The Sabah Homestay Programme is expected to remain bullish this year, where RM3.7 million in receipts are projected from the 16 programmes involving 209 houses in the state.
Sabah Homestay Association president, Jeffry Yahya, said this year it expected the receipts to increase by at least 50 per cent from last year’s target of RM2.5 million.
“Last year, we were ranked number one in Malaysia. To date, we have seen a 35 per cent increase compared with the first quarter of last year. So we are off to a good start.
“The increase is seen in the number of participating tourists and receipts recorded,” he told reporters after the launch of ‘365 Days Celebration with Homestay Sabah’ brochure here today.
He said only one or two home stay operators here were affected by the Japanese earthquake as the majority of them catered to European market.
On the claims by Tourism Minister, Dr Ng Yen Yen of the existence of illegal home stay operators, Jeffry said this happened a few years back because of there was no official Homestay logo.
He said the association has the logo now and starting this year, it would bebeasier for tourists to identify between a genuine and illegal operator.
Earlier, Sabah Tourism Board chairman, Dr Tengku Zainal Adlin, said last year, 17,558 tourists, both local and foreign, had a taste of the ‘kampung’ lifestyle through the homestay programmes.
“The programes generated RM2.46 million in receipts, an increase of 14 percent from RM2.13 million recorded in 2009,” said Zainal, who is also a member of Tourism Malaysia board of directors.
Meanwhile, Tourism Ministry’s Sabah office director, Nely Nasir, said the ministry has identified 25 illegal home stay operators during their checks at Kundasang, Kota Belud and Kudat in February.