Ministry to act against fraudulent homestays

KOTA BARU (Jan 14, 2011): The Tourism Ministry is to act immediately against fraudulent homestay programmes before the scam undermines the tourism industry, Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said today.   

She said she had instructed the enforcement division of the ministry to identify these fake operators and act against them.

"Perhaps the ministry can require all homestay programmes to register with it and rebrand them to enable the tourists to differentiate between the real and the fake.

"Right now, there are no specific laws for the government to act against the fake homestay operators, but the matter has to be tackled for the tourism industry to grow," she told reporters after a meeting with officers and staff of the ministry in Kelantan and Tourism Malaysia Kelantan, here.

Ng said operators of fake homestay programmes do not reside in their homestay, contrary to the objective of the programmes, and do not fulfil the criteria as promoted in the package.

"Tourists must understand that in a homestay programme, the owner of the house lives in the homestay and takes the tourists through the activities," she said, adding that tourists had complained of having been cheated.

Ng said eight villages in Kelantan offered homestay programmes operated by 161 homeowners who made available 194 rooms.

Last year, she said, 1,193 foreign tourists and 1,148 domestic tourists participated in the homestay programmes, bringing in RM1.17 million.

Ng said Kelantan had the potential to draw more tourists, particularly from Singapore, and the ministry had launched a homestay programme incorporating a train journey in October last year to boost the potential. — Bernama