Wednesday, 30 June 2010

New LCCT Expected To Be Completed By Early 2012

SEPANG, June 30 (Bernama) -- The new Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) here, is expected to be completed by early 2012, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd's (MAHB) Managing Director, Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad said. He said the LCCT is taking longer to complete as construction is being undertaken on the basis of a tender exercise. "Also, we are currently redoing the design, as the new building is much bigger than the original concept. So, all this has resulted in more time being taken for completion," he told a press conference after the KLIA's 12th anniversary celebration here Wednesday.

Bashir, however, declined to give more details on the project, saying further announcements would be made later. Commenting on the celebration, MAHB Chairman Tan Sri Aris Othman said KLIA has flourished, to become one of world's best known airports in a space of just 12 years of its operations. "In the first half of 2010 alone, KLIA managed to rope in three Middle Eastern airlines in Mahan Air, Oman Air and Royal Jordanian." Last year, the airport handled 29.6 million passengers, an increase of 7.8 per cent compared to previously," he added. He also attributed the outstanding performance to all agencies at the KLIA. The KLIA has this year bagged three awards, namely for Best Airport Immigration Service, Staff Service Excellence in the South East Asia category at the Skytrax 2010 World Airport Awards and as the Best Brand in Transportation from Brand Laureate 2009-2010.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Seminar On Arab Tourists

In preparation for coming Middle East tourist season, Tourism Malaysia was organising a Seminar on Arab Tourists at Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur on 29 June 2010. The one-day seminar was attended by 187 participants who are from the travel and trade industry suach as retailers, travel agents, hoteliers and service operators. It was held to update industry players on the current travel trends of the Arab tourists in an effet to better understand their changing needs.

Four important topics was covered during the seminar:

1. Middle East Outbound Travel Pattern and Trend During Summer Holidays from 2010~2015

2. Middle East outbound Tourism market Transformation and Quality Service

3. Malaysia Tourism Promotion Strategy in the Middle East Market for 2010~2011

4. Middle East Tourist Activities and Travel Pattern During Ramandhan

Through this seminar, it is hoped that participants will get a better and clear understanding of the needs and expectations of the Middle Eastern tourists especially since the holy month of Ramadhan falls during their summer holidays over the next five years.

Accor To Open Biggest Pullman Hotel In Southeast Asia In KL By 2011

KUALA LUMPUR: The Accor Group expects its biggest Pullman hotel in Southeast Asia, the Pullman Kuala Lumpur Bangsar, to be operational by July 2011. Accor Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia vice president Gerard Guillouet said the landmark hotel would further expand Accor’s multi-branded foothold in Malaysia and demonstrated the company’s commitment to operate hotels across all segments and confidence in the Malaysian market. “Malaysia is a market we are focusing on and looking into the possibility of opening up more Pullman resorts in Penang, Langkawi and Port Dickson besides other brand segments under the Accor Hospitality portfolio,” he said in a statement yesterday.

“The robust tourism industry, MICE, pro-business government policies, rapid infrastructure developments and travel connectivity including a progressive airline industry are factors that augur well for accelerated development of the hospitality industry in Malaysia,” Guillouet added. Pullman Kuala Lumpur Bangsar will be the largest Pullman hotel in Southeast Asia with 515 guest rooms, three restaurants, two bars and extensive meeting and leisure facilities. It will have 600 employees. The hotel will be located close to Menara Telekom and Midvalley Mega Mall. Accor has over 4,100 hotels, 500,000 rooms and 150,000 employees in 100 countries represented by luxury, upscale and economy brands including Sofitel, Pullman , MGallery, Novotel, Mercure, Suitehotel, Ibis and others.

Monday, 28 June 2010

300 Hotel Room Boost For Langkawi

LANGKAWI, June 28 (Bernama) -- The Baron Group, with five budget hotels in this tourist haven, is to invest RM20 million to build 300 rooms to meet growing demand for hotel rooms. Managing Director Zailina Mohd Zain said 200 rooms will be built in Kuah and 100 in Pantai Cenang. The group has a chain of three-star hotels and chalets in Kuah and Pantai Cenang, with a combined room capacity of 400.

