Union Minister of State for Culture & Tourism (Independent Charge) Shri Prahlad Singh Patel inaugurated the three days Incredible India Mega Homestay Development & Training Workshop in Darjeeling , West Bengal today. Ministry of Tourism’s India TourismRegional Office (East) has organized this workshop from 22nd -24th February 2021 in association with Eastern Himalayas Travel and Tour Operator Association (Resource Partner) and IIAS School of Management (Knowledge Partner) to enrich the hospitality skills of the Homestay owners of the region to ensure a better experience for the tourists. On this occasion Member of Parliament, Darjeeling Shri Raju Bista and ADG of Ministry of Tourism Ms. Rupinder Brar and other officials were also present on the occasion.Speaking on the occasion Shri Prahlad Singh Patel said, “The Eastern Himalyan part of West Bengal is one of the most significant tourist destinations in India. The presence of Darjeeling Himalayan Railways (UNESCO World Heritage) and Himalayan Mountaineering Institute also signifies the importance of the queen of hills. Over the period a new phenomenon i.e. Homestay has become a popular concept in the hills and thousands of locals have transformed their houses into a home-stay option in order to cater to the growing demand from the tourists.”Shri Patel also explained how in the time of Covid crisis several meetings with State Tourism Ministers and stake holders were held to help the tourism industry people. Union Minister also said that in a very short time, a portal was started to register hotels so that they observe Covid related SoPs and inspire confidence among the tourists.
Prahlad Singh Patel elaborated that due to the still serious Covid situation in large number of countries abroad and the dramatic improvement in the pandemic situation in India, the domestic tourism is suddenly picking up and key tourist destinations are getting saturated. The Indian tourist industry should seize this opportunity and quickly develop as many avenues of tourism as possible including homestays to meet the demand which is rising very fast, the Minister urged.The Minister further observed that the involvement of local community is of utmost importance in Homestay Tourism in one of the most favoured Hill Station of Darjeeling for Domestic and Inbound Tourists. However, these homestays need a lot of assistance in capacity building for a better future of Darjeeling hills as a rural tourism hotspot. Development of these homestays through hospitality skill upgradation would certainly make them self-reliant, Atmanirbhar, the Minister added.Shri Patel emphasized that the training efforts will carry on in the future till such time all stakeholders in the region are covered. The Ministry has been making concerted efforts towards encouraging citizens to travel safely within India and experience its beauty, thrills and unending charm.Shri Patel said, “An Atmanirbhar self-reliant tourism based economy will provide opportunities to the youth of the region for gainful employment “.Nearly 150 Homestay Owners would participate on each day (Total: 450 Homestays would be trained) in the aforesaid Mega Workshop where IIAS School of Management (Knowledge Partner) would train them free of cost in different spheres of Hospitality (i.e. Behavarioul Skill, Marketing and Sales Skills, Destination Promotion Skills etc.). Post Workshop an interaction between Tour Operatos/Travel Agents (Around 40 Operators) in form of B2B would be organised.