Celebrating National Tourism Day

By Anshul Saxena

In India National Tourism day is celebrated on 25th January every year. On the occasion of National Tourism Day today, it is an opportune time to look back and reminisce about how tourism fared especially from a homestay/Bed-n-Breakfast (BnB) perspective.

Bed and Breakfast, BnBNation
Guests enjoying with a Bed and Breakfast owner and sharing the joys of festivities!

Why stay in a BnB instead of a hotel

India is widely regarded as a fascinating land of heritage, inter-mingling of cultures and more recently a fast progressing economy. However, this previous year had more than it’s shares of upheavals and chaos our country.

Yes, there have been cases of tourist harassment, less than perfect tourism management and other safety issues but there is also an underlying fabric of Indian hospitality that has shone on quite a few occasions this year. It has renewed my faith in Indian hospitality and I hope it overcomes the negatives about it. In an earlier post, we had shared reasons why women would love staying in a Bed and Breakfast. You can read it here: http://bit.ly/2jieNEU.

  • Agitation in Srinagar: Remember the 60 odd day agitation where our security forces had to deal with miscreants in the crowd who were rioting for terrorist(s)? Well, it did hamper the tourism in the valley as Srinagar became unsafe. Since Srinagar also acts as a through route for Leh/Ladakh region, many Leh bound visitors cancelled their trips, cut them short or delayed them.
Leh Ladakh Tsomoriri, Tibet
National tourism day: Tsomoriri Lake is one of the largest of the high altitude lakes. It is situated between Ladakh , Tibet and Zanskar. Pic credits: tripmyindia.blogspot.in

This could not kill the spirit of the local hosts though. Many of the locals prioritized the safety of the tourists over business and not only guided the incoming tourists remotely, but also took risks in picking them up from Srinagar airport in the evenings and personally escorting them into Leh/Ladakh valleys. A homestay owner who I know personally, risked his life and shelled out his own money to drive down to Srinagar personally and extract the Leh bound tourists to their destinations without asking for a single extra penny!

  • Demonetization drive: Although the demonetization drive seems to be a step in the forward direction, it left many of the foreign travelers in shock and painful situations. We had shared the rationale behind the demonetization drive in an earlier post, read it here http://bit.ly/2h1B6jw.
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National Tourism Day: Demonetization drive has had mixed reactions. Explore more about it here.

A lady, Jenny who was only carrying Indian currency and was here for a medical condition became helpless because not only could she not pay tariff for her stay but could not even foot her medical bills as the hospital she checked into refused to honor the government’s mandate to accept cash for medical purposes. However, the host family (Ms. Kapoor) Jenny had been staying with asked her to pay them after she returned to her country. Not only that, they also helped Jenny pay for her medical bills. Jenny had come to India a bit apprehensive about women’s safety issues, esp. in Delhi, but went back singing praises of the hospitality she had received!

  • It is surprising to know but quite a few American and European exchange students visit India every year and they usually stay for three to six weeks. But it is unfortunate that most of their Indian facilitators make them stay in shoddy, shady accommodations in equally unsafe locations. When they learnt about the option of homestays in India and saw how good they can be, these students did not mind shelling out a bit of extra money to live in the comforts of homes in residential areas. Many homestay owners treated these children as their own and looked after their needs as they would, of their grandchildren.
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A foreign student in India looks for a warm and hospitable place to stay while pursuing a course in India.

Some of the students went back home after learning some cool Indian culinary skills they had learnt from the kitchens of their hosts! Since then we have witnessed a surge in requests for good, quality and preferably homestay accommodations from the incoming foreign students.

experience-incredible-india
National Tourism day is a way to celebrate the spirit of Indian hospitality and culture

To conclude, Indian hospitality is a unique brand, which needs to be nurtured and allowed to grow. While this past year has been difficult for our tourists, both domestic and foreign, it has also brought forth quite a few positives which have laid the foundation of “Atithi Devo Bhava” in a whole new meaningful way. Hope 2017 turns out better!

 

About Anshul Saxena:

CEO and Co-Founder of BnBNation, Anshul is a 2013-14 graduate from IIM Ahmedabad. He has over 10 years of experience across the public, private and government sectors. He has spent a bulk of his career in the US building software products, some of which are used by the top banks and financial institutions. He has worked with Airtel and won accolades for his hard work, business acumen and single point dedication. He has decided to jump on the startup bandwagon as he believes through this endeavor of BnB Nation, he can be a part of the new upcoming disruption in the tourism/hospitality space in India, and create an everlasting value proposition.

14 thoughts on “Celebrating National Tourism Day”

  1. Beautiful writeup..completely agree..hotels can never give someone the real feel of India. Which lies in the authentic Indian homes. It’s good to see home stays slowly getting the much needed focus.

  2. Wow, I’m glad that India is celebrating National Tourism day which includes all the good news that your country are experiencing as of the present. The good thing about your blog post is how you were able to tell us about the progress of your country when it comes to tourism, especially the number of visitors that is coming in your country every year. I hope to visit India very soon. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  3. Your post re-confirms my belief that people are really nice across the world. Such amazing stories of humans helping each other out. Thanks for sharing

  4. This post was such a joy to read and really highlighted so well the lovely genuine hospitality that you have there. I have not yet visited India but I really can’t wait to go, especially as my fiance has visited and told me what a beautiful and safe country India is.

  5. Wow very good point in traveling in India. I always get a shocking reaction whenever I put India as part of my travel goal lists. There are a lot of bad reputations being passed around regarding tourism in the country. I will take note about getting a homestay (and learn some indian culinary techniques).

  6. Those are some excellent insights into the state of tourism in india and how the political and social scenarios are affecting. however, it is heartening to know that tourism is picking up despite a few hindrances. The way hosts have treated their guests in situations of adversity shows that they indeed care for people and not just work for rmoney. Happy national tourism day!

  7. Very nice round up of the tourism scenario. India is so rich in terms of tourism opportunities, all the stakeholder need to forge ahead in unison to ensure better infrastructure facilities to boost the tourism industry. On the other hand every Indian should think of all tourists as guests and this would indeed be a great step to encourage more people to come and experience the wonders of Incredible India.

  8. You’ve highlighted key points and that’s what is interesting about this to read. You know, not all of bloggers/writers would tell their readers that there has been something going on in a country. Here, in your post, not only you mentioned some of the negatives but you gave out the positives as well.

  9. Great post Anshul! Your post reconfirmed my belief that all humans want to live happily. India is a growing economy and all the people in tourism sector should make real efforts to help it grow. They should treat all guests equal and well. It actually doesn’t cost much.

  10. I also like homestays and if I have to choose between it and a hostel, I definitely would go for the former. Lately though, I always stay in hostels because I mostly travel alone or just with a small group and we don’t really stay in the accommodation for that very long and spend the best part of the day exploring outside. But now that you mention it, I think staying in homestays or Bnb is a lot better if I travel abroad because it gives an opportunity to experience how it is to live like a local.

  11. Excellent post! After all, hospitality always win the heart of its visitors. I also do love to stay in a Bnb than a hotel because I can meet a lot of people and immerse more in the way of life of the locals.

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