Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Langkawi Lagenda Park Re-opens Tomorrow

LANGKAWI, March 31 (Bernama) -- The Langkawi Lagenda Park which was closed in 2008 for upgrading work, will be reopened to the public Thursday. Langkawi Development Authority (Lada) public relations officer Ramizi Hasan said the RM5 million upgrading included the installation of street lamps, paving of walkways and construction of ponds. Admission to the park is free. He said the park had over 16ha of land which was reclaimed at a cost of RM38 million and was opened by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 1995.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur Targets MENA Region

Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia continues to regard itself as one of the top accommodation spots for Middle East travellers to the city. General manager, Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur, Melvin Lim highlighted a range of factors which enable the property to cater to even the most demanding Middle East travellers. “We are strategically located in between the Pavilion shopping mall (a joint venture with the Qatar Investment Authority) which is 50m to our left, and which has six Arabic restaurants on the right within 100m,” he explained to TTG.

“Naturally the Pavilion has become a primary attraction for the Arab market with shopping and entertainment offerings, and the growth of Arabic restaurant alongside our hotel has led to Bukit Bintang as ‘Arab Street’ by the Middle East market. “We also provide Arabic dishes on our buffet in the Mill and offer a selection of Arabic dishes in our room service menu.” Lim added that the Middle East market has become one of Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur’s primary geographic sources of business. “It [the Middle East] is developing into a year-round market as to the usual June to August summer market.”

Meanwhile, the 468-room property has announced to TTG its plans to renovate its executive floor accommodation and suites, in a bid to boost business in 2010 and beyond. The announcement follows extensive renovations that were carried out on all the hotel’s public areas, meeting facilities and deluxe rooms in 2008. “The renovations will support us in our bid to develop room yield, and provide even higher services as we look to develop business from the discerning Middle East market, especially in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Iran.”
- TTG mena

Monday, 29 March 2010

KL Gets New Boutique Hotel Kuala Lumpur

THE G CITY Club, the latest boutique business hotel in the Malaysian capital, is training its sights on the business executives and the corporate market. Opened yesterday, the 180-room hotel is located within the country's first internationally green-rated building, GTower.

In keeping with this, the property relies on waste energy from the air-conditioning system to heat up the swimming pool and generate hot water for the rooms, and uses low volatile organic compound paints to reduce toxicity and improve indoor environment quality. G City Club has four function rooms, two private lounges and three soundproof boardrooms. Each of its guest rooms is equipped with high-speed Broadband on demand, IP telephony systems and IP television.
- TTG Asia

Malaysia International Shoe Exhibition

Date: 2~4 April 2010
Time: 10.30 am ~ 8.30 pm
Venue: Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC), Kuala Lumpur
- Professor Dato' Dr. Jimmy Choo OBE ~ Million Dollar Shoes Showcase
- Showcasing over hundred local & international brands
- Shoe History Gallery
- Shoemaking Process Gallery
- Young Designers Creative Corner
- Shoe Fashion Show
- Meet Professor Dato' Dr. Jimmy Choo OBE ~ a close encounter at authorgraph session
- "Click" Photo Competition
- Creative Shoe Painting Competition and Activities
- 988 Big Foot Search Competition

"Barrack Stay" In PD Army Camp To Attract Tourists

SEREMBAN, 29 Mac (Bernama) -- "Barrack Stay" or army style stay at the former Port Dickson army camp has become the latest attraction to draw tourists to the 'Army Town' of Port Dickson. Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said staying at the army camp was among three elements promoted by the army town of Port Dickson to attract a niche market of tourists, including those from overseas. "We have not reached a stage to allow tourists to go through a army style shooting experience like that practiced in some countries but we have started the first step towards introducing an army style stay," he told reporters after a development committee meeting with Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan Monday.

The concept of renting guns and armoured cars for the public, introduced by countries like Vietnam and Ukraine, would be in cooperated in the "Barrack Stay" package soon. He added that the Armed Forces museum in Port Dickson would be restored while a "boulevard" extended from the camp to the beach front. We want to see the army town in Port Dickson to become as popular as the West Point Academy in the United States, he said.

Health Tourism Growth To Attract More Foreigners Seeking Treatment In Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 (Bernama) -- The rising cost of medical care in developed countries and the popularity of health tourism, especially in Malaysia, will be among the focus areas of the Healthcare Tourism Congress 2010 here on April 12-13. It will be officiated by Health Minister Dato' Sri Liow Tiong Lai. The global competition in the healthcare industry is providing increasing opportunities for patients to travel abroad to seek treatment. Foreigners visiting Malaysia for medical treatment has increased tremendously since 2003, reaching 341,288 patients in 2007. The revenue generated from medical tourism was about RM222.25 million for the first nine months of 2008 from more than 282,000 foreigners. This was an increase of 16 per cent compared to 2007, according to statistics from Frost & Sullivan. The two-day event with the theme, Malaysia: World Top Notch Care Provider, at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) is in line with the call by Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to tap into the health and medical tourism industry.

The Congress will feature prominent speakers from the industry, including Josef Woodman, author of the book Patients Beyond Borders, and President of Healthy Travel Media Company. Woodman has toured more than 140 medical facilities in 22 countries and estimates that 240,000 Americans traveled for medical procedures in 2009, and the numbers are growing, with many heading to Malaysia. For those who are comfortable with the idea of medical tourism, the savings are attractive. "The average cost of an angioplasty costing about US$6,000 in Malaysia will cost US$11,000 in Singapore and US$57,000 in the United States. For the 47 million uninsured people in the United States, these prices matter," he said in a statement. Woodman and his team have also been researching contemporary medical tourism in the countries toured.A noted consumer advocate for the globalisation of healthcare, Woodman has lectured at the Harvard Medical School and the University of California-Los Angeles' School of Public Health. He has also hosted more than a dozen seminars and workshops around the world on the topics of medical tourism and health travel.

The conference topics meanwhile, include Healthcare Tourism Marketing, Healthcare Tourism Management, Traditional and Complementary Medicine and Wellness as well as Strategic Partnership. Held together with an exhibition that is open to the public, the Congress is expected to attract medical experts, healthcare developers, pharmaceutical companies, insurance industry, travel agencies, government agencies, medical tourism facilitators as well as healthcare/medical associations. Healthcare packages will also be offered to visitors who sign up for promotional offers.

Other key speakers are, Suresh Ponnudurai (Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia Healthcare), Amir Firdaus Abd (Chief Executive Officer, Gleneagles Hospital in Kuala Lumpur), Stuart D Rowley (Chief Executive Officer & Board Director, Prince Court Medical Centre), Raymond Chong Chin Wah (Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of Samitivej Group of Hospitals in Thailand), Dr Milton Lum Siew Wah (Director of Medical Defence Malaysia Berhad), Dr Ramli Abd Ghani (Director, Traditional & Complementary Medicine Division, Ministry of Health Malaysia), Catherine-Brillantes Turvill (Founder & President of the Spa Association of Philippines). The Congress is being organised by the Knowledge Group of Companies.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Sarawak Targets 6 Million Tourists In 2010

KUCHING March 28 (Bernama) -- Sarawak has targeted six million tourists in 2010 with 60 percent being domestic tourists, Sarawak Tourism Malaysia director Ahmad Johanif Mohd Ali said. He said Tourism Malaysia was focusing on selling domestic tourism at travel markets in peninsula Malaysia by attracting retirees and young executives. "We want Malaysians from the peninsula to visit Sarawak during off-peak period as many like to come here during school holidays or peak period," he told Bernama at a 'Cuti-Cuti 1Malaysia' programme here Sunday.

