It is proposed that empty apartments or terraced houses in the city can be used as homestays or Airbnb-like concept accommodation.
The proposal was voiced by the mayor of Ipoh, Dato’ Rumaizi Baharin @ Md Daud who values the importance of having facilities to accommodate the increasing number of visitors to Ipoh.
Rumaizi said the increase in the number of visitors from China and India to Ipoh, creates the possibility that there won’t be enough facilities to accommodate them in the existing hotels or homestays.
“Our problem right now is that we want to become a tourist city not unlike Penang, Melaka or Cameron Highlands.
“However, there are only about 7,800 rooms in Ipoh from hotels and lodgings, compared to the places I mentioned earlier, which have more than 25,000 rooms.
“We are expected to have as many tourists here as Melaka or Penang next year, so we will have problems accommodating the number of people staying.
“I think that if you want to build a building, it takes time, so to overcome it in a short time, I recommend that if there is an empty terraced house or apartment, it should be converted into a homestay or Airbnb concept,” he said.
He said this in a press conference after the September Council Plenary Meeting, at the MBI Meeting Hall on Thursday.
Rumaizi said, with the proposal, at least domestic visitors can stay there while those from abroad can stay in existing hotels.
In the meantime, Rumaizi said the trend now shows that many people visit Ipoh while hotels are always full on weekends.
“If the weekend is Friday to Sunday, it’s almost 100 percent fully booked at hotels, while there are fewer from Monday to Thursday.
“There is no doubt that even in Ipoh, there is a lack of hotels as we only have one five-star hotel compared to other tourism states.
“This Airbnb concept is more or less a house that is rented out to visitors for two or three days,” he said.
Rumaizi said the proposal would be refined and discussed in the near future with the relevant parties.
“Our team from MBI will discuss with business operators such as hotel associations, real estate and so on,” he said.
Commenting on the issue of fewer and fewer cooks in the city, Rumaizi said that the situation has somewhat slowed down tourism activities here.
“It has partially to do with COVID-19 because many cooks from Malay restaurants are workers from the South of Thailand, and they can’t come back here because of that factor.
“The problem now is that not many of these local workers are good at cooking favourite dishes such as tom yam and other hot dishes.
“If many visitors come here but there is no place to eat that can prepare the full menu, or if the service is slow, then it will affect the tourism sector.
“We need to have training to train local young people who are interested in cooking so that they are good at cooking the menu that is the choice of many. That is one of the ways to reduce this problem,” he added.
by Rosli Mansor