KOCHI: The Covid-19 outbreak has brought the tourism sector to a standstill. With tourists unlikely to arrive in the near future, homestays and serviced apartments have decided to make an opportunistic move: Invite returnees from other states and countries who are looking for self-quarantine facilities. And the attraction: They can spend the two-week time in comfortable surroundings.
The Kannur unit of Kerala Homestay and Tourism Society (HATS), which has launched the ‘Facilitated Self-quarantine Programme’, has identified 50 serviced villas and homestays for the package. Kannur has a large number of NRKs. The first flight to Kannur, from Dubai, has been scheduled for May 12 while hundreds have reached the district by road from other states.
If the initiative is a success, HATS plans to offer similar packages in other districts as well. “The package is designed in such a way that the guests won’t come into contact with the hosts under any circumstance. We planned the package of 7-14 days after the district collector and tourism authorities inquired about the availability of rooms to quarantine people.
The operators of homestays were hesitant initially as most of them run facilities at their own house compounds. With several serviced villas remaining vacant, we started work on the package. Some homestay owners, agreed to join us,” said HATS Kannur president E V Harris.
Homestay may cost Rs 1000-1,500 per day
Harris said the returnees would be told about the quarantine package on their arrival at the airport and interested guests would be transported to the villas. "All facilities, including bed sheets for 7-14 days, items to cook food and facilities for washing, will be provided at the time of check-in. Food will be supplied at the doorsteps for those who don’t want to cook. Facilities will be arranged for the guests to engage in activities like farming and yoga. Internet connection will also be provided," Harris said.
HATS director MP Sivadathan said rent will depend on the size of the villa and it is likely to be Rs 1,000-1,500 per day. "If the project becomes successful in Kannur, HATS members in other districts will be encouraged to do the same. As the entire tourism sector is going through a crisis, such a programme can bring some relief to homestay and serviced villa operators," he said.