Sunday, May 29, 2011

Homestay Programme A Boon Or Bane For Sarawak Tourism Industry?

KUCHING -- Registered homestay programme operators in Sarawak are crying foul over an increase in the number of illegal homestay facilities in the state.

Sarawak Homestay Association chairman Mahmud Sabli said with no specific laws to punish such offenders, it would be hard to take action against them.

"The best that we can do now is to demand stricter enforcement against them, either by local councils, or the federal Tourism Ministry," he told Bernama here Sunday.

Mahmud said the association had received feedback on the illegal homestay in Sarawak with some even going as far as to advertise their 'illegal' homestay programmes on the internet.

Feedback received by Bernama showed that there were more than 100 homestay operators in Sarawak who are registered with the Tourism Ministry but due to lack of enforcement, there has been an increase in the number of illegal homestay in the state.

Although there were no specific figures available for the state, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Ng Yen Yen was quoted on Feb 8, that was an expected 900 unlicensed homes or budget hotels using the homestay status in the country.

She suggested that to fight the rising problem of illegal homestay, stricter issuance of homestay permits by local councils was needed to allow only those registered with the Tourism Ministry to provide such services.

Meanwhile, Jamilah Shukri who runs a successful Santubong Homestay about 30km from here said there was a lot of misconception in registering homestay programmes.

"Actually the state and federal government had made it easier to legalise their operation by setting a standard regulation and attending a course that is free of charge," she said.


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