KUCHING, Aug 29 — The Ministry of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Sarawak is currently in the process of identifying traditional longhouses between Sibu and Kapit to serve as homestay accommodations.
Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said traditional longhouses as homestays would not only provide tourists with a unique experience set boost the state’s tourism industry, but also could contribute to the rural economy.
“We want to see more longhouses, especially the traditional ones, to be upgraded and looked into as part of our homestay accommodations.
“But we cannot force them because longhouses are private-owned. It is up to the village chief and community of the longhouse to consider whether they want their longhouse to serve as a homestay,” he told a press conference here yesterday.
He said villagers at the longhouse can generate income for themselves not only through the homestay but also by providing services such as cultural performances or selling handicrafts to the tourists.
Abdul Karim also touched on his recent working visit to Bogor, Indonesia, where he paid a courtesy call on Indonesia’s Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Dr Sandiaga Uno to discuss on further developing the tourism industry between Sarawak and Indonesia.
“I also had a discussion with two Indonesia airlines to see if they could look into increasing the number of flights between Indonesia and Sarawak.
“I hope that Malaysia Airlines could also look into this, as we’d need more flights from many areas particularly Indonesia in view that our ‘umrah’ package would take off from Kuching starting next month,” he said.
Abdul Karim’s visit to Bogor was conducted in connection with the International Conference on Responsible Tourism and Hospitality (ICRTH) 2023, which involved participation from 24 countries including Canada and the US.
“This conference was first initiated by Sarawak where the first one was held entirely online with 3,000 participants. Last year, the conference was held in a hybrid format with participants attending either via online or physically in Kuching.
“Then we had the mayor of Bogor who requested if Bogor can be given the opportunity to host the conference this year.
“We feel proud of being the one to initiate this conference where the focus is on advocating for responsible tourism,” he said.
He added that Sarawak would serve as host again next year, and was hopeful that another country within Southeast Asia would host ICRTH the following year. — Borneo Post Online