Register homestays with ministry, operators told

22 March 2012

KUCHING: Homestay operators who have yet to register with the Tourism Ministry should do so as it would benefit them greatly.

Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said currently, 27 homestay operators throughout Sarawak have registered with the state’s Tourism Ministry Office.

He said a survey would be done to find out the number of homestays that had yet to be registered and several others that were in the process of applying.

For you: Esther handing over a jacket as a souvenir to Johari at a workshop for homestay operators in Kuching Wednesday.

“We do not know how many are not registered, but there has been a good response to setting up homestays. That’s why we notice that a lot of people are trying to establish homestays throughout the state,” he told reporters after opening an entrepreneurship workshop for homestay operators at the State Library here yesterday.

He advised homestay operators to register so that they would know the standard of facilities and services required, which in turn would help them to attract more visitors.

“We want to have standard services in our homestays. People will feel comfortable staying in homestays if their basic facilities meet the standard. This means they will get more visitors. But if they don’t have good facilities, the tourists will go somewhere else,” he said.

In his speech earlier, Johari said the homestay sector showed encouraging growth in the last two years.

He said the 27 registered homestays recorded a total of 12,618 visitors last year compared to 9,384 in 2010, while income generation rose by 25% from RM780,952 in 2010, to RM978,703 last year.

He also called on homestay operators to use the Internet and social media like Youtube and blogs to promote their facilities to a worldwide audience.

“You can post pictures of your homestay and its facilities on blogs or Youtube. This is a new way of promotion that will enable you to reach out to more people,” he said.

Meanwhile, the state’s Tourism Ministry Office director Esther Douglas Udam said Sarawak had the highest number of registered homestays with 27, comprising a total of 409 participants and 539 rooms.

The location of the homestays ranges from Kampung Telok Melano at the southern tip of the state to Ba’Kelalan in northern Sarawak.

She also said the state had been allocated RM5.69mil from the Federal Government to upgrade homestay facilities under the 10th Malaysia Plan.

Source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/3/22/sarawak/10961835

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