US$12 million sought to promote Malaysian homestays

THE MALAYSIA Homestay Association is pressing the tourism ministry for an annual grant of RM10 million (US$3.28 million) over four years to promote and develop homestay programmes.

It submitted yesterday a paper to the ministry.

President Sahariman Hamdan said this would help fund international outreach to traditional markets such as Japan and Singapore, as well as to new ones such as Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, Germany, the UK and Netherlands.

It would also cover training programmes to upgrade the entrepreneurial skills of homestay operators and provide them with lessons on e-marketing.

Sahariman said: “By next year, we want to double the amount of household incomes of homestay operators, which now average around RM600 monthly.”

Homestays, where owners rent out individual rooms, will also be diversified to allow guests to book the entire house. Dubbed ‘kampung stays’, the product will be launched at Kampung Desa Murni in Pahang on March 20 by Tourism Minister, Dr Ng Yen Yen.

Houses are fully equipped and include cooking facilities. For a start, there would be 50 such accommodations, said Sahariman.

There are now 138 registered homestay villages in Malaysia, with a total of 2,987 operators and 4,042 rooms. The average occupancy of homestays from January to November 2010 was 23.2 per cent.

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