Johanif said Tourism Malaysia would also send representatives overseas to promote Sarawak aimed at attracting more foreign tourists. Tourism Malaysia will also hold a Gawai open house at three longhouses in Kuching including in Benuk and Anna Rais to woo tourists. "Gawai Day is unique to Sarawak. We have to use this as our strength in attracting tourists. It is targeted at tourists from peninsula Malaysia and Singapore," he said.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Kuala lumpur City Report

TTG mena

Kuala Lumpur City Report

Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur is no ‘muddy estuary’ as its translation from Malay suggests, but is instead fast becoming the nerve centre of Malaysia following only 150 years of growth. Alexandra North reports

What was once a tin mining destination has developed into a sprawling, vibrant metropolis, synonymous with value-for-money. Kuala Lumpur – affectionately known as KL – really is a landscape of contrasts: fine dining restaurants sit next to hawker stalls; imposing skyscrapers stand erect next to quaint traditional rows of houses; designer shops are interwoven with the city’s famous night stalls providing a shopper’s paradise; and crucially, luxury hotels don’t always mean luxury prices.


Though its history is relatively short, it has nonetheless been colourful with a mix of cross-cultural influences and traditions – a fact that is well portrayed in the rainbow of different cuisines that has arched across the F&B market in the city.


Recipe for success

Providing testament to the attractiveness of KL as a leading tourism city of the world, general manager, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC), Peter Brokenshire told TTG of the various areas in which KL is successful. “Safety, security and stability: Malaysia’s status as an Islamic country has increased her attractiveness as a destination for Middle East visitors. Malaysia’s stability – political, social and economic – provides a peaceful and conducive environment for business and leisure.


“Excellent air linkages: KL is well equipped with first-class infrastructure such as the expressway linkages, Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and the Putrajaya administrative city, with high-speed road and rail links. KLIA is home to 47 airlines while national carrier, Malaysia Airlines flies 100 destinations globally, covering all six continents. Emirates Airline, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways offer direct flights from Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi respectively, while AirAsia flies direct to Abu Dhabi,” he continued.


A strategic location, a plethora of hotel options and places of interest are also key to KL’s success, according to Brokenshire. “There are more than 1,500 hotel rooms on-site [at KLCC], Traders Hotel, Impiana Hotel & Spa and Mandarin Oriental Hotel Kuala Lumpur, and a further 12,000 rooms in four- and five-star properties within 10 minutes of the Centre,” he confirmed.


Arabic appeal

Appealing directly to the Middle East and North African traveller, KL offers a range of specific services and facilities, in addition to a wealth of F&B outlets providing Arabic cuisine and halal dishes. “These facilities include welcome announcements and written messages in Arabic at KLIA, Arabic-speaking staff to assist Middle Eastern and North African visitors at KLIA, special immigration lanes for Middle Eastern and North African tourists with families, hotel rooms with Arabic movies and cable TV, and street signs in Arabic,” he told TTG.


And to add further cultural value to an Arabic traveller’s experience, KL also boasts one of the largest museums of Islamic art in Southeast Asia, the Islamic Arts Museum, which houses more than 7,000 artifacts, Islamic books and has one of the world’s largest scale models of Mecca’s Masjid al-Haram.


And the award goes to…

It is this commitment to providing a little something for everyone that gives KL its distinctiveness.

As a result of this variety, vibrancy, and full throttle approach to the future, KL has been able to scoop a number of key awards in the tourism industry. Evidence of this is never clearer than at the recent 16th World Travel Awards which voted Pan Pacific Kuala Lumpur International Airport Hotel as the World’s Leading Airport Hotel for the second year running. In addition, Hilton Kuala Lumpur picked up two titles, namely Asia’s Leading City Hotel and Asia’s Leading Design Hotel.


The Club at The Saujana’s new luxury spa has also won acclaim. “KL and Klang Valley remains Malaysia’s top destination for high-end travellers, and The Saujana’s new luxury spa can only add to its appeal,” remarked Minister of Tourism, Malaysia, Dato’ Seri, Dr. Ng Yen Yen. “We are Malaysians; we are about warmth and gentleness and care, and as such we are able to deliver a unique service experience that is talked about and well remembered.”


Set in a tropical rainforest landscape, The Spa and Med Beauty at Saujana features six single spa villas, two double spa villas, two beauty studios, a spa boutique and four Med Beauty treatment rooms. With a spacious relaxation lounge overlooking a reflection pool, the spa aims to offer the ultimate environment for relaxation and rejuvenation without the need to go further than half an hour’s drive from the city. 
Attached to The Saujana and The Club at The Saujana hotels, The Spa and Med Beauty is dedicated to the restoration of strength, beauty and balance of mind, body and spirit. The final ingredients to its success are the therapists. Trained by spa director, GHM, Brenda Ramen, therapists undergo meticulous training to ensure treatments are provided to the satisfaction of customers.


MICE hotspot

However, it is not only the hotel industry that is being applauded for its efforts. Malaysia is fast becoming recognised internationally as a hotspot for MICE business, and further bolstering this position is KLCC, aka the Centre, which recently announced that it clinched a total of 28 conventions in 2009 – adding more events to its growing business tourism portfolio which ranges from the medical, science and technology sectors to Islamic finance. The 28 conventions are expected to bring in more than 16,000 delegates to KL from now until 2014.


Brokenshire commented: “It is indeed heartening to note that, despite the global economic scenario and increasing competition, international and regional meeting planners continue to consider and choose Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur as the destination for their important events.”


He went on to attribute this to the ongoing joint efforts of Team Malaysia, comprising Tourism Malaysia, Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau, Malaysia Airlines, Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad, Kuala Lumpur City Hall and the Centre, for promoting Malaysia and KL as a value-for-money destination for business tourism, complemented by excellent infrastructure, a wide range of pre- and post-tour options and professional world-class services.


Centre of excellence

KLCC has also made Malaysia proud with prestigious accolades such as the CEI Industry Awards 2009’s ‘Asia’s Best Convention and Exhibition Centre’ and ‘Asia’s Best MICE Sales Team’ (joint third) and winning gold for ‘Best Marketing Campaign’ and silver for ‘Best Use of Budget’ at the Meetings Industry Marketing Awards 2009 held in London.


On the home front, KLCC was the only recipient from the hospitality industry to be presented the ‘Prominent Company’ award 2009 at the inaugural Malaysia Independence Award 1957 for its contribution towards building the country’s reputation as a preferred destination for meetings and exhibitions.


Being a purpose-built facility, the Centre comprises two auditoria, a plenary hall and plenary theatre seating 3,000 and 500 respectively, a grand ballroom, three conference halls, a banquet hall, five exhibition halls providing 9,710m2 of column-free exhibition space on a single level, 20 meeting rooms plus the latest in 3G telecommunications and digital audiovisual facilities.


Aside from the physical aspects that help to make the Centre a winner is a dedicated team, according to Brokenshire. “Above all, the Centre is supported by a passionate and loyal team who continuously work to enhance the clients’ experience and in turn, contribute to the growth of the meetings and exhibitions industry in Malaysia. As always, it is the human factor and attention to detail that will keep clients coming back. After all, as we say at the Centre, a client’s success is our success.”

Friday, 26 March 2010

Cuti-cuti 1Malaysia Travel Fair

Date: 27 ~ 28 March 2010
Time: 10.00 am ~ 10.00 pm
Venue: Johor Bahru City Square, Johor
- Tour packages from RM 69.00
- Colouring contest
- Culture performances from Johor, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka
- Lucky draw
- Tourism Quizzes

Petronas Pit Pulse

PETRONAS PIT PULSE 27 Mar - 4 April 2010
In conjunction with the coming 2010 Formula One PETRONAS Malaysian Grand Prix, PETRONAS is lining up a series of activities to hype up the promo. Centred at Jalan Binjai in KLCC, the PETRONAS Pit Pulse will host a bunch of activities including promotion, merchandising booths and exhibits, go-kart and F1 simulator challenge as well as live performances by Malaysia's top artistes, including Aizat, Bunkface, Stacy, Estranged and more!!

