After undergoing SOP training and checking, 16 homestay operators received the certification of excellent quality assurance under the Malaysia Tourism Excellence (MaTEx) Business Certification Programme by Tourism Productivity Nexus (TPN) with support from Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC), an agency under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI). They also received the Certificate of Compliance under TPN’s Adopt and Adhere COVID-19 SOP Guidelines.
MaTEx Business Certification Programme certifies various categories of tourism industry practitioners, including homestay operators based on satisfactory fulfilment of the industry-level standard for homestays comprising 181 indicators, while the Adopt and Adhere Certificate of Compliance is awarded to homestay operators who score at least 90% from 69 indicators in COVID-19 SOP Guidelines. Due to the lockdown in Malaysia, the certification process was conducted virtually.
The homestay operators took advantage of the stay-at-home/work-from-home Movement Control Order (MCO) directives to improve the condition of their homestay based on the standard’s indicators. The evaluation was done through video recordings and documents submitted to TPN. It highlighted the operators’ diligent efforts in enhancing the quality of their premises, in preparation for safe SOP-regulated reopening of tourism later.
Dato’ Abdul Latif Haji Abu Seman, MPC Director-General remarked, “This is the best time for homestay operators to improve service quality and upgrade homestay premises. I understand that finance can be tight due to zero income from the homestay business. Yet, some improvements do not require much finance, but ask more of your creativity and diligence. I commend the recipients’ improvement efforts. The industry-level standard developed by TPN should give a good guidance to all homestay operators on quality excellence.”
Encik Uzaidi Udanis, TPN Champion, echoed Dato’ Abdul Latif statement, “I am touched by the recipients’ efforts. This is the essence of what the Malaysia Tourism Excellence or MaTEx Business Certification Programme is about – continuous improvement of tourism products and services. Yes, this is possibly the darkest time in the history of the tourism industry, but we must not stop improving. The certified homestay operators are also awarded the COVID-19 SOP Certificate of Compliance to prove that their premises and services are safe and clean, and most importantly adhere to strict COVID-19 SOP”.
The MaTEx Business Certification Programme is the first industry-wide certification scheme in the country which set the entry-level requirements for tourism products and services in Malaysia. The programme was officially launched by the former Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture on 27 November, 2019, and since then 192 tourism businesses have been certified under the programme.
In 2020, MaTEx went through the transformation of shifting the certification process from the conventional on-site face-to-face approach to the online method due to the necessary restriction in movement imposed by the MCO. Positive reaction from the participating companies indicated that they were receptive to the process and its effectiveness in implementation.
Meanwhile, TPN is strengthening the efforts to enhance the overall MaTEx certification scheme, particularly the benefits certified companies will get.
Congratulations to TPN and all 16 homestay operators for taking positive advantage of the MCO to further improve the world-famous Malaysian homestays, including the incorporation of SOP requirements, as needed under the new normal.