Ministry to improve homestay programme
Its minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman said that the programme is an excellent product that could boost the economic status in the villages as well as the country’s tourism industry.
“Homestay is a programme where travellers get to experience the true cultures and traditions of Malaysians.
“It also encourages culture exchange, friendships and family relationships,” she said Saturday after launching the seventh Malaysia Home Stay Association convention and general meeting here at Felda Semenchu.
Azalina said the ministry hoped to double or even triple the number of participants in the programme nationwide.
“We have more than 2,000 families from about 100 villages participating in the programme. We hope that each of the 116 districts in the country can have a village that participates in this programme,” she said.
Azalina added that the participants themselves should work towards the development of this programme.
“The families should make sure that their home surroundings are clean, especially the toilets,” she said, adding that good first impressions could make the tourists decide to return to the village.
Azalina also announced that the local tourism programme “Cuti-Cuti Malaysia” would be changed to “Zoom”.
She said the new programme would be launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi on May 7.
She explained that the under the new programme, the Government would look into specific tourist attractions to promote instead of only selling a particular place in a state.
“For example, in Pahang, many tourists are only visiting Genting Highlands.
“During the Visit Malaysia Year last year, many visited Genting Highlands but not Fraser’s Hill,” she said.
She added that by concentrating on specific attractions in the state, a more wholesome promotion would be achieved.
She explained that the Government would concentrate on promoting the historical places more aggressively. Azalina said that both federal and state governments should work together to ensure that the hotspots for tourism are well taken care of.
“If other countries can sell their eco tourism well without destroying the natural environment, I am sure we are also able to do it,” she said.
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