Dear homestay hosts and travelers around the world,
My interest in developing a network of community homestays began when I was completing my PhD research degree at the University of Melbourne. My thesis investigated the relationship of tourism development and participatory housing in Gawad Kalinga Communities in the Philippines. During the course of my study, I had the privilege of visiting a number of communities in the Philippines and Thailand. In these travels, I reflected how, by focusing on the “front region”, tourism development have displaced locals, often alienating them from their own territories. The other side of tourism however is the “back region”, which often goes unnoticed. It is a region that provides small scale and low-impact homestay accommodation and tourist activities. Unfortunately, a number of potential community hosts I interacted with have expressed how they lack the capacity to promote their community as a tourist destination.
What communities need is a global collaboration of existing organisations, which will take community homestays into a higher level of tourism marketing. In August 2014, I brainstormed with one of my research advisors at Melbourne University, Ms. Lindy Joubert. Lindy is the Director of the UNESCO Cultural Village Program and the Vice President of the World Craft Council in the Asia Pacific Region. With encouragement and professional advice from my friends from church, Gary, Fiona, Janet, Linda and Russel, we have established the network by creating this website. We engaged our networks from different countries to join us. A number of communities in Kenya, Bhutan, Nepal, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines served as pioneers for what we now call the Community Homestay Tourism Network. Shortly thereafter, we have also obtained support from the Australia New Enterprise Incentive Scheme.
Our team is driven by the desire to use our skills and experience to love and care for others, and making a difference in people’s lives. We welcome any form of support from individuals and organisations. If you would like to partner with us, please contact us to find out more about how you can participate in helping communities around the world to thrive and get noticed by the tourism market worldwide.
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