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How to promote homestay in malaysia

Chapter one - introduction

1.1 Background of the study

Tourism has a unique characteristic that make this industry different from other industry. Tourism has numerous of product and services that they can provide. One of the tourism that nowadays has most demand is cultural tourism.

Cultural tourism refers to the place that provide the cultural and heritage attraction. These attraction include the cultural performance, games, religious practice and handicraft. History, culture and religion are the element of tourism. Many tourists visit these places to see the unique history and culture.

Malaysia has many ethnic heritages include Malays, Chinese, Indian and many more such as kadazan and dayak. Each ethnic have their own unique characteristic such as wedding ceremony, games, foods and lifestyle. Malaysian can show more on their unique lifestyle through homestay.

Homestay is a form of accommodation which guest are staying with the host family together in one house. This is one way for Malaysian to welcome guest and let them know better about this country. It is a place where traditional local people open up their homes for tourist. The purpose is for tourist to feel and experience the true lifestyle of traditional Malaysian. Experiencing homestay is the fastest and cheapest way for tourist to know more about Malaysia. Through homestay, tourist will get to how things work traditionally without influence from others.

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They also will experience warm and comfortable welcoming families. The host of this homestay will treat their guest as a part of the family. Tourist will enjoy homemade traditional delicacies and they will learn how to prepare the food and the traditionally way of living will also interest the guest.

Malaysia have a wide variety of traditional games that very enjoyable and interesting, such as Gasing, Wau (kite flying), Congkak, and more. This traditional games will also be seen and play by the guest who stay with them. They will find it interesting by playing them.

Nowadays local people have provided a lot of homestay program from all the states in Malaysia. In each state, they have their own unique culture and interesting activities provided. All of these homestay programs are approving by Ministry of Tourism Malaysia, this is to guaranty the guest satisfaction and safety during the programs.  

Malaysia is located at the Southeast Asia and have thirteen state. The capital city of Malaysia is Kuala Lumpur which is the biggest city in Malaysia. Malaysia population is about 27 million. The country have 2 separate region; peninsular Malaysia which is eleven states and Malaysia borneo have two states. Official language in Malaysia is Malay and the official religion is Islam.

Kuala Lumpur is the official capital, due to the heavy congested in Kuala Lumpur Putrajaya become the federal administrative capital. Economically, Malaysia is the top exporter of rubber and palm oil. Palm oil is a major generator of the foreign exchange. In Malaysia practice a huge variety of religion and culture, beside Islam the other religion practice is buddism, Christianity, Hinduism, Chinese and some of them have no religion.

Malaysia have many culture, firstly is Malay. Malays population is the majority in Malaysia. Mostly all Malays is Muslims. This group is identified as Bumiputra. The language used is Malay language but English is widely spoken in many cities. Iban is a population from Sarawak which is over 600,000 people. Originally they stay in a longhouse, but now most of them were moved to cities. Other is Bidayuhs who was from the southwestern of Sarawak. From Sabah, the group is called kadazan. Chinese is also the growth population in Malaysia; mostly they are buddist and Taoist. They used many languages such as mandarin, hokkien, Cantonese, hakka and teochew. Lastly is Indians. Mostly they are Hindu Tamil but some of them were Tamil Muslim and Tamil Christians.

The largest state in Peninsular Malaysia is Pahang which is about 35,960 sq. km. Pahang is located at the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia with have an attraction of cool mountains, rain forest, hill resort, beach, caves and lake. Forest is almost half covered Pahang state which is 48.8%. Due to that, orang asli (aborigine) can be found in certain area in Pahang which is at Cameron Highland and Kuantan. 

Pahang is an interesting place to be, because tourist can find almost everything at Pahang from the cool mountain to hot sandy beach. Furthermore, in Pahang there is a wide variety of arts and craft. Batik is a wax printed fabric with a colorful and traditional floral design. In Kuantan and Cherating, tourist can get to know better about Batik by watching and even try to design and produce it. Hand woven fabric is also a uniqueness of Pahang. It is created using traditional loom. By producing it, local and tourist can buy it to use as a sarong, sampin and other traditional attire. As a time goes by, many entrepreneurs would like to buy these hand woven fabrics to make it as formal and casual attire that can be use to everyone at any time. Other craft produce by Pahang is woodcarving. It is inspired from local flora and Islamic arts. It is use for house decoration for example at the door, window and others.