The group's latest resort, de Baron Resort, near Pekan Rabu Complex in Kuah, which commenced operations in December last year, has 137 rooms. Zailina told BERNAMA Langkawi often faced room shortage during festive seasons, school holidays and when international events are staged, hence the decision to build more rooms. Currently, Langkawi has a cumulative 8,000 rooms from hotels, resorts, chalets and lodging houses, an additional 800 rooms from last year. Meanwhile, Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Kedah Chapter chairman Pishol Ishak said some 2.4 million local and foreign tourists are expected to visit Langkawi this year. A total of 2.37 million tourists came to Langkawi last year.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Ministry To Give International Bite To Local Fruits At Airports

TANJONG KARANG, June 27 (Bernama) -- To give an international bite to the 'Eat Local Fruits' campaign, the agriculture and agro-based industry ministry wants to promote them to tourists upon arrival at local airports. The ministry was currently in discussion with Malaysia Airports Berhad to make this happen, minister Datuk Seri Noh Omar said last night. Earlier, he had attended the school-level 'Eat Local Fruits' campaign, in conjunction with a visit by Australian students at the Sungai Sireh Homestay here. The visit was organised by Selangor Federal Agriculture Marketing Authority (Fama).

Meanwhile, Noh said the ministry was mulling over setting up a centre in Johor Baharu where the public could not only buy fruits, but also relax and enjoy them. "Should the plan materialise, it would lure many visitors from Singapore, and I am confident tourists (in general) will return to Malaysia for our fruits," he said. Meanwhile, Selangor Fama director Rohizad Ridzwan said the 'Eat Local Frueat local fruits programme, jointly held with Sungai Sireh Homestay residents and local schools there, included eight exchange students from the Languarin Primary School in Melbourne, Australia. The students were accompanied by four teachers from Down Under. In the programme, Rohizad said students were briefed on local fruits, shown a demonstration on how to peel jackfruit and prepare a fruit cocktail, among others.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Government To Promote Durian Trial Tourism Package

BALIK PULAU, June 25 (Bernama) -- Durian will soon feature prominently in the country's tourism promotion campaign through the introduction of the "durian trail" package, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said. She said the ministry found that durian season was actually a good tourist attraction given the variety and quality of the country's durian, dubbed the King of Fruits.

"We have suggested that the Agriculture Department discuss with durian orchard owners and to contact the Tourism Ministry when the durian season arrives so that we can devise a package for tourists," she told reporters after opening a durian-eating competition here Friday. Ng said Malaysia exported durian to other countries like Singapore and the people there had to pay a hefty price for the fruit. "We can now offer a holiday package for tourists where they can come to Malaysia during the fruiting season," she said.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Malaysia Outline plan To Lure In Yield

MALAYSIA should enhance its product development and promotions to grab a greater share of the high-yield market. These were among the recommendations presented to industry leaders yesterday by consulting firm, Jelas Dinamik, which had been commissioned by the Tourism Ministry to conduct a study on developing niche segments for high-yield longhaul markets, namely the UK, Germany, France, Russia and Sweden.

The study examined 13 categories - MICE, taxi service, car rental, promotional activities, luxury trains, food festivals, luxury cruises, hotels, airlines, golf tourism, ecotourism, spa/wellness and medical tourism. The firm advised the Malaysian trade to create more boutique hotels, engage specialised marketing companies to push golf tourism and encourage environmentally-friendly certification of golf courses, allow foreign spa operators to enter the market, and carry out specific and focused promotional activities targeted at high-spending tourists.

To give ecotourism a further boost, facilities at lesser-known ecotourism locations should be upgraded and a variety of activities should be introduced at eco-lodges. The Malaysian government is seeking to escape the middle-income trap and capture a greater share of high-yield tourists. The 2020 target is to get 3.5 times more tourist receipts than the 2010 target of RM54 billion (US$16.8 million).
TTG Asia.

