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Borneo, Sarawak, Sarawak Tourism

Homestay programme to be money spinner for Ba’Kelalan

THE highlands of Ba’Kelalan could soon be the location of the best homestay programme in the State.

There are now plans to improve tourism infrastructure in Ba’Kelalan under the Homestay Infrastructure Improvement Development Project under the current 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP).

The projects include erecting information signs along the Mount Murud trek as well as homestay signs at strategic locations in the Ba’Kelalan area.

“In terms of hospitality and commitment they are among the best,” Federal Tourism Ministry Office Sarawak Director Esther Douglas is quoted as saying about the Ba’Kelalan homestay after visiting the area in February.

“The ministry has allocated RM48,000 for the project to be managed by Lawas District Council.”

Esther also pointed out that the tourism development would not only benefit homestay operators in Ba’Kelalan but the whole community.

The cool and serene area is renowned for its annual apple festival.

If you want to know more about the Ba’Kelalan homestay or book a room for yourself, check out the official Tourism Ministry page here.

I’ve read that tour packages include a visit to the apple garden, Long Langai village and waterfall. You can also enjoy traditional meals and learn how traditional mountain salt is made at the salt spring.

If you haven’t made plans for your next holiday, how about a trip to Ba’Kelalan.

You can fly to Ba’Kelalan via Miri or Lawas on MASWings.

In Sarawak, homestays raked in accumulated earnings of RM978,700 last year, an increase of over 25 per cent when compared to the RM780,950 in 2010.

According to Tourism Ministry statistics, 12,612 tourists took up homestay packages in Sarawak last year, compared to just 9,384 in the previous year.

To date, a total of 409 homestay operators have been registered by the ministry in Sarawak providing 539 accommodation facilities in either individual traditional houses or longhouses.

The Bernama report:

Ba’Kelalan cashing in on home stay programme

LAWAS: The cool and serene Ba’Kelalan highland, renowned for its annual apple festival in the world tourism industry, is now eyeing the lucrative homestay programme.

The booming homestay programme in the country has generated positive vibes among the remote Ba’Kelalan residents, here who want a piece of the pie in the growing tourism industry in the country.

Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit was quoted as saying in Parliament recently that revenue from the homestay programme in the country increased by 26.78 per cent to RM15.7 million last year with tourist participation in the programme having increased by 29.8 per cent to 254,981 people.

Dawos said the homestay industry had contributed toward higher tourist arrivals which saw an increase of 21.6 per cent from 161,561 tourists in 2009 to 196,472 in 2010.

For Sarawak, the homestay craze is beginning to reap positive returns when  homestay operators managed to rake in accumulated earnings of RM978,700 last year, an increase of over 25 per cent when compared to the RM780,950 in 2010.

Based on the Tourism Ministry’s statistics, 12,612 tourists took up the homestay packages in the state in 2011, with 9,384 recorded in the previous year.

To date, a total of 409 homestay operators have been registered by the ministry in Sarawak providing 539 accommodation facilities and the accommodation provided is either in the form of individual traditional houses or longhouses.

The Sarawak Director of the Federal Tourism Ministry Office Esther Douglas said the homestay programme in Ba’Kelalan could be the best in the country if not in the state.

“In terms of hospitality and commitment they are among the best,” she told Bernama.

Esther, who went to Ba’Kelalan in February, said plans were in the pipeline to improve tourism infrastructures in Ba’Kelalan under the Homestay Infrastructure Improvement Development Project in the current 10th Malaysian Plan (10MP).

She said among the the components of the projects were erecting information signages along Mount Murud trek as well as homestay signages at strategic locations in the Ba’Kelalan area.

“The ministry has allocated RM48,000 for the project to be managed by Lawas District Council,” she said adding that it would not only benefit homestay operators in Ba’Kelalan but the whole community.

Previously to reach Ba’Kelalan via road would be a back breaking experience as the former logging track between Long Luping-Ba’Kelalan road could pose serious danger to those who have not exprienced navigating the muddy and slippery road that takes up to 12 hours or days to reach Ba’Kelalan during the rainy season. — BERNAMA

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