A homestay at Kuttanad | Photo: Madhuraj/ Mathrubhumi
Kannur: The state government released an order scrapping the rule which makes No Objection Certificate issued from panchayats mandatory to start homestay services. The applicants only have to submit the other documents for obtaining approval. Once approved, the tourism department will directly pass the information to the panchayats.
The people who run homestays had raised complaints that the panchayat officials are reluctant to issue or renew the No Objection Certificate noting that the subsequent procedures of homestays fall under the department of tourism. Currently, the government has intervened and discarded the necessity of a NOC, to revive the tourism sector which faced severe setbacks due to the pandemic and lockdown.
Though over 800 homestays were approved in the state, many of them are not functioning. Most of the homestays are located at Fort Kochi, Idukki and Ernakulam.
Homestays are a kind of accommodation offered to the travellers where the locals let the former stay in their residence and have food in return for a certain charge.
According to the data collected, over two lakh houses remain unoccupied in the state. A major part of them is ancestral houses. Hence, the department of tourism suggests turning such houses into homestays.