Homestay Issues in Malaysia

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by Geryl Ogilvy Ruekeith. Posted on January 29, 2010, Friday KUCHING: The Ministry of Tourism’s state office is targeting to make the Homestay business the main product for the Sarawak Tourism market in 2010 for its uniqueness and vastly increasing performance in revenue.The ministry’s state director Ahmad Johanif Mohd Ali said the Homestay business has the potential to complement almost all of the tourism marketing packages that the state has to offer. “Sarawak’s main tourism strength is obviously the cultural, nature and adventure aspect. Along with the agro and eco-tourism that Tourism Malaysia is campaigning nationwide, Homestay business is definitely the front runner as a tourism marketing tool in the accommodation factor. “The state is very rich in culture, for example, the Gawai Dayak celebration and the longhouses. These are things that only Sarawak can offer. It is our strength and now is the time for every player to step up his game in capitalising on this strength and enhance our niche product,” Ahmad added. Speaking at the ministry’s Sarawak office’s ‘Briefing Session to Tourism Industry Players’ at the Grand Margherita Hotel yesterday, Ahmad suggested giving emphasis to promoting Homestay as the main attraction and selling point. He said the performance of the Homestay business is very encouraging as in 2009, the income of RM455,430 in revenue received is an increased of RM41,607 from the RM413,823 recorded in 2008. Ahmad said Kampung Santubong Homestay generated the most income last year with a total of RM137,070 generated. Kampung Annah Rais came second with RM75,566.

Although the volume of tourist dropped compared to the previous year, he said that the revenue increased due to the amount of tourist spending and this is what the state is promoting — Quality Tourism. On the state tourist target for 2010, he also highlighted that the ministry is seriously targeting about 3.6 million international tourist arrivals. “3.6 million is a realistic target considering Tourism Malaysia’s forecast that Sarawak could attract at least 15 per cent of the national 24 million tourist target for 2010. “Even though the tourist number dropped to 2.8 million last year compare to 4.5 million in 2008, the global economic recovery and the decrease threat of the Influenza A epidemic should be taken as a positive sign. “Additionally, if we consider the hotel capacity state-wide and the increase accessibility to the state, the target is achievable. Now we need to be bold and confident in playing our role to achieve this target,” Ahmad stressed. He also emphasised that the state also needs to tailor its industry to the sensitivity of current global issues. Highlighting the ‘Go For Green’ campaign that the ministry has planned, he explained that it is important to take care of the environment and ensure the cleanliness of all the products. He also advised to all the tourism industry players to try create more activities and promotions during the off peak period, saying the tour agents could create more packages and expand the tourist domestic destinations. Among other activities in the planning, the ministry has plans to invite a total of 120 tour operators worldwide to visit the state in July. Ahmad said that the idea came about due to the success of the 2009 Megafam programme where members of the media around the world were invited to visit Sarawak. During the time, they were accommodated at a Homestay in Santubong and the feedback was very encouraging. He said Malaysia only registered a mere 19 per cent of repeated visitors last year compared to Thailand which has a total of 54 per cent. Ahmad stated that for this aspect to improve, the industry must improve its service quality as tourism is about hospitality. He advised every player to give their best service, be more creative and try to complement each other. ‘HOMESTAY LOGO FOR CERTIFIED OPERATORS’BY CHIN KEE LEONG Posted on February 23,...
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