Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Movie Animation Park Studios (MAPS) - Asia's 1st Animation Theme Park

Have you got your tickets to MAPS yet? Buy online via www.mapsperak.com today!

Kampung Dew Fireflies A Tourist Magnet

TAIPING, Feb 9 (Bernama) -- Located 100km from here, Kampung Dew is often the focus of local and foreign tourists keen to experience the nocturnal flickerings of thousands of lights from fireflies.

The fireflies, scientifically known as "Pteroptyx tener", simultaneously emit a green light via their abdomens three times a second.

Kampung Dew Firefly Eco-Tourism Association secretary Shukor Ishak said visitors who wanted to see the fireflies must take a boat from a jetty at the village and cruise on Sungai Sepetang for a 40-minute return trip.

"The best time to see the fireflies is from 7.30 pm until late midnight except when it rains," he told Bernama.

According to Shukor, the association, which has been operating since 2000, received 12,000 tourists last year both local and foreign including from Taiwan, China, Singapore, Saudi Arabia and Europe.

"The peak period is on weekends. At one time, 1,800 tourists came here within a month, to see the fireflies," he said.

According to Shukor, 10 boats, which could carry three to 10 people each at one time, were available at the jetty.

"In addition to the boat operators, tourist guides are also provided to brief the visitors on the fireflies. Domestic tourists have to fork out RM25 per head for the trip while others have to pay RM30," he added.


Monday, February 8, 2016

World Amateur Inter-Team Golf Championship 2016 - Tournament Fixture

Welcome to World Amateur Inter-Team Golf Championship 2016!!
Are you all ready to show our prowess. Come join us by registering your team!!!

Please visit the official website at http://www.waitgc.com/

-World Amateur Inter-Team Golf Championship - WAITGC facebook

Malaysia To Remain Destination Of Choice For Thai Tourists

BANGKOK, Feb 7 (Bernama) -- Malaysia is expected to continue to maintain its position as the destination of choice for Thai tourists compared with other ASEAN countries this year, said Tourism Malaysia.

Director of Tourism Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar, Sulaiman Suip, said in 2014, about 1.3 million Thais visited Malaysia with the income earned reaching RM2.7 billion.

"Although last year's Thai tourist arrival statistics have not been released, we are confident it will remain positive this year," he told Bernama in a recent interview, here.

According to Sulaiman, Malaysia was being marketed as a family holiday destination, among Thai tourists, as well as a shopping 'paradise' in the region. Luxury goods are cheaper in Malaysia compared with Thailand following the 30 percent tax imposed on luxury items in that country.

The Malaysian tourism destinations promoted and marketed include Genting Highlands, Cameron Highlands, Legoland theme park, Sunway Lagoon, and Lost World of Tambun and Movie Animation Park Studio (MAPS) in Ipoh, Perak.

Tourism Malaysia in Thailand is also promoting sports events such as the Formula 1 (F1) Grand Prix and motoGP racing.

"In view of Genting Highlands being extremely popular among Thai tourists, we are also promoting the latest attraction there, namely the 20th Century Fox World theme park at Resorts World Genting," Sulaiman said of the future movie-inspired theme park expected to open later this year or next year.

He said other ASEAN nations, meanwhile had begun to conduct aggressive marketing campaigns here to attract Thai tourists to their countries.

"Indonesia, the Philippines and Myanmar have decided to open wider their tourism market by deciding to go visa-free. We can see them employing aggressive marketing strategies in Thailand to attract tourists," he said.

Since Myanmar opened its doors to the outside world, the country had also begun to attract Thai tourists, he said, adding that this was providing an additional challenge to the Malaysian tourism authority in Bangkok.

Other than ASEAN countries, Japan, he added, was also conducting rigorous marketing campaigns in Bangkok to attract Thai tourists to the Land of the Rising Sun.

One million Thais are expected to visit Japan this year, up from 800,000 last year, with Tokyo providing a free 15-day visa to Thai tourists.