MASwings Monthly Passenger Load Increases To 80,000

MIRI, June 24 (Bernama) -- The number of passengers carried by MASwings, a Malaysia Airlines subsidiary operating in Sabah and Sarawak, has doubled since it commenced operations in 2007. Its Managing Director, Datuk Mohd Salleh Ahmad Tabrani said today the airline has flown a monthly average of 80,000 passengers as compared to about 40,000 when it first started. "This (the load increase) has been made possible through the fleet renewal programme that MASwings and MAS undertook," he said at a news conference after MAS Managing Director Tengku Datuk Azmil Zahruddin launched the new MASwings office here.

Mohd Salleh said under the fleet renewal programme, eight ageing Fokker F50 used in the initial operations were phased out and replaced by 10 ATR 72-500 aircraft. Following the acquisition of the new aircraft, he said the weekly frequencies of flights performed, had also increased from 450 to 950. MAswings, he disclosed, was also awaiting approval from the Transport Ministry for another DHC Twin-Otter aircraft to be added to its current fleet in meeting the growing demand for the Rural Air Service (RAS) here.

He said the airline currently had four such aircraft serving several airports in the northern region of the state. "We are hopeful, in the later part of this year or even next year, we can get the approval for the fifth Twin-Otter," he added. Mohd Salleh said the newly-launched MASwings office was also equipped with a facility to enable Twin-Otter pilots to undergo computer-based training for the aircraft. This was previously available only at Subang Airport, Selangor. "This (the availability of training facility) saves us a lot of time and cost in continuously training and updating our Twin-Otter pilots," he added.

KL Festival 2010 Set To Entrall Audiences

KUALA LUMPUR, June 25 (Bernama) -- With the World Cup football fever still gripping the nation, the capital will play host to the Kuala Lumpur (KL) Festival 2010 by arraying over 100 arts and cultural events next month. Maintaining the theme "Here the Arts Flourishes" since the festival kicked off in 2006, the city will be abuzzed with 115 events, including performing arts, visual arts, traditional games, language and literary events, tourism and recreational activities. Banners on KL Festival have already adorned the streets since last week. The festival will take off after it is launched by Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim at Taman Tasik Titiwangsa on Sunday.

Several major locations around the capital have been chosen as venues, including Kuala Lumpur City Hall, Istana Budaya, National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas), Kraftangan Malaysia, Tourism Ministry, National Arts and Culture Department, Petronas Gallery, Kuala Lumpur Tower, Actors Studio and Central Market. Eight concerts of different musical genres are set to fascinate the audience. They are Ella and the National Choir Concert at Istana Budaya, Gambus Concert: Tradition to Fusion (Taman Tasik Titiwangsa), Environmental Concert (Zoo Negara), Rain Vs Bunkface Concert (Live Hall KL, Life Centre). RTM Rentak Juara Final Concert (Anniversary Theatre, Taman Tasik Perdana), Dir... the Voice of 1Malaysia Concert by the National Choir (Live Hall KL, Life Centre), Nanta Cooking Musical (Plenary Hall, KLCC) and Zainal 31st Green Anniversary Concert (KL Tower).

For theatre fans, the Malaysian version of a Broadway musical, "Shout! The Mod Musical" at Kuala Lumpur Performing Art Centre (KLPac) from July 17 to 21 is much awaited. The musical, which revolves around five women who love the latest fashion during the 60s and 70s, will feature popular artistes like Ning Baizura as the lead character as well as Niki Palikat, Tria Aziz, Shanel Shanty James and Tisha Zarina. Other theatre performances include Uda and Dara Musical, Cuci Musical, Mak Yong, Ulek Mayang, Semarak Bangsawan Aladdin, After Juliet (English) and Apedi Apedi (Tamil).

Movie goers will have eight films to choose from at Finas - Santau, My Spy, Evolusi KL Drift 2, Pisau Cukur, Lu Pikirlah Sendiri the Movie, Duhai Si Pari-Pari, Adnan Sempit and Niyang Rapik.Other events in the pipeline are poetry recitation, a wedding promotion, coffin, Snake vs Snake and photo exhibitions, a street artists (buskers) performance and a Chinese opera.

