Friday, April 20, 2018

Malaysia still a sought after destination for Indonesian travellers


The demand to visit Malaysia among Indonesian travellers continues to grow despite competition from other regional destinations, driven by what outbound agents say is a compelling combination of easy access, affordability and the variety of product offerings in the country.

This was apparent in the enthusiastic reception to the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents’ (MATTA) roadshows in Jakarta and Surabaya earlier this week, which brought together 35 sellers, comprising agents, hotels and theme parks, to promote Malaysia’s latest tourism products and offerings to Indonesian agents.

The MATTA event, jointly organised with the Association of the Airline Ticketing Companies in Indonesia (ASTINDO), received strong interest from hundreds of travel specialists from Jakarta and Bandung for the Jakarta event, and Surabaya and its surrounding areas for the Surabaya event.

Deputy secretary general of ASTINDO, Pauline Suharno, who is also managing director of Elok Tour, thinks the warm agent reception is in part due to the participation of new Malaysian sellers such as Desaru Coast and Asia-Pacific Masters Games in Penang.

“Besides tour operators selling tour packages, there are also hotels and attractions wholesale ticketing agents. This allows us to have a variety of products to sell as not all Indonesians — especially those who are familiar with Malaysia — like to buy tour packages.

“There are travellers who go to travel companies like ours to buy just air tickets, hotel rooms or entry tickets to attractions,” she elaborated.

The Indonesian outbound specialists TTG Asia spoke with also pinpointed the easy access between Indonesia and Malaysia as a key factor stoking demand for the latter. There are at least 600 flights per week connecting primary and secondary cities of both countries.

Besides, Pauline said, Malaysia is also a convenient hub for travel to a third country due to its ample direct flights, not only from Kuala Lumpur but also from other cities in the country.

Mangara Gultom, chairman ASTINDO Jakarta Chapter, opined that Malaysia’s affordability has been a strong pull factor for Indonesians.

“This many flights available makes the prices more competitive. Besides, sellers at a road show like this usually come up with new offerings, allowing us to create new or updated products and special offers,” Mangara said.

Meanwhile, Noviyanti Chandra, general manager of Happy Tour, sees traveller interest in multi-country packages like a seven-day overland tour combining Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Hat Yai in Thailand, which was created after she observed a trend of young Indonesians wanting to collect passport stamps.

“Our target is the first-time traveller abroad. But surprisingly, the repeaters also like this package, perhaps because this tour gives them more experience and experiential travel is highly sought after by Indonesians,” Noviyanti said.
-TTG Asia.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Keindahan ‘permata’ Ba'kelalan


HASRAT meneroka wilayah tanah tinggi Sarawak di Ba'kelalan, Lawas sudah lama diidamkan penulis sejak berkhidmat di Bumi Kenyalang kira-kira tiga tahun lalu.

Angan-angan itu akhirnya menjadi kenyataan apabila media dipelawa melawat Ba'kelalan bersama wakil Sarawak Tourism Board (STB), Kevin Nila Nangai.

Perjalanan yang dirancang nyaris dibatalkan ekoran cuaca buruk. Pesawat Maswings (Twin Otter) yang membawa rombongan media dari Miri terpaksa mendarat di Lapangan Terbang Lawas sebelum meneruskan penerbangan ke Ba'kelalan setelah cuaca kembali baik.

Operator pelancongan dari Heart of Borneo Tour and Travel (HOB), Rona Sultan yang menguruskan lawatan kami memaklumkan kapten pesawat akan membatalkan penerbangan jika cuaca tidak baik dalam tempoh 30 minit menunggu.

Rombongan kami bertuah kerana setelah hampir sejam menunggu, kapten pesawat, Stefanus bersedia untuk meneruskan penerbangan setelah mendapat maklumat keadaan cuaca di Ba'kelalan semakin baik dan selamat untuk terbang.

Kami tiba sekitar pukul 11 pagi. Kesegaran bayu kawasan tanah tinggi menyambut ketibaan kami.

Ba'kelalan terletak di daerah Lawas mempunyai sembilan kampung yang dihuni etnik Lun Bawang sekitar 1,000 orang.

Tanpa berlengah, kami mendaftar masuk ke inap desa (homestay) Julia Sang yang diusahakan pasangan suami isteri, Cikgu Sang dan Julia di Kampung Buduk Nur.

