Budget hotels help keep Sabah's tourism engine humming: Joniston

AVILA GERALDINE


KOTA KINABALU: Budget hotels are a key component of Sabah’s tourism industry, and operators have been exhorted to take pride in their important role of offering accommodation options to tourists and visitors to the state.

Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said yesterday that budget hotel operators are specialists who demonstrate that the saying "good things come in small packages” is true.

“The hotel landscape (in the state) has changed drastically over the years… We see accommodation of all types being established, ranging from the simple and humble homestays, to the grand 5-star hotels.

“Although budget hotels are small, (that does not mean they are of) lesser value. Take pride in your business, because you are offering an alternative to our visitors," he said.

Joniston was speaking to members of the Malaysia Budget Hotel Association (MyBHA) Sabah during the association’s annual fellowship dinner at the Seaside Travellers Inn in Kinarut, near here.

Thanking MyBHA Sabah for their services, he said budget hotels complement all the other tourism players, be they government or private agents.

He also called on budget hotel operators to continue safeguarding their businesses by maintaining cleanliness, safety, comfort and security for their guests, and to train their staff well.

"Adhere to all the mandatory regulations required of you so that you may enjoy the hospitality journey, and where possible, extend your facilities (and services) for that much-needed value-added extra," he said.

MyBHA Sabah, under the able leadership of its president, James Ong, is duty-bound to look after the needs and welfare of its members by assisting them in finding solutions to problems, exchanging and updating information, and providing a network of positive relationships.

Acknowledging the association's dedication, Joniston noted that instead of being arch competitors, MyBHA Sabah members have been complementing each other.