HOME STAY UNITS, BUNGALOWS AND RENTED HOUSES AND RENTED APARTMENTS
The Ministry of Economic Development has pioneered the “Divi Naguma” programme in order to empower the rural community with a sound economic base. To make a positive contribution to this concept, the tourism sector has conceptualized the “Home Stay Programme” for the purpose of directly involving the rural community in Tourism which is now becoming a major contributor to the Sri Lankan Economy.
The initiative was taken by Sri Lanka Tourism to launch the Home Stay programme with the objective of engaging local community together with their expertise and capacity to become stakeholders in the Tourism sector. They would become beneficiaries of tourism by offering accommodation facilities in their own homes to tourists. The Home Stay program will have a special feature where tourists will have a first-hand experience of local culture and life style which most of the tourists look for in their travel.
The local experience that the tourists will enjoy encompasses taking site visits, tasting local cuisines, taking part in traditions etc. In addition, this program will compliment the present investments flow to have more hotel rooms in the country to meet the increasing demand for accommodation at various tourist destinations in the island.
The program also provides training and other facilities to those who operators to offer clean, comfortable and affordable accommodation while ensuring a memorable experience to the guests who would become promoters of this program in their own countries. The following three (3) main sub-categories are recognized under this scheme
Home Stay Units
Rented Houses / Rented Apartments
DEFINITIONS FOR THE HOME STAY CONCEPT
“It is a community based tourism programme which is initiated with the objective of distributing the tourism benefit to a fair cross section of the society by preparing houses/accommodation units carrying various themes, bringing out Sri Lankan authenticity, located in various destinations within Sri Lanka, with suitable quality standards befitting the purpose of accommodating tourists, intending an interaction between the local community with the tourists giving opportunity to the tourist to experience Sri Lankan way of life. “
The houses which can be defined under the above concept will only be eligible for registration under the Home Stay programme.
DEFINITIONS OF SUB CATEGORIES
Home Stay Units:
A house occupied by a family with at least one room up to a maximum of five guest rooms which is/are ready to accommodate tourists where the tourist and the hosting family interact with each other.
If the house is more than 100 years old and with acceptable proof it will be categorized as "Heritage Home".
A house ready to accommodate tourists with minimum guest services such as caretaker/cook/house-keeper with at least one guest room up to five guest rooms.(Houses with more than five rooms up to a maximum of nine (9) rooms will be considered only if it complies with the definition of the Home Stay concept.
If the bungalow is more than 100 years old and with acceptable proof it will be categorized as “Heritage Bungalow”
The word “Bungalow” derives from the word “Banglo” or “ Bangla” which is a direct translation in Bengali and commonly used in India.
The term “Bungalow” was first introduced to the English Language through the British, who lived in India as a part of East India Company.
The lodging used by the “British Raj” was also referred as bungalows.
The name Bungalow is today commonly used in the western world to the popular style of suburban homes and to communicate more representative concept of house.
The Bungalow is a significant symbol of status as the home is in a unique form in comparison to the much more common house building.
Rented tourist Home:
A fully furnished unoccupied house with all essential facilities required for accommodation with at least one (1) guest room up to five (5) guest rooms rented to tourist(s) for a specified period of time (less than one (1) year) without service personnel. (Houses with more than five rooms up to a maximum of nine (9) rooms will be considered only if it complies with the definition of the Home Stay concept. If the house complies with registration guidelines of Guest Houses or Boutique Villas it will not be considered for registration in this category.
Rented tourist Apartment:
A fully furnished accommodation unit with all essential facilities required for accommodation such as bedroom, bathroom, sitting area, kitchenette with food preparation facility with at least one unit rented to tourist(s) for a specified period of time (less than one (1) year) with/without service personnel.(Cottages/tree houses and similar units will be considered)
Classification of Home Stays
Each house which is registered under any of the sub-categories of the Home Stay Programme will be classified as follows as per the facilities and services provided. This evaluation will be done during the inspection to the house at the initial registration and will be re-classified at the renewal of licence every year at the annual inspection.
DELUXE - Those which score more than 80% of the total marks received as per the criteria for Home-Stays, Bungalows & Rented Homes / Rented Apartments.
SUPERIOR - Those which score between 65% and 79% of the total marks received as per the criteria (see page No.17) for Home-Stays, Bungalows & Rented Homes/ Rented Apartments.
STANDARD - Those which score between 50% and 64% of the total marks received as per the criteria (see page No.17) for Home-Stays, Bungalows & Rented Homes/ Rented Apartments.