Makanan di sini cukup segar. Padi bukit organik bebas racun dituai menjadi beras Adan. Nasi panas yang dimakan dengan sayuran segar, hasil tanaman penduduk cukup menyelerakan, selain roti dan sup labu.

Dalam pada itu, kami dibawa mendaki ke menara tinjau Pa Sarui di ketinggian 1,090 meter. Pendakian memakan masa satu jam 30 minit.
Laluan tidak sukar dan setibanya di puncak bukit, kami terpukau melihat keindahan Ba'kelalan.

Bagi mereka yang kaki mendaki, boleh menakluk Gunung Murud di ketinggian 2,423 meter. Difahamkan treknya tidak susah dan mengambil masa tiga hari dua malam.

Selain itu, tidak sah ke Ba'kelalan jika tidak mengunjungi tempat memproses garam bukit di Buduk Bui yang terkenal dengan khasiatnya.
Perjalanan dari inap desa ke tempat pemprosesan garam bukit memakan masa satu jam.

Pengunjung boleh menginap di situ untuk merasai sendiri cara menghasilkan garam bukit. Proses awal adalah mengambil mata air di bukit, sebelum dimasukkan ke dalam tong dram dan dimasak sehingga bertukar menjadi garam.

Kami juga dibawa ke sempadan Malaysia-Indonesia yang terletak tidak jauh dari Ba'kelalan untuk mengambil gambar kenang-kenangan.

Siapa sangka, Ba'kelalan adalah syurga pemerhati burung setelah burung spesies Dulit Frogmouth (Batrachostomus harterti) yang hilang selama satu dekad lalu ditemukan Cikgu Sang pada 2014.

Selepas itu, Ba’kelalan menjadi tumpuan pemerhati burung dari seluruh dunia.

Pada pandangan penulis Ba'kelalan berpotensi tinggi menjadi destinasi percutian dengan pelbagai aktiviti boleh dilakukan seperti mendaki, memburu, memancing dan memerhati burung.

Penjelajahan kami berakhir dengan membawa seribu satu kenangan yang tidak akan dilupakan. Terima kasih kepada STB dan HOB atas pengalaman cukup bermakna itu.
-utusan online.

Oliveira and Binder head to Austin to attend to unfinished business


04/18/2018 - Circuit of The Americas, USA
For the third consecutive year, the Circuit Of The Americas in Austin will be the venue for the only Moto2 round held in the United States. It is a Grand Prix to which the Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2 riders arrive with very different dynamics: Miguel Oliveira having taken his first podium of the season and Brad Binder getting a DNF in Argentina.

There are few circuits on this year’s calendar where Miguel Oliveira has not placed on the podium, and Austin is one of them. This is a challenge that the Portuguese wants to overcome this weekend. 

The podium he achieved two weeks ago in Argentina, after fighting for the victory throughout the race, will serve as additional motivation. Last year, in his first experience of the track with the KTM, he claimed a commendable sixth place.

Brad Binder was on the rostrum at the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas in 2016, a year in which he was proclaimed Moto3 World Champion. However, the South African could not take part in last year’s event due to an injury to his left arm. This will be the first time that Binder rides with a Moto2 bike at the circuit, but he is nevertheless aiming high this weekend.

The third round of the season will be the last before a run of European events. The Moto2 race will start at 12:20am local time –7:20pm CET– on Sunday, and will consist of 18 laps.

Circuit information - Circuit of The Americas (COTA)
Length: 5.513 m / 3.426 miles
Width: 15 metres
Left corners: 11
Right corners: 9
Longest straight: 1.200 m / 0.746 miles
Constructed: 2012
44 MIGUEL OLIVEIRA
"Honestly, the podium we achieved in Argentina gives us a little more peace of mind to face this third round. In any case, the Circuit Of The Americas is a very tricky circuit, with many changes of direction. We have to take advantage of all the track time we have available. Last year we didn’t have our best weekend, but even so we finished sixth, so we will at least try to improve on that result on Sunday. With the experience we have from last year, we will try to do our best."
41 BRAD BINDER
"I can’t wait for another Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas. It will be my first time on this track with a Moto2 bike, due to my injury last year, but I'm anxious to start riding there and learning the new track lines. I have been looking at practices and races from previous years to see the way to go and be as prepared as possible before we go to the track. I hope this helps me to adapt as quickly as possible and feel comfortable. It's already the third round of the year and I'm not completely satisfied with how things have gone so far, so I want to get better results from this weekend."
 -Red Bull KTM Ajo Motorsport.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Malaysia inbound agents sweat to arrest declining Middle East arrivals

Arab tourists buying drinks along Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown

Malaysian exhibitors at the upcoming Arabian Travel Market (ATM) are strategising how they can attract Middle East tourists especially during the upcoming summer travel season (June to August).

