The travel boom has led to the mushrooming of homestays in the ancient town of Hoi An.

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Hoi An ancient town



Homestays involve visitors sharing a residence with locals to witness locals’ lives and work and learn about their cultures.

The highest value of homestay is that locals show visitors the value of life and indigenous traditions that tourists want to see, such as how to eat, how to go to the market and what life is like.

If referring to the definition, many self-proclaimed homestays in Hoi An cannot be called homestays. These homestays just serve as accommodations that travelers rent to stay during their visits to localities.

No one lives together with the travelers to help them experience the local life, and no one shows them the value of local traditional cultures.

 
If referring to the definition, many self-proclaimed homestays in Hoi An cannot be called homestays. These homestays just serve as accommodations that travelers rent to stay during their visits to localities.

The travel boom in recent years has prompted local residents to give up farming and shift to develop homestays. Landlords upgrade their houses and make interior decoration to meet certain standards to receive guests, and then register to do business as a homestay.


In late 2018, Hoi An had 151 homestays with 500 rooms. Just half a year later, the figures soared to 300 and 1,200, respectively. Hundreds of other homestays have been licensed, but have not become operational.

However, since many landlords are unprofessional and lack business experience, they have incurred losses.

Some homestay developers blamed their bad business performance on the easy requirements set by state management agencies. Many homestays have been established within a short time because of the lax requirements. As a result, they have to compete with each other by lowering rents.

“The oversupply of homestays is making it difficult to find guests,” said Vo Quang Cu, the owner of Cam Thanh Village – Villa.

“Homestays operate separately without connection and cooperation with each other and they rush to lower rents to scramble for guests, while don’t care much about service quality. This has dusappointed travelers, ” he said.

Cu went on to say that there should be a link that connects homestays, or the young homestays will be eliminated.

According to Nguyen Van Son, deputy chair of Hoi An, in the past, local authorities set strict requirements on homestays and only granted licenses if villas had the area of 250 square meters at least. However, the city has to amend the regulation to make it fit the law.

“If Hoi An doesn’t grant licenses, the provincial authorities will,” he said. “I heard that one just has to pay VND200 million (under-the-table fee) to obtain a license."

Mai Lan 

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