: Certification by the Tourism and Culture Ministry of homestay programme operators will give more confidence to visitors that they are being monitored by the ministry.
Its minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz said homestay operators who had not yet registered are encouraged to immediately join the programme.
"We have to maintain standards because we are receiving domestic as well as foreign tourists. But to join us, they have to comply with certain regulations, standards and conditions so that we can maintain homestay standards in Malaysia at the level that is expected by visitors.
"If they (operators) are outside our purview, we can't monitor them," he told reporters after a visit to the Kg Benuk homestay, here, today.
Asked whether action would be taken against unregistered operators, he said no action would be taken because basically they were operating legitimately.
"We cannot stop them and you can't say that they are illegal. It's just that they are not recommended by us, but they are doing legal activities. At the same time, we hope they will join us because by joining us we can maintain standards," he said.
Nazri, meanwhile, described Sarawak and Sabah as major pillars of the country's tourism industry as both states had packages with everything including eco-tourism and beautiful natural countryside.
"Certainly, I will pay attention to both states because I believe they are rich with tourism products and deserve to get more allocations from the ministry under my leadership," he said.