30 July 2015

Homestay operators advised to tap into Singapore market

SERIAN: It would be a good idea if homestay operators in Sarawak tap into the Singapore market to increase revenue and tourist arrivals. Tebedu assemblyman Dato Sri Michael Manyin, who said this, explained that Singapore schools for instance organise trips overseas as part of education for their students.

“Singapore is a target because over there, the students are encouraged to leave (and explore other countries for certain periods), and they are given (certain amount of money) for this purpose. This is an area which we can look into,” he said.

Manyin, who is also Infrastructure Development and Communication Minister and former minister in charge of tourism, made these remarks at a press conference when officiating a Hari Raya Aidilfitri gathering organised by the federal Tourism and Culture Ministry’s state office at Homestay Kampung Tebakang Melayu on Sunday night.

Permanent Secretary to the state’s Tourism Ministry Datu Ik Pahon, who also spoke, said there are currently 33 homestays in Sarawak and the main guests are students, domestic tourists from Peninsular Malaysia and backpackers from Europe. “Last year’s revenue from homestays were RM1.2 million, up from RM900,000 the previous year. So overall, there is an improvement (in terms of homestay revenue) in Sarawak.

“We also notice the growing interest among rural villages wanting to participate in homestay business. Though Ketua Kampung of Tebakang Melayu mentioned (earlier in the function) the number of tourist arrivals reduced this year, I believe this is temporary. The numbers might be reduced here, but in other homestays the situation could be otherwise,” he said.

He also explained that normally homestay tourists are not repeat visitors, as they would venture some more elsewhere, to experience the Dayak longhouse at one time, Malay kampungs the next time and sometimes they move up to Bario. “They are tourists who want to enjoy the lifestyle in the kampung and nature,” he said. “Some rooms in the homestays may cost RM120 one night. But what they want is the experience of staying in the Malay, Bidayuh, Orang Ulu and Iban villages. This is an experience they do not get when staying in hotels.”

Assistant Minister of Tourism Datuk Talib Zulpilip, Tourism and Culture Ministry’s Sarawak director Suriya Charles Buas and the village chief Hanapi Bani were among those present.

Samuel Aubrey, reporters@theborneopost.com
July 29, 2015, Wednesday
Copyright 2010-2015 BorneoPost Online

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