Open daily from 10am to 10pm, entrance is FREE!
Daily Opening Times: 10a.m - 10p.m
Location: Jalan Binjai Parking lot, KLCC, Kuala Lumpur
Admission: FREE
Summary of Daily activities
Promotions/merchandising booths, PETRONAS Go-Kart Challenge, F1 Simulator Challenge
LIVE performances by Malaysia's top artistes (at the PETRONAS Pit Pulse Open Stage)

Main Highlights:
Open stage interview with Ross Brawn, Michael Schumacher, Nico Rosberg & Nick Heidfeld 30 March 2010 from 4.30p.m
PETRONAS FORMULA ONE STREET DEMO 31 March 2010 from 5.00p.m

Artiste Performance Schedule
Saturday / 27 March ~ Gerhana Skacinta
Sunday / 28 March ~ Stacy, Gerhana Skacinta
Monday / 29 March ~ Aizat, Love Me Butch
Tuesday / 30 March ~ Dina, Bunkface
Wednesday / 31 March ~ Stacy, Aseana Percussion Unit
Thursday / 1 April ~ Najwa, Meet Uncle Hussain
Friday / 2 April ~ One Nation Emcees, Hujan, Najwa, One Buck Short, Aseana Percussion Unit
Saturday / 3 April ~ Jaclyn Victor, Estranged
Sunday / 4 April ~ Dina, Dayang Norfaizah, Love Me Butch, One Buck Short, Aseana Percussion Unit

Tourism Ministry Aims To Up Domestic Tourism Revenue

JOHOR BARU: The Tourism Ministry aims to generate more than RM40.6bil worth of revenue from domestic tourism traffic this year through efforts such as the 1Malaysia Travel Fair and travel mart, says director-general Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab. He said that about RM40bil was generated through domestic tourism in 2008 while, last year, the sector only generated about RM24.8bil. "Last year there was a significant dip in domestic tourism revenue due to the economic downturn and the people's wait-and-see approach. "We aim to bounce back this year through multiple programmes as well as creating more tourism products," he told newsmen after launching the Travel Mart programme here Friday. Mirza said that the ministry was confident the target revenue could be achieved through cooperation from various parties, especially the tour guides and tour operators. "Malaysians who wish to travel locally should acquire the services of tour operators or agents. "Such operators can get better rates at hotels or resorts as well as provide proper tours," he said. He added that boosting the domestic tourism could also deter locals from going abroad for vacations. "We are indirectly controlling the outbound tourism and thus generating more income for the country," he said.

Mirza also urged tour agents to be more innovative in attracting tourists online as there was a growing feeling that online bookings provided by airlines as well as hotels could diminish their roles. "People are bookings their hotels or airline tickets directly online without going through such agents. "Thus, tour agents must be more creative in attracting tourists to use their services through ways such as offering interesting rates and coming up with more tourism products," he said. Mirza cited an example where a tourist agent could organise a barbeque in a jungle near a resort compared to the mundane method holding it near a hotel's poolside.

On the travel mart, Mirza hoped that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) could benefit from such efforts as it was in line with ministry's goal of boosting the domestic tourism market.
"Part of the travel mart is producing the 'Cuti-Cuti 1Malaysia' tourist package brochures as well as other domestic products. "We want the SMEs to take advantage of such wonderful opportunity by generating their own products such as handicrafts and foodstuff," he said.
-The Star

Report On Selected Tourism Activities - Malaysia 2008

The Report on the Selected Tourism Activities - Malaysia 2008 is now available from Department of Statistics, Malaysia at RM 25.00 per book.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Changi Airport Singapore Named World's Best Airport 2010 In SKYTRAX World Airport Awards

LONDON - 23rd March 2010 The Skytrax World Airport Awards were announced this evening at the first ever live ceremony in Brussels, Belgium, as part of the Passenger Terminal Expo. Attended by top management from airports around the world, 30 different awards were presented by the Chairman of Skytrax, Mr Edward Plaisted. The top title as World's Best Airport went to Singapore Changi Airport, named Airport of the Year 2010, also taking the titles for Best Airport Leisure Amenities and Best Airport Asia. Commenting on their success, Changi Airport Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Lee Seow Hiang, CEO of Changi Airport group said “Changi’s success would not be possible without the affirmation, encouragement and feedback that we have received from our stakeholders, including the millions of passengers and visitors we serve every year. This has motivated us to continue to improve and innovate. We are honoured to receive the Skytrax World's Best Airport award and thank everyone for their vote of confidence. In an ever-competitive operating landscape, this is also a testament to the hard work and tireless efforts of all airport staff and partners in the Changi community to deliver the Changi Experience. I want to thank them too for their contributions.” "This was yet again an extremely competitive survey, and with over 9.8 million completed survey interviews, it was a very close finish with Singapore Changi edging ahead from Incheon International Airport, to take the 2010 title as World's Best Airport" said Edward Plaisted.

Across the different results announced, Munich Airport continued its success both in taking the title as Europe's Best Airport and also moving up into 4th position in the global airport rankings. Another German Airport, Berlin-Schonefeld was the winner of the Best Airport for Low-Cost Airlines. Cape Town International Airport was a double winner collecting the Best Airport Africa title as well as walking off with the Airport Staff Service Excellence Award for Africa. Vancouver Airport was back to winning ways in taking the title as Best Airport North America, and being ranked 11th in the world. Lima Jorge Chavez Airport had a repeat success winning the Best Airport South America Title. Incheon International Airport, ranked No 2 in the world won awards as Best International Transit Airport and also for having the Best Staff Service Excellence across Asian Airports. Kuala Lumpur improved its position, ranking 5th in the world as well as being named Best Airport Immigration Service and also collecting a Staff Service Excellence Award. Auckland Airport continues on an upward trend with a global No 9 ranking, also receiving 2 awards, named as Best Airport Australia / Pacific and walking away with a coveted Staff Service Excellence Award.

One of the key improvers for 2010 is Beijing Capital International Airport, moving into the world's top 10 for the 1st time and receiving Best Airport China Award and also winning the Best Airport Security Processing title. Hyderabad Ragiv Gandhi Airport showed off its new standards by collecting the award for Best Airport India. In Europe, success was enjoyed by London Heathrow Airport winner of Best Airport Shopping Award, Amsterdam Schipol named Best Airport Western Europe, Istanbul Ataturk Airport winner of Best Airport Southern Europe, Helsinki Vantaa Airport winning Best Airport Northern Europe. Copenhagen Airport was honoured by receiving the Europe Airports Staff Service Excellence Award while Zurich Airport picked up 2 awards, Best Airport Terminal Cleanliness and Best Baggage Delivery. Abu Dhabi International Airport scored a major success with the Most Improved Airport title, after jumping 47 positions in the rankings to secure the world’s No 26 Rating.

The world's top 25 rankings in the World Airport Awards for 2010:
1 Singapore
2 Seoul Incheon
3 Hong Kong
4 Munich
5 Kuala Lumpur
6 Zurich
7 Amsterdam
8 Beijing
9 Auckland
10 Bangkok
11 Vancouver
12 Kansai
13 Centrair Nagoya
14 Helsinki
15 Copenhagen
16 Frankfurt Main
17 Tokyo Narita
18 Brisbane
19 Cape Town
20 San Francisco

KL Tops The List For Cheapest Holiday Destination

DUBAI, March 25 (Bernama) -- Kuala Lumpur, the bustling capital of Malaysia and already popular among tourists, tops the list for cheapest holiday destination, according to global travel specialist STA Travel UK. The list is based on what is described by STA Travel as the main ingredients for a good holiday -- a meal in a local restaurant, a pint of beer, a night in a hostel, a bus ride and a sight-seeing bus tour around the city. When totalling the typical price for such items, Kuala Lumpur emerged the cheapest at 13.09 pound sterling, followed by Hanoi (18.29 pound sterling), Seoul (18.38 pound sterling), Mexico City (22.84 pound sterling), Beijing 24.82 pound sterling), Istanbul (27.38 pound sterling), Bangkok (27.40 pound sterling) and Cape Town (31.68 pound sterling).

According to STA Travel, as the pound slumped against the euro and most other major currencies and with consumers counting their pennies more than ever, some of the popular holiday destinations were set to be even more expensive this summer. "Hence, STA Travel has scoured the globe and quizzed travellers and travel consultants to find the best value for money destinations around the world," it said in a statement issued by Tourism Malaysia. "With the Eurozone set to be one of the most expensive regions in which to holiday, Brits will need to look further afield to secure a bargain while away and make their pound go further," said John Constable, STA Travel group managing director. According to him, Asia had always been a good bet, and clearly still holds up.

