BENGALURU: While the State and Central governments have decided to permit tourism in the state, tashildars and deputy commissioners are strict about not allowing those above 60 years of age and children below 10 at homestays. The district administrations have been holding meetings with members from the hospitality sector, especially homestays on enforcing this norm. But, it has not gone down well with property owners and citizens hoping to go on a vacation.
“There has been a rise in demand for homestays in forest areas, as travellers consider it safe to travel to greener places as compared to other destinations. However, with the age restrictions in place, many families will choose not to travel and the number of tourists will come down,” said Lokesh K, a homestay owner. Tourists too are of the same opinion. “We were planning to go on a holiday with my eight-year-old daughter to a homestay near the forests.
However, when we enquired, we were told that we cannot be accommodated because she is below 10 years of age. Now we cannot leave her as we planned the holiday for her as she spent her summer vacation at home. Such enforcement of rules is not right. The government has issued an advisory and not passed an order,” said Sunanda U, a corporate professional.
Tourism department officials said that the local administrations are taking a decision based on where the tourists are coming from. Tourism Department Director K N Ramesh told The New Sunday Express that the department has issued guidelines on hygienic practices at homestays. He added that the department has advised all stakeholders to ensure safety, but DCs take the final decision, as they are part of the disaster management committee. However, the department has decided to open tourist sites in a phased manner, depending on the cases, demand and response from locals.