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Competing against the machine

Digital world: What can brick-and-mortar tour agencies offer the traveller
that online apps cannot? Specialised knowledge, perhaps? — 123rf.com

Regardless of how old you are or how long you’ve been in the industry, you must embrace technology. Everything is 24/7 in the digital age – even tourism. Those who can’t adapt will be in trouble, Prof Datuk Seri Dr Victor Wee predicts.
The former Tourism Ministry secretary-general and Tourism Promotion Board chairman, now a professor of hospitality and tourism at Taylor’s University Malaysia, is focused on research and innovation.
Travellers – especially those among the tech-savvy young generation – bypass agents. They’re confident and comfortable making plans online.
“My travel agent friend says it’s his children who plan the family holidays. They go on the Internet and figure it out themselves. Even seniors go online especially for budget airline tickets. Nowadays, you can shop at your desk,” the industry veteran points out.
Global media consumption is rapidly shifting towards the digital world and so it’s only apt that we follow suit and go where the future lies, Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said during the launch of Tourism Malaysia’s integrated Digital Marketing Programme in 2013.
Advising industry players to move forward and not “feel so threatened”, Wee says digital tourism is so much more than just having a website. It’s how you brand and market yourself, clinch a deal, and respond to clients.
Only specialists who can add value to the traveller will still have a role online.
“The digital platform has many advantages but it can’t do what humans can. Having soft skills like sound communication and good service is how you can compete against the machine.
“Inefficiency in responding will result in failure. Agents must use digital platforms the way travellers do. They must compare and do all the research for the client,” he says, sharing how travel agencies can “beat the Internet”:
> Offer a service that clients want.
Don’t just rely on sales commissions. Enhance their experience. Professional, experienced staff can give solutions and information that aren’t available online, like new hotels in the area, special deals, and upgrades and freebies.
> Be relevant.
Improve your knowledge and increase your agency’s professionalism.
> Conduct research.
Have your staff check out the places on the agency’s list so the company’s input becomes invaluable.
> Specialise.
Look for niche areas like corporate travel, honeymoons, destination weddings, adventure travel, eco-tourism, the mature market, incentive travel or travel for the disabled.
> Make every client feel valued.
The best agents don’t just make a sale – they establish long-term relationships. If you’re professional, clients will always return.
> Meet changing customers’ buying habits.
Constantly keep an eye on your markets and change with emerging trends.
> Use both online and traditional marketing tools.
A savvy mix of both can give your agency a boost.
> Have an active social media presence.
For some young people, if you’re not on social media, you don’t exist. Use social media platforms to build brand awareness, influence decision, drive sales, grow loyalty, and get real-time feedback.
> Pay attention to what others are doing.
Look at what sites like TripAdvisor are doing, as travellers rely on these for vacation planning.
> Link up with big global agencies.
Find out how to link up for mutual advantage with regional and international agencies.
These tips are all in line with “Digital Malaysia”, the nation’s programme to move towards a developed digital economy by 2020 through the promotion of ICT in all aspects of the economy.
The Government has actually paved the way already. Under Budget 2016, RM1.2bil was allocated to quadruple Internet speed to 20Mb/s in rural areas. E-visas for tourists from Canada, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the United States were also announced. With tourism marked as high as the fifth priority area, the Government is targeting 30.5 million arrivals.
Last year, Malaysia-based providers of integrated amusement park solutions and services in Asia, Galasys Plc, launched its Intelligent Tourism Cloud Marketing Platform (ITCMP) which lets tourists select attractions, restaurants, accommodation, transportation, shopping and entertainment from one integrated platform.
Payments are via an online travel agency or payment gateway. Yangzhou, China, was the first district that deployed ITCMP, attracting millions of tourists on free-and-easy trips. Plans to invest in and deploy the ITCMP in Malaysia and other cities in Asia are underway.
Many, especially those in the upper scale, have embraced the digital platform, observes Datuk Hamzah Rahmat, Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president.
To go global, small and medium size agencies must consolidate. They cannot continue to depend on group bookings from the public sector.
“The Government must train and expose these agencies to digital tourism. Travellers have gotten smarter because they’ve done lots of research. So, as agents, we must know even more before we can compare and offer alternatives to suit the tech-savvy traveller.”
Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association deputy president Uzaidi Udanis shares how the association is working with the Malaysia Tourism Council to help agencies leap onto the digital platform.
Initiatives include organising virtual seminars and Q&A sessions, integrating ticket sales for everything from ferry and bus services to tourist attraction passes online so travellers won’t have to queue.
“Clients want immediate confirmation for their hotel bookings so agencies must ‘hold stock’ – it’s a big capital investment. We want to assist the small agencies by exposing them to the ‘blue ocean strategy’.
“Volume talks. We can also negotiate better rates and rooms for the smaller agencies but they must band together,” he suggests.
Wee also says, don’t just rely on MATTA to organise training and seminars. Be proactive. The agents themselves must have the initiative to step up, he feels. Some aren’t ready because it involves serious money. Players must go digital even if they can’t do it on a large scale. It’s a question of survival, Wee warns.
Kate Ang, 20, planned her family’s visit to Taiwan in December with help from Google. Travel agents are slow and rigid, she says, preferring to take charge herself.
Search engines provide everything a traveller would need, she enthuses, from where to go and what to eat to detailed maps on how to get there. She zeroed in on the hotels online, called them to get details like public transportation routes and nearby attractions, before finalising the bookings.
“All you need in Taiwan is a smartphone because the apps are so convenient. It’s very easy to get around. Even the locals use apps to explore their country. With a travel agent, we’d have to follow a rushed schedule. It’s easier and more fun to do things at our own pace.”
According to travel search engine Skyscanner, 2014 saw 60% of Malaysian travellers make flight searches on their mobiles. Desktop and tablet searches were at 30% and 10% respectively.
Lawyer S.P. Moo, 38, sees herself as a part-time agent – a second career of sorts AirAsia helped kickstart. She spends less than three months to plan a trip and enjoys trawling the Net for reviews.
“AirAsia was a starting point for me. I book cheap flights then hunt for the best accommodation deals and ground tours. It’s more flexible than signing up for a tour that mainly offers packages. I want to save money and be in control.”
She doesn’t want to be fitted into a schedule, sharing how her friends who joined a tour to Rome were served Chinese food and only had a “stop-snap” moment at the Colosseum. “I don’t want to follow some guy waving a flag on tour. I want to eat what I want, not some fixed menu.”
Agents only take you to the must-see spots, Moo laments. And travellers can’t tell agents what they want because they don’t know what’s there until it’s too late.
“If you don’t know about the special attractions you can’t ask for it to be included in your itinerary.
Agents don’t tell you about them because there’s not enough time in a typical tour and it would cost more.
“When I was in Rome, I walked inside the Colosseum at night and visited the Vatican Scavi beneath St Peter’s Basilica – these experiences are not included in the traditional tours. I only knew about them from the Internet.”
Having planned everything for her friends and family to local and foreign destinations like Australia, China, Europe, Laos and Thailand, Moo feels she does a better job than travel professionals.
However, she does think travel agents still have their supporters.
“It’s convenient for the elderly to follow the (tour guide) flag. Tour packages will always be popular especially with senior citizens,” she offers.
Thirtysomething manager Kelly Lee says she doesn’t have time to plan her own trips. She relies on travel agents but “only internationally established ones”. While she does some research online, it’s just to familiarise herself with the destination.
“I pay more compared with my friends who plan their own trips but I don’t have time to be monitoring flight ticket prices and making ground tour bookings myself. My work deadlines are already so stressful, I don’t want to worry about my vacation too!”
The main benefit of signing up with a tour is that an agency will settle details like accommodation and transportation, she says.
“The tour itinerary is just a framework for me. If there are places I don’t want to visit – like the obligatory factory outlets, I’ll just do something else when I’m there,” she says, adding that she thinks travellers opt for “DIY trips” to avoid “template tours”.
MATTA’s Hamzah also points out that a travel agency can better deal with the unpredictably of travelling, citing the terror attacks in Paris and lockdown of Brussels in November last year as examples.
“Imagine being stuck there. If you had an agent, you’ll have someone to help. Otherwise, you’re on your own,” he says, adding that on average, it only costs 10% more to book a holiday through an agent.
Advising travellers to “watch out for the fine print” if they’re planning their own vacations, Uzaidi of the Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association cautions that the terms and conditions of online offers may leave you with no recourse if something happens.
“What happens if there’s a cancellation? With an agent, you can customise your tours either face to face or on the phone, particularly if you have a request or would like to organise a special activity.”

