ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Homestay awards give Brunei a tourism boost
TWO local tourism projects received the ASEAN Homestay Award at the 35th ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) in Manila last week.
Both the Seri Tanjung Homestay and Lubuk Batu Mas Homestay received the coveted award during the annual event, giving Brunei an added boost in tourism.
Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism’s Acting Permanent Secretary Wardi Hj Mohammad Ali told The Brunei Times that the awards will give the Seri Tanjung Homestay and Lubuk Batu Mas Homestay better recognition not only in the country but also across all countries in the Southeast Asian region.
“This is the first time that Brunei has been given this award. It should mark as an eye opener to the other homestay providers to see this as an opportunity to attract a wider market of tourists.”
As Brunei recognises the importance of promoting intra-ASEAN travel, he said, the award means that tourists from within the region can be assured that there are places in Brunei that are certified as quality homestays by the ASEAN Tourism Association.
The Homestay Awards aim to enhance local quality of life to generate income, support local culture, arts and crafts business, encourage restoration of local and historical sites and foster nature conservation efforts through community education.
The ASEAN Homestay standard certificates provide an opportunity to promote ASEAN Homestay so that those running homestays can understand the basic requirements of a quality visitor experience and establish a minimum standard across all ASEAN member states.
Zaini Hj Salleh, secretary of Kg Sungai Bunga’s Village Representative Council which manages the Seri Tanjung Homestay hopes that the award will encourage more families in the village to open up their houses for homestay services.
“Our homestay programme has helped the community a lot, not only to those who offer their homes to tourists but also those who do traditional performances and cooking demonstrations,” said Zaini.
The village head of Kg Sibut, where the Lubuk Mas Batu Homestay is located, said that the village council had nearly backed out from the competition due to the strict guidelines that the ASEAN Tourism Association set for them to be able to receive the award.
“We had to go through a very strict checking process and I thought there was no way we could comply to all the categories.
“But I felt that the award would help boost business for our homestay programme so we pushed for it anyway,” said Jamat Anak Malong.
Brunei was also a recipient of the ASEAN Green Hotel Award through the Ulu Ulu National Park resort among a total of 89 hotels in the region.
The hotels which have received the award have adopted environmentally friendly and energy conservation initiatives in their establishments in line with the ASEAN tourism initiative on Tourism and Climate Change Monitoring System and Work Plan.
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