Community homestay is the blossoming other side of tourism. This simple word has an ample meaning that is often misunderstood. Some might have heard it or maybe others are already doing it informally and unconsciously but you may never really appreciate its genuine meaning if you wouldn’t personally experience its richness and beauty. This has been the main objective of the World HOST 2015, the first convergence of all existing and potential community homestay networks and initiatives, that was held in Malaysia last November 29 to December 1, 2015. The said summit was hosted by the Malaysia Tourism Council and Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia.
A warm welcome.
The summit has attracted delegates who came all the way from different parts of the world (Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, Nepal, Philippines, Bhutan, Cambodia etc). The first day was a welcoming visit to the 1st Malaysia International Agrotourism Exhibition followed by the excursion and Welcome Dinner at Banghuris Homestay, one of 117 homestays that has been successfully established in Malaysia which showcases local lifestyle, culture and tourism in rural Malaysia.
An amazing opportunity to meet and know one another better, learn from each other, work together, share motivations, best practices and challenges happened on the second day of the summit as selected speakers tackled their community based tourism initiatives in their respective countries in Asia such as Thailand, Philippines, Cambodia and Bhutan followed by a focus group discussion. Truly, Asia is blessed with abundant resources, culture and heritage. The night was capped by a cultural night and dinner graced by Malaysia Dance Group showcasing their exceptional prowess which the delegates enjoyed lot especially when they were able to participate and learn the traditional dances of Malaysia. After they’ve discovered each other’s strengths and opportunities, the last day of the summit focused on Community Based Tourism leveraging, innovations and collaborations which were emphasized by our prestigious speakers who shared their astounding works happening in different parts of the world. The enthusiasm and eagerness of the delegates were palpable especially during the open forums as they tried to tailor-fit the learning’s that they’ve acquired from all the speakers for they believed that this will be the best takeaways that can be readily implemented once they go back to their respective countries.
Ending the summit with a bang,
A declaration was sealed in Fraser’s Hill where representatives from different participating countries had signed an agreement that signifies the kick-off of the long-term partnership to champion community based tourism towards achieving global impact together which will be led by Malaysia, offering the most number of homestay than any other country, who will lead the World Host Summi t every (2) two years. The event might have ended but this had also started genuine connections and meaningful experiences to all community homestay advocates that will continuously flourish as years go by as they learn and grow together.
Indeed this first gathering was so memorable for it bridges new opportunities and partnerships but also for the reason that we were overwhelmed by the hospitality of the Malaysians from local citizens to leaders of the Malaysia which inspired other countries to appreciate their own. The leaders of Malaysia grab the chance to express their recognition to the delegates who devoted their time to visit, learn while exploring homestay and join the summit during the closing ceremony. Through the Ministry of Tourism and Culture they had strongly expressed their outpouring support for this project and commitment for this long term partnership between different countries.
World HOST 2015 Delegate | Community Homestay PhilippinesTags:Community based tourism, community homestay, Cultural tourism, tour operators, united nations