Launched with much fanfare,BnB project has few takers

Launched to tide over the accommodation shortage when the city hosted the 2010 Commonwealth Games,the bed-and-breakfast scheme of the Delhi government has found few takers because tourists prefer guesthouses and hotels in Paharganj and Karol Bagh,officials said.

Written by Ruhi Bhasin | New Delhi | Published: July 2, 2012 12:05 am

Launched to tide over the accommodation shortage when the city hosted the 2010 Commonwealth Games,the bed-and-breakfast scheme of the Delhi government has found few takers because tourists prefer guesthouses and hotels in Paharganj and Karol Bagh,officials said.

Two years on,there are allegations that people are misusing the licence for bed-and-breakfast accommodations to open guesthouses,government officials claimed.

Delhi government’s data reveal that 502 premises,providing 1,597 rooms (some with attached bathroom),were converted into bed-and-breakfast facilities by October 2010. But in April this year,the number has come down to 403.

“People still prefer low-cost hotels in Delhi. Since bed-and-breakfast premises are inspected once in three years (when licences are renewed),we have complaints that several owners have illegally turned them into guesthouses,” Delhi Tourism’s Managing Director G G Saxena said.

Government officials said several licences in Karol Bagh and other areas have been cancelled because of this.

Unlike in New Zealand,Australia and European nations where bed-and-breakfast is popular among backpackers and budget tourists,the concept has failed to take off in Delhi,Tourism officials said.

“The scheme didn’t get a good response during the Games. The situation did not improve much after the Games either. People prefer guesthouses in Paharganj and Karol Bagh to the bed-and-breakfast rooms. Not many people are now coming forward to renew the licences,” an official said.

“But some of them,located in South Delhi’s CR Park,GK-I and GK-II,are still doing good business. These are in well-maintained and that makes a big difference,” the official said.

Though the scheme was launched with much fanfare,there have been allegations that government agencies have not shown the kind of interest that was necessary to pull it through.

“Police verifies the owners before registration and the licensing process is quite strict,but the government has no say in fixing room tariff. This is decided by the owners. There is no guideline to determine the upper limit for tariff,” an official said.

“Also,no routine check is done to see if these facilities are functioning properly,” the official said. Officials of Delhi Tourism,which implements the scheme,said they were trying to revive it and update the bed-and-breakfast directory.

“We will call a conference of all the owners of bed-and-breakfast facilities. We give them a basic course on how to maintain their property and deal with tourists,” Saxena said.

“The scheme will gain popularity if the facilities are located near places of tourist attraction. We plan to request owners of havelis and bungalows to operate bed-and-breakfast facilities on their premises,” Saxena said.

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