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April 18, 2024

Homestays: A New Hinterland Experience in Goa

A New Hinterland

In India, the saying “Athithi Devo Bhava,” which translates to “the guest is God,” highlights the importance of hospitality. Inspired by this philosophy and the expanding prospects within the travel sector, homestays have become increasingly favored by both visitors and hosts. In Goa, renowned for its varied terrain encompassing serene rivers and enchanting coastlines, the concept of homestays is evolving to meet the changing demands of contemporary travelers.

The Tourism Department, the Government of Goa is spearheading this transformation by implementing the “Homestay and B&B Policy,” also known as the bed and breakfast policy. This initiative aims to showcase Goa’s hinterlands, complementing its famed beaches and highlighting lesser-explored areas. Under the #GoaBeyondBeaches, the vision is to offer tranquil and immersive experiences that resonate with contemporary travelers.

Shri. Rohan A. Khaunte, the Minister for Tourism in Goa expressed “The homestay serves as a gateway to unlock the state’s hidden treasures. Encouraging tourists to venture beyond the coastal areas, promotes cultural immersion and exploration of Goa’s hinterland. The Goa Tourism 2.0 vision prioritizes quality over quantity and advocates for responsible and sustainable practices that honor nature and uphold local culture. This approach aims to immerse tourists in the authentic traditions and culture of Goa. Homestays will allow people to experience local culture, traditions, festivals, cuisine, and more. The homestay policy aligns with the new vision of ‘Goa beyond beaches,’ enabling tourists to venture beyond the coastal regions and immerse themselves in the hinterland and recognized as an effective tool for standardizing services for visitors and expanding accommodation choices.”

Shri. Parag Ajit Rangnekar, a Subject Matter Expert (Eco-Tourism & Wildlife) member of the Goa Tourism Board, expressed the aim of their establishment to demonstrate a systematic approach to hinterland tourism with a focus on conservation rather than commercialization and offering homely comfort in Goa.

Homestays offer an opportunity to experience the authentic essence of Goa at an affordable price, with delicious home-cooked local cuisine and a glimpse into the lifestyle of the locals. Depending on the location, the hosts have curated various activities to enhance your stay.

Consider Jungle Trails homestay in Surla, Villa Vaayu in Olaulim, Blaze Homes Goa in Benaulim, Dhritis Homestay in Pilerne, La Fresco in Assagao, Nityananda Residency in Old Market Margao, Ocean View in Calangute, Seven Door House in Pilerne, Tatva Hospitality in Vagtor, The Bougainvillea Stay in Marcel and numerous other accommodations available.

During the interviews with homestay owners, they shared remarkable feedback. This showcases the significant impact these homestays have on guest’s experiences.  Vibhaa Prasad, the owner of the Villa Vaayu homestay, reflects on her family’s legacy, stating, “We have been homestay owners ever since our forefathers, who have envisioned that these homes remain true to our roots of Goa. I believe in providing my guests with an experience where they not only talk about the stay but also a moment they would want to relive every time; for those who travel from far to visit us and even those who wish to reminisce on the traditional Goa.”

Namita Manoj Raikar, owner of the Nityananda Residency homestay, shares her perspective: “As a homestay owner in Goa, I take pride in providing a warm and authentic experience to my guests. By opening my doors to travelers, I aim not just to offer a place to stay but to create cherished memories and a true sense of belonging. Every day, I witness the joy on my guests’ faces as they immerse themselves in the local culture, savor the delicious cuisine, and in the serene beauty of Goa’s breathtaking beaches. Being a part of their journey and seeing them leave with a fulfilled heart is the most rewarding aspect of running a homestay in Goa.”

Eco-tourism adds another layer of adventure to the homestay experience, allowing travelers to explore the remote villages and hinterlands of Goa. This “back-to-nature” approach resonates with those seeking an authentic and sustainable travel experience, where you can connect with nature and support local communities.

The essence of a vacation lies in finding solace and rejuvenation in a setting that resonates with the comforts of home. It’s a splendid opportunity to engage with local communities and relish a feeling of “home away from home.” Goa warmly extends its invitation to provide an enriching and authentic experience through its Homestays. Envision yourself exploring nature trails, immersing in cultural festivities, embarking on excursions, or indulging in the rustic flavors of village life. In Goa, homestays serve as portals to the state’s soul, where every corner narrates a tale, and each encounter leaves a lasting impression.

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