Sunday, June 16

Homestay operators need to be more creative – Assistant Minister

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HOMESTAY PROGRAMME: Gramong (fifth left) poses with SHOA president Isabell Julau (fourth left) and other guests after a tree planting ceremony. — Photo by Henrietta Liza

KUCHING: Sarawak homestay programme has contributed some RM1 million to the state economy last year, said Assistant Minister of Tourism Datuk Gramong Juna yesterday.

Speaking at the annual general meeting (AGM) of Sarawak Operators Homestay Association (SHOA) at Kampung Santubong near here, he said the programme had attracted 11,000 tourists, out of which 9,409 were domestic tourists and 1,591, foreigners.

To date, the state has recorded 28 homestay programmes involving 418 operators, he added.

He believed the sector could play a bigger part in the tourism industry if the programme was further improved and added with creative ideas based on the surrounding culture and nature.

“Homestay operators, you need to be creative apart from your passion in sustaining the programme. You cannot do it like on and off.

“Maybe, you could make your programmes into a package to combine with other similar activities, for instance, the concept of farm house, which is quite popular in some countries,” he said.

Gramong pledged that his ministry and its counterpart in the federal government would continue to support the programme through various forms of assistance.

The Assistant Minister of Land Development also urged SHOA to help its members to market the programme through information and communication technology.

He hoped to see more people participate in homestay programme to further promote the tourism industry of the state.

About 300 homestay operators attended the AGM to select new committee members.