Construction workers keep homestays afloat

A Pantai Tenang Homestay’s tent.

KUCHING: Many homestay operators have no guests during the current movement control order (MCO) period.

So, what do they do to survive until the end of the Covid-19 pandemic?

They rent out their homestays to employees of construction companies on a monthly basis.

“At the moment, many homestay operators are doing this,” revealed Mohamad Ali Edmund Lee, owner of De ‘Lee Homestay.

De ‘Lee Homestay is a lodge near Mt Santubong, located about 35 km north of Kuching City, and the Samariang Water Park.

The homestay offers 24-hour security and can accommodate up to 10 to 12 visitors at any one time.

Ali said his income now came from the construction workers’ monthly rents.   

“In order to attract customers, I intend to update some of the services at my homestay,” said Ali.

“Since I have not received any government assistance, I am still looking for ways to ensure that the homestay is still running   until everything returns to normal again,” he added.

Shariff Busrah

Meanwhile, Shariff Busrah, the owner of Pantai Tenang Homestay, said, “The pandemic and the implementation of the MCO have affected my business badly.” 

Prior to the implementation of the MCO in June this year, Shariff said his homestay opened on a limited basis in accordance with the standard operating procedures (SOPs).

He explained that he had 12 employees who came from low-income households and required assistance, especially during this difficult time.

“Even though we are not currently in operations, I continue to work hard to guarantee that the Pantai Tenang homestay is in good condition and safe for visitors.

“Cleanliness should be prioritised for the sake of all,” he added.

Pantai Tenang Homestay also provides tent rooms.  

“Each tent room can comfortably accommodate five to six people at a reasonable price,” said Shariff, who is currently focusing on his fruit farm to survive. 

“Despite not receiving MCO assistance from the government, I welcome the federal government’s   Prihatin Special Grant Plus or Geran Khas Prihatin (GKP) asistance for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) entrepreneurs.

“To be honest, it is still not enough. The GKP payment of RM1,500, which is given twice in phases, does not contribute to overall recovery,” he pointed out.

Both Ali and Shariff hope that the tourism industry can recover soon so that their homestays can resume operations.