New standards for homestays in South-east Asia will be adopted as part of moves to create a single, quality tourism destination and to assist local communities in earning a living from tourism.
Agreed on by ASEAN tourism ministers at this year’s meetings, the
standards are based on input from their respective NTOs. They cover
areas such as accommodation, cleanliness in food preparation,
eco-friendliness and involvement of visitors in local activities.
In addition, prerequisites are that homestay operators be free of
criminal records and in good health, while homestays must be in
operation for at least two years at the time of application. There must
also be at least five registered homestays in a village. Pilot testing for the standards will begin this year followed by full implementation from next year.
Mohd Daud Mohd Arif, director of Industry Development Division at the
Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia, said the standards are valid
for three years after which it will be reassessed by ASEAN ministers and
further enhanced if necessary. Malaysia is the lead coordinator for the
“Successful homestays will receive a certificate and a plaque issued
by ASEAN, which they can use for branding and marketing purposes,”
explained Ong Hong Peng, secretary-general of the Ministry of Tourism
and Culture Malaysia, who is chairing the ASEAN NTO meetings.
The certification is offered free of charge to all homestay
operators. Homestays must score at least 75 per cent during the
assessment process to qualify.