DID you know that homestay operators in the State made nearly RM1 million last year?
Yup, the total earnings for homestay programme participants in Sarawak was exactly RM978,703.62 in 2010.
This was an increase of over 25 per cent when compared to the RM780,952.36 earned in 2010.
In case you didn’t know, homestays are a form of accommodation where tourists can stay with a local host family.
There are 409 homestay operators registered with the Ministry of Tourism.
They offer a range of accommodation from rooms in kampung houses to longhouses and some purpose built accommodation in the village.
Homestay operators usually provide local meals and some also arrange cultural shows and nature trips.
For tourists, choosing a homestay is one of the best ways to really immerse themselves in the local culture and get to know the people.
Sure staying in a five-star hotel may be more comfortable, but when else would you get the chance to really see how the locals live, to help them in their farms, eat their home-cooked meals and to really get to know them on a personal level?
For homestay operators, it is a great way to earn much needed additional income, introduce their heritage to tourists, as well as to get to know other cultures!
Visitors can also pick up the local language, while villagers can improve their English or perhaps even learn another foreign language!
It also gives villages and communities a way to stimulate the local economy, so that they are not forced to look for extra income elsewhere.
Some operators are tech-savvy and offer their packages online. This is a great way to reach out directly to interested travellers.
However, as I was doing some research I noticed some sites that seem less than authentic, but have Paypal accounts asking for donations and payments.
The Ministry of Tourism has endorsed an official website for Homestay Malaysia and you can find Sarawak homestays here.
If you are looking for a homestay, I would recommend going to those registered with the ministry to ensure that the services offered are genuine.
If you are a homestay operator or wish to become one, do register with the ministry so that the government can help to promote your packages and to ensure you get the necessary help to develop and value add to your tourism products.
The Bernama report:
Sarawak homestay operators rake in nearly RM1m revenue
KUCHING (March 3, 2012): Homestay operators in Sarawak managed to rake in accumulated earnings of RM978,703.62 last year, an increase of over 25% when compared to the RM780,952.36 in 2010.
According to the Tourism Ministry’s statistics made available to Bernama, 12,612 tourists took up the homestay packages in the state in 2011, with 9,384 recorded previously.
To date, a total of 409 homestay operators have been registered by the ministry in Sarawak to provide 539 accommodation facilities.
The accommodation provided is either in the form of individual traditional houses or longhouses.
The operators come from several ethnic groups in the state and the homestay package also includes a variety of cultural activities and nature trips. — Bernama