmir. This comes after the tourism sector was granted industry status, leading to enormous growth in investments. Initiatives are also being undertaken to involve local communities in tourism activities and ensure equitable benefit sharing. These initiatives have helped the tourism sector in the UT do exceptionally well, with over 1.88 crore tourists visiting in 2022 and 2.11 crore in 2023 - marking unprecedented growth," reads an official document.


In 2022, Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department introduced a homestay programme to promote border tourism, which is proving to be very beneficial and provides employment opportunities for unemployed youth. Tourists staying in homestays across the region feel very comfortable and get to experience the wonderful local culture even at a basic level.

A senior Tourism Department official said that "homestays solve the problem of accommodation and food for tourists to a great extent." He said homestays have no negative environmental effects and provide effective employment opportunities for youth.

"By staying in local homes, tourists from different parts of India get to know the wonderful culture, lifestyle, and living habits of Kashmiris," the official said, adding that "this initiative has widened employment opportunities in tourism and reached common people."

He said homestays have also resolved lodging and food issues for tourists. The government has introduced new tourist destinations where hotels and restaurants are not well-established, but homestays play a pivotal role in providing a homely atmosphere and facilities.

"Constructing hotels in these places may affect the environment, but homestays have no such concerns," he said, adding that "those with at least four rooms can register for homestay with the tourism department."