Reports on Omicron variant put Kerala homestay sector on toes as X’Mas-New Year season nears

Reshma Bhaskaran

Representational image | Photo: AP

Kochi: As the Christmas-New Year season is round the corner, individuals involved in the Kerala homestay sector keep their fingers crossed amid the rising concern of the new Covid-19 variant Omicron. Restrictions to the travellers based on the new variant, in turn, will affect the sector.

Both domestic and international travellers have made their bookings in homestays in the state to spend their time here during the season. Bookings reportedly increased by 20 per cent while enquiries also witnessed a spike.

Usually, the season favourable for the homestay sector is a period between November and February. It is the peak period when room bookings in most homestays hit 100 per cent. By now, booking in some homestays has surpassed 50 per cent. However, they now worry whether the bookings will be cancelled in the wake of travel restrictions.

Amid the Covid-19 crisis, the state government had intervened to provide the sector with relief measures.

However, according to the director of Kerala Homestay and Tourism Society (Kerala HAST) MP Shivadhathan, the sector could only move forward if Covid cases decrease around the globe. He added that more domestic travellers should visit Kerala to revamp the sector. Notably, this time the sector had focused on works to attract more domestic tourists. In this regard, homestays campaigned with exciting offers and special delicacies for the visitors.

Around 2,500 homestays are functioning in Kerala. Out of this, 400 come under the classification limit. It is important to note that the homestay sector contributes around five per cent to the total revenue gained by the tourism sector. Some visitors avail homestay for one month and all. Anyhow a normal foreign tourist opts for a homestay for three days. The average room rent starts from Rs 1,500. According to officials, the flourishing of rural homestays is attracting many to the sector.

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