In a bid to standardise the homestay sector, the West Bengal government will give an incentive of Rs 1.5 lakh each to the ones that get registered, state tourism minister Goutam Dev said in the state Assembly on Thursday. Also Read - PM urges youths to emulate app-based cab service to promote homestays

Participating in the discussion on the governor’s address in the House, Dev said, at present, there are around 2,500 homestays in Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and the contiguous areas in the hills and Dooars region of north Bengal, of which only 500 are registered. Also Read - Homestays set to play significant role in travel mart

“The incentives will be given to the registered homestays to ensure that they adhere to the norms laid down by the state government. The amount will be disbursed in three installments,” he said. Also Read - 8 Reasons why you should opt for homestays in India...

Dev said his department’s focus is now on the homestays of north Bengal and it will later shift on those in the tourism centres in the southern parts of the state.

Speaking on upcoming projects, the minister said India’s largest integrated tourism hub is being set up on 208 acres in Gajaldoba in Jalpaiguri district.

An alternative 56-km road is being built to connect Gajaldoba with Salugara area in Siliguri, which will reduce the distance between the two locations by 23 km, he said.

The department has already introduced an elephant safari in the park of the tourism hub with three pachyderms and one more will be brought soon, the minister added.