Friday, January 3, 2014

VMY2014: Homestay Operators Excited To Promote Uniqueness Of Kampung Life

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 3 (Bernama) -- With the new year, homestay operators throughout the country are surely excited about promoting the uniqueness of Malaysian village life to tourists in conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year 2014 (VMY2014).

They said besides must-do activities like cultural performances, new activities had been planned to make the tourists' homestay experience a memorable one.
Coordinator for the Haji Dorani homestays in Sungai Besar, Selangor, Abd Rahman Daud said in conjunction with VMY2014, the coconut tree would be made the main tourism highlight instead of the padi field, chosen previously.
"There are many coconut groves but they are neglected. Rather than remaining a waste, it's better to make the coconut tree a tourism product as it has numerous uses," he said when contacted.

Abd Rahman said besides plucking young coconuts and drinking their refreshing water, tourists would also be able to see how coconut oil was produced the traditional way, as well as making of handicrafts from the coconut trunk and shell.

According to him, the villagers would also be introducing a traditional Javanese dish called "Sambal Tahun", said to have got its name from its long-lasting quality, remaining edible for a year from the date it was cooked and even tastier from being repeatedly heated up. "Long ago, it was difficult to get food, so the villagers of Javanese descent cooked Sambal Tahun in large quantities and kept them. The ingredients include cili padi, galangal, shallots, garlic, coconut milk and can be mixed with cockles, squid, chicken and beef or beef tripe," he explained.

Coordinator for the Kampung Temenin Baru homestays in Kota Tinggi, Johor, Zainoh Musa said in conjunction with VMY2014, tourists would be taken on a trip tracing the history of the Johor Sultanate as the area was where it began.

He said the historical tourist spots to be visited included the tomb of Sultan Mahmud Shah II, the last Johor ruler who descended from the Melaka Sultanate, and the tomb of Laksamana (Admiral) Bentan who stabbed the sultan out of revenge for the killing of his wife and unborn child.

Zainoh said besides experiencing the culture of the Javanese community in the village, tourists could also observe the culture of the Minangkabau community of Kampung Temenin Lama nearby if they joined the cycling activity.

"We can't wait for the arrival of foreign tourists here. In the past we received tourists from Germany, the United States, Australia and Singapore. Language is not a problem, as even chickens and ducks can go about together, what more human beings," he said.

Coordinator for the Kampung Baru Salong homestays in Pekan, Pahang, Bakri Abu Talib said the villagers were thankful that their preparations to receive tourists this year had not been disrupted by the recent floods as the village was not affected.

He said the village community viewed the homestay industry not only as a source of income but also as a responsibility to assist the nation increase revenue through the tourism sector.

"We feel honoured that tourists are willing to come to our village. We hope there will be more tourists this year as there were less of them in 2013 compared to 2012 where the presence of many tourists had enlivened our village. "We enjoyed serving them kampung dishes like ikan patin masak tempoyak. The tourists also partook in grilling corn on the corb that had just been plucked from the farm operated by the village youths," he said.

Bakri said to attract more young tourists to the area, the villagers would offer activities like climbing the 641-metre (2,103 ft) high Bukit Chini with an overnight stay at the foot of the hill.

Romlee Hassan, coordinator for the Paya Guring homestays, about 4km from Arau, Perlis, said the villagers opted for the gotong-royong way in receiving tourists to portray unity of the Malay community in doing things. "Activities are also planned according to the seasons such as the fruit season and the padi planting or harvesting season," he said.

Romlee said the homestay operators in the village also attended an English language course to enable them to converse with foreign tourists, besides using social media like Facebook and blogs to draw tourists to the area.


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