Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Europeans Keen to stay in our Malay Villages

HELSINKI: The Homestay Programme for tourists, now confined to 80 traditional Malay villages, may be open to all villages, said Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Donald Lim.

“I have received a lot of enquiries on the programme, especially from Europeans who are interested in Malaysia’s multi-ethnic heritage and history.

“I am sure they will get an even better understanding of our Malaysian way of life when they stay in the homes of different ethnic groups,” he said in an interview here on Monday.

Successful applicants would be given assistance like grants and training to set up the business.

The training would cover the basics of hospitality, doing business and foreign languages.

Lim, who arrived here on Sunday for a two-day visit, had a meeting with the representatives from the Malaysian-Finland Association upon arrival. The association, which was set up in 1985, is headed by Unto Turunen, a former ambassador to Malaysia.

Lim said the homestay programme, which was started about 10 years ago, now involves 1,222 families who earn between RM60 and RM120 a day per head for food, laundry and lodging.

Earlier, in Berlin on Sunday, Lim said uniquely packaged tourism products were needed to woo more European tourists.

Source : STAR
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