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Guesthouse Association of Maldives (GAM) has stated priority should be put on developing and promoting guesthouses rather than introducing new local tourism products.
Speaking on a programme aired on PSM News, Vice President of GAM Hamza Qasim revealed the association is not against the homestay businesses the government is working to introduce. He said, however, while the guesthouses are facing difficulties is running up again following the disruptions the COVID-19 pandemic forced to the sector, it is important to prioritise working towards reviving the guesthouse sector.
Reiterating GAM is not against homestays being permitted, Hamza said the best practice would be to categorize and begin the homestay sector after preparing guidelines. If done strategically, homestays will immensely benefit the local islands, he added.
Homestay tourism is a popular form of hospitality and lodging whereby tourists share a residence with a local household in the country they are travelling to.
Ministry of Tourism revealed it is working to introduce policies and guidelines for homestay tourism in January next year. The ministry said its diversification and localisation team are currently meeting local councils to discuss homestay tourism.
Meanwhile, Minister of Tourism Dr. Abdulla Mausoom earlier said homestay will benefit numerous tourism establishments including resorts, guesthouses, and liveaboards as well as ordinary citizens.
The government has been working to implement various forms of tourism in the Maldives including homestay, sports, and cultural tourism as well as meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) tourism.