"But it's interesting that South Africa makes the list -- with the World Cup there this summer, it's another great reason for footy fans to take advantage of travelling to such a great destination, especially with the deals on offer," he added.With 30 years experience advising young people on holidays and adventures abroad, STA Travel offers a unique range of flights, accommodation, tours and expeditions in 90 countries.It has 43 branches in the United Kingdom and over 450 worldwide.

Students In Holiday Islands Can Be Apprentice Tour Guides, Says Tourism Minister

KUALA TERENGGANU, March 25 (Bernama) -- The Tourism Ministry plans to get secondary schools students in holiday islands to become apprentice tour guides. Its minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said for a start, the ministry would work with the Terengganu government to initiate a pilot project on this in Pulau Perhentian. "They are more suited to act as tour guides because they have more detailed knowledge about the islands they live in." Selected students will be trained for this and they can be trained outside of school hours," she said. Ng told this to reporters after attending a briefing on the upgrading of tourist facilities at the culture and crafts complex in Pasar Kedai Payang here today.

Vacationing At Seaside Resorts Or Frolicking At Theme Parks?

KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 (Bernama) -- Fancy going for a short weekend holiday within the country to spend quality time with the family? That is something most families yearn for especially when the weekend is sandwiched between a public holiday either on Friday or Monday. Some may choose to simply spend hours of fun and frolick with their family at theme parks. There are several theme parks available for such trips. In addition to Bukit Gambang Resort City in Kuantan, Pahang which is the latest to join the country's list of theme parks, there are also others for the 'picking'.In the Klang Valley alone there are several such as the Sunway Lagoon and Desa Water Park. By driving several hours up north, one would arrive at the Bukit Merah Laketown Resort in Taiping and there are a few more 'wetworlds' spread over in several states.

However an outing at a theme park proved to be not a cheap affair. This writer, who decided to have an outing at a theme park in the Klang Valley recently, had to fork out a total of RM370 in order to gain entry for four adults and three children on an extremely bright and sunny Saturday morning. This amount included the deposit for wrist bands (at RM10 each)issued to seven people. Entrance to two parks (out of five available) is RM48 for an adult and RM36 for a child below 11 years of age. Indeed it is a privilege for locals with their MyKads. However some had their grouses over such 'steep' price for the admission tickets as well as food sold there. A housewife from Shah Alam who wished to be known as Hanim of Shah Alam had this to say: "I am here only because the tickets are sponsored by my husband's employer. I feel the food prices are exorbitant. A packet of fried noodles costs RM10!" "What irks me is that we are not allowed to bring our own food in. It is too costly to spend a day in here especially when the children will have to eat after a good dip and the running around." Another visitor, Annie (not her real name) felt the same way too. She said: "The price for a 500 ml bottle (small bottle) of locally produced mineral water is RM3. That is way much higher than what we get at the petrol kiosks. Why is it so?"

On the other hand, some may prefer to spend their weekend in resorts with swimming pools for their children to enjoy the whole day through, at the same cost or maybe slightly more. One of the 'not-so-busy' and 'not-so-far' from the waterfront resorts is located at Km 16 (10th Mile), Jalan Pantai, Teluk Kemang in Port Dickson. It is also situated close to the Port Dickson's famed 'Blue Lagoon'. The resort that the writer stayed in provides apartment-style accommodation and is frequented by families on holiday from nearby towns as well as Singapore. The one to three-room apartments receive frequent bookings as the resort is a regular venue for seminars and training both by the government and corporate sectors. This resort is located close to green mangrove jungle at Tanjung Tuan which is famed for raptor-watching activities. The apartments are priced between approximately RM300 and RM640, depending on its floor space and number of rooms, as well as whether it is the peak season or the otherwise.

Vouchers for buffet breakfast are provided for two guests occupying each apartment room and the other food and beverages charges are quite reasonably priced. The facilities at the resort are also quite well maintained. The gates to a portion of the beach from the resort offers its guests free access to the open sea to enable them to enjoy the many other water activities available. There is also a modern and extended swimming pool in the middle of the apartment blocks, conveniently visible from the balconies. A feature parents feel very comfortable about especially when their children want to take a longer dip than normal. Encouraging Malaysians to spend their family holidays within the country has always been part of promotions by Tourism Malaysia. However, local theme parks, resorts and hotels should also work towards making their holiday packages affordable and lucrative to the 25 million Malaysians who are their potential clients at all seasons, throughout the year. Not only this will bring more business but also motivate Malaysians to go on vacation and spend their money in their own country.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Colours of 1Malaysia 2010 - Launching

Date: 22 May 2010
Time: 6.00 pm ~ 12.00 midnight
Venue: Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur
Details: TBA
Organiser: Ministry of Tourism

50 Entries For 2010 Waterski And Wakeboard Championship

KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 (Bernama) -- The second Malaysian Water-ski and Wakeboard National Championship in Putrajaya from March 26 to 28 has attracted 50 entries from eight countries. Malaysian Water Ski Federation (MWSF) honorary secretary, Phillipa Yoong said there has been an upsurge of interest from Malaysians as well as from foreigners, following the success of the inaugural event. "Out of the 50 entries received for the event so far, 27 are from overseas and the rest Malaysians," she said in a statement on Monday.

She said water-ski and wakeboard facilities in Putrajaya has attracted Malaysians to learn water-skiing and wakeboarding, forcing the site to remain open, six days a week. The ski site also attracts foreigners who like to water-ski or wakeboard in Putrajaya apart from making side tours as their secondary diversion while in Malaysia. "We now have a big group of young skiers who are mostly in their teens and pre-teens participating in round one after one year of training and competitions," she said. She said some of the participants would be ready for overseas competitions later this year, such as the Jakarta Muscat International Water-ski and Wakeboard Federation (IWWF) Asian Championship and the Asian Beach Games.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Malaysia Water Festival 2010

Date: 9 ~ 11 April 2010
Time: 9.00 morning until 12.00 midnight
Venue: Pantai Cenang Langkawi
"Tarik Upih"
Kids Soccer
"Tarik Tali Perahu Tradisional"
"Tangkap Itik"
"Tarik Tali"
"Pukul Bantal"
Organiser: Ministry of Tourism

Be More Innovative And Creative, Tourism Players Told

MUAR: Players in the tourism industry have been urged to be more innovative and creative in exploiting and capitalising on products that are unique to their areas. Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said every product, no matter how small, had the potential to attract visitors and tourists. She said the players, including the relevant departments, should also know how to promote and sell the products in an attractive package.

“Take Muar, for example, which has a beautiful river, beautiful old buildings as well as old trees which add beauty to the town’s scenery. “The river, the buildings and the trees have a certain heritage and we can promote them in our tourism packages,” she said yesterday. Dr Ng said the town was also popular for its food such as satay, mee bandung and asam pedas and players could promote Muar as a food destination. She said Muar was also the only district in the country which had a Barongan dance group. She said the group, from Kampung Parit Bugis in Sungai Balang, could be engaged to perform at Tanjung Emas near the estuary during weekends. Dr Ng said these initiatives would add value to the tourism industry.
- The Star

UNESCO Conference In Langkawi

LANGKAWI will host the 4th International UNESCO Conference on Geoparks 2010 from April 9 to 15. The conference is expected to attract some 500 to 1,000 delegates from 60 countries, said Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) tourism manager Megat Shahrul Azman Abas. Jointly organised by LADA and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, it is the second Geopark conference to be held in Langkawi after the Regional Conference on Asia-Pacific Geoparks and Business Dialogue 2007. The whole of Langkawi was accorded Geopark status by UNESCO on June 1, 2007.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Tourism To Contribute RM 2.8 Billion Revenue To Terengganu

KUALA TERENGGANU, March 21 (Bernama) -- The tourism sector is expected to contribute RM2.8 billion in revenue to Terengganu in 2010, more than the RM2.6 billion last year. State Exco for Tourism, Culture, Arts and Heritage Datuk Za'abar Mohd Adib said the better forecast is based on global economic recovery and the country's recovery from H1N1.

