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Enforcing Standards Key to Better Homestays

China's homestays could be improved by enforcing national standards and building a two-way evaluation and selection mechanism, a commentator writes

By Xu Mouquan Updated Jan.11

The National Tourism Administration of China released the Basic Requirements and Evaluation of Tourism Homestays, a set of national standards for the sector, last October. Since then, the country’s online homestay leasing and renting platforms, as well as companies offering the service, have been encouraged to comply. But the sector is still dogged by issues like lack of security and poor sound insulation. The new standards must be more strictly enforced and those who don't comply should be driven out of business, writes Hu Jianbing for Legal Daily.

Given the standards are not legally binding and provincial governments have not rolled out local standards, laws or a mooted trustworthiness evaluation system, the national standards have barely dented the laissez-faire development of the homestay economy, Hu said. An investigation cited by Hu found more than three-fifths of consumers were concerned about sanitation practices in homestays in Jiangsu Province, and that about one in five beds used in homestays was "basically clean."

He said provincial governments must impose strict deadlines on those who do not currently comply with the national standard, and those who fail to meet this deadline should be put out of business. 

Given the homestay economy requires a fundamental level of public security, fire safety, tourism management and more, an online personal trustworthiness registration system and evaluation mechanism for landlords and renters should be established, allowing landlords and renters to choose each other based on reviews and ratings.