Supporting our Sarawak homestays
By Danielle Sendou Ringgit
Traveling, while fun, can be costly for some and among the factors that contributes to us spending a lot of money during vacation is the cost of accommodation.
Here in Sarawak, one of the best ways to experience everything local at a reasonable budget is to spend a few days at the local homestay.
According to Sarawak Homestay Operators Association (SHOA) president Jamilah Shukri, there are 32 homestays in Sarawak alone and 90 per cent of them are run by women.
As part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project, Petra Energy Berhad sponsored a booth for SHOA to showcase and promote Sarawak homestays during the Sarawak Regatta at Waterfront, Kuching on September 25th to 27th.
“As a company with Sarawak roots, we have always been supportive of the needs of the Sarawakians and as part of our CSR project, we decided to sponsor a booth space to the community in support of the women entrepreneurs and local community business.” said director, business development, Petra Energy Bhd and managing director, Petra Fabricators Sdn Bhd, Jamalludin ObengJamalludin Obeng.
Petra Energy Berhad spearheads a consortium of subsidiary companies (together referred as the Group), provides a comprehensive range of integrated brown field services for the upstream oil and gas industry and specialist products and services for the petrochemical industry. The Group is also involved in development and production activities of small field cluster
Believing in promoting the economic empowerment of women, Petra Energy Berhad supports women’s involvement in entrepreneurship as local community businesses and cottage industries are mainly run by women.
“When guests stay at the homestay, they experience the lifestyle of the people from that area. For instance, if you stay at a Malay homestay, you will experience the Malay lifestyle or if you stay at an Iban homestay, you will experience the Iban lifestyle, it all depends on your choice,” said Jamilah of the homestay concept in Sarawak which incorporates the elements of culture, adventure and nature (CAN).
“Sarawak, what I can say is that it is the most colourful and unique because we have plenty to choose from,” said Jamilah referring to the various types of homestays in Sarawak.
Focusing on lifestyle and cultural experiences as well as economic activities, a homestay programme allows visitors to stay with a chosen family, interact with the locals and experience the daily life of their homestay family while learning about their culture.
Jamilah encouraged those interested in experiencing the local lifestyle to go in groups.
“Not everyone prefers homestays, but it is usually students from overseas who prefer staying there because of its reasonable price. If you go in a group, it would not be as costly and then it would be nicer and more fun to do all the activities,” said Jamilah.
Despite its more affordable prices compared to a conventional hotel stay, homestay operators have to undergo on-site evaluations by the homestay association along with representatives from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia (MOTAC), Department of Health, and Tourism Malaysia noting that cleanliness of the premise is an important criteria to pass before one can go for training and be registered under MOTAC.
Aside from sponsoring a booth to promote homestays in Sarawak, Petra Energy Berhad also sponsored Piala Petra for one of the race categories during the Sarawak Regatta.