"We expect to receive 4 million tourists this year compared to 3.3 million last year due to H1N1. Some 80 percent were domestic tourists," he said after opening 'Fiesta Bulan Candat Sotong 2010' here Saturday. Programmes lined-up for 2010 include GP Joran Tenggiri Challenge, Perhentian Island Challenge, Monsoon Cup, Kenyir International Trialthlon, Terengganu Masters Golf Invitational, World Gamelan Festival, Kenyir Goodwill Fishing Competition and Sultan Cup Endurance Challenge. Za'abar said about 1,000 people are expected to take part in squid jigging contests to mark 'Fiesta Bulan Candat Sotong 2010' which offers RM277,000 in prize money.

Melaka Targets 8 Million Tourist Arrivals This Year

KUALA LUMPUR, March 21 (Bernama) -- Melaka is targeting eight million tourist arrivals this year, up from the 7.2 million last year, the mayor of Melaka Historical City Datuk Yusof Jantan said here. He said the state government would continue to promote the city's historical and heritage buildings and sites in order to draw more tourists.

"We have a unique potpourri of cultures which can attract tourists. We also have many craft industries," he told Bernama after appearing as a guest on the "Hello Malaysia" talk show on Bernama TV. Yusof said that following the declaration of Melaka city as a world heritage site by Unesco, the number of tourist arrivals had gone up by 20 per cent. As such, he said, various efforts would be taken to retain the status of the city as a world heritage site, including setting up a world heritage site office probably in June.

"The office will determine the guidelines and legislation on development and renovation at the world heritage site. It will also recruit conservation experts," he said. Yusof also said that to reduce traffic congestion in the city during weekends and on public holidays, the state government planned to construct a flyover from the Air Keroh toll plaza to Armada Hotel in the city centre. Also on the cards was a tram route from the toll plaza to Melaka Raya, he added.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Musical Extravaganza To Kick Off Sabah Fest 2010

KOTA KINABALU, March 19 (Bernama) -- The month-long Sabah Fest 2010 will kick off on May 1 with a cultural extravaganza titled "The Legend of Arung Salamiah. "Sri Pelancongan Sabah Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Sabah Tourism Board (STB), said the one-hour musical theatre extravaganza would run for two nights at The Magellan Sutera, Sutera Harbour Resort here.

The cultural extravaganza tells the tale of one man's journey across Sabah in search of his true love. There would also be a display of local handicrafts and food during the two-day event from 10am to 10pm. The State Museum Heritage Village would also hold cultural shows and presentation of food, dance and age-old rituals in conjunction with the event on May 3-9. Enquiries on tickets for the cultural extravaganza and on the Sabah Fest 2010 can be obtained from Sri Pelancongan Sabah at 088-232121 or STB at 088-212121.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Putrajaya To Host Dragon Boat Festival

PUTRAJAYA, March 18 (Bernama) -- For the second year running, Putrajaya will host the 1Malaysia International Dragon Boat Festival from June 18 to 20, to position Malaysia as the home of dragon boat racing. Organising chairman Datuk Herman Chin said dragon boat racing was among the fastest growing team water sports, with participation estimated at more than 20 million people in 62 countries.

"Dragon boat racing has now become a global phenomenon. Traditionally celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month of the Chinese calendar, it often falls in June of the Gregorian calendar," he said Thursday. Chin said the event would see about 1,500 participants at the Putrajaya Water Sports Complex. The race is divided into two main categories -- international and local teams. Each category has sub-categories of open, mixed, women and junior (below 23 years). There is also a special category for Malaysian clubs, corporate teams and government departments.

TM Fiesta Cabaran Candat Sotong 2010

TM Fiesta Cabaran Candat Sotong 2010 (TMFCCS) kembali lagi dengan peningkatan hadiah wang tunai dan barangan yang lebih lumayan untuk dimenangi pada musim 2010. Hadiah wang tunai, barangan dan cabutan bertuah untuk dimenangi adalah berjumlah RM 277,000 keseluruhannya. TMFCCS 2010 di bahagikan kepada 4 sirkit.

Sirkit 1 - 27 Mac 2010 di Marang
Sirkit 2 - 24 April 2010 di Besut
Sitkit 3 - 29 Mei 2010 di Kuala Terengganu
Sirkit 4 - 26 Jun 2010 di Dungun

Yuran untuk penyertaan adalah RM 100 seorang untuk setiap sirkit. Untuk keterangan lanjut, sila hubungi urusetia di talian 09-631 7237 dan 09-626 5236.

Perlis Perlu Jadi Destinasi Pilihan Pelancong Asing

KANGAR 17 Mac (Utusan) - Usaha perlu dilakukan bagi menjadikan Perlis sebagai destinasi pilihan pelancong asing dan bukan sekadar menjadi 'pintu masuk' untuk ke negara ini. Menteri Pelancongan, Datuk Seri Dr. Ng Yen Yen berkata, rekod menunjukkan pelancong asing hanya menjadikan Perlis sebagai laluan untuk melancong ke beberapa negeri di utara Semenanjung. "Kita mendapati para pelancong asing masuk ke Perlis melalui Padang Besar (dari Thailand) menggunakan jalan darat (kereta dan kereta api). Mereka kemudian menuju ke negeri-negeri pilihan di utara Semenanjung. "Mereka (pelancong) menjadikan Perlis sebagai laluan sahaja untuk ke beberapa destinasi pelancongan seperti Pulau Langkawi, Perak dan Pulau Pinang," katanya. Beliau berkata demikian kepada para pemberita ketika melakukan tinjauan pelancongan ke Muzium Kota Kayang, Kuala Perlis di sini hari ini.

Sehubungan itu, Yen Yen meminta kerajaan negeri mencari jalan untuk menarik para pelancong asing supaya turut menjadikan Perlis sebagai antara lokasi pilihan utama ke Malaysia. ''Kita tidak mahu pelancong dari pelbagai negara hanya menjadikan Perlis sebagai pintu keluar masuk sahaja. ''Ini merugikan Perlis sendiri. Contohnya, sepanjang 2009, jumlah pelancong yang masuk melalui Padang Besar melebihi 383,000 berbanding lebih 365,000 orang pada 2008. "Adalah rugi bagi Perlis jika cuma digunakan oleh pelancong sebagai laluan sahaja. Setakat ini Perlis hanya mampu menarik pelancong domestik seramai 203,000 orang sepanjang 2008 kepada lebih 212,000 pada 2009," ujarnya.

Menyentuh Muzium Kota Kayang itu pula, beliau meminta kerajaan negeri berusaha menjadikannya lebih menarik selain menggalakkan syarikat pengangkutan awam seperti bas menyediakan perkhidmatan ke muzium itu. "Di muzium ini juga wajar diadakan pelbagai program yang boleh menarik minat pelancong, sama ada tempatan mahupun antarabangsa. Mungkin sesuai diadakan Saturday Museum Fair," ujar beliau.

Hotel Players Urged Not To Underprice, Under-Value Services

KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has urged hotel industry players not to underprice or under-value their services. He said their action may not necessarily bring in more business as high-end tourists did not mind spending. "The hotel rates in Malaysia are the lowest in Asia-Pacific," Najib said at the opening the Royale Chulan Kuala Lumpur here on Wednesday. The five-star hotel, owned by Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT) and managed by Boustead Holdings Bhd via Boustead Hotels & Resorts Sdn Bhd, cost RM200 million. Najib said the country wanted tourists to have a "memorable and pleasant experience". "In this respect, taxi drivers need to be always polite and friendly," he said. He said the government would always give priority in the development of the tourism industry. "In January, the tourist arrivals rose by 1.4 per cent. We hope that this year, the tourist arrivals will be higher than in 2009. Last year, the country managed to attract 23.6 million tourists," he said.