To empower local community by creating tourism related employment and distributing economic benefits through tourism.
To support the demand for supplementary accommodation in urban areas.
Accreditation for the Home Stay, Bungalow and Rented Houses / Rented Apartment category.
Broaden the stakeholders’ base in tourism.
Expand tourism related activities to rural and interior areas.
Sustainable and responsible development of Eco and rural tourism.
Recognition as an authorized tourist establishment registered under National Tourism Organization in the country (Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority).
Professional advice for improvements of your house & guest services by experts in the respective fields.
Free training on hospitality services, basic accounting, attitude building, marketing etc.
Free publicity and marketing opportunities through official web sites of Sri Lanka Tourism.
Listing in the accommodation guide and Home Stay directory published by Sri Lanka Tourism.
The brochures and advertisements will be released free of charge periodically.
Marketing opportunities via national and international information counters, travel fairs, tourist directories, guidebooks, and social media networks.
Eligibility to display the Home Stay logo as a registered establishment.
Eligibility to apply for financial assistance arranged by Sri Lanka Tourism if & when such program is announced.
HOW TO APPLY FOR REGISTRATION
Those who interested are at liberty to submit applications for approval for setting up any of the three types of establishments mentioned above in the country side under the supervision of Sri Lanka Tourism. The application can be downloaded from www.sltda. gov.lk/home_stay_project or can be obtained from the office of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority.
In Cash to the Cashier of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority. On working days from 9 am to 3 pm.
By cheque written in favour of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority
Can be deposited to A/c No. 0007119413 Bank Of Ceylon (Account Name-Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority-Corporate Branch) Please send the original Bank Deposit Slip with the application form
CONDITIONS FOR REGISTRATION
The scheme shall be operative in entire Sri Lanka.
It is compulsory that all Home Stay units, Bungalows & Rented Houses/ Rented Apartments under the scheme should register and licence with Sri Lanka Tourism.
The proprietor of the house to be registered under the scheme should submit an application to Sri Lanka Tourism with all information and relevant documents.
Standard and Quality Assurance Division of Sri Lanka Tourism, as specified in the guidelines, would ensure to conduct an inspection of the premises within thirty (30) days of submitting the application before registering the unit as Home Stay, Bungalow & Rented Houses/ Rented Apartments. This is to ensure that the architectural design is in conformity with location and the surrounding environment and the unit has hygienic, clean facilities and is secure for tourists. On application for registration/renewal, the unit will have to be ready for inspection, without prior notice, by officials of Sri Lanka Tourism. No request for deferment of inspection will be entertained.
It is recommended to prepare and display in order to specify the type of meals to be offered with the charges and the visitors will have to be informed in advance so as to avoid unnecessary disputes.
The quality of the facilities and services will be evaluated by a committee of Sri Lanka Tourism. Due preference will be accorded to homes which are able to provide Sri Lankan experience by way of decor, traditions and authentic cuisine etc.
A registration fee of Rs.1000.00 + NBT + VAT should be paid when submitting the application for registration as Home Stay unit, Bungalow & Rented Houses/ Rented Apartments.
A certificate of registration will be issued on evaluation of the standards as per the Mark sheet.
Any deficiency /short comings notified by the committee during inspection will be informed on the spot, and to be rectified
within a period of time agreed by the owner of the establishment (less than three 03) months)and informed to Sri Lanka Tourism for the re-inspection of the premises.
The committee will decide and may recommend registration in a category either higher or lower than the one applied for. In case the category applied for is lower than the one recommended by the committee, then the applicant has the right to reapply for required category after fulfilling the standards.
In case of dissatisfaction with the decision of the committee, the proprietor may appeal in writing to the Director General of Sri Lanka Tourism within thirty (30) days of the official communication.
The Home Stay unit, Bungalow & Rented Houses/ Rented Apartment is expected to maintain required standard at all times.Sri Lanka Tourism will conduct a surprise inspection of the house at any time without previous notice.
In case of failure to maintain required quality and service standard, hygiene condition, misbehaviour or malpractices,the registration will be cancelled by Director General of Sri Lanka Tourism, after giving reasonable time period to rectify same.
Any complaint from any guest in accommodation of any of the three (3)types of establishments to the Sri Lanka Tourism, will be investigated and if found guilty the registration will be cancelled by Director General of Sri Lanka Tourism.
Any change in facilities, refurbishment / upgrading or extensions should be informed in writing to Sri Lanka Tourism within 30 days. If the clause is in violation and is comes to the notice of the committee,the classification will stand withdrawn/terminated.