Other interesting attraction of Pahang is its places; visitor can find a lot of fascinating location in Pahang such as:

  • Genting Highland
  • Cameron Highland
  • Fraser Hill
  • National Park
  • Kenang Rimba Park
  • Endau Rompin Park
  • State museum

  • Lake Chini
  • Lake Bera
  • Berserah Beach
  • Cherating Beach

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Transportation system in Pahang very flexible, Pahang government always keeps on upgrading their road system. Have a variety mode of transportation on Pahang, taxi, busses, air and ferries. Tourist who wants to go Tioman Island, they can get a lot of boat services at Kuala Rompin. They have a ferry and speed boat to serve. As to go Cameron Highland, it is prefer to use bus. Tourist can get a lot of busses to Cameron Highland from Penang, Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur.  Airport can be found at Kuantan with a lot of airline provided from any places.

Tourist can enjoy and have more experience on these places in Pahang by joining in their homestay programs. Pahang have a wide variety of homestay places with difference uniqueness and activities. Homestay was first developed in year 1980's. It is from the idea of exchange student who come to Malaysia to learn about this country. This is the place for homestay in Pahang:

  • Gunung Senyum, Temerloh
  • Kuala Medang, Kuala Lipis
  • Taman Sedia, Cameron Highland
  • Desa Murni, Temerloh
  • Rumpun Makmur, Temerloh
  • Sungai Pasu, Raub
  • Salong, Pekan

In Pahang, tourist can find all 3 in 1 activities from relaxing to adventurous. From arts and crafts to performance. They can experience a life as a farmer with joining the villagers to grow strawberries, tea, corn and vegetables in Taman Sedia Homestay program, Cameron Highland. They also can enjoy the nice and calm scenery of natural lake and greener environment by enroll the homestay in Salong, Pekan. If the guest would like to have some edventure, they can join cave exploring, jungle trekking and mountain climbing at some of the homestay program. Oil and rubber is Malaysia most major exporter, they can find these two at Pahang and they can experience to harvest it. Fishing also is one of the activities; tourist can fish at the sea or lake.

The cultural activities that the host families are giving to their guest is, firstly when the guest come, they will welcome them with some performance usually with a kompang. It is a traditional music that plays with the traditional instrument. Then they will have meal together. For a second night, they will serve them a traditional performance done by the villagers. Guest also will experience the traditional games and cooking. Usually, the programs will only takes 3 days 2 nights with a lot of activities that the host family and villagers share.

1.2 Research objective

This research is about the sustainability and on how to promoting homestay in Pahang to tourist. Homestay is one of the tourism products, and homestay is an interesting experience to be. But this interesting program is still not growing in the industry. Many tourists haven't realized about the programs. This is because of the weaknesses of the program that have chances to improve and lack of promotion. The objective of this research is to make homestay more profitable and grow more in the industry.

1.3 Research question

The research questions that will be discussed later are:

  • How to sustain the homestay?
  • What is the way to promote homestay?
  • What is the benefit of homestay to tourist and host family?
  • What is the effect of homestay programs to local people?
  • Who is participating on the homestay programs?

1.4 Significant of the study

To sustain the homestay program, the host families have to add up more cultural activities. By doing it, they can add more traditional music, games, foods and arts. Years ago, Malaysia has a lot of these traditional activities, but now almost half of the traditionalists of Malaysia have lost. As a result, just left some cultural activities to share with the tourist. Furthermore, because of the places and houses are more modern and latest design, many homestay houses already change their house to brick. They need to maintain their house and keep on using wood as to look and feel more traditional. Theses sustainability and promoting homestay research will benefit a lot of factors. The host will have more benefits and profit, the tourist will gain more knowledge about Malaysia and Government will most benefits it when many tourist visiting Malaysia.

1.5 Scope of the study

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The research is about homestay in Cameron Highland.Cameron Highland is the smallest district in Pahang. It is situated at about 1829 metres above sea level. This is the place where tourist can find a lot of fresh beautiful range of flowers and this place is famous with agricultures growth such as  vegetables and fruits farms. It is the coolest hills in Malaysia with beautiful scenery and English style of environment. Cameron Highland have 3 main town which is Ringlet, Brinchang and Tanah Rata. 

