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Tourism Dept. mulls reviving ‘Bread and Breakfast’ Scheme

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The Incredible India Bed and Breakfast/Homestay Establishments scheme of the Union Ministry of Tourism to attract tourists in a bigger way has understandably kindled the interest of Tamil Nadu's Tourism Department to pursue a similar initiative it had tried unsuccessfully a few years ago.

According to State Tourism Department sources, the initiative launched during 2005-06 had to be abandoned in Tiruchi district and elsewhere in the State as the quality of accommodation the houses identified for the scheme did not match up to the specified standards in terms of food quality, privacy, safety, proximity and a few other factors.

There was less conformity to the main requirement of owners to live in the houses where a portion is rented out for the scheme though the main objective was to enable the visitors to live with Indian families and have a first-hand feel of the local culture.

The Bed and Breakfast (Homestay) scheme was formulated to encourage locals to participate in tourism promotion and also increasing the room capacity in the State, in the backdrop of Tamil Nadu being projected as enchanting destination for holidaying in southern India.

According to official statistics, more than 25 million domestic tourists and 1.8 million foreign tourists visit Tamil Nadu every year. Thirty per cent of the foreign tourists visiting India also visit Tamil Nadu.

With connectivity to foreign destinations improving significantly in recent years, there was enormous scope for implementing the Central scheme in right earnest, according to official circles.

The Union Tourism Ministry, sources said, is keen to promote the scheme to provide a clean and affordable place for foreigners and domestic tourists alike to stay with families and experience the country's customs and traditions and relish authentic Indian cuisine.

While providing flexibility to the homestay service providers to fix the rent, the State Tourism department lays emphasis on reasonable tariff.

The State Tourism Department is hopeful of linking visitors to homestay facilities in the coming years through the counters it operates at the Tiruchi International Airport and the Railway Junction.


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