TEMERLOH: The homestay concept is picking up in the state and will be a thriving industry in the near future, state Culture and Tourism Committee chairman Datuk Mohd Sharkar Shamsudin said.
Mohd Sharkar said starting with the first establishment in Desa Murni, there were now 16 such homestays throughout the state.
“I was told that there are 170 cluster of homestays involving 302 villages in the country.
“In Pahang, homestay-type accommodations contributed some 450 rooms and the latest one is operating in Kampung Labu, Jerantut,” he said after opening a beauty and reflexology course in Kampung Desa Murni here.
Also present were Pahang Tourism Agency (formerly Bukit Fraser Development Corporation) general manager Datuk Ishak Mokhtar and Pahang Tourism and Culture Office director Idros Yahya.
Mohd Sharkar, who is the Lanchang assemblyman, said up to September this year, there were a total of 92,269 people who had resided in various homestays statewide.
He said income generated for the operators stood at nearly RM7mil, including usage of other facilities such as beauty therapy and reflexology.
“Tourism is one of the important sectors to bring in revenue and promote socio-cultural of the country.
“Rural folks could also contribute through introduction of homestay-type accommodations to visitors especially foreigners,” he said, adding that the state government would continue to give its full support to hoteliers, resort and homestay operators to bring in more visitors for mutual benefits.
Mohd Sharkar said statistics from 1981 to last year showed the country recorded an average of 8% growth in the tourism sector.
He said last year, there were 25.7 million foreign visitors to the country which generated a revenue of RM65.44bil.