What is the ASEAN Homestay Standard?

(TITC) – The objective of this standard is to develop a comprehensive homestay standard that can be adapted by ASEAN Member States as recommended in the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP): 2011 – 2015 to create quality visitor experience by showcasing their rural resources in a presentable, safe, and attractive manner. The establishment of the standard shall increase the quality of services, facilities and human capital in ASEAN homestay programmes by providing a more organised path to a professional level of management, taking into consideration the needs, capability and cultural diversity of all ASEAN member states.

All over the ASEAN region, the homestay programme is a form of alternative tourism in which tourists are given the opportunity to experience the way of life in a typical village with local community. The experiential nature of this form of tourism is becoming increasingly popular with foreign tourists. In contrast to mass tourism, the homestay programme should preferably be low scale, low density, flexible and spontaneous. More importantly it should be owned and operated by the local communities so that the economic benefits go directly to them.

As a form of Community Based Tourism, the homestay concept is currently well accepted as a rural development tool in many ASEAN countries. The homestay programme can enhance local quality of life through generation of income, support local culture, arts and crafts business, encourages restoration of local and historic sites, and foster nature conservation efforts through community education.

With many of the world’s international tourists looking to ASEAN countries for rural tourism, a more systematic development of homestay will be crucial in creating a ‘new brand’ of tourist experience, showcasing the rural way of life, offering an affordable form of holiday that contains a high degree of cultural and educational elements. The selling point of the homestay programme is not the physical entity of the village but more towards the total village experience, where the community and communal activities are strong influential factors.

The success of the homestay programme in the ASEAN region is highly dependent on a strong understanding of the basic requirements of a quality visitor experience from a homestay perspective. Therefore the establishment of ASEAN Homestay standard is necessary, providing an opportunity to standardize a base level understanding of what a homestay is and to establish a minimum standard across all ASEAN member states. The standard also facilitates a coordinated approach, encouraging partnership with the relevant stakeholders, creating a positive environment while revitalizing the rural economy as well as poverty reduction.

The standard focuses on the homestay, where guests will stay with the host’s family and experience the everyday way of life of the family and community in both a direct and indirect manner. The standard also focuses on the following essential criteria such as host, accommodation, activities, authenticity, management, location, safety and security, marketing and sustainability principles.

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