Organizers of the upcoming 1st Homestays of the World Summit believe that the one key factor missing in the homestay industry in the Philippines is marketing. When this is pulled off, homestays could potentially become big across the country especially in destinations with little development.
Former Tourism Secretary Mina Gabor said that while the DOT has long pushed for a homestay program, including training, “what was missing was the marketing aspect.” Efforts are now underway to organize the industry and help homeowners in standards, product development, pricing, and different aspects of marketing.
At the forefront of this movement are the organizers of the conference. The 1st Homestays of the World Summit is scheduled on December 3 to 5 at Nature’s Village Resort, Bacolod City.
Teaming up with the DOT and Negros Occidental provincial government are the International School of Sustainable Tourism, where Gabor is president, and Homestay Philippines, Inc., a newly formed company focused on developing a network of local homestays.
The proponents of homestay in the Philippines are bullish as travelers increasingly seek local experiences. “It’s not only allowing tourists to stay with the family, it’s also the tourists to be part of the family by learning their culture and imbibing the family life while in the community,” said Assistant Secretary Rolando Cañizal of the Department of Tourism during the press launch of the conference.
Most importantly, homestays can potentially boost tourism revenues in destinations afraid of mass and over-commercialized tourism. It allows ordinary residents to earn extra without additional capitalization, says Rose Libongco, president, Homestay Philippines, Inc.
The conference will gather players from countries with an already existing homestay system.
It consist of plenary sessions with keynote speakers and specialists, country presentations showcasing best practices in homestay experiences, sustainability, marketing and promotions, site visits, and networking lunches.
Topics include homestay standards, promotions, pricing, security and safety, and financing.