Tourists' perception of the homestays in Sabah. Clotilde Luquiau CASE Paris X Nanterre Introduction ► Tourism in Homestays financially benefits directly to the local people which is a characteristic of ecotourism ► Homestay: association of several villagers who have an agreement from the ministry of Tourism in order to welcome tourists in their own house. ► Many tourists seem eager to stay in a homestay but most of them stay in lodges ► Why are some tourists willing and others reluctant to stay in a homestay? ► Why some tourists who initially prefer the homestay actually end up in a lodge? ► How is it possible to make sure that the homestays attract all the tourists eager to share the villagers’ life? I.The Kinabatangan lower floodplain in Sabah, Malaysia (JUPEM 1996) Kota Kinabalu Sandakan Tourism in the Kinabatangan: wildlife spotting during a rivercruise Pygmy elephant, A lodge in Sukau Crocodile (5 m) Pig tail macaque, tourists in Sukau, August 2008 Villages with a Homestay in the Kinabatangan: Batu Puteh, Bilit, Sukau and Abai Main characteristics of the 4 villages of the lower Kinabatangan with a homestay Lodges Access In the village Households involved Tour Operator working with the homestay Batu Puteh 0 lodge 0 B&B Highway 33 (2009) Intrepid Travel Bilit 5 lodges 1 B&B Secondary road in bad condition 12 (2010) _? (Australia) (2009) Sukau 7 lodges 2 B&B Secondary road in good shape 23 (2010) Red Ape Encounter (local) Abai 1 lodge Boat 5 (2008) SI Tour (lodge in Abai and Sukau) Methodology ► Structured or semi-structured interviews ► Questionnaires : self administered and online ► Participant observation ► Secondary data II. Tourists perception ► Tourists who stayed in the homestay They liked it: most of the feed backs in the homestays are enthusiastic, globally, most of the participants were happy to stay in the homestay even if they had some points to criticise (Cf. Feed back forms in Batu Puteh, guest books in the other villages) Interviews & questionnaires: 118 informants ► 65 Are interested to stay in one of the villagers' house ► 26 Are not interested to stay in a homestay ► Only 16 have already experienced the homestay in Malaysia or in another country ► Other did not answer or answered « maybe » Pull factors ► To learn about the local culture, the tradition, to understand and share the everyday life of the people (first reason) “homestay is an eye opener into the culture” (2010) ► Tourists who have connections with people who stayed in the homestay ► Tourists who have appreciated their experience in homestays in other countries ► To eat local food ► To sustain local economy Push factors ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► Need for Privacy Need for comfort (« I am too old » a 63 years old femal informant, 2008), good bed, fan Lack of Hygiene, afraid of bugs, dirty toilets 1 informant does not want to eat rice everyday Fear: « it’s dangerous » Discretion, tourists don’t want to embarrass local people, « i don’t want to impose my family to other people » (Informants in a groupe of 4 adults & 7 children; other in a family of 5) Afraid of restrictions More difficult to make the booking through a homestay than through a lodge or a T.O. Problems of communication with the hosts There are more people to share the boat in a lodge: the price per pax is more attractive Afraid of being bored: “ I never went to homestay, because i am afraid of having nothing to do” Malaysian informant who works in villages for his research… « not suitable for honey moon » No curiosity : For local people: « I have friends who invite me in their villages, I don’t need to go to a homestay » Disappointed « wanna stay » in the homestay ► Did not know about the homestay program in Malaysia ► Impossible to book using the information provided on Internet ► Knew about the homestay but not about the fact there was one in Sukau ► Confusion between homestay and B&B ► Homestay was not in any package and the informant wanted a package (2) Mitigated feelings towards the homestay ► Some tourists are all together eager to discover the local culture and afraid of the standard of the accommodation in the homestays ► “ …with clean bed sheets, then I can know their local culture more, actually, I would love to do it” Sabahan female Informant, 30 years old, 2010 Satisfaction coming from the experience may overcome dissatisfaction due to discomfort ► The pull factors are more existential, intangible the push factors are more practical, tangible and controllable ► In her research about the Kinabatangan Jennifer Chan shows that “true satisfiers are related primarily ,to intangible elements” such as wildlife encounter “while dissatisfiers are related to tangible elements”. In her study, guests are mostly satisfied by their experience even though they complain