-thestar online.

AUTOFEST Kuala Lumpur 2016 ( 13 - 15 May 2016 )

-AUTOFEST Kuala Lumpur 2016 facebook.

Hari Kraf Kebangsaan 2016! ( 24 Februari - 6 Mac 2016 )

Tarikh: 24 Februari - 6 Mac 2016

Masa: 10 Pagi - 10 Malam

Tempat: Kompleks Kraf Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Conlay

Terdapat pelbagai aktiviti menarik speerti Jualan Kraf, Pameran & Jualan Produk Kraf Rekaan Baru, Pameran Produk Kraf Warisan: Natif Ke Kreatif, Padanan Perniagaan (Business Matching) dan Demonstrasi Kraf.

Selain itu, terdapat juga pelbagai aktiviti bagi galakan pengunjung iaitu Demonstrasi Masakan dan Kuih Tradisional, Persembahan Kesenian, Bicara Kreatif dan Bengkel Kreatif, Peragaan fesyen (Biz to Biz) dan Pertandingan Selfie. Juga turut diadakan Lawatan Berpandu ke Kompleks Kraf Kuala Lumpur dan Kompleks Kraf Langkawi.

Semua dijemput hadir bagi memeriahkan lagi Hari Kraf Kebangsaan 2016!


-MOTAC facebook.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Chia And Fung Ready To Raise Local Cheers At Maybank Championship Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, February 5: Local standouts Danny Chia and Nicholas Fung hope to produce more cheers for the crowds when they challenge for the inaugural Maybank Championship Malaysia title which starts in a fortnight.   

The Malaysian duo were the star performers for Team Asia at the recent EurAsia Cup last month and they intend to repeat their heroics at the Maybank event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour at Royal Selangor Golf Club from February 18 to 21

Chia and Fung will be among elite company at the Maybank Championship Malaysia which headliners include Thai stars Thongchai Jaidee and Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Englishmen Danny Willett and Matthew Fitzpatrick, who were part of the triumphant Team Europe at the EurAsia Cup.  

EurAsia Cup captains Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland and Jeev Milkha Singh of India, and Younghan Song of Korea, who beat world number one Jordan Spieth at the Singapore Open on Monday, will also feature in the lucrative US$3 million event. 

Chia ended a 13-year-old title drought on the Asian Tour last year which helped him finish eighth on the Order of Merit, earning him a spot in the EurAsia Cup where he and Fung produced battling half points in the Foursomes and Fourball matches.  

After representing Team Asia, Chia is now focussed on flying the Malaysian flag high at the Maybank Championship Malaysia.  

“I’m very excited because it is a new event for Maybank and I’m really looking forward to playing at Royal Selangor. I’ve not played many times in a competition at Royal Selangor but I always trained there during my amateur days. I’ve always like that golf course,” said Chia. 

“I played at Royal Selangor last month and the course is in good shape. It is a very interesting course. I always want to do well in tournaments in Malaysia. It is always nice when you have local fans cheering you just like when we played at the EurAsia Cup,” he added. 

After finishing second on two occasions on the Asian Tour, Fung is eager to cross the finish line in style and follow in the footsteps of his mentor Chia. 

“Most Malaysian golfers hope to enjoy the success Danny has on the Asian Tour. We always look forward to playing on home soil and doing well. It is my dream to win in Malaysia but it won’t be easy. The experience at the EurAsia Cup will certainly boost my career,” said Fung. 

“Playing in the team event and alongside Danny has taught me to stay patient and move on to the next hole if things go your way. It will be an interesting challenge at the Maybank Championship Malaysia and I look forward to a good result for the fans,” added the bespectacled Sabahan.  

