Goa government is taking all possible steps to ensure the overall development of tourism in the State. Both policies, Caravan and Homestay, are extensions of the ‘Goa Beyond Beaches’ idea. They focus on sustainable development in the hinterland, including non-vertical tourism clusters, homestay clusters, caravan tourism, agro-tourism, and spiritual tourism. Apart from providing unique experiences to tourists, these policies underline the empowerment of local communities, thereby enhancing the overall tourism ecosystem.
With the launch of these unique caravan and homestay policies, Goa tourism now leads tourists away from the traditional sun, sand and surf to take a deep dive and immerse in the shade of the majestic, vibrant green environs, traditions and tradecraft, festivals and culture and spiritual serenity of the state.
“The Homestay and Caravan Policy introduced by the Goa Government aims to popularise the hinterland tourism sector by providing support and opening new avenues for growth, all of which should be availed by women entrepreneurs,” said the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Goa Dr. Pramod Sawant.
“This initiative is a testament to our unwavering support for women’s empowerment, creating avenues for their active participation and leadership in the flourishing tourism sector. Women’s economic empowerment is not just a matter of gender equality but an essential step towards sustainable and inclusive tourism,” the Hon’ble Minister of Tourism, Govt. of Goa, Rohan A Khaunte said.
Both policies have some significant common features. They aim to augment the supply of services, offer fiscal and non-fiscal benefits to incentivize operators, act as a regulatory framework to promote seamless operation, aid in the improvement of service delivery standards, and ensure the best quality of services and facilities to tourists.
“The most important feature of both policies is that they promote entrepreneurship and income generating for local residents at the place where they live,” Rohan A. Khaunte pointed out.
More specifically, the homestays and bread and breakfast policy focus on incentives in seven talukas of Goa namely Sattari, Dharbandora, Sanguem, Bicholim, Ponda, Quepem and Canacona taking development to the hitherto untouched and unexplored regions of the state. The policy is to be the focal point for local agro, wellness-, and spiritual experiences in the hinterland of Goa. In these regions, women are at the epicentre of social, political, and economic life. Homestays and B&Bs are a tool for empowering women by harnessing their innate talents and existing infrastructure. The policies aim at empowerment from the bottom up.
“We understand the importance of spreading tourism revenue to areas that have been historically overlooked, and it is our aim to develop and promote less explored regions in Goa while at the same time preserving their unique cultural and natural heritage while creating opportunities for local residents,” Rohan A. Khaunte asserted.
The idea of Goa’s caravans and homestays as workstations for professionals from across the world to come and work with leisure is also a feature of the two policies.
The policy grants the service providers the advantages of water and electricity supplied at residential rates instead of commercial or business rates; property taxes too will be assessed on residential rates. According to the policy, the first one hundred homestays and the first 100 B&Bs will get the advantage of their registration fee for the first year being reimbursed. Service providers will also receive incentives of up to Rs. 200,000 for the purchase of furniture and furnishing.
“The unique feature of the caravan policy is the financial incentives for procurement of caravan vehicles, offering a subsidy of Rs. 20,00,000,” Rohan A. Khaunte said. The policy offers a reimbursement of up to 25 per cent of the motor vehicle tax of the caravans registered in Goa up to a maximum of Rs. 175,000 and a reimbursement of annual registration fee of Rs. 1000 per annum for the first three years.
Both policies aim to ensure that every corner of Goa benefits from economic growth fostered by tourism, bringing inclusive and equitable development to the state.