about the lodge maintenance (CHAN & BAUM 2007) Other possibilities: avoid discomfort and experience the homestay ► “we did not stay overnight, we did stay in a hotel, it was not comfortable as stranger, in someones'house. We did not know who they are(…), we only visited the homestay, we would like to try. Maybe we would prefer to know who the people are. It was in longhouse in Sarawak. the toilets is very important [as well as] the electricity” Later in the interview: “I want to see the people, not only the scenery...” Interview of a Sabahan family living in Kota Kinabalu III.How to attract tourists willing to stay in the village? ► Communication ► Networking ► More Training ► Local improvement: Equipment Diversification ► Smart volunteering Communication ► ► ► ► More communication on the experience of wildlife viewing and culture sharing Description of the basic accommodation as do intrepid guides (mandi, squatting toilets, rainwater or river water…) Communication about how to respect a Muslim society Need for more promotion on Internet : already improving constantly ► ► ► ► ► Bilit: http://bilithomestay.wordpress.com/ Sukau: http://www.sukauhomestay.com/Welcome.html Batu Puteh : http://www.misowalaihomestay.com/ Abai http://www.sitoursborneo.com/public/accom3.asp Improve public transportation, signboards to make easier to find the homestays Give accurate contacts on websites: several telephone numbers and email Booking through Internet Centralised booking in Kota Kinabalu More communication about the controls of hygiene from the ministry of tourism Networking ► Local tour operator for homestay ► Create more connection with NGO’s and tours specialised in sustainable tourism, ethnic tourism, responsible tourism etc with a proactive approach More Training ► NB: Training is already provided: Hospitality, hygiene, house keeping, nature conservation, concept of homestay, stay in other homestays… ► Create more opportunity for people of Batu Puteh and Red Ape Encounter to organise workshop in other homestays ► English training/ conversation guides in different languages for each homestay ► Exposure to tourism (done in Batu Puteh) to understand the tourists better Local Improvement: equipment ► Clean water supply ► Hygiene (training, eco-friendly products, small loans for toilets and shower) ► Hygiene certificate from the ministry or the local authority such as A,B,C in the Malaysian restaurants Local Improvement: diversification ► Promote packages in homestays: Itinerary in several villages in Sabah ► Different ► Different ► Different places: Sea/ Mountain/ Jungle ethnics activities: sport/ cultural activity/ activity related to nature Itinerary with villages in peninsular Malaysia , Sarawak, Sabah International itinerary: Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines… ► ► Propose more activities Night in the homestay not mandatory Will attract more local people Will include villagers who can not upgrade their house to fit in the requirements of the ministry and young people who don’t have their own house Example: restaurant in Abai, tiger prawns, local cakes… visit of the village with a guide explaining the everyday life of the people including the making of boats « kappal » the tourists are brought by a local tour operator who has a lodge in the village Smart volunteering ► Skilled people are volunteer ► Their personal or professional skills are not used Problem: they need to feel on holiday… ► Planning, software, communication, website management, languages, biodiversity monitoring… ► Instead of cleaning, maintaining tracks, building… ► Use the skills local people don’t have to improve the training Conclusion ► Many tourists are willing to stay in the homestay ► Limitations: Qualitative research Desirability ► The pull factor are existential and push factors material(J. Chan) ► Improving communication, training, networking, and homestay itself would bring more tourists. References ► Butler R. & Hinch T., 2007, Tourism and Indigenous people, Issues and implications, Elsevier, 380p. ► CHAN J. & Tom BAUM T., « determination of satisfiers and dissatisfiers Using HERZBEG’s motivator and Hygiene Factor Theory : an exploratory study », in Tourism, culture and communication, Vol 7 Number 2, 2007, pp. 117-132. ► FENNELL David A., Ecotourism, an introduction, Routledge, New-York & London, 315p. ► HUSSIN Rosazman, 2006, Ecotourism development and local community participation : case studies of Batu Puteh and Sukau village in Lower Kinabatangan area of Sabah, Malaysia, Thesis, Department of Sociology, Anthropology and applied social sciences, University of Glasgow, UK, 454p. ► SCHULZE Heiko, SURATMAN Suriamni, 1999, Villagers in transition, Case Stuides from Sabah, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Kota Kinabalu, 93p.