This is in light of Malaysia’s two largest Middle Eastern markets showing a double-digit decline in 2017 over 2016. Arrivals from UAE dropped 39.5 per cent to 8,555 tourists in 2017 while the largest market, Saudi Arabia, saw a 18.8 per cent decline to 100,549 tourists during the same period.

Ally Bhoonee, executive director of World Avenues, said: “We are talking to hoteliers in key destinations such as Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Langkawi to offer the same rates as they do other markets and not have a surcharge during the Middle East season, as the market has not been doing well over the last three years.”

Ally added that there was a need to stay competitive as this year will be challenging due to competition from regional destinations, as well as destinations within a six-hour flight time from the Middle East.

“Everyone is vying for this market as the Middle East travellers are known to be good spenders,” he opined.

Another operator, Noor M Ismail, general manager, Panorama Destination Malaysia, said that the company will be promoting new destinations such as Kota Kinabalu, Port Dickson and Ipoh, instead of the usual Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Langkawi.

“For families, we will be promoting theme parks in Sunway, Ipoh and Penang,” shared Noor.

As parent company Panorama Destination Indonesia will be exhibiting at ATM, it will be passing on leads and contacts to Panorama Destination Malaysiawhich commenced operations on April 1.

In addition, Panorama Destination Malaysia will be adapting to the working hours of the Middle East market so as to respond to enquiries quickly.

Sharing his rationale, Noor said: “Requests from agents are straightforward. They want a city and beach combination. If you reply quickly, you are likely to get the business.”

Meanwhile, with Qater Airways’ new direct flightsfrom Doha to Penang, Lexis Suites Penang director of sales and marketing, Mark De Souza, said he will propose to Qatar outbound agents at ATM to create itineraries that start in Penang and end in Kuala Lumpur.

Souza is also looking at creating special all-in-one 4D/3N packages targeted at the Middle East market combining transfers, round island tours and dinners at the hotel.
-TTG Asia.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Labuan International Sea Challenge 2018 @ Labuan International Sea Sports Complex ( 21 ~ 22 & 27 ~ 29 April 2018 )


This water-splashing event is expected to attract at least 30,000 visitors to the island of Labuan this year. It features six main events with over 20 supporting games held throughout the one-week period. This year, the newly-introduced international extreme sport game of P1 Jetski Championship is one of the key attractions to the duty-free island.

If you are a water sport enthusiast, then be sure not to miss this event. You can take part in fishing, round-island kayaking, cross-channel swimming activities and more.


For visitors who wish to keep themselves dry, a variety of non-water sports games at the beach are scheduled as well such as beach tug-of-war competition, treasure hunt, beach volleyball tournament, sand castle competition, among others.
-Tourism Malaysia Sabah facebook.

Borneo Jazz Festival 2018 @ Coco Cabana, Miri, Sarawak ( 11 ~ 13 May 2018 )


Now in its 13th year, the Borneo Jazz Festival will feature an all-new format with two live stages. Curated by No Black Tie, this edition of the festival is making room for an international lineup of artists all the way from Italy, Poland, France, Switzerland, China, and Japan, all of whom will be playing alongside some of the leading jazz personalities from this region.



Set in the picturesque city of Miri with spectacular views of the South China Sea, Borneo Jazz is a one-of-a-kind festival that brings music and the rich Bornean culture together for an unforgettable experience.
-ticketcharge.com.my
http://premier.ticketcharge.com.my/shows/show.aspx?sh=BORNEOJ18

Friday, April 13, 2018

TUI Group’s Fly & Cruise Programme To Malaysia This December To Grow Europe Tourist Arrivals

image: www.tuigroup.com

KUALA LUMPUR, 12 APRIL 2018: Tourism Malaysia and TUI Group, the world’s leading tourism group, together announced a new Fly & Cruise programme that is expected to increase European tourist arrivals to Malaysia and boost the country’s cruise tourism. 

The announcement was made during TUI Group’s courtesy visit today to the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, represented by Director General of Tourism Malaysia, YBhg. Datuk Seri Mirza Mohammad Taiyab.

The Fly & Cruise programme will begin from 20 December 2018 until 29 March 2019 with TUI Group offering direct flights to Langkawi and thereafter regional cruises for its European customers from the Isle of Legends. Passengers will be delivered on three fortnightly flights on the 787 Dreamliner from three UK airports (Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham) to Langkawi. 

With TUI Group’s cruise ship homeporting in Langkawi, all passengers will spend at least one night in Langkawi before embarking on a 14-day cruise itinerary which will also include destinations such as Penang, Port Klang and Melaka in Malaysia, as well as Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.

The total potential capacity is expected to be about 7,200 passengers in the first year of operation.

Datuk Seri Mirza welcomed the decision of TUI Group to strengthen its presence in Malaysia, saying “We are very happy about TUI’s decision to offer flights and cruises from Langkawi. As the leading European tourism business, this initiative by TUI Group will strongly boost the visibility of Malaysia across all European source markets. At the same time, our position as an international transportation hub will increase and add value to our economy.” 

He added, “This programme will see a new chapter of collaboration with Europe’s biggest agents especially TUI Group - the newly crowned Best Foreign Tour Operator during the Malaysia Tourism Awards 2016/17 - and will firmly put Malaysia on the cruise tourism map.”

He said, “This initiative also supports the Visit Malaysia 2020 (VM2020) campaign that is projected to welcome 36 million tourists to Malaysia and register RM168 billion in tourist receipts for the country.”

Frank Vahldiek, Director International Partnerships of TUI Group said, “Our strategic priority is to drive growth in all-year destinations – and Asia is one of the key growth regions. Our European customers show an ever growing interest to visit countries such as Malaysia.” 

He added, “Malaysia is both a beautiful truly Asian destination – and an exciting market for our touristic products at the same time. Hence we are now developing exciting programmes for Malaysian and Asian customers who are increasingly looking to book Western-style holidays in regional destinations.”

He continued, “We are determined to grow our presence in Malaysia further. This will continue to strengthen the Malaysian tourism sector with its positive knock-on effects in other sectors of the economy.”

Currently, all three cruise companies of TUI Group – TUI Cruises, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises as well as UK-based Marella Cruises – have now included Malaysia in their programs. With three Malaysian ports of call – including one homeport (Langkawi, Port Klang and Penang), TUI Group’s cruise companies is expected to help drive growth for Malaysia’s cruise tourism sector.

Background on TUI Group:

TUI Group is the world’s leading tourism group operating in around 180 destinations worldwide. The company is domiciled in Germany. The TUI Group’s share is listed in the FTSE 100 index, the leading index of the London Stock Exchange, and in the German open market. In financial year 2017, TUI Group recorded turnover of €18.5bn and an operating result of €1.102bn. The Group employs 67,000 people in more than 100 countries. TUI offers its more than 20 million customers comprehensive services from a single source. It covers the entire tourism value chain under one roof. This comprises around 330 Group-owned hotels and resorts with premium brands such as RIU and Robinson as well as 15 cruise ships ranging from the MS Europa and MS Europa 2 luxury class vessels to the Mein Schiff fleet of TUI Cruises and the vessels of Marella Cruises in the UK. The Group also includes leading international tour operator brands, 1,600 travel agencies in Europe and five European tour operator airlines with around 150 modern medium- and long-haul aircraft. Global responsibility for sustainable economic, ecological and social activity is a key feature of our corporate culture. TUI Care Foundation promotes the positive effects of tourism. It initiates projects that create new opportunities for the next generation and contributes to a positive development of the holiday destinations. Further information is available at www.tuigroup.com.
-Tourism Malaysia.

Malaysia’s charm offensive in the Middle East


Whether it’s the launch of a new campaign, hiring dedicated market representative or investment in better systems to attract last-minute bookings, it’s clear that Malaysia’s all out to win over Middle Easterntravellers.

The attention given to the Middle Eastern market is deemed critical, as key markets from the region to Malaysia had tumbled in 2017.

Arrivals from Saudi Arabia declined 16.6 per cent to 92,789 tourists in the first 10 months of 2017, whereas arrivals from the UAE dropped 38.9 per cent to 7,255 visitors during the same period.

Malaysia’s Ministry of Tourism and Culture and its promotional arm, Tourism Malaysia, are understandably concerned as Middle Eastern travellers are top spenders in Malaysia and stay between seven to 10 nights in the country.

The average daily expenditure of visitors from the Middle East, which varies from RM1,185 (US$303) for Kuwait to RM1,046 for the UAE and RM943 for Saudi Arabia, is notably higher than RM720 for Singaporeans, who contribute close to half of total arrivals to Malaysia and stay an average of four nights.

The decline was in part due to Tourism Malaysia’s reduced promotional budgets in 2016 and 2017, which resulted in a lack of presence in the UAE, TTG Asiaunderstands.

A source at Tourism Malaysia said: “There is also increased competition from other countries to attract the Middle Eastern traveller. Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan have become ‘hot’ destinations for Middle Eastern travellers due to affordable airfares from LCCs and short flight time of between three to four hours.

“Also, the decline in tourist arrivals from Saudi Arabia was partly due to the austerity measures taken by the Saudi Arabian government to save money after tumbling oil prices.”

This included cutting minister’ salaries by 20 per cent and scaling back perks for public sector employees from September 2016 until March 2017. The uncertainty in the economy led some travellers to hold back on their longhaul holiday plans,” the source noted.

From this year, Tourism Malaysia is ramping up international promotions to all major markets, including the GCC countries as a lead-up to Visit Malaysia Year 2020, where it hopes to attract some 36 million tourists and RM168 billion in tourist receipts. At the annual Arabian Travel Mart this year, Tourism Malaysia will be promoting its Visit Malaysia Year 2020campaign.

Malaysia’s mid-year mega sales period has been specially timed to coincide with the summer holidays, which is also the peak arrival period for Middle Eastern travellers to Malaysia. Carnival Mega Sale will run from June 15 to August 31 as part of the government’s efforts to promote Malaysia as a shopping paradise to the Middle East market.

As well, the Malaysian government is working on improving the arrival experience for foreign visitors flying into the country. According to Malaysia Airports Holdings’ managing director Badlisham Ghazali, Kuala Lumpur International Airport has been working closely with the Immigration Department since early 2017 to open more counters during peak periods to reduce queueing time.

Improving the airport experience is especially timely and necessary amid fierce competition from South-east Asian destinations, remarked Ally Bhoonee, executive director, World Avenues.

He said: “The arrival experience is the first impression tourists get of Malaysia and if it is not pleasant, it could deter repeat visits to Malaysia. Tourists may opt to go elsewhere.

“Europe and Turkey are also aggressively wooing Middle Eastern visitors. Political instability in the Middle East has also resulted in more demand for short- and medium-haul holidays. Malaysia has to put in much more effort today to compete.”

According to Ally, his company had seen a decline of 30 per cent from the Middle East last year, the bulk of which is from Saudi Arabia. To arrest the decline, the company had employed a full-time Arabic-speaking marketing manager from Egypt to be based in its Kuala Lumpur office to be in regular communication with outbound agents from the Middle East and support the efforts of the company’s sales offices in Qatar, Kuwait and Egypt, which generates business leads and provides marketing support to agents on the ground.

To compete with OTAs, the company leverages its Arabic-speaking personnel to provide assistance and itineraries in Arabic.

Meanwhile, Within Earth Holidays has recently invested in a B2B system that allowed dynamic packaging with instant confirmation and the flexibility to make changes in hotel room categories and duration of stay, an initiative executive director Saini Vermeulen believes will give the inbound agency an edge to obtain last-minute bookings from the Middle East.

This year, the company also plans to work with partner hotels in Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi and Penang to invite several social media influencers from the Middle East on a fam trip to Malaysia so that they can share their experiences and attract more tourists to Malaysia.

Jai Kishan, general manager, New World Petaling Jaya Hotel, said the newly opened property will be exhibiting at the upcoming Arabian Travel Mart, and has also established connections with the Middle East market through sister properties, Rosewood Jeddah and Rosewood Abu Dhabi.

He added: “We have also identified social media channels, influencers, bloggers and socialites that resonate well with the Middle Eastern travellers and we will invite them on fam trips to stay in our property.”
-TTG Asia.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Banyan Tree readies for Malaysia debut with GM, DOSM hires

Anders Dimblad

Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur has appointed its general manager and director of sales & marketing ahead of the brand’s debut in Malaysia in June.

The general manager post will be filled by veteran hotelier Anders Dimblad, a Swedish national with almost two decades of experience in the luxury hospitality industry.

Prior to joining Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur, Dimblad served as vice president of hospitality in DAMAC Hotels & Resorts, Dubai. He was also previously with Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts from 2004 to 2014.

Shereen Chow has been named the hotel’s director of sales & marketing. With over 27 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Chow has held directorial positions in the area of sales and marketing at One World Hotel, The Saujana Kuala Lumpur and most recently, Hilton Worldwide’s sales office in Malaysia.

Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur will mark the brand’s debut in Malaysia. The urban resort is located in Malaysia’s capital and occupies the top seven floors of the Banyan Tree Signatures Pavilion Kuala Lumpur Building.
-TTG Asia.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix 2018 ( 2 ~ 4 November 2018 )


The Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix 2018 returns on 2 to 4 November 2018, again as the penultimate race in the MotoGP calendar. With the event selling out in recent years and crowd numbers breaking records year after year, the Malaysia MotoGP looks set to be another hit this 2018.

Race weekend will be bigger and better with more exciting action and activities to attract fans this year. Nevertheless, the key attraction remains the riders. Fans will once again be able to cheer on our Malaysian riders. 

Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah returns with the Monster Yamaha Tech3 in MotoGP,  Zulfahmi Khairuddin with SIC Racing Team in Moto2, while Khairul Idham Pawi in Moto2 with Idemitsu Honda Team Asia. In Moto3, Petronas Raceline Malaysia Team’s Adam Norrodin is seeking greater success in his second season, together with teammate Ayumu Sasaki.

The Malaysia MotoGP will also see action from some of Asia’s top young riders in the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup. This year, Malaysia is represented by 3 riders – Muhammad Haziq Mohamad Hamdan, Syairul Yuslie Suhaimi and Azroy Hakeem Anuar.
-AirAsia RedTix.

HYDE Acoustic Concert Tour 2018 黒ミサ Asia Live in Kuala Lumpur @ MCA Hall ( 12 May 2018 )


After so much requests, we are so excited to announce, one of the most influential vocalists from Japan, HYDE, the lead vocalist from the legendary Japanese rock band, L'Arc-en-Ciel, as well as VAMPS, is finally coming to Kuala Lumpur for the first time with his concert tour entitle [HYDE Acoustic Concert Tour 2018 黒ミサAsia Live in Kuala Lumpur], Kuala Lumpur being the only stop for South East Asia!!!

HYDE is taking his time to hold meet & greet with the fans limited to the VIP ticket holder!There will be a special moment for the fans to have a high-touch and a group photo session with HYDE.

We have been requesting HYDE to come to Malaysia for so many years and this is finally happening. The fans should never miss this opportunity to witness the world of HYDE, his amazing vocals and fashion in live! Hard core fans of HYDE, should not miss this opportunity! The VIP tickets are limited!

Concert ticket price listed above is excluding ticket processing fee and other online & credit card transaction service fees.
-ticketcharge.
http://premier.ticketcharge.com.my/shows/show.aspx?sh=HYDEAC18

Monday, April 9, 2018

Move to cap domestic airfares beneficial for tourism


Malaysia Airlines is one of the numerous airlines  that operate domestic routes in the country

The Malaysian government is planning to introduce a price ceiling for domestic airfares by mid-2018, a move that has brought cheers to the local trade for its potential to encourage more tourist inflows and movements around the country.

Deputy transport minister Ab Aziz Kaprawi said the move comes on the back of complaints of expensive flight tickets during festive seasons, reported news agency Bernama.

A study by Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) showed a five-fold increase of airfares during festive periods.

The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) supports the Ministry of Transport’s decision, suggesting that any rise in fares should be capped between 1.5 to two times.

Said MATTA president KL Tan: “Airlines should review their pricing strategy during low and high periods so as not to (penalise) passengers travelling during peak seasons. Airlines have various classes and fares based on their Reservations Booking Designator to maximise revenue.

“Authorities such as MAVCOM and Malaysia Competition Commission should closely monitor and ensure airlines do not form or behave like cartels to drive up fares, especially during peak seasons.”

He added: “High domestic fares have driven away many Malaysians to overseas destinations flying on cheaper airfares.”

Tourism and culture minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz commented that a cap on domestic airfares will also benefit international tourists as most international airlines fly only to Kuala Lumpur, and tourists may choose to take domestic flights to visit other parts of the country.
-TTG Asia.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Smart Tourism 4.0 To Be Tourism Game-Changer For Malaysia

photo: Adam Kamal facebook

KUALA LUMPUR, 5 APRIL 2018: Advances in digital technology are impacting how people travel, demanding tourism-related businesses to transform the way they operate. In light of this, Tourism Malaysia has launched the Malaysia Smart Tourism 4.0 initiative to take the industry to the next level utilizing opportunities in the digital age. 

YB Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, Minister of Tourism and Culture officiated the Malaysia Smart Tourism 4.0 initiative today at Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur witnessed by hundreds of tourism industry players.

He said, “This initiative is a key development and game-changer that will transform our tourism industry and take us to the next level.”

In a study conducted by Monitor Deloitte, Smart Tourism was identified as a key thrust to greatly increase Malaysia’s tourism-based receipts, especially from the growing and high-value segment of free and independent travelers. The study indicated that Smart Tourism has the potential to grow Malaysia’s tourism-based receipts from the current USD 25 billion to USD 110 billion by 2030, a 4.4 times increase.

Malaysia Smart Tourism 4.0 is an initiative that marks the first milestone in Malaysia’s 10-year tourism roadmap. The collaborative effort with Tencent Holdings, which is the 4th most valuable Internet company in the world, will provide a digital ecosystem for Malaysia to reach out to the 1.4 billion Chinese population utilizing precision marketing methods.

This allows both current and new tourism industry players to implement digital technologies to enhance tourism offerings and improve tourist experiences. It is anticipated that productivity will improve and job opportunities suited to Malaysia’s youth will increase.

YB Dato’ Seri Nazri added that it was a timely initiative since there is an anticipated 1.8 billion people travelling the world by the year 2030, a huge portion of which are the Chinese tourists.

The Chinese made 130.5 million trips overseas last year, a 7% jump over 2016, while total spending increased by 5% to an estimated USD 115.3 billion. They accounted for more than a fifth of the money spent by outbound tourists, which is twice as much as the next biggest spender, the Americans. Recent reports forecast that 200 million tourists from China will be making outbound trips by the year 2020.

With Smart Tourism 4.0, there is an opportunity to grow Malaysia’s share of the China market to a potential of 8 million tourist arrivals in the year 2020.

The Minister said, “The future of the industry rests upon platforms such as Malaysia Smart Tourism 4.0, where every part of traveler’s journey automatically connects through technology. The Malaysia travel industry must change now to keep pace with the digital age.”

“With full participation from the private sector in the Malaysia Smart Tourism 4.0 initiative, we could affect a tipping point towards the dramatic growth of China arrivals to Malaysia,” he said.


He added, “This means, higher income revenue for the national economy, the creation of more job opportunities, the creation of new businesses, a huge opportunity for improved infrastructure and tourism services development and overall economic development.“
-Tourism Malaysia.

Aswara upgraded to P. Ramlee University

The National Academy of Arts, Culture and Heritage (Aswara) will be upgraded
to Universiti P. Ramlee. File pic by OWEE AH CHUN

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Academy of Arts, Culture and Heritage (Aswara) will be upgraded to Universiti P. Ramlee as part of Barisan Nasional’s initiative to spur the country’s cultural and creative industry.

According to the BN manifesto, a nation’s achievements cannot be measured only from an economic perspective but also from the aspects of knowledge development, appreciation of the arts and culture, and its education.

Following Aswara’s re-branding, Universiti P. Ramlee will adopt an existing university model as its guide and adopt the terms in the University and University Colleges Act as a guide for it becoming a public university.

The proposal to upgrade Aswara to full university-level, under the Higher Education Ministry, was first voiced in 2015.



Its main campus, in Taman Ilmu, Tembila, Besut , Kuala Terengganu, was officiated on March 15 by Terengganu Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman.
-nst online.
http://www.aswara.edu.my/webportal/ms/ 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Malaysia Hall Canteen - home away from home

The atmosphere at the Malaysia Hall canteen on the first day of its reopening last Monday,
was nothing short of a reunion of old friends at a place everyone calls home away from home.
Pic by NSTP/ ZAHARAH OTHMAN

LONDON: The atmosphere at the Malaysia Hall canteen on the first day of its reopening last Monday, was nothing short of a reunion of old friends at a place everyone calls home away from home.