Asia’s first Nickelodeon-themed park expected to boost Sunway Lagoon’s appeal

Sunway Group founder and chairman Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah interacting with the characters from Nickelodeon’s hit cartoon series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

The first Nickelodeon-themed attraction in Asia, the Nickelodeon Lost Lagoon, is now open to the public in Sunway Lagoon, Malaysia.
Nickelodeon’s iconic characters such as SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are featured in the attraction.
Iconic Nickelodeon characters SpongeBob SquarePants and his starfish friend, Patrick, welcoming guests during the launch of Nickelodeon Lost Lagoon in Sunway Lagoon.
Iconic Nickelodeon characters SpongeBob SquarePants and his starfish friend, Patrick, welcoming guests during the launch of Nickelodeon Lost Lagoon in Sunway Lagoon.
At an investment of more than RM100mil, the park has been built on 4ha of land with 14 astonishing rides to give visitors an exhilarating experience.
One of the Nickelodeon-themed rides is the ‘Spongebob Splash Adventure’ comprising a monumental stone structure perched in a reflecting pool, a sprawling complex of aqueducts, cascade water slides, and a massive SpongeBob colossus.
The launch was attended by Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.
Guests enjoying Nickelodeon’s signature green slime in Nickelodeon Lost Lagoon, Sunway Lagoon.
Guests enjoying Nickelodeon’s signature green slime in Nickelodeon Lost Lagoon, Sunway Lagoon.
This attraction is a fantastic addition to Sunway Lagoon and one that will greatly boost the appeal of Selangor as a tourist destination,” Azmin said in his speech.
The attraction is the result of a joint initiative between Sunway Group and Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN).
VIMN is made up of many of the world’s most popular multimedia entertainment brands including Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and Paramount Channel.
Sunway Group deputy chairman Datuk Razman M. Hashim said, “We are pleased to work with VIMN to bring the first Nickelodeon-themed attraction to Malaysia.”
Sunway Lagoon’s signature volcano attraction erupted to celebrate the launch of Nickelodeon Lost Lagoon.
Sunway Lagoon’s signature volcano attraction erupted to celebrate the launch of Nickelodeon Lost Lagoon.
“Sunway Lagoon has provided a home for VIMN in the past years including as the venue for the annual MTV World Stage event,” VIMN Asia executive vice-president and managing director Mark Whitehead said.
“Their expertise has made them an ideal partner and we are delighted to make it Nickelodeon’s Asia debut as we further expand the Nicklodeon brand in the region.
“The attraction will enable children and families in Malaysia and around South-East Asia to connect with our brand and its iconic characters in a unique way,” he added.

-thestar online.

