IPOH, Nov 5 — Visitors to Perak are flocking in droves to enjoy the authentic “homestay” experience offered throughout the Silver state.
According to state tourism authorities, the industry’s revenue stream and visitor count have almost doubled over the past three years.
Since 2013, the number of tourists staying at homestays has shot up from 6,650 to 11,918 last year — a fillip for Perak’s tourism industry ahead of Visit Perak Year 2017.
In the same period, the number of homestay facilities has also increased from eight to 11 over the past three years.
In 2013, 6,650 tourists patronised the eight registered homestays in Perak. The following year, two more homestays in Labu Kubong and Chenderoh were registered and the tourists arrival also increased to 9,640.
In 2015, 11,918 visitors were recorded, marking a 23 per cent increase from the year before.
“Revenue collected from homestays also rose during these years — RM 296,590 in 2013, RM497,489 in 2014 and RM597,176 in 2015,” said state tourism committee chairman Datuk Nolee Ashilin Mohammed Radzi.
“Up to August 2016, RM333,565 in revenue has been collected, with 5,327 tourists electing to stay in our homestays so far,” she said.
Nolee said homestays were popular because they were the fastest and easiest way to get to know Malaysia.
“Most homestays are located in traditional villages. Homestay guests will not just be interested in the locals’ lifestyle but will be bound to quickly establish a bond with their warm and welcoming families who treat them like their own,” she explained.
“The programmes offered are based on the speciality of its local cultures, including home-cooking lessons, playing traditional games and even fruit harvesting.
“This is the unique selling point of homestays especially for international visitors.”
Nolee noted each of the individuals offered attractions geared to their respective local cultures.
“Bagan Datoh is famous for coconuts and homestays showcase the beauty of the fruit, offering coconut shake drinks, food, and coconut-based games,” she said.
“In Gopeng, the homestay activities revolve around the Rawa culture while the Sungai Manik homestay focuses on padi field activities.”
Aware of homestays’ potential to play a significant role in the state’s coming Visit Perak Year 2017 campaign, Nolee said the state government created special tourism packages crafted around homestays.
She said the packages, focused on educational and eco-tourism, would be targeting tourists from Asean countries, as well as Japan and South Korea.
“The state will help the Perak Homestay Association to launch their very own website and media social platforms to market more aggressively next year,” she said.
“Homestays can create job opportunities and have the ability to achieve sustainable employment for the state’s rural community, which is in line with the vision of Perak Amanjaya.”-malaymail online.