In Cameron Highland, tourist would find a lot of tea plantation, Strawberry Park, cactus and hydroponic farms. This is because the cold whether a lot of these vegetables could grow rapidly.

Ringlet is one of the towns in Cameron Highland; it is about 1200 meters above sea level. This is the first village tourist reach if they use via old road from Tapah. Ringlet is the main agricultural hub in Cameron Highland, so a lot of vegetables and flowers are produce here.

Tanah Rata is located 12km from Ringlet. This is where tourist can find all the shops, hotels, restaurants, bus stations and other tourist accommodation such as chalet and apartments. Tanah Rata is a administrative capital of Cameron Highland where tourist can find government offices, main hospital and police station. Even the jungle trekking trail is start from Tanah Rata.

Brinchang is the next town which is just 4km drive from Tanah Rata. This is where tourist can find most of the hotels and restaurants. Brinchang night market is one of the attractions here, but it is only open when weekends and holidays. At this period of time, Brinchang will be pack of visitors. Tourist can find a petrol station also here in Brinchang.

Homestay in Cameron Highland is in Tanah Rata. This is a Malay settlement in Cameron Highland called Taman Sedia.  The activities that they provided is Jungle trekking at the jungle near Tanah Rata, the place is very interesting to explore and they are provide a trail too. Tea plantation tours are also the activities that they provide, tourist will observe the tea plantation farm and they can learn on how a tea is made. For a more homestaying experience, tourist will join a farm tour and they also can experience a life as a farmer. They will help the villagers to grow vegetables and fruits.  Usually the stay is 3 days and 2 nights. Upon arriving, guest will be welcomed by a traditional music called kompang. Then host family will take them home. They will enjoy their stay with those activities including watching cultural performance at night. In Cameron Highland, tourist also can get an opportunity to tour at the wonders of Cameron Highland such as Strawberry Farm, Tea Plantation, Butterfly Farm and Cactus Valley.

There are 11 participants in Taman Sedia, Tanah Rata homestay. So, tourist can have ample choices.       

The factors are need to be sustain is the culture of Cameron Highland. Normally in every homestay in Malaysia, host family will provide tourist with a lot of cultural activities, traditional games and cooking demonstration. But in Cameron Highland they are providing lack of these activities. In Malaysia we actually have a lot more of traditional besides of gasing and wau bulan. Malaysia is rich with its culture and it is interesting to show to other side of the world, but in Cameron Highland homestay they didn't highlight these things. They are only highlight about the agriculture, the uniqueness about the hills and a small part of culture.

Houses they use as a homestay accommodation is not look like a traditional Malay house. It is already change to more modern and new looking houses. It is actually better for them to maintain the old wooded house because the houses itself has their own value.

Moreover, the activities that the program provided is a common activity that a tour guides can provide to them. They are coming over and local people bring them to public park such as strawberry farm, tea plantation tour and cactus valley. It will be more fascinating if host family could let them contribute something to the farm for example, let them try to pick the tea leaf, let them take the honey from the farm and so on. It will be more adventure and tourist will be given choices to try or not.      

1.6 Conceptual Framework

Base on the research, these are the factors need to be sustain and maintain to get more tourist enroll with Homestay programs. When these factors are well organize, the percentage of tourist demand on homestay will getting higher.

SWOT analysis.


1. Cheap and beneficial accommodation

2. Tourist likes to buy local homemade product while accommodate with them

3. Locals can get extra income


1. In Pahang not enough cultural activities like other state

2. Now homestay become unnecessary politicking

3. Many homestay are not registered

4. Lack of knowledge of local people makes tourist feel uncomfortable

5. Not enough promotion and awareness


1. Always have tourist demand

2. Local people may generate extra income

3. Homestay is become Ministry top program through Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H)


1. Tourist will get unsatisfactory and easily get bored with the activities

2. Other local people will against the government

3. Illegal homestay in market

Chapter two - Review of related literature

2.1 Sustainability tourism

Based on research, Home stay is increasing in demand. Many tourist who are interested with the culture and heritage are willing to spend their holiday with home stay programs. This is the only programs that exactly portrait traditionally Malaysian way of life. Host is the participant who organizes the home stay in their house. They provide many activities for tourist who as a guest in their home with a lot of cultural performance, traditional foods and they also wearing traditional attire.

