Tourism ministry mulls camps, tented accommodation to overcome shortage of hotel rooms
NEW DELHI: Imagine watching Commonwealth sporting action throughout the day in Delhi’s stadiums and staying in tents next to the Games village in the night. Sounds crazy? But the idea may excite sports lovers who will throng the capital in 2010.Not just the Games, tourists in India can now plan camp stays near pilgrimage sites, wildlife reserves and fairs too, because the ministry of tourism has decided to promote tented accommodation to overcome the shortage of hotel rooms.“The mismatch in demand and supply is pushing hotel tariffs higher. This has led to our destinations out-pricing themselves in the fiercely-competitive international market. Creating new accommodation units has been under the ministry’s consideration for quite sometime now.
“Setting up camps and tented accommodation would enhance the availability of rooms for tourists. Moreover, it will help promote eco, adventure and pilgrimage tourism,” a ministry official said.
Tour operators are appreciative. They said the move will not only help promote adventure and pilgrimage tourism but also provide affordable accommodation to tourists.
There can be five categories of campsites – wildlife, adventure (land, water and air), pilgrimage, new destinations and destinations linked to international events.
The ministry has asked state governments and union territory administrations to identify land banks for campsites and provide water, electricity and subsidies to those buying state-of-the-art alternative energy resources such as solar and wind-based equipment. They have been also asked to create single windows for all approvals and facilitate lease of land to private partners and entrepreneurs.
For tour operators and camp organisers, guidelines have been set: Quality has to be ensured and international standards maintained, safety and hygienic aspects of sites must be specified and tents and camps should have ecosan toilets, clean beds and kitchens. Besides, garbage disposal, responsible use of plastic, eco-friendly material, alternative energy resources, fire-fighting equipment and camp security issues have also to be taken into account.
Promotion of local resources such as local folk dance and music, local arts and handicrafts and employment of local youth has to be kept in mind.
Bagpackers too are free to set up their own tents, provided the local administration permits.