The registered Home Stay units, Bungalows and Rented Houses/ Rented Apartments are permitted to market and to promote the unit and activities.
Sri Lanka Tourism will organized training programmes on hospitality services which need to provide with good quality service and facilities for tourists.
The licence/classification will be valid for one (01) calendar year. A renewal application with relevant documents and fee should be submitted to Sri Lanka Tourism, three months prior to the expiry of the licence for re-inspection/re-evaluation (The application can be downloaded from www.sltda.gov.lk/home_stay_project or can be obtained from the office of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority.
RESPONSIBILITY OF THE OWNER OF HOME STAY UNIT, BUNGALOW & RENTED HOUSES/ RENTED APARTMENTS UNDER THE SCHEME
Every owner of Home Stay unit, Bungalow & Rented Houses/ Rented Apartments shall get registered with Sri Lanka Tourism and follow the guidelines thereafter as stated in the Home-Stay guidelines, which shall be binding on the owner of the Home Stay unit.
The owner of the home stay unit shall at all times maintain the minimum standards of the cleanliness, sanitation, quality food etc. as stipulated by Sri Lanka Tourism.
In case of unhygienic conditions, misbehaviour, malpractices, failure to maintain required standards etc. The registration of the home stay unit will be cancelled after giving a reasonable opportunity to the owner. The cancellation will be done by the Director General of the Sri Lanka Tourism.
The owner shall maintain a register for letting out the rooms to the tourists, which can be inspected by the concerned. The register will have the same format as those presently being used in the Hotels/ Guest Houses.
The owner shall maintain a bill book/ Home Stay pad for issuing the bills to the tourists with a stamp.
The owner shall display a registration certificate of the Home Stay Unit for the information of the tourist. The official logo of the Home Stay units which is issued by Sri Lanka Tourism can also be displayed.
GUIDE LINES FOR REGISTRATION OF HOUSES/ ACCOMMODATION UNITS UNDER THE HOME STAY PROGRAMME
A. ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
It is essential to have the requirements mentioned from 1-6 below to be eligible to register as a Home Stay Unit/ Tourist Bungalow/Rented Tourist Home/ Rented Tourist Apartment in Sri Lanka.
The locality and environment should be suitable for the tourism purpose as per the definition of. The Home Stay Programme(A)
Access/Approach should be suitable for the tourism purpose. If it is a property that goes with themes such as village/ adventure/wildlife etc. necessary security accessibility arrangements should be made for the safety of the tourist.
A.3 HOUSE/ACCOMMODATION UNIT
The layout and the condition of the house/ accommodation unit should be suitable for the operation of a Home-Stay Unit/ Tourist Bungalow/Rented Tourist Home/ Rented Tourist Apartment.
A.4 COMPOUND/ GARDEN
The compound/garden should be well laid out and maintained in a manner befitting a Home-Stay Unit/Tourist Bungalow/Rented Tourist home/ Rented Tourist Apartment.
Maintenance of all areas of the house/ accommodation unit including the compound/garden furniture, equipment, fixtures, fittings, etc. should be of a standard befitting the tourism purpose.
A proper parking arrangement (with adequate security) should be available.
B. FRONT SITTING AREA/HALL
Should be pleasantly arranged to accommodate guests
Should have clean, spacious, well maintained front sitting area/hall.
The sitting area/hall should have adequate ventilation and natural or artificial lighting.
The sitting area/hall should have adequate, good quality furniture/seating arrangement in very good condition befitting respective theme.
C. BED ROOM/SLEEPING AREA
* Should have bed room/a proper sleeping arrangement with separate guest bathrooms.
Bed room/sleeping area should be spacious, clean, well ventilated and well maintained.
* Minimum size of the single bed room/sleeping area for one person should not be less than 100 sq.ft. and the minimum size of the double bed room/sleeping area for two people should not be less than 120 sq.ft.
* The safety and privacy of the tourist should be assured especially within the bedroom/ sleeping area
Bed room/sleeping area should have windows suitably curtained or fitted with blind or equivalent preserving security/ privacy of the tourist
* Electric fans/coolers/air-conditioners/ heaters and/or blankets should be available depending on the climate. This guideline will not be mandatory only in special situations such as eco-lodges etc.
Bed room should preferably have call bell system for the convenience of tourist.(in the case of Home Stays, it is optional)
* A dressing table with mirror/or a wall fitted mirror with a shelf, wardrobe or wall cupboard and/or cloth hangers, a small lockable cupboard to store valuables, a towel rack, a luggage rack or equivalent, a bedside stool/ equivalent and a waste-paper basket must be available inside the room.