"It explore the policy background that encourage the growth of rural tourism and highlights issues and factors hampering the involvement of rural communities in tourism"

                                                                                                             (Abby Liu, 2006)

Rural areas now are increasingly developed for tourism. As for develop tourism to rural areas, local communities are normally involve to develop the places. For example, in this Home stay programs, government will give the participant the subsidies and any loans for them to develop their places, but still they need local communities to run all the programs for example for cooking, cultural performance and many more.

The benefit of sustain the tourism is, tourism can impact on natural and culture.

"sustainable tourism encourage an understanding of the impacts of tourism on the natural, cultural and human environment"


For example is sustain the national park as a tourism hub, unintentionally we are already sustaining the nature and environment of the place by grow more trees and keep the forest safe. Also when sustain homestay can sustain the culture of the country because people come to witness the culture. Other benefit of sustain the tourism is, it can generate local employment. Take homestay as an example again, from homestay, many local can get an employment through a demonstration on a martial art performance or cultural performance. Local driver who drive a taxi and buses can also get employment by tourism.  Tourism can generate profitable domestic to hotels, restaurant and other facilities such as cruise and ferries. It is because tourist needs to use these activities and facilities to move in the country and to stay. It also generates foreign exchange in the country by tourist use the money to spend in the country. Besides that, sustain tourism can diversifies the local economy particularly in rural areas, such as homestay. Homestay is the best option to generate economy to rural areas by providing the unique activities to tourist who interested.

(cited from the books)

2.2 The problem statement

"People visit a tourist destination in order to satisfy and fulfill certain goals and needs"

                                                                                                     ( P.Chhetri, 2004)

This research is about sustainability and promoting home stay in Cameron Highland which is located at Taman Sedia, Tanah Rata. The problem that is facing by Taman Sedia Home stay is firstly they are having lack of cultural activities to serve to their guest. In Malaysia have a lot of cultural active is that are very interesting to share. For example, games, performance, and foods. Malaysian games nowadays they are only famous with certain games that are easily to find the materials, and easily to play, but actually we have a lot more such as Silat a Malay martial art, sepak takraw, chingay and sepak manggis.   By providing more of these games, guest will be very glad to try and they can learn more about Malaysia unique culture. More about Malaysian cultural performance, repeat guest are usually entertained by the same show when they visits the homestay, they are not upgrading and renew the performance to other culture. In Malaysia, in each state we have each cultural performance and dance, it will be better if this home stay activities give them different shows to the guest. In Tanah Rata home stay, host family did not have a special session with guest about presenting and they don't have a local food demonstration. They just give them a local meal but in the other homestay in different state, they are having one session only to introduce local foods to guest, they are teaching them on how to cook it.

Based on observation and research on Taman Sedia Home stay, the participant now rent out a modern style houses to guest. Previously, the normal traditional kampong house is so simple, made from woods but yet very cool and comfortable. Now, guest who come to this home stay, they living at the house that did not look like a traditional kampong. It is very disappoint to the guest who really wants to learn about Malaysia, and their first perception on Malays kampong is the wooden houses which is very unique with their art and craft.

Surrounding places of the homestay in Taman Sedia is unhygienic. Tourist is uncomfortable with the areas with a lot of flies, and garbage everywhere on the floor. Certain area also have mouse running here and there, it is shows that the place is not well maintain and unhygienic. Some of the houses in Taman Sedia Homestay has unhygienic toilet. The accessibility for tourist to come to Taman Sedia is also not well developed. There is a bus in that area but the buses is not well timing, tourist need to wait about an hour to get bus to Taman Sedia.

"Stopping decision during the trip however result from the identification of secondary needs and each conclude with the consumptions of a service or a product that satisfies the identified needs"


Moreover, there is a communication problem with certain local people in Taman Sedia. Some of the villagers did not speak English, when tourist asked them, they can't answer properly and that will result to misunderstand between tourist and local people. Then, when tourist comes join the homestay program, they are accompanying be host family all the time, the host family will always entertain them. As a result, tourist doesn't have a lot of time they will be alone with their own family. They will be lack of time for themselves.

