Illustrative Image (Photo: thestar.com.my)

Kuala Lumpur (VNA) – The ASEAN – Korea Centre (AKC) has selected Malaysia as the first regional host to pilot the Homestay ASEAN Programme.

Speaking to the press in Malaysia’s Selangor state on December 30 after the official launch of the programme and the Youth Fostering Sustainable Tourism Development project, AKC Secretary General Kim Young-sun said the country boast a notable example of a success story in operating the accommodation service in the region.

Malaysia’s homestay standard was adopted to represent ASEAN standard by all members in 2014.

Organised by the AKC and Selangor’s ministry of tourism and culture, the programme, starting from December 28, is scheduled to run for eight days with the participation of 21 students from the Republic of Korea. These students will experience local lifestyle and take part in voluntary work while living with their foster families in Banghuris and Sungai Sireh.

ASEAN Homestay Programme was designed to help Korean students majoring in tourism or Asian studies to accumulate understanding on community-based tourism through hands-on experience.

According to Malaysian Deputy Minister of Tourism and Culture Mas Ermieyati Samsudin, during the January-September period, the homestay segment earned 19.87 RM, an annual increase of 10.8 percent. The segment currently contributes one percent to the nation’s tourism revenue.

She said Koreans were among potential holiday-makers, and local homestay operators should intensify efforts to promote their accommodation.

As of September 2015, Malaysia had 181 community-based tourism programmes, supplying 3,653 houses with 5,056 rooms catering to foreign tourists.-VNA