Govt Funding Available To Upgrade Homestays

KOTA KINABALU: Homestay operators in Sabah have been advised to grab the chance of securing RM20,000 from the government to upgrade their facilities.

In urging registered homestay operators to apply for the funding, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew said this is part of a special grant of RM10 million for the upgrading of homestay facilities and community-based tourism products under the Sabah New Deal.

“We will process the applications when we receive them from licensed homestay operators,” she said, in a statement here today.

Liew, who is Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, made the call during a courtesy visit by former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Liew Vui Keong, who is also Batu Sapi MP.

In response, Vui Keong welcomed the state’s grant, saying it was good news for local tourism players.

“I would encourage homestay operators in Sandakan in general, and Batu Sapi in particular, to avail themselves of the funding, so that they are ready to reopen their doors to visitors by the end of the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) on Aug 31,” he said.

Meanwhile, briefing Liew on tourism highlights in Batu Sapi, he said efforts are underway to transform the Batu Sapi Heritage Park (three-legged rock shaped like a cow) and Pasir Putih Beach into tourist hotspots.

“Our focus is on maintaining cleanliness of these natural attractions and resolving the problem of water pollution in the affected area, among others.

“Given its popularity as a tourist destination, we hope Sandakan will continue to draw tourists in the months to come.”

Liew said Sandakan should do well by virtue of its tourist hotspots such as the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, Borneo Elephant Sanctuary in Kinabatangan and Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre.