Sawahlunto, a charming little town in West Sumatra once famous for its coal mining industry, has transformed itself into an alluring tourist destination complete with various facilities. Although the town has only a few hotels, the homestays here are among the best in the country. Therefore it was only fitting that Sawahlunto was chosen to be the host of The International Homestay Promotional Fair 2013 , that took place from 10th to 13th June 2013.
Aside from Indonesia as host country, the event was also participated by ASEAN Countries , and was held concurrently with the ASEAN Workshop on Cultural Heritage Tourism. Moreover, remnants of the colonial age and the old mining industries in Sawahlunto have made the town a perfect host for the event.
With delegates from The Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT), Brunei Darussalam, Philippines, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Singapore, and Vietnam, the event was aimed to strengthen and enhance cooperation among ASEAN nations especially in the field of Tourism. Moreover, for Indonesia, the occasion was aimed to further promote Sawahlunto as a tourist destination and the center of quality Homestays.
Specifically, the International Homestay Promotional Fair and the ASEAN Workshop addressed some of the latest trends and information regarding homestay management in the ASEAN countries. Also participating were resentatives from various destinations in Indonesia such as Bali, Malang (East Java), Dieng and Borobudur (Central Java), West Sumatra, and Yogyakarta. Adding an authentic vibe to the event, all delegates were accommodated in a number of homestay establishmentsspread across Talawi and the Lembah Segar area.
The town of Sawahlunto has at least 53 homestays with aproximately 116 rooms. All are under the Sawahlunto Homestay Association which applies the room and service standards of Indonesia’s Hotel and Restaurants Association (PHRI). The rate of homestays here range between IDR70,000 to IDR250,000 (including two meals).
Not only given accommodation and meals, those who stay in homestays will also receive the warm and friendly ambience of the indigenous Minangkabau courtesy. Some also provide tempting tour packages such as rafting, traditional art performances, traditional village tours, and many others. During the recent mega sporting event of Tour de Singkarak 2013, thousands of spectators found comfortable accommodation in homestays here.
Mayor of Sawahlunto, Ir.Amran Nur said that homestays in Sawahlunto have proven to be succesful as the number of tourists visiting the town has increased significantly. In 2004, tourists visiting Sawahlunto numbered a mere 14, 000, but today the numberhas incredibly surged to 742,000 tourists. The increasing number of visits was also supported by the many efforts made to improve sites in and around Sawahlunto including the coal mining fields, the Sawahlunto Museum, The logistic Museum, and others.
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