The KL 1Malaysia Family Fair, 1Malaysia Contemporary Arts and Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival from July 24 to Sept 16 will be added attractions to foreign tourists. The KL Festival 2010 is jointly organised by the Information Communication and Culture Ministry, the Tourism Ministry and the Federal Territories and Urban Well-being Ministrty in efforts to make Kuala Lumpur a world class cultural city.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Malaysia Global Kitchen Campaign: Sharing Malaysian Cuisine With The World

GASTRONOMIC DELIGHT...Chef Zakary Pelaccio, spokesman for Malaysia Kitchen 2010 campaign in New York says the campaign is an excellent opportunity to introduce Malaysian cuisine to American taste buds, albeit with slight adjustments to suit local taste buds.Pic:Rosli Awang
KUALA LUMPUR, June 17 (Bernama) -- Malaysian cuisine is one of the most multi-cultural cuisines in the world. Foreign tourists are frequently bowled over by the wide array of deliciously hot and spicy spread that beckons them either on buffet tables in 5-star hotels or tantalisingly displayed at the humble food stalls at the ubiquitous night markets throughout the country.

Realising that Malaysian cuisine has that 'pull factor' to attract tourists, the Malaysian government launched the Malaysia Kitchen Programme in 2006 to promote the country through Malaysian restaurants abroad.

Subsequently in 2009, the Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) took over the coordination and promotion of the programme and initiated extensive advertising and promotion activities in London and New York.


In April 2010, Matrade launched its Global Malaysia Kitchen Campaign which is a more intensive promotion campaign incorporating two key components namely a Malaysia Kitchen Portal, and a restaurant financing package provided by EXIM Bank. "The Malaysia Kitchen Portal provides pertinent information about Malaysian restaurants overseas, while EXIM Bank's Malaysia Kitchen Financing Facility provides capital financing to Malaysian restaurateurs wishing to expand their operations overseas under the Global Malaysia Kitchen programme," Matrade CEO Noharuddin Nordin told Bernama.

Noharuddin said the Halal and Non-Halal certification for Malaysian restaurants operating overseas is entirely a voluntary matter. A Halal Certification may carry a definite advantage for restaurants catering to Muslim clientele, but might be inappropriate for those catering to mostly non-Muslim. "The restaurant owner is the best person to decide on the matter," he said.


Up until recently, there is really not much to offer in the way of good and authentic Malaysian dishes available in New York. Matrade's effort to promote Malaysian restaurants and cuisine in New York kicked off with a 4-course luncheon prepared by award-winning chef Zakary Pelaccio, and prominent Malaysian chefs Hasni Ghazali, Erik Cheah, and Kathy Wong from the International Culinary Centre in New York. This was followed with a Malaysian Restaurant Week running from June 14-20 during which participating Malaysian restaurants in New York showcased Malaysian dishes as dining specials to their customers.

A Malaysian Food Cooking Contest at New York's Institute of Culinary Education will be the highlight of the Malaysia Restaurant Week. The Malaysia Kitchen 2010 campaign in New York culminates with a Malaysian Food Truck where a chuck wagon will travel around Manhattan to offer signature Malaysian dishes from local Malaysian and Malaysian-inspired restaurants.


Matrade has also appointed Chef Pelaccio, proprietor of the Fatty Crab and Fatty Cue Restaurants in New York, as the spokesman for the Malaysia Kitchen 2010 campaign in New York. "My role is to promote Malaysian cuisine at my restaurants as well as those of other Malaysian restaurants in the United States and encourage New Yorkers to visit Malaysia to experience the multi-ethnic cuisine and culture," Pelaccio said. Having had the benefit of a one-year stint at the Seri Melayu Restaurant in Jalan Conlay, Kuala Lumpur, Pelaccio serves up a vast selection of Malaysian favourites like nasi lemak, nasi ulam, rendang, ikan bakar, kangkong belacan, assam laksa and chili crab among many others at his restaurants.

According to Pelaccio, his Malaysian experience has stood him in good stead with his customers where his version of Fatty Chili Crab is currently a 'hot' favorite among New Yorkers. "The Malaysia Kitchen campaign is an excellent opportunity to introduce Malaysian cuisine to American taste buds, however I have to make some slight adjustments in the ingredients used, to suit the American palate," Pelaccio said.


