Mirik homestays brave the second wave of Covid
Homestay owners in Mirik, a tiny town in Darjeeling hills, are trying to run their accommodations despite the second wave in Covid-19 cases.
Mirik subdivision — the smallest in the hills — has around 70 homestays.
On Thursday, homestay owners of Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts, who have floated the Darjeeling-Kalimpong Himalayan Tourism Confederation, a joint forum of homestay owners, will hold a meeting in Kurseong to work out standard operating procedures on running accommodations amid the pandemic.
At a time homestay owners in other locations, including the Dooars, and hotel and resort owners, are worried about the consequences of the rise in Covid cases, homestay owners in Mirik are steadily running their properties while ensuring the staff and visitors adhere to safety protocols.
Kalyan Rai, the working president of Mirik Rambhang Homestay Owners’ Association, said there was no point in shutting their accommodations when there are no transport curbs.
He said in 2020, lakhs of people associated with tourism, including homestay owners, suffered severe losses amid the first wave of the pandemic and the lockdown.
“We are trying to run our services in this new normal. Many of our members have good bookings for May, some are booked till October. Why should we discourage visitors, as long as we and our guests adhere to all safety protocols?” said Kalyan.
During the past couple of years, around 12,000 homestay accommodations in the hills and foothills have become new tourist attractions.
Since the onset of the pandemic, many tourists prefer homestays, which are standalone properties in isolated places, over hotels.