Homestays Development

Homestays is a unique hospitality system in which the tourist stays with the family as a member of the family. It aims at equipping the tourist with the knowledge of the hosts’ way of life such as the agricultural system, folk arts, sculptures sports and cuisine.

What exactly is a homestays?



A homestay is not a hotel, motel nor a typical B & B. It is a non-commercialized, private residence with paying guests who enjoy staying in the comfort and security of a family home. Further, these guests will stay in the family home for an extended period of time. Home stay is a home owner-occupied private residence where the primary aim is residence, and the secondary purpose is providing accommodation to a few paying guests. It is safe, affordable housing for visitors looking to experience and learn the host’s lifestyle.

Homestay is a home-away-from-home

A homestay is typically located in a residential area where the Home stay Host welcomes one or more guests to share their home. The home owner may have one or more rooms to rent. It is usually a very relaxed type of accommodation, keeping the majority of space for the Hosts family.

Criteria for Identifying Homestays

Identification of Homestay units is carried out by the Ministry of East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism in collaboration with the Kenya Community Based Tourism Network for the purpose accreditation, approval and licensing based on categorization into types of Homestays namely Community Homestays, Farmstays and Modern urban private homes and grading into classes following Five (5) broad criteria:-

1. Location and accessibility of the house.

2. Premises quality in Terms of Facilities and Amenities for Offering to Tourists. 

3. Hygiene and Sanitation

4. Safety and Security.

5. General Services

Benefits to the Homestay Operators

1.Earning additional income from tourists besides the regular income and sustained employment.

2. Use of Official Government Tourism Brand, linkages and Websites for marketing.

3. Support from the Government in Capacity Building.

4. Facilitation by the Government in getting loans from financial institutions for the improvement of the existing Homestays or conversion of houses into homestays.

Key Facts of Homestays

Why homestays in Kenya:- 

1. That homestays is an already existing concept and that it was good that ways were being found to regulate its operations as this will help add value to the product

2. There is need to look into the quality of the homes

3. This could form an opportunity to uplift the housing standards of the low income groups with an aim of improving their standards of living 

4. That this is an idea whose time has come and the overriding factor was to actualize the trickle down  as the tourism rich areas have the highest level of absolute poverty i.e help deal with inequalities 

5. The communities are bitter about these inequalities and would want to destroy the tourism product but this concept will encourage them to conserve the product as it will directly benefit them

6. This will assist in product diversification

7. It will enhance a cultural experience as currently the only contact of the guest is the tour driver

8. That the ownership of the product should be felt by the local community

9. That the tourist is currently shifting their expenditure to benefit the local community and this is the best way to ensure this

Brief on Homestays:

KECOBAT has been on a long and tedious process trying to finalize on Homestays Development in Kenya. 

The process has been as follows:

1. Defining and categorizing Homestays  Developing Standards,

2. Operations Guidelines and Accreditation Criteria for Homestays

3. Developing Accreditation Condition and Mechanism of Classification for Various Homestays in the country

4. Establishing Legal framework for recognition and licensing by the government

5. Developing appropriate training modules for Homestays Operators

6. Developing a Central Reservation System for Homestays

7. Establishing a Central Reservation System for Homestays

8. Developing a Marketing Plan for Homestays



The Kenya Community Based Tourism Network (KECOBAT) network was launched in August 2003 as a membership umbrella organization representing the interest of Community Based Tourism (CBT) organizations in Kenya.

It aims to facilitate information sharing; delivering appropriate technical support and advisory services; mediating and lobbying their interests to government and other relevant institutions and thereby integrating community concerns into national tourism.

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