Tourism is the way forward in terms of growth of economic. Economic growth had been very slow in the surrounding area of Ipoh following the collapse of the industry of tin mining in the 1980s (Foong, 2014). According to Quinn (2007), tourism activities had bring in economic effects in the form of business opportunities and employment in accommodation. Besides, according to Mbaiwa and Stronza (2011), tourism activities will affect the environment. Hence, services and products of tourism have to be made available to meet their needs. Therefore, accommodation facilities are the necessity for the tourists among the other main services.
Due to this reason, the demand of homestay will increase. Previously, homestay is a hospitality where the visitors will sleep at the residence of the local city when they are traveling. However, nowadays homestay is something like a motel which the owner will rent out to earn profit and the owner will not be staying together with the visitors. By right, the practice of giving accommodation service to the tourists is not considered a new idea. It had actually been long practiced in the European countries where the tourism houses are managed at famous holiday locations or destinations by the private home owners, known as the Bed and Breakfast (Nuntsu et al. 2004).
In Malaysia, homestay program started on 3rd December 1995 in Desa Murni, Kerdau, Temerloh. Since then, the started of homestay program has flourished as Malaysia’s main tourism product. There were 2808 homestays operators from 142 villages in year 2008. There were 138 homestays with 2987 operators offering 4042 rooms at 225 villages in year 2010. In year 2012, there were 157 homestays with 247 villages, 3395 operators and 4669 rooms in Malaysia (Shukor et al., 2015). Therefore, this study has been carried out to find out the potential homestay development in Ipoh, Perak.
Nowadays there are getting more and more digital start up such as Airbnb, Favspace, Toikeet, Myhomestay, Booking.com and iBilik in Malaysia. Among all, Airbnb is the most famous and success digital start up. Airbnb (Air-bed and breakfast) is an online marketplace that allows people to rent out their properties and spare rooms to the guests. In 2009, since Airbnb company launched, it’s grown from helping around 21,000 guests a year find a place to stay, and lists a staggering 800,000 properties in 34,000 cities in 90 different countries currently. (Press Association, 2018).
Ipoh, which is the capital city of Perak state, is one of the biggest cities in Malaysia. Today’s Ipoh has much offering to the tourists. It has slowly develop into tourism destination due to the reason of Ipoh area is surrounded by attractive limestone outcrops with beautiful cave temples and some of the Malaysia's popular attractions such as Cameron highland are located only an hour away from Ipoh by car. Ipoh is also famous for its famous local dishes and hawkers. Therefore, a lot of tourists will visit Ipoh.
Homestay is a form of tourism product that provides accommodation service to the tourists. In order to develop and sustain in homestay industry, various efforts have been undertaken by the stakeholders. Many studies mostly reported on the success of homestay that only focus on certain famous homestay destinations (Nor and Kayat, 2010). Hence, there is definitely a dearth of studies that discuss about the impact of homestay development in Malaysia in detail. Therefore, further research needs be done to enhance knowledge by expanding the research to other homestay location, which is Ipoh, to explore their success factor and possible challenges faced by the homestay operators. However, the majority of this research could be a little bias since it is being restricted to a small sample size that focus in Ipoh only, which may not be representative to all homestay in Malaysia.
Unfortunately, until now, the homestay programme in Ipoh has not seen consistent success since some of the homestay operators in Ipoh had withdrew from having his property as homestay due to being unsuccessful in getting the guests to stay in their homes. There are problem such as big investment in homestay but uncertain return. According to Natalie (2017), she claimed that a homestay owner negotiated that the fixed rent is lower than what she was paying in mortgage and also argued that maintenance fees and property tax should paid by the guest who rent the homestay. Moreover, expectation of guest based on security, such as information document having basic detail of guests are not properly documented. This had largely affected people not to choose homestay.
Till now, very little attention has been given on the success factors and barriers of homestay industry in Malaysia. Realising the important of this study, the objective of this study is to explore the main successful factor and barriers that are being faced by the homestay industry. For example, would the personalities, characteristics and styles of the homestay host guarantee the success of the homestay? Would the location and aesthetics of homestay influence the success of homestay development? Thus, the results of this study can serve as guidelines to improve the development of homestay program to ensure its success in future. It can connote the direction for homestay development for new homestay operators to prepare before joining this industry.
Aim and Objectives
The aim of this study is to determine the potential of developing homestay in Ipoh. To achieve the aim, the following objectives are as follow:
To research on the characteristics of homestay in the particular location (Ipoh)
To determine the critical success factor of homestay;
Barriers that are being faced by the homestay industry.
Scope of Study and Limitation
Due to the limitation of resources, this study will only focus on homestay around Ipoh area. This study only targets on the parties who involved in converting their own property to homestay or having knowledge regarding homestay. The scope of homestay housing type only included 3 types, which are Bungalow type, Terrace type and Condominium/ Apartment. Therefore, this study can only provide a general view of development of homestay. Moreover, there are limitations for this study. The most significant impact towards the whole research is time constraint since it cause difficulties to approach every homestay owners for obtaining sufficient information. Therefore, the scope of homestay guests only focus on 5 groups, which are a group of friends, family, backpacker, working people and company’s employee.
Significance of Study
This research gives a general view of the importance of understanding the factors to make a homestay sucessful based on accommodation type, location, price, attraction, aesthetic and image. Barriers that are being faced by the homestay industry will be discussed. The external factors such as quality, safety and security that affect the homestay performance will be discussed.
The data that is generated from this study allow author to evaluate the potential development of homestay in Ipoh. Furthermore, the study will assist the homestay owners in designing a more attractive and effective homestay for the guest or tourists and knowing the successful factor and barriers for homestay. This study will also assist the homestay owners to focus more on the quality and security of the homestay. This will ultimately lead to higher levels of homestay quality satisfaction in the destination in future.
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