Meanwhile, LTAT chairman, Tan Sri Mohd Anwar Mohd Nor, said the company aimed to invest in valuable properties within the bustling city. "The hotel complements our other properties, namely Bangunan LTAT and Chulan Tower which are both located within the radius of the Royale Chulan," he said. He said Boustead Group's experience in managing a successful chain of Royale Bintang hotels would augur well for the group. "We are confident that with their track record, the Royale Chulan Kuala Lumpur will also be successful," he said. Boustead Holdings group managing director, Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin said, the Royale Chulan was a jewel in the crown of the Royale Bintang group of hotels."Since its opening in April last year, the hotel is fast gaining an enviable reputation as the venue of choice for prestigious events locally and internationally," he said.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

West Side Story Musical To Hit Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 (Bernama) -- Broadway fans, especially those in Southeast Asia, is expected to make a beeline for Kuala Lumpur in May when the West Side Story musical hit the Malaysian capital. The musical will be staged at Istana Budaya from May 12 to 24 with the support of the Tourism Ministry, Information Communication and Culture Ministry and other partners.

Tourism Malaysia chairman Datuk Dr Victor Wee said the event is expected to draw the crowds. "Tourism Malaysia and the government are working to make Kuala Lumpur a hub for arts and cultural events. We hope tourists and fans from the neighbouring country will come and watch the performance," he told a media conference here on Wednesday. Malaysia is the only Southeast Asian stop for the 50th anniversary world tour of the legendary multiple award-winning production including a clean sweep of 10 Oscars in 1961. Bookings for the musical can be done on

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Iran Holiday A Boon For Malaysia

MALAYSIAN Iran market specialists are anticipating an increase in arrivals during the Nourooz (Iranian New Year) holiday season, from March 18 to April 4. Se Wac Travel & Tours general manager Mohammad Kiani anticipates a 20 per cent increase in volume over last year for the holidays. He said demand for twinning Kuala Lumpur with Singapore has also increased mainly due to heightened destination awareness efforts by the Singapore Tourism Board. Grace Holidays general manager Godwin Miranda expects a 30 per cent increase in volume over the same period last year, returning thereby to 2008 levels.

AirAsia X is mounting two charters from Tehran to Kuala Lumpur on March 18 and 19 while Iran Air will fly five charters during Nourooz on the same route in addition to its four weekly scheduled flights.
- TTG Asia

Monday, 15 March 2010

Tune Eyes Important Role In London's Hospitality, Tourism Sectors

KUALA LUMPUR, March 15 (Bernama) -- Tune wants to be an important player in London's hospitality and tourism sectors, said group chief executive officer, Mark Lankester. In a statement here on Monday, Lankester said the UK and London, in particular, was a crucial part in the company's expansion plan, on top of its organic growth in Asia.

"The London profile lends us so much higher credibility and reputation and it plants a flagpole in one of the most visited cities in the world, which will be a springboard for further and more rapid potential partnerships globally," he said. He said Tune's plan for 15 hotels in Greater London by 2017 would set a positive tone for the company's global expansion.

The company recently entered into a strategic partnership with Queensway Group Ltd to invest in, develop and operate 15 hotels. The roll-out of the RM746 million investment, which involves around 1,500 hotel rooms, will commence with the launch of Tune in the third quarter of this year. Lankester said the partnership was another another breakthrough into the UK's market by a home-grown Malaysian brand and it would help foster better economic ties between both countries.

Firefly Chalks Up RM1.8 Million Sales At MATTA Fair

KUALA LUMPUR, March 15 (Bernama) -- Community airline Firefly recorded RM1.8 million sales at the three-day Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Fair 2010 which ended here on March 14. Head of Firefly Holiday, Lau Yin May, said that sales at the travel and tourism fair exceeded the airline's target of RM1.5 million. "Our sales at MATTA fairs just keep on getting better and better, and this is definitely the most successful MATTA Fair that we have participated in," she said in a statement on Monday.

The airline said its latest Firefly Mobile Booking feature contributed RM30,000 sales at MATTA Fair this year. "The figure further convinces Firefly that mobile booking is a potential medium of booking and purchasing flights tickets in the coming future," it said. Firefly is operated under FlyFirefly Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Malaysian Airline System Bhd. It received the "Best Value Airline of the Year" award at the 2010 Frost and Sullivan Asia Pacific Aerospace and Defence Awards.

MASwing Poised To Take Off In BIMP EAGA

TOULOUSE, France: Commuter airline MASwings, which currently only serves the travel needs of Sabah and Sarawak, is banking on expanding its services to the BIMP EAGA region by October this year, said managing director Datuk Salleh Tabrani. (BIMP EAGA refers to Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, East Asean Growth Area.) The move, it is hoped, will create a growth driver for the Malaysia Airline’s wholly owned and loss-making subsidiary. Some 75% of its routes under the Rural Air Services (RAS) are not commercially viable but are undertaken as a social obligation whereby the Government subsidises the losses.

“We have conducted a comprehensive study of the feasibility to operate the routes and will make an announcement soon with regard to our expansion plan,” he said. Salleh was speaking to reporters who attended the handover ceremony of the ninth and second last ATR 72-500 by ATR, the southern France-based maker of turboprop aircraft and subsidiary of EADS. The delivery of the last 10th aircraft is scheduled for April this year. Some of the new routes being considered include Brunei, southern Philippines, and Kalimantan and Sulawesi in Indonesia. “This will be a major milestone for us as we will move from becoming just a domestic player to a regional airline,” Salleh said. The airline is also awaiting approval from the Transport Ministry to ply some new routes which it hopes to launch in October this year. “But we will still continue to fulfil our obligations to meet the travel needs of Sabah and Sarawak by expanding our frequencies and current network in these states,” he reiterated.

The delivery of the ninth aircraft, which took place over the week, is part of the airline’s widespread fleet renewal programme which involves the phasing out of its Fokker 50. To date, it has managed to phase out all but one of its eight Fokker 50 and expects to cap it by first quarter of this year when it takes delivery of the final ATR. “We hope to return the F50 to PMB (Penerbangan Malaysia Bhd) by the first quarter or April,” he said. The airline has forked out some RM700mil for the purchase of 10 aircraft, which Salleh said had managed to reduce its cost per seat by 25% and increase its load factor significantly. “The ATR represents the future of domestic air travel within Sabah and Sarawak. It is the state-of-the-art aircraft that embraces the latest passenger comfort, technology and environment credentials…to drive forward our ambitious expansion plans and traffic demand. “It has significantly lower noise level and higher fuel efficiency which enables us to keep our operational costs low,” he elaborated.

The airline carries 88,000 passengers a month which marks a 24% increase in load factor from a year ago. Flight frequency has also been increased from an average 600 flights per week to 950 flights per week. Salleh attributed much of this to the fleet renewal plan. “Last year we registered a high OTP (on time performance) of 92.9% and this year we are targeting to improve that to 94%, which is rather high compared with the industry average of 80%. We are also targeting to carry some 1.1 million passengers this year from 902,000 last year,” he said. “We are trying to cut cost so that we can narrow our loss to a more comfortable level. In 2009, we managed to cut losses by half that of 2008 and we hope to continue this. The more profitable routes will subsidise the losses from the non-commercially viable routes,” he said. MASwings currently operates 39 routes within the two states and covers 22 destinations. At the handover ceremony, ATR chief executive officer Stephane Mayer said the versatility of the ATR aircraft was a key advantage in regions where runways often required short landing capabilities. In addition, he pointed out that the aircraft had a fuel consumption of up to 40% less than regional jets as well as some 40% less of CO2 emissions.