Pelaccio frequently visits Malaysia to source for local ingredients like spices, sauce and prawn paste which are hard to come by in New York, apart from trying out new Malaysian recipes to bring back home. "I am on the lookout for a local supplier for a steady consignment of 'kicap manis' (fermented sweet soya sauce) and 'belacan' (shrimp paste), as these are the two ingredients that I regularly use in my restaurants but are simply not available back home," he said to Bernama.

He has already shortlisted a local manufacturer who meet his requirements, especially with regards to quality control and packaging. "Once everything have been satisfactorily finalised, I can look forward to an uninterrupted supply for my kitchen and may even cultivate a niche market for Malaysian ingredients among my customers," he said.


To date, a total of 465 Malaysian restaurants located in the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Indonesia, Canada, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Germany, Netherlands and other countries worldwide are participating in the Malaysia Kitchen promotion programme.Undoubtedly, such elaborate promotion programmes coupled with flexible financing facilities and the support of Malaysian restaurateurs worldwide will go a long way in promoting Malaysia and its multicultural society to the world.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Compulsory Membership Is Good For The Industry: MATTA

Kuala Lumpur (2010-06-16) MALAYSIAN Association of Tour & Travel Agents (MATTA) wants to maintain the status quo on compulsory membership for members in order for them to obtain and renew their annual licenses. MATTA president Mohd Khalid Harun said compulsory membership had proven to be workable and beneficial to the industry. “With MATTA monitoring its members, the Tourism Ministry can rely on us to regulate the travel and tour industry. The ministry has to think hard before it decides to undo this structure that it had created in 2000.”

He said the call for non-compulsory membership was made by a few individuals and it did not represent the intentions of the majority of MATTA members. There was also no discontent among the majority of members. Mohd Khalid was commenting on the joint memorandums sent to the tourism ministry by the captains of five travel agencies last month and in August last year. The five associations were Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association, Malaysian Indian Travel and Tour Association, Car Rental Association of Malaysia, Bumitra Malaysia and Malaysian Chinese Tourism Association. Mohd Khalid called on these associations to approach MATTA for a dialogue.
-TTG Asia.

19 International Cultural Dance Troupes Expected At Folklore Festival This Year

KOTA KINABALU, June 16 (Bernama) -- The Sabah International Folklore Festival (SIFF) is back this year with 19 international cultural dance troupes expected to showcase their skills at the event from July 19 to 25. Nine troupes have already confirmed their participation in the fifth SIFF, namely from Latvia, India, Kazakhstan, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and China. Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman launched the promotion drive for the event today by giving away posters and stickers to the public at his office in Wisma Innoprise, here, Wednesday.

The festival which will be held at the Sabah Cultural Centre in Penampang, is an initiative by the Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry through the Sabah Cultural Board (LKNS). It aims to promote culture tourism among the participating countries through a prestigious international event. It is also to promote Sabah as an attractive tourist destination in Asia in line with the slogan, 'Malaysia Truly Asia', says LKNS in a statement. SIFF was first held in 2001, then in 2004, 2007, and 2009. Last year, it was participated by 11 countries including Malaysia (Negeri Sembilan troupe) and the Philippines, which won the Overall Winner title through its Tacloban Performing Arts Group. LKNS plans to hold this event annually from this year. A local folkdance competition will be held on July 21 and 22 from 7pm at the Sabah Cultural Centre, with the tickets priced at RM20 (premier class), RM10 (adults) and RM5 (under 17 years old).

There will be a prime show at Magellan, Sutera Harbour Resort on July 23, where Sabah Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Ahmadshah Abdullah is expected to attend. The international folkdance competition involving SIFF participants will be held on July 24 and 25 (finals), from 8pm at the Sabah Cultural Centre. The tickets are priced at RM50 (premier class), RM30 (adults) and RM10 (under 17 years old). The tickets can be obtained from the LKNS office in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Cultural Centre, Murut Cultural Centre in Tenom, and the Board's branches in Kota Belud, Kudat and Sandakan.