Due to the high demand of homestay, many host family set up their home for homestay purpose and they operate it individually. This is a unlicensed homestay, they did not register their proposal to Ministry of Tourism. Due to this problem, there are many homestay that did not follow government's rules and regulation, they open their own homestay and they create their own activities. Actually, by register homestay with Ministry, host can get a privilege from government; they will give subsidies and developed the place to be more proper for tourist. Government also will help them with financial and planning on the business.

2.3 Strategies to sustain Homestay

Strategies to sustain Homestay in Taman Sedia, Cameron Highland:

1. Have more choices of activities such as traditional games and local delicacies cooking demonstration.

2. Present a new performance on every month.

3. Having a traditionally Malaysian houses with maintain the old house.

4. Take action on illegal homestay

5. Maintain and clean surrounding places.

6. Educate local people about tourist and have language learning.

7. Give a guest a rest and break for them to have a time for themselves.

These are the strategies on how they can improve to have a better quality and more demand in this industry. Firstly, as state above, In Malaysia have lots more cultural activities that are very unique but mostly in Taman Sedia homestay, many repeat guest complaining about host always present the same common performance as a main show. Participants need to have a variety of cultural performance. They can change the presentation once a month and repeat it after a year. Pahang is the centre of many states in Malaysia and there have many borders of states, participant can change the performance according to the states including Kelantan because Kelantan is the state with lot of culture. By having numerous and variety of these cultures, tourist will be more appreciate and satisfy with the trip to Malaysia.

Same with lack of activities of games and cooking demonstration, host need to include it in the program. Like other homestay in other state, they are having these kinds of activities. It can educate guest on how the dishes is cooked and what is the main ingredients in traditional cooking in Malaysia. In Taman Sedia homestay, guest will eat the foods without knowing the method of cooking and the ingredients use. Traditional games in Malaysia are the most interesting to be seen, because Malaysia has many of games that are not used by other country. Even these games are hardly to be play among kids nowadays. Not only international tourist, local Malaysians also is not aware of their own traditional games. Host family need to recall back the games old days and make it as a main attraction in their homestay.

House that most of Taman Sedia homestay are providing is a modern style brick houses. They did not providing the old traditional wooden houses to guest, they assume that guest will be uncomfortable with wooden house. Instead, tourist will be very glad to stay in traditional house because from it they will experience more on the culture. Host family must maintain the old traditional house. They need to do maintenance on the structure of the house by change the old wood to the new one and repair the houses. They also need to clean the house to make it look presentable for the tourist. All the maintenance can be done by local people, this will encourage them to generate more income.

Illegal homestay now is grow rapidly in the market, including at Taman Sedia Homestay. This is because of high demand of homestay, some participant neglect to register them at Ministry Of Tourism. This illegal homestay also run the same activities like the legal homestay but they don't have many fund to run it properly, as a result it will have a lot of major problems such as unhygienic running water, not enough equipment to do any demonstration and let tourist try the activities.

Another strategy is maintaining the surrounding place. Community need to involve in this, base on guest experience, the place seem to be unhygienic. Surrounding place have a lot of flies and mouse everywhere because of garbage thrown by local people. Local community need to have an overall cleaning of the place. Cleaning should be on every weekend to make sure the place is presentable enough for tourist. They need to be reminding that homestay that they are organized is portrait how the Malaysia is look. Government need to be more tegas on this situation.

Some tourists who come to Taman Sedia have a problem with communication. Many of local people of Taman Sedia Homestay did not speak English very well even though English is become second language in Malaysia. Another step by government is to educate young and old community in the rural area on how to communicate well with tourist. Classes have to be made to teach them on language. For young community who still undergo school, teachers must take action on this by having more intensive classes on language. For those who are school leavers, they need to attend class that government made for them.