* Clean and comfortable bedding/sleeping arrangement should be provided in keeping with the respective theme
Size of the bed should not be less than (78 inches /6.3ft X 3 ft) and size of the double bed should not be less than 78 inches/6.3 ft X 5 ft) (this is not mandatory in special situations such as eco-lodges/ tree houses etc.)
* Bed linen should be changed at least once in 03 days for staying guest. Fresh linen should be provided with each new guest
* All bedrooms should have separate guest bathrooms with W.C over head showers and the main floor area should not be less than
30sq.ft, with moderate sanitation in very good working order.
Bath room floor should be clean and hygienic.
Bath room walls should be preferably tiled up to 5 ft or finished with smooth cement/tiled or washable rubber paint or equivalent in keeping with the respective theme.
* Bath room should have wash basin, mirror, towel rail, cloth hooks etc.. or equivalent facilities in keeping with the respective theme
Should have adequate good quality, absorbent towels and have to be changed on regular basis
Iron board and iron should be available on request.
Homes with electricity supply should supply a plug point inside in each guest room
D. DINING AREA
* Should have a clean, well maintained dining area with good quality comfortable serving and seating arrangement.
Should have adequate stock of good quality cutlery, crockery, tableware and table linen or equivalent authentic material serving the same purpose will be considered.
* Should have a spacious,clean, well ventilated kitchen. A traditional Sri Lankan kitchen with proper maintenance and cleanliness will be accepted.
* Kitchen floor should be clean & hygienic..
Kitchen area should be free of insects and rodents. Adequate measures should be taken to prevent insects inside the kitchen.
Cupboards for storage of groceries and perishables should available.
Should have cold storage facilities. Fish, meat, dairy products, cooked and uncooked foods should be stored separately to avoid cross contamination.
* Adequate precautions should be taken in a case of fire..
* There should be a sink with running water to wash curtly, crockery and glassware hygienically.
* Should maintain a guest register with name, address, contact details, passport number/ national identity card number, date of arrival/departure etc. with guest signature for references.
* All transactions should be issued with valid receipts and record to be maintained accordingly.
Clean, hygienic and uninterrupted water supply should be assured for tourists.
If food is served, there should be a list of food items / type of meals available and the charges. If not self-cooking facility should be available all required cooking utensils.
Should have adequate stock of good quality bedding, towels, cutlery, crockery and glassware.
* First aid facilities should be available.
Path ways, stairs, elevators should be well lit for safely.
* Adequate precautions should be taken in sea side properties and establishments with swimming pools for the safety of guests.
* Suitable arrangement should be made for the provision of laundry service of guest linen.
* All drainage in and around the kitchen should be cleaned, covered and disposed systematically.
* Garbage should be stored in covered bins until they are disposed.
Facilities should preferably be arranged to hire vehicle for excursions, transfer of guest, etc.
* In case of sickness, there should be an arrangement to contact qualified medical officer.
Should preferably be disable-friendly.
Note: The items marked with (*)are mandatory requirements.
FAQ's ON HOME STAY UNITS
What is Home Stay?
Home stay is a scheme which encourages local residents to open their home to paying guests at least on a bed & breakfast basis, enabling tourists to live in a homely environment and to experience the local customs and traditions.
What are the criteria for Home Stay/ Bungalow/Rented Houses & Rented Apartments ?
At the time of inspection and throughout, the accommodation must meet the following criteria:
Property needs to be clean, tidy and presentable. Cleanliness is of paramount importance to your guests, so a high standard of cleanliness must be achieved and maintained throughout your property, giving particular attention to kitchens, bath rooms and toilets.
Other items involving direct contact with guests should be clean and in good repair(such as bedding, linen, mattresses, towels, flooring, seating, crockery, cutlery, glassware, kitchen, utensils and equipment)
What happens if I do not meet the criteria upon the initial inspection ?
You can re-apply for the inspection It is advisable, to apply for the re inspection after completing the short comings, which was notified during the first inspection.
Can I register a tent in the garden under the Home stay/Bungalow/ Rented Home/ Apartment scheme ?
Guest must be accommodated in a room with all the facilities detailed in the registration guideline of Home Stays. You are free to go for new themes, but the security of the guest should be secured and all the facilities specified in the Guideline should be available.
Can I rent my whole house out to guests that do not know each other ?
No. If you are moving out of your property then you must rent the entire property to the same party at any one period. You cannot accept multiple guests who do not know each other.
What do I need to do for Bed & Breakfast Home stay/ Bungalow ?
