KOTA KINABALU: Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun urged local governments to look into the setting up and operation of unlicensed homestay operators as most of them have been found to abuse the term ‘homestay’ when they merely provide lodging services.
“There are criteria that have to be met when operating a homestay programme and among the key points is that it must be located in a village setting in the rural areas and most importantly, those who come to stay are to be exposed to the local culture and lifestyle experiences.
“But these days we see the mushrooming of ‘homestays’ in urban areas and when checked, these operators merely provide lodging services. It should not be called a homestay,” said Masidi when met after closing the Homestay Development Course 2015 here yesterday.
Masidi also reminded that homestay should and is not an individual business, but more community based.
“This is why it is required that a homestay should be a cultural experience programme participated and operated by at least 10 villagers from the kampong,” he said.
The misuse, he said, should be rectified, especially by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture which is the licensing authority for homestays in the country, together with local governments.
“I have asked these two authoritative bodies to monitor and rectify the issue,” said Masidi.
Meanwhile, Sabah Homestay Association president Duanis @ Djuanis Mogirong disclosed that there are currently homestay programmes in 20 areas in the State, with at least 10 to 15 homestay programmes in one area.
Through the course, homestay operators discussed the issues that are affecting growth of homestay business, among them lack of funding for promotion purposes, as well as the rapid growth of unlicensed or illegal homestay operators.