"The homestay environment would be the perfect setting to convert their explicit knowledge and engaging in explicit learning"

(Sage,K, 2007)

"Role of the host family can be considered quite significant especially if the homestay is receptive and supportive as a result serving platform which student can begin to built interpersonal relation"

 (Tanaka,N, 2007)

Some guest is complaining about the lack of time for themselves. Most of the times are full with activities, games, and being with host families. They don't have enough private time for themselves and their family. Host family need to have an extra time In the schedule as for them to rest and their own time. This is important to guarantee the satisfaction and guest quality when enjoying the programs. 3 days 2 night activities that host family are planning, which a lot of activities is made them feel tired and uncomfortable. They need to add more extra time or other alternative they can give a option to guest on second day to have what activities and how many activities they are willing to experience, in other homestay, guest is the one who set up their own schedule by choosing which activities and time are suitable for them.

2.4 Marketing and advertising

Homestay was established in Malaysia since 1980's. Demand on Homestay was increasing but in very slow movement. This is because, homestay is not well known like hotels and other type of accommodation. The awareness of existing homestay in the market is low. Not even for tourist, even some of local people who live in the city don't know about the existing of homestay in Malaysia. This is because there is no promotion and advertising about homestay.

This is a strategy on how to promote tourist either domestic or international to visit homestay. Nowadays, everything is more efficient and easy. People just connect to internet to get any information as they need. Promotional thru internet is most efficient way; host family and government need to create a website about the homestay and with information about the places and activities. Homestay finder is another way that already implement by American homestay operator, tourist only need to type the name of the country in the internet and by one click all information is given. Homestay website should contain the location, map of the place, activities, and complete contact numbers. Most importantly to make tourist more attract is the pictures of the house, rooms, cultural dance and all the activities. Website can be made by local community who has a expertise in doing it, this is also can generate extra income for local communities.

Government takes as an important role in advertising and promoting homestay in a market. As to help host family, government can give some privilege and subsidies to advertise homestay to public. Homestay need to be advertising on magazine and newspapers. This might be costly by host family, but if they can get a help by government, it will help them a lot. Nowadays, many of travel agency are advertising their holiday thru newspapers and magazine, its higher their demand. Homestay need to do the same things. Beside to have a repeat customer, they will gain new customers also. Newspaper and magazine are everyday's essential needs. 

Blog is also the most popular marketing agents nowadays beside of websites. Blog can be created by homestay community. Pictures and guest testimonial need to be included. Tourist will get a good expectation on the homestay when they read the blogs. This is the cheapest and easiest way as a marketing agent. Blog can be updated everytime when host get a new feedback from guest, and they are free to comment anything about the homestay in the blog. By reading all the comment, host can make a changes and improvement on the homestay.

Another strategy is road show. This is a international road show by government. Malaysia Tourism set up their road show about homestay to another country such as Japan, Korea and Singapore. The purpose of the road show is to sell the Malaysian culture to another country thru homestay programs. This strategy might be very effective because Malaysia send off their representative to answer the entire question related to Malaysia. When the road shows begin, those who interested can ask and get as much information as they need about homestay in Malaysia. This might be very interesting because two countries meet up and they can discuss about Malaysian culture and guest needs. Road show get to target on certain area in the country, for example area that high population or at the capital city of the country this is because road show method is expensive and time consuming, but again this is also an effective way to have a good respond from their future guest.

Chapter 3 - Method of research

3.1 Comparative.

This is the systematic way to make a comparison of two units to make us understand the similarities and the difference. This method could be either qualitative or quantitative. In this research, this can be an effective way because we can get to know the advantage and disadvantage parts of this Homestay program by comparing to other place that provide the same accommodation. The method of doing this research is by comparing on a certain factors. The general factors that are going to compare is the activities that both homestay are providing, the price per room or per activities and types of rooms.

3.2 Qualitative Methodologies:

Qualitative methodology is to gather the data that researcher can get from the event or from an individual. Method of qualitative methodology that this research will use is interview. Interview is a type of survey method where interviewer works with respondent by asking a question to get information. This method needs a well preparation before interview. The question that might going to ask is about the homestay and the problem occurs when development and when run the homestay programs, research also must include the strategies that have been done by government and homestay operator. Person who researcher will interview is the homestay participant or the homestay president.

3.3 Participant observation

This is a qualitative data collection method. What will researcher do is, they will become the participant of the homestay program and experience the activities and culture by themselves.

3.4 Primary/secondary data

Primary data that researcher use from the interview and participant observation. The interview will be made with the homestay operators. Participant observation method is research will experience them about the research. Secondary data is get from books, journals, websites and articles.



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