DRIVE M7 SIC Racing Team Back On Track For Preseason Testing At Valencia

Valencia, Spain – Friday 5th February 2016
Circuit: Comunitat Valenciana - Ricardo Tormo
Circuit Length: 4.0 km
DRIVE M7 SIC Racing Team head to Spain this weekend in preparation for their first preseason test of 2016, with riders Jakub Kornfeil and newcomer, Adam Norrodin.
The team will get their Moto3 campaign underway with two days on track at the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo, commencing on Thursday 11th February, before heading straight to Jerez for a further two days of testing.
Making his debut into the Moto3 World Championship, 17-year-old Malay rider Adam Norrodin will be using his time at the Spanish circuits to get a feel for the Factory Honda NSF250RWF, whilst his more experienced teammate Jakub Kornfeil will test a number of parts on the #84 machine. Following a successful end to the 2015 season which saw Kornfeil claim his second podium of the year, the Czech rider is feeling more confident than ever. Raring to get back on track and dialled in to his new bike, the 22-year-old will be looking to get his season off to a strong start.
Johan Stigefelt – Team Manager
“We already have one season under our belt in Moto3, so we are feeling confident and prepared for the year ahead. Behind the scenes we have continued to work hard over the winter and now we’re raring to get back on track. We’re really looking forward to this first test in Valencia and starting the new season, especially now we will be on Honda machinery. Of course the switch means a lot more work in the beginning but I believe both the riders and team will benefit from the change. We have a lot to focus on during these first tests but we are focussed and prepared for the challenge ahead.
Directly after our two day test at Valencia we will go straight to Jerez. There is a lot of work to be done before the first race but I’m confident that by the time we get to Qatar we will be in a strong position.
The team and the riders are feeling confident about the year ahead, especially Jakub who has a lot of experience in the Moto3 field now; he is ready to take the next step. He showed his ability and strength to fight for the podium on a number of occasions last year and his performance continued to improve throughout the 2015 season; I believe he can be even stronger this year.
For Adam, he is new to the Moto3 class and is very young, only seventeen; it will be a tough year for him but he is coming into the World Championship with a great team who will support him; we have the experience that he needs and a great bike with the Honda. It will be a tough learning year for him but we will work together to do the best for him and help him to develop his confidence and make progress. He has a good crew behind him and we’re confident that he can do well with us.
It’s a shame that we’re unable to test at Sepang this year, but they are resurfacing the track so it can’t be helped. We just have to hope for the best weather possible in Spain.”
#84 Jakub Kornfeil 
“I’m really looking forward to going to Valencia for the first test. Finishing on the podium there last year was a fantastic way to finish the season, so I’m excited to go back. It’s not an easy track for me but it’s a very good track for setting up the bike properly. I literally can’t wait any more to test my new Honda machine, I’m really excited. It will be great to get back on a race bike after so long. We just have to hope Spain has some good weather for us so that we can really make the most of our time there.
During the off season I have done many different things to physically prepare for 2016. Here in the Czech Republic we’ve had quite a cold winter with temperatures in the minus numbers, so it’s not been possible to do as much training on a bike, so as well as cycling when I could, I also widened my preparation with other sports and exercises. I have spent a lot of time in the gym doing cardio training for fitness and stamina, like running and swimming, as well as working on my core strength to improve balance and stability, including stretching, jumps, and yoga. I have included a lot of sports into my training program over the last few months and I really think that this will help me a lot this year.
I’m feeling very positive about riding the Honda. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the NSF250RWF which makes me even more excited. We have plenty of time at the test in Valencia to set up the bike but I don’t think it will take so long to get a good feeling with it; let’s see.
My crew and I have already made plans for the test at Valencia but I don’t want to say too much just yet. This is only the first pre-season test, so the most important thing is to get the bike in the right position and test as many parts as possible. For sure at this first test we will not be focusing on breaking the lap record. I want to see first how fast I can be on the Honda naturally. On the KTM I had to push a lot from the start to get the fast times, so I am hoping that it will be a little easier on the Honda and I will feel better even with just a basic setup. Once we have this, then we will really try to make me fast!”
#7 Adam Norrodin
“I’m very excited for my first test in Valencia. This will also be my first time riding the NSF250RWF Factory Honda Moto3 bike, so I’m really looking forward to that!
Over the winter I spent some time with my new Crew Chief Thibaut Gravier and some of the team in Malaysia, which was really nice. My teammate Jakub also came out, which was great, as we were able to do some training together. We did a lot of fitness work, as well as race simulations on the Supermoto track. The weather in Malaysia is perfect for training in the off season.
This winter I concentrated on improving my strength and fitness. I did a lot of work with my trainer and also Fahmi, who has been a great help to me. The training we have done over the past few months has really helped to improve both my riding and body performance.
The Honda is a great bike; for sure the factory bike will be different to the Honda’s I have rode in the past but from the experience I’ve had, I think it will be the best bike for me to ride in Moto3.

For the first test in Valencia I will just be focussing on my riding and trying to find a good setting in preparation for Qatar. As this is my first year in the Moto3 World Championship we won’t be trying so many different things with the bike; it is more important for me to concentrate on my riding than set-up.”

-SIC Racing Team facebook.
PelanconganKini supports DRIVE M7 SIC Racing Team.
Note: DRIVE M7 merchandises are available at http://www.m7shop.com/home.aspx
M7 Energy Drink (European Version) also now available.