DOT to re-introduce ‘Homestay’ program

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Monday, May 12, 2014


THE best way to spend the night with Filipino families is ‘Homestay,’ said the Department of Tourism-10 (DOT-10), as it plans to revive it in the region.

Homestay is a type of alternative accommodation given to tourists or guests visiting rural areas where they will be spending the night with a family. Guests will also be sharing at least one meal with the family.

DOT-10 said the region used to have this kind of accommodation in the absence of commercial ones.

This type of accommodation is also cheaper, said Arian Sim, of the standards and accreditation section of DOT-10.

This program is under DOT for the Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Project by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and was promulgated to uplift poverty.

For a family to be accredited to accommodate guests, the house must have an extra room with one bed, proper lighting and ventilation, and a comfort room inside the house or inside the guest room.

Municipalities scouted so far by DOT-10 to implement the project are Catarman, Camiguin, and Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental.

In Camiguin, there are 11 families out of 18 identified that are qualified to accept accommodation.

Sim said the trainings for the households identified as qualified to accept guests will start on the second quarter of the year.

The draft for the project is coordinated with South East Asian countries to be in parallel with the standards of the neighboring countries.

Sim furthered that local government units handling the homestay program can ask for financial support from DOT-10 to open up other tourist activities in their places and be an effective income generating project such as kayaking in lagoons.

Accreditation ongoing

DOT-10, however, said they are not stopping with the process of accrediting hotels and restaurants in the region.

Decius Esmedalla, tourism operations officer of DOT-10, said that there is a group composed of third party, entities called ‘auditors’ to roam around the hotels and restaurants to test the facilities and services of the establishments.

The ‘auditors’ are composed of people who are authorities of the tourism industry such as former hotel managers, hoteliers, and others.

Esmedalla said that they do not inform DOT-10 whether they are to check an establishment or not but only informs when they are done doing so.

In the accreditation, criteria for the points system are the room sizes, cleanliness, amenities, organization, internal management, capacity, and housekeeping.

The process is all the more stringent because even the types of hangers available in the hotels and the thread count of the blankets in the rooms are also checked.

The accreditation is in order “to standardize services and facilities,” Esmedalla said, “so that other countries will send groups here and they will know that [when a hotel is ranked] two stars, they will know that they are in the right place.”

DOT-10 also accepts online registration and accreditation through http://accreditationonline.tourism.gov.ph/default.aspx.

Classification scheme of hotels will also be set formally to be through star rating system where the higher the stars a hotel is ranked, the higher the class, instead of the other classification scheme that coins the terms deluxe, first or second class.

Esmedalla said the latter terms are vague, while the star rating is a more understandable concept of accommodation.

“Hotels must review and strive to improve themselves… to solve the problem on the ground,” Esmedalla said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on May 12, 2014.

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