Jammu : The Ladakh administration is gearing up to establish 10,000 homestays in villages across the UT, including areas close to Pakistan and Chinese borders, to keep the tourism sector active throughout the year, including winters.
As many as 5,000 of the total homestays will be established within the protected areas, such as wildlife sanctuaries, parks and reserves. These homestays are being established under the ‘Ladakh Homestay Policy 2023' which will remain applicable for a period of five years.
The administration notified the policy to strengthen the rural economy, especially in border areas of Ladakh. While the policy outside the protected areas will be implemented by the Tourism Department, it will be implemented by Wildlife Department inside Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary, Karakorum Wildlife Sanctury and Hemis National Park.
The home-stays will be located outside the municipal limits of Leh and Kargil town. The Department of Tourism has invited applications from residents for availing incentives. However, selection of the homestays will be done by a committee constituted at various levels based on criteria given in the policy. Education, professional background of the applicant and family members, employment status will be considered. Preference to ex-servicemen or an ex-Agniveer will be given.
While the traditional Ladakh houses have dry toilets, the administration has learnt through feedback that tourists prefer flush toilet which has been set as a pre-condition for a homestay. The eligible applicants will be given a fiscal incentive of 75% of the cost of construction of flush toilet, subject to a limit of Rs 1,25,000.
New applicants will be eligible for upfront cash benefit of Rs 50,000 towards repair and maintenance of furniture, fixtures, kitchen utensils, furnishing among others. A monitoring committee will do the verification and evaluation for the same. The policy requires the homestay areas to have basic amenities including two mattresses, two quilts, bed sheets, blankets, water purifier, dinner set, etc.