In a move aimed at elevating Goa‘s tourism sector beyond its beaches and embracing a perspective focused on ‘quality over quantity’ tourism, the state government of Goa officially launched two highly anticipated policies on Tuesday including Caravan Tourism Policy and the Homestay Bed & Breakfast Policy.
Announcing the set of incentives, Goa Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte said that the initial 100 homestays as part of the Homestay Bed & Breakfast Policy, will be eligible for reimbursements of up to INR 2 lakh for expenses incurred on furniture and furnishings. To avail of this benefit, homestay owners must make their purchases from vendors approved by the Department of Handicrafts, Textiles, and Coir.
“The initial 100 Bed & Breakfast establishments that have successfully completed one year of operation and are registered with the tourism department will also qualify for a reimbursement of the INR 1,000 registration fee during the policy’s inaugural year,” announced Khaunte.
Khaunte also disclosed that property and road taxes will be subject to reimbursement. Additionally, homestay operators will have their electricity and water tariffs waived, similar to domestic connections. Also, high-speed internet connectivity will be extended to Goa’s hinterlands, which will attract digital nomads and enhance the overall rural travel experience in the state, as per the tourism minister.
The Homestay and Bed & Breakfast Policy is strategically designed to promote rural tourism in the hinterlands of Goa. The key identified areas for this initiative include Sattari, Dharbandora, Sanguem, Bicholim, Ponda, Quepem, and Canacona.
“Initially, 100 homestays will be launched under the policy, a move that not only promises to boost livelihoods, upskill individuals, and generate employment but also provides an encouraging platform for women to enter the workforce,” asserted Khaunte.
Goa’s tourism department will offer comprehensive support to these homestays, providing them with valuable exposure through the official website and various promotional channels.
Additionally, the government has forged a strategic partnership with Airbnb, a renowned vacation rental company, to champion the Homestay and Bed & Breakfast policy. The particular focus, said Khaunte, is on preserving historic Goan houses and mansions, located in the remote areas.
Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte emphasised that when tourists venture into rural regions, they gain a profound understanding of the state’s culture, heritage, and have the opportunity to savour its authentic cuisine.
Also present during the launch, Goa’s Chief Minister Pramod Sawant highlighted the policy’s potential to empower women entrepreneurs and lead tourists to the state’s hinterlands. “The tourists have displayed a growing interest in rural areas, particularly during the rainy season. Also, the Caravan Tourism Policy launching today is set to provide travellers with an enhanced means to explore Goa, further fostering adventure tourism opportunities and offering a more enriching journey through the region,” he added.
The Caravan Tourism Policy was also launched alongside the homestay policy. “Encouraging an alternative approach to travel, this policy is tailored to enable tourists to explore the depths of Goa beyond its stunning beaches, emphasising a commitment to ‘quality over quantity’ tourism experiences,” expressed Khaunte.
Under this policy, a fund of INR 20 lakhs will be allocated to subsidise the development of essential infrastructure for caravan parking facilities. Also, for the first 10 registered caravans, 25 per cent of motor vehicle tax will be reimbursed and the other following will also be eligible for reimbursements ranging between 10 to 15 per cent.
The Tourism Minister emphasised that this policy also encourages private operators to collaborate with established hotels, resorts, guesthouses, and jungle lodges to create caravan parks on the premises of these accommodations.
Additionally, the private operators have the freedom to establish standalone caravan parks at scenic locations, subject to obtaining the necessary licenses and no-objection certificates from the relevant authorities.
As per the announcement, both the policies are in effect for five years.
Chief Minister Sawant said that these policies provide a unique platform to spotlight Goa’s rich culture, its breathtaking natural beauty, and the enduring traditions that have been cherished for generations. “These policies will also help create jobs and boost the economy,” he said.