MASwings is the second largest customer of ATR, after India’s Kingfisher Airlines. About 50% of ATR’s new orders were from carriers in Asia, a market which was fast growing, said Mayer. ATR is also setting up a regional training centre in Kuala Lumpur by the end of the year. When MASwings started out in October 2007, it had eight Fokker 50s and five Twin Otter aircraft. It was set up by its parent Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to specifically provide air services within and between Sabah and Sarawak as well as Labuan which are referred to as Rural Air Services. But the RAS wasn’t always under MAS’ wings. Back in March 2006, under a domestic route rationalisation exercise, AirAsia managed to gain the RAS from MAS and had set up FAX to handle these routes. But 14 months down the road, when the extent of the losses of the RAS became only too clear, the budget carrier decided to surrender the RAS back to MAS.
MAS then set up MASwings to operate these routes in October 2007. As it stands, MASwings cross subsidises the profitable routes such as the KK-Sibu route with other unprofitable routes.
MASwings’ profit and loss is currently borne by the Government.

According to Salleh, the commuter airline chalks up a revenue of some RM150mil a year, which also comes from other sources such as ground handling services. It counts seven airlines including MAS, Royal Brunei Airlines, Korean Airlines and Dragon Air as its customers. “MAS has to bring down the losses every year to a more comfortable level. We hope that by expanding our services to include international services, some of these profitable routes will subsidise the losses even more,” Salleh said. Could the expansion plan turn around the airline, returning it to the black? “We hope so – eventually,” replied Salleh.

Melaka River Cruise Need To Be Extended Upstream To Attract More Tourists

MELAKA, March 15 (Bernama) -- The Melaka River Cruise currently serving only a stretch of Sungai Melaka, need to be extended further upstream to enable tourists to enjoy the serene beauty of flora and fauna throughout the river. Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said tourists from abroad are always attracted and interested in places that offer nature's delights, thus provide a boom to tourism in Melaka. "For the locals, coming across iguana, birds and other animals may be a daily routine but to tourists, it is an exciting experience," she told reporters after cruising Sungai Melaka here Sunday night.

The river boat cruise sails the shallow Malacca River from her river mouth in Bandar Hilir to Kampong Morten where the boat makes her return trip, a distance of about 10km from the jetty and takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour. The Melaka River Cruise, managed by the River and Beach Development Board, has about 40 boats serving the route which is used about 60,000 locals and tourists, every month. Ng said the Melaka River cleaning and landscaping project which involves a cost of about RM320 million would become an asset for tourism in the state.

Home Ministry To Increase Scrutiny On Foreign Arrivals At Main Entry Points

KOTA BAHARU, March 14 (Bernama) -- The Home Ministry is expected to increase scrutiny on foreigners who entered the country, to overcome an increase in the number of drug trafficking cases, at main entry points in the country. Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop said such measures were necessary due to an increase in the number of tourist arrivals, especially Iranians, who have been involved in numerous drug smuggling cases in the first three months.

According to Abu Seman, from Jan 1 to Thursday (March 11), Malaysian police had detained 57 Iranians for drug smuggling offences.He added that following the arrests at the KL International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang, various types of drugs were seized, including 77.28 kilograms of syabu, 6.7 kilograms of liquid syabu and four kilograms of heroin. "To prevent drug smuggling and drug related offences, police and the Customs Department will continue to take the necessary steps to cripple such activities at KLIA, Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) and the main entry points," he said here.Abu Seman said based on police statistics, 969 foreigners were arrested under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952.

"The number of students involved in drug offences has also increased because in 2008 there were 19 arrests compared with 40 last year, an increase of 21 students or a 68 per cent increase," he said. Nigerian students make up the highest number of students arrested, six in 2008 and 18 last year, followed by eight from Saudi Arabia and another eight from Sudan for the two-year period, he said.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Sabah Hopes To Attract More Bruneians This Year

KOTA KINABALU, March 13 (Bernama) -- Sabah hopes to attract more tourists from Brunei through the availability of world class shopping malls in the state capital.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said with daily flights provided by Royal Brunei Airlines and AirAsia from Bandar Seri Begawan to Kota Kinabalu, more Bruneians were expected to come to Sabah this year.

Bruneians have shown a growing interest in shopping in Sabah, and especially now we have 1Borneo and Suria Sabah which will be fully operational soon," he said in his welcoming speech for heads of mission and foreign diplomats in Brunei to Sabah here Friday night.

His speech was read by Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Bolkiah Ismail. Masidi said a total of 34,252 Bruneians visited Sabah last year.

"Bruneians can also enter Sabah by ferry via Menumbok jetty and by land, which I see is the most popular way of coming to Sabah for Bruneians," he said.

"Sabah is an incredibly beautiful and diverse destination, and Borneo has a very strong eco-image that appeals to the discerning traveller.

"Our major strength lies in our hundreds of years old virgin rainforest, idyllic islands, world class conservation and wildlife sanctuaries and a multi-hued cultural heritage," he said.

Tawau Hill Park Has Large Potential To Be Tourist Destination

TAWAU, March 13 (Bernama) -- Tawau Hill Park, 23km from town, has large potential to be a tourist destination, said Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.

She said several exotic draws, be they from the flora or fauna aspects, that were in the area including orchid species can be made tourism attractions for both locals and foreigners.

"The potential for the park is large but the attractions must be packaged. For example, stay at the park is packaged for three days and two nights together with visits to attraction areas there," she told reporters after visiting the park on Saturday.

According to Dr Ng, among activities that can be packaged were visits to the orchids area, the waterfalls and hot springs.

Dr Ng suggested that a special committee made up of the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta), Tourism Malaysia, the Sabah Tourism Board and Sabah Parks be set up to promote the park effectively.

She said the park's natural surroundings that had been conserved and well-protected and its cleanliness will impress visitors as soon as they enter the park.

According to Dr Ng, Sabah Parks officers were acknowledged to be experts and experienced in conserving natural environemnt but not much exposed to tourism matters and as such tourism promotion experts needed to be involved to assist.

Besides the Tawau Hill Park where there is the 88.32m Seraya Kuning (shorea faguetianan) which is also the tallest tropical tree in the world, other Tawau tourism destinations are the Balung Eco-Tourism and the Cocoa Museum.

Chennai To Be Kuala Lumpur's Twin City

KUALA LUMPUR, March 13 (Bernama) -- The Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Ministry is working to make Tamil Nadu's capital, Chennai, as Kuala Lumpur's twin city.

Its minister, Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin, said representatives from the ministry would visit Chennai in May for the purpose.

The Malaysian government has held several discussions and is awaiting response from Chennai for the next course of action, he told reporters after opening a food and entertainment carnival at the Temple Of Fine Arts here on Saturday.

Raja Nong Chik said the Kuala Lumpur and Chennai twin city programmes was hoped to further enhance bilateral relations between Malaysia and India in art, culture, tourism and economy.

He said Chennai and Kuala Lumpur had many similarities being that majority of the Indians in Malaysia were from Tamil Nadu.

"In line with efforts to realise the twin city programme, the ministry is also planning to develop Brickfields into 'Little India'," he added.

The carnival, which also include cultural activities, is organised by the Temple of Fine Arts to raise funds for the Derma Sivasanta Clinic in Brickfields.

The clinic, set up by non-governmental organisations in 1982, provides free medical service to local residents as well as foreigners.

Friday, 12 March 2010

MATTA fair 2010 To Enhance Langkawi's Tourism Sector This Year

KUALA LUMPUR, March 12 (Bernama) -- The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents Travel Fair 2010, or popularly known as the MATTA Travel Fair, is expected to boost Langkawi's tourism sector, this year. The Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) Tourism Manager, Megat Shahrul Azman Abas said three million tourists are expected to visit the historical island, this year. "This is an increase of approximately half a million from the 2.5 million tourist arrivals recorded last year."

Malaysians are still the major contributor to this figure and Thailand, Singapore and China, follow suit. The MATTA Fair 2010 is being held at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) from Friday till Sunday. In order to further boost Langkawi's tourism, LADA has come up with the "1Passport Langkawi". This is a document similar to a passport, which offers six major attractions in Langkawi at a single price. The passport is being sold at LADA's booth at the MATTA Fair's Domestic Hall at RM40 for adults and RM25 for children. The 1Passport Langkawi will cover the Langkawi Cable Car, Langkawi Wildlife Park, Langkawi Mahsuri Town, the Langkawi Craft Complex, the Underwater World Langkawi and "Galeria Perdana", a historical museum on Langkawi.

