Sarina Mohamad Nor 1,*, Khairil Wahidin Awang2
1Faculty of Business, Technology and Accounting, Unitar International University, Malaysia and 2Faculty of Economics and Management, Universiti Putra Malaysia.
A Homestay business is a well-known community-based tourism in the South East Asian region. In Malaysia, leisure traveling started to grow in the early 1970’s and tourism has become the second highest source of foreign exchange earnings. As foreign exchange earnings increase and more people are employed in the tourism sector, this sector becomes a significant contributor to the Malaysian economy. The Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MOTAC) and the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development (MRRD) have been promoting the Homestay programmes to enhance the quality of living of local hosts and to support the community development. Many operators receive monetary benefits from the business, thus encouraging more participants in the programmes. However, the registered Homestay statistics show that some operators have withdrawn and the number of registered operators has decreased. Therefore, the focus of this study is to investigate the challenges faced by Homestay operators to sustain their businesses. The findings show that a majority of Homestay hosts faces challenges from the conflict of attitude among hosts and the lack of Homestay regulations. Registered Homestay operators are also found to be demotivated due to the big gap in Homestay income between the registered and unregistered Homestay operators.
Keywords: homestay operators, unregistered homestay operators, community-based tourism, sustainable homestay, community development