Monday, 14 June 2010

AirAsia Announces New Direct Daily Flights From KL To Yangon

KUALA LUMPUR, June 14 (Bernama) -- Low-cost carrier AirAsia is extending its route network to another Southeast Asian country, with direct daily flights to Yangon, Myanmar,from July 20. To celebrate the introduction of the new route, the airline is offering all-in-fares for Kuala Lumpur - Yangon, from as low as RM29 one way. "Booking starts from June 14 to June 20, for the travel period of July 20 to May 8, 2011." Promotional seats are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis and made exclusively online via," AirAsia said in a statement here Monday.

The new route will be serviced by a Airbus A320 aircraft with a 180 passenger capacity. "Myanmar will see a big boost in tourist entries with this direct daily flight from Kuala Lumpur to Yangon. "Customers from Europe, China, India, Australia and around the Asean region utilising our Kuala Lumpur hub now, have a more affordable option to travel to Myanmar," AirAsia's Regional Head of Commercial, Kathleen Tan said. AirAsia's foray into Myanmar completes the 10 countries under the Asean network.The low-cost carrier currently flies to Yangon from its Bangkok hub with daily flights.

Korean Air To Resume Chartered Flights To Langkawi Next Year

LANGKAWI, June 14 (Bernama) -- South Korea's national carrier, Korean Air, is expected to resume chartered flight services to Langkawi, especially for it's tourists, starting next year. Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) assistant senior manager 1, Hanafi Ahmad said, the assurance was given by officers from the airline company in Seoul recently. He added that the airline had in 2007 serviced the route, catering for chartered flights, but suspended the service following the global economic crisis in 2007.

Hanafi said direct chartered flights from Seoul-Langkawi would become more frequent during summer months, namely July and August. "We have the facilities and capability to handle big carriers since Langkawi has an international airport," he said here Monday. Hanafi added that he and LADA tourism officer Nor Azman Yusof and Tourism Malaysia officials had been to Seoul as part of a promotional tour and to participate in the Korean Travel Fair (KOTFA). According to LADA's statistics unit, about 8,000 South Korean tourists visited Langkawi last year.

Tourism Ministry Urges Airlines To Have Direct Flights To Zhengzhou

ZHENGZHOU, June 14 (Bernama) -- The Tourism Ministry would look into arranging direct flights to Zhengzhou from Malaysia, said its minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen. She said Zhengzhou could act as a transportation hub, which when completed with its high-speed railway facilities, would allow tourists to travel to many other districts in China. "Direct flights will encourage tourists from China to travel to Malaysia and vice versa," she said, adding that Malaysia, meanwhile, could also act as the tourism centre for China tourists who want to travel within the Asean region. "I will urge Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia to open up new routes to fly to Zhengzhou," she told Bernama, here, Sunday.

Dr Ng, who is on a four-day working trip to China, is visiting Guangzhou and Zhengzhou. She held dialogues with local tourism operators and attended the International Mayor's Forum on Tourism (IMFT) in Henan on Friday. Malaysia won the Best Video Award at the IMFT, which is being held here with the theme, "Tourism for Better City Life" and participants from more than 50 cities worldwide to study city tourism. Ng said the ministry targeted to achieve 1.1 million tourist arrivals this year, which would be 10 per cent higher than the target reached last year. She said the ministry would also focus on bilateral investment where Malaysia's tourism operators would be given the opportunity to invest in China and vice versa. Dr Ng disclosed she was satisfied with the results of the trip, including inviting a group of 400 people from China to hold a bicycle exhibition in Malaysia in November.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Tourism Ministry To Focus On Promoting Eco-Tourism - Yen Yen

XUCHANG (China), June 13 (Bernama) -- Malaysia's Tourism Ministry is to focus on promoting eco-tourism in Malaysia as its future tourism development plan, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said here. She said Malaysia had more then 1,000 species of flowering plants which could be developed into an interesting tourism product. "Ecological tourism has a potential market which is yet to be developed and many European tourists are very interested in visiting garden and flower expos," she said, adding that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak also supported the idea of promoting ecological tourism in Malaysia.

