As the resumption of international travel slowly moves from daydream to reality, the question on every travel industry professional’s lips is growing louder: What do post-COVID travellers want?
Well, we’ve got an answer that is not only tipped to be a big-time post-pandemic travel drawcard, it’s also great for the planet. Yes, we are talking about community-based tourism.
Before travel shut down, sustainable tourism was slowly going from a hugely popular trend to an industry requirement.
Now, as we prepare for the bounceback, there is a unique opportunity for the trade to seek out more sustainable, community-based tourism experiences that are fulfilling for travellers, and beneficial for the communities they visit.
To do this, the industry would do well to take inspiration from Malaysia.
A sustainable and authentic tourism alternative
Malaysia’s homestay experiences are not only a fantastic way for your clients to immerse themselves in the country’s diverse cultures, they’re also an innovative way to engage in tourism that directly benefits local communities.
In 1995, the Malaysian government set up a special homestay program to give tourists the opportunity to stay with a local family and learn about the culture and lifestyle of rural communities.
Through funding and grants from various government departments, the program also bolsters the country’s rural populations by providing infrastructure, training and extra income so villagers can stay in their homes instead of seeking jobs in cities.
How does it work?
The Ministry for Tourism has created a special set of regulations that must be followed by host families to ensure certain hygiene, safety, food prep and sustainability standards are being met so your clients can have an experience that is both authentic and risk-free.
Homestay experiences focus on kampung (village) lifestyle, including cultural and economic activities of local people, which differ from state to state.
Booking a homestay experience gives your client the opportunity to taste home-cooked delicacies, witness cultural dances, play traditional games and sports, and discover the simple pleasures of rural life.
From the sumazau dance in Sabah to the longhouses in Sarawak, each state has its own unique cultural delights that are best experienced first-hand.
Here are a few of our favourites:
For those seeking a taste of city life, Banghuris Homestay is just 20-minutes from the bustling streets of Kuala Lumpur, nestled amongst bamboo groves.
Here, clients can harvest honey, visit a dragonfruit farm, harvest Liberica coffee cherries from a local coffee plantation and even learn how to make traditional remedies.
The award-winning Misompuru Homestay Kudat in Sabah has 200 packages for tourists, from Rungus tribe cultural dance performance to mangrove trekking, river cruise, snorkelling, bird watching, fishing, crab catching, cooking, camping and traditional games. The list is endless!
For something a little more luxe, Farmstay Relau offers spacious, air-conditioned chalets modelled off traditional Malay houses. Just 14 kilometres from Kulim city, the farmstay is situated amongst fruit farms, offering fresh, organic produce for guests to harvest and enjoy.
It also features a swimming pool, a mini zoo and a cafe.
Homestay JKKK Sungai Haji Dorani in Sungai Besar Selangor is tailored to offer adventure travel and farming experiences to schools and families.
There are loads of activities on offer including cycling, fishing, river cruise, a night tour around the village, playing traditional games, grating coconut, eel fishing, catching fish using bare hands (menggagau ikan) and having fun wallowing in the paddy fields.
Visitors can also ride a mini tractor to enjoy a village tour and see sprawling paddy fields.
Malaysia is ready to welcome your clients, once the time is right to travel again.
Learn more HERE.