"It was launched at the MATTA Fair in September last year and we managed to sell about 1000 of it." As this is the second attempt, we are expecting to sell more than 2000 passports," Underwater World Langkawi Sdn Bhd's Assistant Manager for Marketing and Communications, Haizolsam Mustaffa said. He added the passport has seen an increasing demand compared to the last fair and both the company and LADA are very confident of the sales target.

Tourism Malaysia Booth @ MATTA Fair 2010 March

Please visit Tourism Malaysia Booth @ MATTA Fair 2010 from 12-14 March 2010 at Hall 3, Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur.

Participants under the Tourism Malaysia Booth are:-
a. Andak Spa
b. Zoo Negara
c. KL Hop On Hop Off
d. Central Market
e. Caricature "Jack Tenggiling"
f. Homestay Kg. Sungai Sireh
g. Ministry of Tourism

Go domestic, "Cuti-cuti 1Malaysia"

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Firefly Holiday Launched At World's Largest Tourism Trade Fair

KUALA LUMPUR, March 11 (Bernama) -- Firefly Holiday, a subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) was launched in Berlin Wednesday, upon the opening of Malaysia's booth at ITB Berlin, the world's largest tourism trade fair. Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen launched Firefly Holiday, Malaysia's first full-fledged travel portal, offering worldwide packages with a "Do-It-Yourself" feature. "Firefly Holiday is ideal for general travellers as it offers convenience from the time of booking to the point of arrival at preferred destinations.

"It provides tour operators one touch point of arrival for all-in-one ground arrangements," said Dr Ng in a statement on Thursday. To date, Firefly Holiday has expanded its services to more than 100 MAS' worldwide destinations via its international holiday packages. The Firefly Holiday international packages also complement the services offered by Firefly under a code-sharing agreement with MAS, the statement said. "Through this, the travel portal can pair up its ground packages with international flights," it added.

Malaysia Voted Asia's 2nd Best Destination By 'Go Asia'

BERLIN, March 11 (Bernama) -- Malaysia was declared the second best destination in Asia by 'Go Asia', a tourism marketing network specialising in Asia, which gave good marks to the overall facilities available for tourism in Malaysia. In addition, the Frankfurt office of Tourism Malaysia was voted as the third best foreign tourist promotion office in Frankfurt, decided over a number of factors including staff response to queries and professionalism.

Azizan Noordin, Tourism Malayia deputy director-general, who is heading the large Malaysian contingent here including tour operators and hoteliers, told Bernama that he was "very happy" over the award. The 'Go Asia' initiative was founded in 2003 to enhance marketing in German-speaking regions. It currently has 28 members consisting of tour operators, airlines and tourism boards. Malaysia has also been listed as one of the 10 top destinations of the world by Lonely Planet. With the world economy rebounding, Tourism Malaysia has also increased its overall tourist arrival projection from 23.6 million to 24 million in 2010 with many experts in this part of the world saying that the number could be "easily crossed".
Tourism traffic from Germany posted a double-digit growth of 15 per cent last year to 128,288 arrivals. Azizan said Malaysia's homestay programmes which are popular with Koreans and Japanese who stay for two to three days with Malaysian families to get a first-hand experience of living in a Malaysian home, would be marketed in Germany and other European countries. German tourists to Malaysia stay for an average of 10.3 nights, far more than other nationals.

"We will be promoting high-end packages this year in the German market. We have organised some special events for this segment. The Grand Prix Petronas project is being organised in collaboration with Mercedes Benz." Another attractive event will be the International Shoe Festival in Malaysia. Jimmy Choo, the Malaysian shoe icon, will host this event. "This will be followed by the Malaysian Contemporary Art Tourism Festival," said Azizan. Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit, accompanied by the Federal German Minister for Economics and Technology, Rainer Bruederle, on Wednesday visited the Malaysian pavilion which featured a Melaka kampung house.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Malaysia Aggressively Courts Tourists At Berlin Tourism Fair

BERLIN, March 10 (Bernama) -- The five-day Berlin Tourism Fair opened on Tuesday with a large Malaysian delegation headed by Tourism Malaysia deputy director-general Azizan Noordin aggressively courting tourists. The delegation comprised representatives of 25 travel and tour operating agents, 25 hotels, four states (Terengganu, Penang, Langkawi and Sabah) and Malaysia Airlines and its sister airline, FireFly. Azizan said Malaysia was eyeing the European tourism market because it held promise of providing business for Malaysia.On an overall basis, Europe accounted for some 5.1 per cent growth in traffic to Malaysia in 2009 over 2008. "We would like to further enhance our promotion efforts in the European market which posted good growth last year. Germany alone accounted for a 15 per cent growth with 128,228 tourists last year," Azizan said in an interview with Bernama at the Berlin exhibition hall.

Malaysia's huge pavilion consists of a large space filled with individual tables for each of the exhibitors to receive potential customers and discuss business in private. The pavilion replicates Malaysia's landscape, depicting its natural setting as much as its contemporary landmarks. Since the exhibition hall 26, where Malaysia and other Asean states are located, is bursting at the seams, Malaysia's pavilion has been expanded vertically -- it has an added upper storey where the staff of Tourism Malaysia can receive important visitors. Malaysia is given good chances of attracting visitors from Europe, many of whom love its sandy beaches, flora and fauna, the night life in big cities such as Kuala Lumpur, culture and cuisine and the general warmth and hospitality of the people.

"Malaysia is an exciting place to visit even though some German news media have been incessantly highlighting some negative developments taking place in that country such as the recent caning of the three Muslim women who allegedly violated the Islamic laws," said Reinhard Berger, a Bavarian businessman who regularly visits Asian countries and claims to be "madly in love" with Borneo's fauna and flora. Nevertheless, Malaysia has also benefited from a number of developments taking place in its neighbourhood, such as the Jakarta bombings and the Thai political upheavals, prompting many tourists to turn, instead, to Malaysia to spend part of their vacation there. Like other Southeast Asian nations, Malaysia's attractiveness is greatly enhanced if it is offered as one of two destinations, the other being either Thailand, Singapore or Indonesia.

However, Azizan said that Malaysia was now graduating to the next level of tourism, where it was also interested in promoting luxury tours, cruise tourism, Malaysia My Second Home tourism, contemporary arts tourism. "With an eye on promoting contemporary arts, Malaysia is also hosting a gala evening on March 12, where Malaysian female conductor Ooi Chean-see will conduct a show which blends classical with ethnic Malaysian elements.

32 Aussie, Kiwi Travel-trade Managers For Conference In Malaysia

MELBOURNE, March 10 (Bernama) -- Twenty-three senior managers from Australia and New Zealand will attend Tourism Malaysia's second annual travel-trade product conference in Malaysia this month. They will meet at the Shangri-La Hotel in Kuala Lumpur on March 19 and at Tanjung Aru in Kota Kinabalu on March 22 to meet hoteliers and tour operators from throughout Malaysia to find out what Malaysia has to offer to boost business tourism. The event will introduce accommodation contractors from Australia and New Zealand wholesale travel companies to new, alternative and updated hotels in Malaysia, said Shahrin Mokhtar, Tourism Malaysia Sydney director.

The participants will include people directly contracting hotels for the large Australasian markets, including travel companies such as Flight Centre, Creative Holidays and Stella Travel, said Shahrin in a statement. He said more than 30 Peninsular Malaysia hoteliers would attend the business session at Shangri-La Hotel and about 50 from Sabah and Sarawak at the Kota Kinabalu session. The editor of Australia and New Zealand's most widely-read industry publication "eTravel Blackboard" will also attend the conference to file on-the-spot reports for its daily trade e-newsletter. "Australia and New Zealand are important markets for Malaysian tourism, with Australia always in the top 10 for tourist arrivals," said Shahrin.

Despite the global financial crisis last year, 596,386 Australian and New Zealanders visited Malaysia, a 23.4 per cent growth compared with 2008, he said. "They spent RM2.3 billion in Malaysia, an increase of 24.9 per cent compared with 2008".