In order to uplift the lives of local rural communities and to turn the youth in Jammu & Kashmir into startup entrepreneurs, OYO has partnered with the Government of Jammu & Kashmir to launch a state-wide initiative – ‘Crown of Incredible India’. Under this collaboration, OYO will also partner with the government’s ‘Mission Youth’ programme to open homestays across 75 villages to promote entrepreneurship and create self-employment opportunities.
The Mission Youth initiative of the J&K Government provides a platform to local youth under multiple schemes. It offers financial assistance, last-mile infrastructure and accessibility to promote sustainable livelihood. This initiative includes supporting the provision of livelihood generation, skill development, education, counselling and rehabilitation, sports and recreation. In its efforts to promote rural tourism, ‘Tourist village network’ includes 75 villages that have been identified on the parameters of scenic beauty, landscape, cultural diversity and heritage and OYO will provide its tech platform to onboard home-stays and boost the local economy. J&K Govt under Mission Youth will support 500 youth for establishing homestays and Rs. 50,000 financial assistance per homestay will be provided for refurbishment. The venture will help in building a tourist infrastructure of world standards in rural J&K.
The ‘Crown of Incredible India’ project aims to help operationalise upto 200 homestays in Udhampur, Srinagar, Jammu, Anantnag, Doda and other underpenetrated districts in the next year. The company will expand its network across 75 villages under ‘Mission Youth’.
Launching the initiative, Manoj Sinha, Lieutenant Governor of Jammu & Kashmir said, “Rural home-stays in MP, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra have started to rival conventional tourism. Having the most beautiful locales in the country, J&K is determined to catch up. This partnership marks the start of a new chapter. OYO has made a great start to onboard J&K’s rural homestays on their platform. Our Mission Youth initiative has identified 75 villages under the Tourist Village Network, each with their distinct identity. They will partner with OYO, not just to generate jobs, but to improve the local economy and infrastructure. I am announcing that those youth in this programme, who want to start their home-stays, we will support them through an incentive of Rs 50,000 each.”
“J&K is today the 6th largest tourist destination in India in terms of tourist influx. It has created both jobs and revenue. In Aug-Nov 2021, the state witnessed 52 lakh tourists, which is growing by the day. With this project, OYO plans to start with 20 home-stays immediately of which 10 are already live. I am hoping, as committed, Ritesh will ensure that 200 of our home-stays are on their platform by December. This will provide both national and international tourists with the opportunity to experience and live the culture and tradition of JK. We will be able to create the most well developed rural tourism circuit,” Sinha added.
Elaborating the development, Ritesh Agarwal, Founder & Group CEO, OYO said, “We, at OYO, are thrilled to be a part of the unique tourism opportunities in Jammu & Kashmir, and are excited to welcome travellers visiting the state for a unique stay experience at these home-stays. We are proud to extend our partnership with the Jammu & Kashmir government to generate economic and employment opportunities in the district. The ‘Crown of Incredible India’ will enable socio-economic development helping people become Atmanirbhar (self-reliant). We at OYO renew our commitment to strengthen tourism for the benefit of local communities and aim to work together with these entrepreneurs to promote sustainable, responsible travel and homestays that contribute to resilient local economies and support jobs. ”
OYO will assist in the training of existing and potential homeowners on responsible hosting, hospitality standards, hygiene and basic amenities. It will provide a constant stream of guests to these homestays by listing and promoting them on its customer app. In addition, the homestays will also be listed on the OYO website and multiple online travel agent (OTA) platforms. The home-stays owners will also be able to use its technology to run the operations and customer service through the company’s simple to use home-owner facing Co-OYO app.
The homestay owners in Jammu & Kashmir are primarily engaged in agricultural activities making it a key source of their income. This includes apple, saffron, corn and walnut cultivation, one of the mainstays of Jammu & Kashmir’s economy. Many have had to migrate to cities in search of livelihoods. OYO’s rural-homestay initiative will provide a valuable opportunity for these households to generate more income with minimum additional investment.
Since entering Jammu & Kashmir in 2015, OYO has hosted thousands of guests at the hotels through its platform, while ensuring higher earnings for 140+ hotels and homeowners. It further created direct and indirect economic opportunities for 500+ people.
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