India Homestays

When I read different posts and writings about ecotourism I have yet to read anything about India Homestays.  It seems to me that they are probably a type of accommodation that has the least impact on the environment.  For one, they are already there because it is a home that is opened up for visitors so no building occurs. Because it is a home, they can only accommodate small numbers, again less intrusive on the environment. They help the indigenous population because it is people of that country that open up their homes.  Most of the Homestays in the directory offer local organic meals and are very conscious of the environment, another plus.

All of the Homestays on Eco Tropical Resorts are located in India.  I have been contacted by so many of them.  In fact, today I added two new India Homestays.  Perhaps other countries can follow suit or maybe they are and I am just not aware of them.  If you know of any other countries that offer Homestays, please let me know via posting here on my blog or emailing me at eco @ eco-tropicalresorts.com. Do remove the spaces in the email.

3 replies
  1. Dee Edwards (Tell Tale Travel)
    Dee Edwards (Tell Tale Travel) says:

    There are ‘homestays’ in in many countries. However, they are mainly either organised around programmes, such as high school teenagers learning Japanese which includes living in a homestay. They are not normally treated as a tourism product.

    Another case is the odd homestay which is set up for tourism but they are hard to find and as they are outside any certification process, how do you know what they are like (facilities, people etc).

    As you pointed out, Kerala in India has a high concentration of high quality homestays in one area and it seems very successful.

    There are various factors in this. One major one is there a government initiative a while back to encourage homestays and a proper certification system. Kerala has limited employment opportunities so there was a lot of interest.

    I think some factors in the success are linked to the colonial history. Many local houses if not of at least of western standards for facilities surpass them because of their unique features, some of the houses are just spectacular. English is widely spoken. There are people of professional class who are committed to their ‘work’ in their homestay. So combine all these factors with the beauty of Kerala and you have a recipe for success.

    Initiatives have also started in other countries, either by government departments or NGOs. However, one simply can’t underestimate the issues that need to be countered. In Thailand for example, the homestay projects have normally been initiated in rural communities to add an additional income to the village. English is not spoken widely. Ways of living are considerably different. Existing bathroom facilities will often consist of squat lavatories, using a bucket of water and ladle to wash and shared facilities. Just installing a western style lavatory is a major thing, don’t even get me on showers or private bathrooms!

    The projects have often been geared up in a certain way, e.g. get up to 20 people in a group with a guide and either they all sleep on the floor on mats or scattered around various houses in the village. They are ‘wanted’ for one night and the tour leader and/or guide is expected to look after them. Personally, I don’t like this set-up as I think it smacks of ‘let’s go and see how the natives live’.
    Another issue is connected to homestays being an additional income not a main source – whilst this is brilliant for the village, it’s not always great for tourists or companies trying to use the homestays. Some people just don’t care enough about the ‘service’ they provide, they fall into a trap that tourists will just come and stay with them to see their life and pay a premium to do so (prices charged are normally much higher than a guesthouse) regardless of what they do. So they may start not bothering with things which guests and travel companies would think important. Or if once they’ve done it a few times ,if it’s too much work or ‘not fun’ they just won’t do it anymore, after all they already have a job, it was just extra money. This applies happens right across the board, not just amongst villagers.

    Malaysia has also got a homestay scheme but this post is already long enough before I start on that!

  2. Pranjal
    Pranjal says:

    Hi,

    Even I was searching for homestays in India. But there is no such website that deals solely with Homestays. In fact I have once stayed with a host in Cochin in Kerala last week. It was really a very good experience.

    This year I am thinking of going to Goa in the Christmas holidays. When searching for a homestay in Goa I stumbled on this website named Bharat Homestay. I think the url is http://www.bharathomestay.com There was only one listing however. I sent a message and they we very helpful indeed. They said that they were in the development stage of the website and soon they will have a database of Homestays all across India.

    In fact they went out of their way to arrange for a homestay in Vasco in Goa. I went to see the place and it’s worth it. It is an one-bedroom AC flat near a beach called Baina. The daily rental is Rs 1500. I think it’s OK.

    I think homestays are an better option away from the artificial world of hotels. Apart from it Homestays are much cheaper.

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