To weed out bogus homestays, Karnataka government has made it mandatory for all homestay owners to register their homestays in the tourism department portal.
Sources in the tourism department said a government order will be issued shortly directing homestay owners to register their facilities before November 15, 2016, failing which legal action would be initiated.
The online registration has to be done through the tourism department portal www.karnatakatourism.org.
An official noted that even the existing registered homestay owners too need to upload the facilities available at their homestays in the portal.
Meanwhile, tourism minister Priyank Kharge has been quoted as saying: “All homestays have been directed to register on or before November 15. Failing this, legal action will be taken against them and will be shut down. The objective of homestays is to give a homely, traditional environment with quality service.”
The minister said the number of complaints from domestic and foreign tourists against homestays has been increasing. This involves shoddy premises, security issues and lack of basic facilities. There are also cases of flesh trade rackets being run in the name of homestays. Many resorts are claiming to be homestays to evade taxes.
For instance, in Kodagu (Coorg) district alone, only 404 out of an estimated 4,000 homestays are registered. The process of registering an additional 29 homestays is in progress.
Illegal homestays provide accommodation to the guests through middlemen and do not maintain any register or collect ID card proof from the visitors.
Coorg Homestay Association has urged the superintendent of police P Rajendra Prasad to initiate action against homestays functioning without valid permission. Tracking un-authorised homestays in the district has become a challenging task for the authorities.
The SP said, “The homestays should install CCTV camera and maintain a register. The homestay owners should collect a proof of ID card and address from the visitors. A visit of a foreign national should be informed to the nearest police station.”
As per a HolidayIQ report, Karnataka has the highest concentration of homestays, with Coorg being India’s homestay capital.