A cooked breakfast or continental breakfast should be provided. It is recommended that you use local produce for your visitors.
I work full time. Can I provide all the necessary food for breakfast so the guests can cook it themselves ?
Yes. That is absolutely fine. Just advise the guest at the time of booking that you will be providing a self-service breakfast.
What is the cost of registration and what does it cover ?
The cost of registration is Rs. 1,000.00 +NBT+ VAT. No licence fee or an administration will be charged in addition to this. The Renewal fee of the licence for the 2nd, 3rd & 4th consecutive years will be Rs. 2,500.00+NBT+VAT. The renewal fee of licence of the 5th year will be Rs.5,000/- + NBT+ VAT and for 7th year 7,500/- +NBT + VAT. The 8th year onwards the renewal fee will be Rs. 10,000.00+NBT+VAT.
How do I fix my rates?
The rates depend on the facilities & services that are available in the establishment and it is advised to fix your own competitive rates. The officials of the Standards & Quality Assurance Division of SLTDA will advise after the inspection, at your request.
What if my property is open plan or quirky layout ?
If you have any concerns regarding the layout of your property, you should discuss this with the officials of Standard & Quality Assurance division at Sri Lanka Tourism prior to an inspection.
Do I receive any financial assistance for improvements ?
As a registered Home Stay owner, you are eligible to apply for financial assistance arranged by Sri Lanka Tourism. These types of schemes will be published in national news papers when available.
Do I receive a certificate once I am registered ?
Yes. The Sri Lanka Tourism will issue you with a registration certificate confirming that your property is suitable for home stay unit accommodation. You are advised to display the certificate in the reception area for guest information. In addition, you can display the logo of Home-Stay scheme.
What if you receive a complaint from a guest regarding my accommodation ?
When Sri Lanka Tourism receive a complaint from any guest in Home Stay/Bungalow/ Rented Home/Apartment accommodation, the complaint will be investigated and if found valid we reserves the right to cancel the registration and will insist that any future bookings are returned.Sri Lanka Tourism is dedicated to providing a quality service to all guests. As part of this commitment to quality, it is important you understand that as a provider of any of the above accommodation, you are an ambassador for the Sri Lanka Tourism. We would encourage you to take this role seriously and we like to offer and encourage all Home stay/Bungalow hosts the opportunity to take part in the training programs
What happens if I am unhappy with the conduct of my guests ?
The officials of Sri Lanka tourism are available to help and assist you. Nobody should be made to feel uncomfortable in their own home or that their property is not being treated with respect. However, we rarely receive a complaint of this nature as the majority of guests are grateful for somewhere to stay. If you are unhappy regarding the conduct of your guests it is imperative that you contact the officials of Standards & Quality Assurance division of Sri Lanka Tourism for advice whilst your guest is on the Island and we will do our best to help you.
How do I ensure that Home stay is a positive experience for me and my guests ?
Sri Lanka tourism recommends that you treat your guests as you would like to be treated. Communication is of paramount importance. If you are registering for the first time, or accepting new guests that you have never met before, we would suggest you find out as much as you can about them prior to their arrival. This will make you both more comfortable. It will also protect you and your property. Always ensure you take all names, addresses and contact details of your guests, make arrangements for access to the property when they arrive, and find out if they have any allergies, food habits mobility problems or special requirements you need to know about.
What are the booking procedures ?
Once you have registered with Sri Lanka Tourism, all registered Home Stay providers (common to all three types under the scheme) are added to our Accommodation guide and will be listed in our official website. Guests seeking accommodation will contact you directly to make a booking. It is your responsibility to take guests contact details, confirm arrival and departure dates and agree your terms. In addition, we will guide you on available marketing options during the Training programmes.
How much deposit should I take and when should I collect the balance ?
It is suggested that you request deposit to secure the booking of not more than 20% of the total cost. You must not request payment in full prior to arrival. Once you have received the deposit, you should acknowledge this to the guest either by letter or email. Guests should be requested the final balance in cash on the day before the departure. If it is necessary guests should be allowed the opportunity to inspect the property first, to ensure they are happy before making any payment.
What if the guest does not pay ?
Sri Lanka Tourism is only a facilitator to the Home Stay/Bungalow scheme and we can not be held responsible for non payment of guests. Any necessary Action would be the responsibility of the Home stay provider. This action would be through the courts as a civil action and instigated by the Home stay provider. It is therefore always advisable that you collect full names and addresses and contact details of all guests. Please note that, non-payment is an extremely rare occurrence provided you follow the guidelines above on securing payment.
To find out businesses which are registered under the home stay project, please