"Malaysia won a gold medal in its maiden participation in the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show 2010, and this has proven that Malaysian tropical plants can be turned into an attractive tourism product," she said after a meeting with the mayor of the Xuchang Municipal Government, Li Ya, on Saturday. Ng, who is on a four-day working trip to China, is visiting Guang Zhou and Zhengzhou. She had held dialogues with local tourism operators and attended the International Mayors' Forum on Tourism (IMFT) in Henan on Friday. Ng said the ministry would look into the possibility of Malaysia signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Xuchang in conducting garden and flower expo visiting tours. "The ministry will hold the Malaysia International Floral Parade in Putrajaya on July 10 and Xuchang will hold its international flower festival in September this year. "This could be a chance for both countries to conduct bilateral tours to visit these events and encourage China tourists to visit Malaysia and vice versa," she said. Ng also expressed Malaysia's interest to participate in the Xuchang international flower festival to showcase Malaysian flowering plants to China. She also suggested to Li that Xuchang should consider exporting its unique pottery known as Jun porcelain to Malaysia and turn Malaysia into a trading centre for the pottery for Asean countries.

At her meeting with Henan Governor Guo Gengmao earlier, Ng had proposed that Henan consider promoting its historic places to Malaysian tourists while Malaysia would introduce its multicultural uniqueness to China tourists. "Exchanging ideas and suggestions always helps to develop the tourism industry by introducing different packages to be offered to tourists," she said. Ng also emphasised that the development of the tourism industry with other Asean countries as well as China should focus on collaboration rather than competition.

Living Batik

Out of a love for travel and batik, an enterprising woman in Kuching has opened a boutique hotel that pays homage to the art. The Land of the Hornbills makes me smile every time as Sarawak is one of my favourite states. Why? Because the people here are friendly, the culture diverse and its natural treasures amazing. But one thing about this city bugs me, though — there isn’t a lot of choice when it comes to lodging. Accommodation here is either an impersonal five-star hotel or a cheaper alternative that lacks character. So naturally I was thrilled to hear of Kuching’s latest addition: a boutique hotel with 15 rooms, right in the heart of Kuching. Batik Boutique Hotel opened just two months ago in April, but already it is attracting both local and international travellers via smart online marketing — a customer-friendly website and links to social networking sites.

The Batik Boutique Hotel stands proud in Jalan Padungan. “Response has been picking up. I’ve had enquiries from locals, Singaporeans, Australians and Europeans, all via the Internet. A German even booked the entire place for a weekend for his wedding party to stay,” reveals Jacqueline Fong, the mistress of the hotel. An avid traveller herself, this bubbly 34-year-old decided to open her own hotel after a particularly memorable stay in a hotel abroad. “I stayed in Kybele Hotel in the old city of Istanbul, and it was such a fun experience. Most of the guests there were returnees who would gather every night to share stories on their travels,” Fong recalls.

So enjoyable was the experience that Fong, who was supposed to backpack around Turkey, ended up staying in the hotel for a week. “That’s the atmosphere I want to recreate here — a social hotel where people can meet and exchange stories about life and anything at all. I want to create a destination, rather than an accommodation within a destination,” she explains. Batik Boutique Hotel has the feel of an upmarket guesthouse and targets the growing number of flashpackers (wealthier backpackers), families, independent and business travellers who want comfort and character. Just don’t expect the amenities of a five-star resort.

The batik theme is everywhere. The first thing you might notice is that the hotel does not have a proper reception desk outside. The lobby opens out to a lounge bed with comfortable pillows where guests are served welcome drinks, and a bar next to this is where you will find the staff. Beyond the bar is the courtyard where guests lounge under the open skies or immerse in a Jacuzzi with cocktail in hand. The ground floor toilets catch the eye because large batik-garbed male and female figurines beckon you towards them. The toilet doors were created using haphazardly pieced-together wood strips. Fong says they made it out of leftover parquet material. Awesome! What a way to recycle!

Even the round dining table in the adjoining Japanese restaurant was specially designed using discarded wood. As you may have guessed from its name, the hotel has batik as its theme. “I just love batik and so have invested a lot in the design (of the hotel). It would be easy to expand the hotel into a chain around South-East Asia in the future as batik is synonymous with the region,” grins Fong. You can find the batik motif everywhere, from the hotel’s frontage to the foot stools, walls and lights. Even the bathroom floor has a beautiful batik design.

