SABAK BERNAM: Efforts to promote new Chinese villages and traditional fishing villages as new homestay programmes will be intensified following the visa waiver for tourists from China.
“So far, the response has been a bit low but we want to promote it more aggressively,” said Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz.
He said based on the feedback gathered by the ministry, tourists from China chose Malaysia as their preferred destination due to the similarities in culture, language and food.
“If they come in big numbers, surely they do not just want to stay in hotels.
“Many of them prefer to experience our homestay and local culture,” he told reporters after visiting the Sg Haji Dorani homestay area yesterday.
He added that the ministry was committed to reach its target of attracting some four million tourists from China this year.
In the recent 2016 Budget recalibration, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the visa exemption until Dec 31 for Chinese tourists would be subject to specific conditions for a period of stay not exceeding 15 days.
Earlier in his speech, Nazri said the homestay industry had managed to generate RM28.3mil in revenue last year.
“This is due to the 391,225 visitors recorded with 309,225 domestic travellers and the rest international tourists,” he said.
The ministry also managed to register a total of 181 homestay clusters, with 3,653 operators providing 5,056 rooms for tourists, he added.
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