Facing a brunt due to Covid-19 lockdown, the tourism industry in Coorg (Kodagu) has come up with an innovative initiative to attract tourists.
Homestays and resorts in Coorg have started a ‘Work-from-resort’ also called ‘workation’ initiative, where employees can stay at the homestays or resorts and work from there. The resorts have come up with attractive packages that offer rooms at affordable rates.
The step has been taken to boost the income and tourism sector in the district, a few homestay owners in the district said, adding that the increase in Covid-19 cases in the area continues to be an obstruction in getting new bookings.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Nikshan Nanaiah from Coorg Evergreen County resorts said, “The work from resort initiative gained good response especially from people in Bengaluru initially after the exit from the lockdown. We had received a good number of booking for the option for at least one week.”
According to Nanaiah, many resorts opted for this service and started to promote the ‘workation’ option. “Under the work from resort option, we are providing good internet connectivity, room, office furniture and food service. All of these are included in the affordable package ranging from two days to one-two weeks.”
The top resorts in Coorg have also started to offer the work from resort options. A manager of a branded resort in South Coorg told that they have started the bookings and many have already come to stay. “We have different packages to offer our customers and also affordable packages to our member customers. People from Bengaluru and Mysuru are coming to the resort to stay at least for one week and they are also working from here only,” he said.
Few homestays in the hilly district have started to invest in internet connections since most of the places in Coorg have a poor data connection.
“Earlier tourists were not asking for internet connectivity since they come here to relax from their daily work life, but now after COVID-19 everything has changed, they come here to work. We have now taken good internet broadband connection to attract the tourists who want to work from here,” Kumaran, owner of Pavitra homestay in Coorg said.
Apart from the homestays and resorts offering work at their places, the major concern is about the safety of both tourists and the employees. Nanaiah says that they have made a list of precautionary measures to take. “We have thermal screening facilities, with daily temperature checks if they are symptomatic they will be sent back and we are also taking care of the employees and checking their temperature daily to ensure all are safe.”
According to the various resort owners, they are charging approximately Rs 2,000 to 6,000 per day for the workation option.
Coorg which is about 260 km from state capital Bengaluru is a hill station known for its waterfalls, national parks, wildlife, and temples. Earlier in 2018 and also in 2019 the district suffered from the back-to-back floods and landslides which had a major impact on tourist footfall.
Sagar Ganapathy, President, Association for Rural Tourism (ART) Coorg and also the owner of Jungle Mount Adventures said, “Tourism in the district has incurred a huge loss from past three years continuously due to the flood and landslides, now Covid-19 has also impacted the industry.”
“When we opened the homestays and resorts after lockdown the bookings we received were very less and we got bookings from the people who are our regular customers. Hence few resorts tried work from resort options which branded resorts are running this successfully with all the precautionary measures,” he said.
Coorg has nearly 800 registered homestays and more than 2,000 unregistered homestays which are run by families at their residence and 500 hotels and lodges. These homestays and hotels generate employment to around 50,000 people.
“Due to Covid-19 we now have no steady source of income. We opened up the business but after a week there were many cases in Coorg. So many resorts and homestays closed voluntarily. We have paid a 50 per cent salary till last month to the employees. But next month, we don’t know what to do.”
Meanwhile, the state government is planning and bring various initiatives to revive the tourism sector in the state. Speaking to indianexpress.com, Karnataka Tourism Minister C T Ravi said, “ Tourism contributes 14.8% to our gross state domestic product (GSDP), we are planning various ways to revive tourism in the state. New ideas like ‘workation’ are welcome, in the next cabinet meeting we will take up the issues faced by the homestays and resorts.”
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