Monday, June 18, 2012

Sarawak homestay as post-conference option soon


KUCHING: Kampung Benuk Homestay will be included as an option for post conferences in future in order to woo foreign delegates to experience the unique Bidayuh culture.

Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said he was confident that the village, with its rich culture and natural surroundings, would be welcomed by both delegates and tourists.

Speaking at the closing of Gawai Homestay Kampung Benuk 2012 at the village in Padawan here on Saturday, he said Kuching has been chosen as the venue for many international conferences.

Hence, industry players, such as homestay operators, should grab the golden opportunity to attract visitors from abroad.

“Kampung Benuk, which is near to Kuching, is a good place for international delegates to experience something unique after attending the conferences.

“We will try to promote Kampung Benuk Homestay as a place for post-conference programmes along with other nearby attractions like Annah Rais,” said Abang Johari, who is also Housing Minister.

Among those present were Abang Johari’s wife Datin Amar Jumaani Tuanku Bujang, Tarat assemblyman Roland Sagah Wee Inn and Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism Datu Ik Pahon Joyik.

Despite its immense potential, Abang Johari cautioned that this initiative would not be sustainable unless the local community chipped in their bit.

He reasoned that as homestay was a community-based programme, it was vital for the local community to enhance it by, among others, zealously preserving their culture and natural surroundings.

“The government has allocated RM5.6 million to develop Sarawak’s homestay. But you still have to promote it in creative ways. After all, tourism is about creativity, imagination and branding.”

He suggested that the Padawan Municipal Council (MPP) work closely with the Kampung Benuk Homestay community to develop products to attract more tourists.

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