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Thiruvananthapuram: Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Limited (MHRIL) a leisure hospitality provider offering quality family holidays, today signed a five year strategic alliance agreement with the Government of Kerala for the marketing and promotion of Homestays within the State. The Kerala Government has currently registered over 400 Homestays to help bring tourism revenues to a larger section of the community.
MHRIL established its Homestays business – Mahindra Homestays – in July 2008 to organize the growing Homestay industry in India and market it under a strong brand. The company has set up a pan-India network of homes that aims to deliver the real India through an enriching host- guest interaction.
"We are delighted to partner with the Government of Kerala for promotion of Homestays. This agreement will provide us with access to government affiliated Homestays which would be promoted via joint PR and marketing campaigns in target markets.
Today, tourism has evolved from mere sightseeing to actually exploring and experiencing the authentic culture of a place. The Homestay concept provides tourists with a unique vacation alternative, an opportunity to experience local traditions, customs and cuisine first-hand. Moreover, considering the shortage of hotel rooms in several destinations due to the increasing number of inbound tourists, a Homestay in the same locale could prove to be a big opportunity," said Mr. Ramesh Ramanathan, Managing Director, Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Limited.
Mr. Sivasankar M., Director, Kerala Department of Tourism, said, 'this landmark agreement will be a successful move towards wooing the alert, independent traveller, in search of experiential holidays". He added that this agreement will help bring more than 350 classified homestays scattered across various destinations in Kerala under a single platform.'
MHRIL will devise a transparent and easily decipherable classification and rating system for the Homestays as well as provide relevant training to owners on aspects such as hospitality, cooking, safety and hygiene. The agreement also provides owners with several advantages as Mahindra Homestays will contribute towards brand building efforts in a bid to create category awareness and promote Homestays as an authentic holiday experience.
As a marketer and service provider, Mahindra Homestays will also ensure various advantages for guests such as ability to view and select Homestays across India using a single website (www.mahindrahomestays.com), secure online booking with clearly laid out cancellation policies and guarantee of basic standards related to service, hygiene and safety. A special toll free telephonic reservation assistance center has also been set up to address queries, take reservation requests and answer destination related information for the benefit of guests.
A Homestay is accommodation provided in a private home consisting of not more than eight rooms available for guests, run by the homeowner with or without the help of other staff. The Homestay concept combines the comfort and distinction of a boutique hotel with the personal hospitality, informality and local knowledge enjoyed when staying with family friends. Guests also get the chance to enjoy authentic Indian food and participate in a range of activities including yoga, ayurvedic treatments, cooking classes, etc.
The Homestay concept has become popular in India over the last 4 – 5 years. An estimate puts the number of Homestays currently operating in India to 1500 homes with the highest concentration in Kerala, Coorg, Rajasthan, Ladakh and Himachal. In recent times, there has been a dramatic increase in inbound tourist travel especially from Europe and North America. As per current estimates, India’s inbound tourism will hit the 10 million mark by 2010 which implies a vast growth opportunity for the Homestay industry.
About Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Limited
Mahindra Holidays and Resorts India Limited (MHRIL), is a subsidiary of Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd. one of the most respected industrial houses in India. MHRIL is a leading player in the leisure hospitality industry. It provides quality family holidays primarily through vacation ownership memberships. MHRIL’s flagship brand is Club Mahindra Holidays. MHRIL currently provides its 63,375 members a choice of 20 resorts in India and Thailand and in addition, through affiliations provides access to over 4000 resorts, worldwide.