In spite of a chilly wet day, customers started arriving for the long awaited breakfast of nasi lemak as early as 8am and there was a steady flow of customers peaking at lunch time and continued till dinner and closing time.

The new operators of the canteen at No: 32 Queensborough Terrace, are familiar faces and are no stranger to the running of the canteen. Hairani Muhammad and husband Azhar Kamaruddin, of the popular Makan Café in Portobello, once ran Malaysia Hall canteen when Malaysia Hall was in Bryanston Square in the late 90’s.

According to someone who heard that the couple had won the tender the second time round, “It is Bryanston Square all over again” – the friendly warm atmosphere, delicious affordable food and a place to call home.

“I am very very happy to be back; it is like running the canteen 20 years ago. Only the venue has changed. I would love to bring back that atmosphere,” gushed Hairani or better known as Ani to all as she greeted familiar faces.

No one better to vouch that than Datuk Yunus Raiss, 84, a former magistrate who used to run Sels English College in Covent Garden.
During the temporary closure of the canteen for renovation, I met up with Yunus at Jave-U Café, for want of a convenient place for tea.
“I am lost without the canteen,” said Yunus, his face crestfallen. “It was like a little bit of Malaysia for me. I go there for the atmosphere, the Malaysian atmosphere. Not so much for the food,” he had said then.

Yunus must be one of the few remaining Malaysians who had enjoyed the hospitality of Malaysia Hall canteen since he was a student in 1954.
It was then located at Bryanston Square, near Oxford Street, a place that held a lot of wonderful memories for young Malaysian students back then.

Yunus was a young teacher sent for training at the Malayan Teachers’ Training College, Kirkby, Liverpool in 1954. He would come to London during the breaks and the Malaysia hall Canteen was the temporary home away from home. He went back to teach at STAR college and came back to do Law, practised as a magistrate and then opened up the College.

“At that time, you have to dress up for dinner, the cooks then were mostly West Indians and you have to be careful as sometimes, there were sausages!” he laughed.

Those were the days when you paid just under a pound for the dishes and fruits but could eat as rice as much as you like. Dato Lat's drawing of the canteen then, very much captured the mood.

“The Malaysia Hall canteen to me is a continuation of Malaysia. When they were going to close down the Hall some 15years ago, I met a Malaysian lady who was married to a local and had been here a long time. She said to me, if you close down Malaysia hall canteen, I will lose Malaysia, I will lose the emotional ties.”

Not being able to travel home, Yunus very much needed that emotional link to the country he loves and had not returned for many years.

“There was a lovely sitting room with velvet curtains and a piano and a library. Most students went there because it was warm,” he reminisced.

Regulars to the `Malaysia Hall canteen, be it when it was in Brianston Square or at the present place, are not unfamiliar to the gentleman always smartly attired in his suit, muffler, hat and an umbrella, walking down the few steps to the canteen.

“It is another world. You take away the canteen, there’s nothing left anymore, not only for students but for the Malaysian community,” he added.
As if to justify his regular presence there, Yunus had strengthened his ties to the canteen by giving free English lessons to Malaysian students.

“You know I teach here on Fridays. I always come here first to have tea, or just to sit down before going upstairs to teach. I feel very much at home here. I like the atmosphere. It is not a restaurant. It is not so much the food…it is the atmosphere. There are happy people, people you don’t know, they say hello to you. You smile and they smile back. This is very much like Malaysia to me…I have missed it very much,” he said sipping a glass or water as that is about all he could afford to drink giving his health conditions.

He is like the uncle figure. I remember those who came to Malaysia Hall after having had the misfortune to be victims of the famous London scams, and it was Yunus who offered not just advise but paid for their temporary accommodation.

On the first day the canteen reopened its doors, familiar faces of trooped down the steps to the basement, happy that it is opened again. Backpackers, travellers and holiday makers came down with their luggage and strollers happy in the knowledge that there’s home cooked food here.A group of former Tungku Kurshiah students led by Dato' Zuraidah Atan was also there to add to the merriment.

During the closure, I usually found groups of disappointed customers who arrived not knowing it was still closed.But they can be rest assured, the doors are now open.


Two nights ago at the Islamic Circle at the adjoining hall, I felt choked just looking at the unity, the togetherness that Malaysia Hall and the canteen offer.
-nst online.