However, the lobby leading to the rooms has an industrial look. It seems unfinished somehow because of the bare concrete floors and ceilings with piping adorning them, but the 15 rooms are cosy. I like the vibrant colours in each with LED lights lining the floor. My room is solid red. All rooms are stylishly designed with distinct configurations. My city-facing suite is decked with a king bed and bathroom that integrates seamlessly when you slide the glass doors open. It’s great idea for those who want to surf TV channels while soaking in their gorgeous terrazzo bathtub. To compensate for the lack of scenery, they have made the middle suites the sexiest rooms in the property with a “floating” four-poster bed, an illusion achieved by the way the beds are designed. These suites have adjoining rooms equipped with a king bed and a balcony overlooking the courtyard — perfect for families or groups.

The rooms that overlook the courtyard are furnished with two single beds. Each has a day-bed that can accommodate a small child quite comfortably. These too are adjoining rooms. “There’s much to be done still and we are constantly improving and upgrading our facilities based on guest feedback. I would like to add more personal touches to the rooms, such as designer coffee plungers, custom-made furniture and funky robes which will arrive very soon,” says Fong.

Batik Boutique Hotel
38, Jalan Padungan
Kuching, Sarawak
Tel: +6082-4BATIK (+6082 422845 )

o A night’s stay costs RM250 with breakfast for two at Tarot Salmon, the adjoining Japanese restaurant, included.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Tourism Now Included In Five-year Plan As Major Economic Player, Says Ng

ZHENGZHOU, June 12 (Bernama) -- For the first time ever, the tourism industry has been included in the country's Five-Year Plan as a major economic player, said Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen. She said this was because the government had now realised the importance of the tourism industry to the country's economic development. "Previously, the tourism industry was ranked only as a minor player in Malaysia's economic development," she said after meeting with the chairman of China National Tourism Administration, Shao Qiwei, here, Friday. According to the 10th Malaysia Plan report, Malaysia targets to improve its position to be among the top 10 countries, in terms of global tourism receipts in 2015. Dr Ng said the tourism industry contributed nine per cent to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) last year by generating RM1 billion in revenue per week.

"With the implementation of the liberalisation policy by the government, the industry can achieve greater development for many tourism-related industries," said Dr Ng who is on a four-day working trip to Guangzhou and Zhengzhou in China. She said as the Chinese government had also included the tourism industry as an economic pillar, she believed that China as a major partner for Malaysia in this sector, could bring further development to the industry. She also suggested that China and Malaysia set up a task force to study the possibility of collaborating in providing tourism services through mobile phones. Meanwhile, Shao said the Chinese government would continue to encourage people in the country to travel abroad. "However, we should not only focus on two-way traffic in tourist arrivals but to also look at the bigger picture," he said, adding that tourism had turned into a modern service industry which also brought development to many other sectors. Shao said the China-Asean Free Trade Agreement (FTA) also helped to promote tourism with Asean countries.

Later, when delivering her keynote address at the International Mayors Forum on Tourism (IMFT) in Henan, Dr Ng said Kuala Lumpur was a significant example of a tourism city with its modern infrastructure and variety of entertainment. "We believe that tourism does not discourage environmental protection. In fact, tourism helps to protect eco-balance in the city," she added. The First IMFT was held in Zhengzhou, Henan Province in April 2008. The second IMFT, which is held here now with the theme, "Tourism for Better City Life", has attracted the participation of more than 50 cities. Dr Ng, who represented Malaysia, was the only representative invited to give a keynote address at the event.

Rahsia Estates Plans High-End Developments In Langkawi

KUALA LUMPUR, June 11 (Bernama) -- Property developer Rahsia Estates Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Riverbank Suites Sdn Bhd, has chosen Langkawi for its newest project called Rahsia Estates Residences & Spa Langkawi. Group Chief Executive Officer Hanizah Tun Abdul Hamid said the gross development value would be approximately RM250 million while the total cost RM180 million. "It will be parceled into four different precints with various types of resort properties comprising a niche boutique-style hotel offering 18 luxury villas, a five-star hotel complex with 110 club suites, and 31 cabana villas positioned as prime residential choices," she said.

She told this to reporters after the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signing ceremony between Rahsia Estates and Asian Finance Bank Bhd (AFB) here Friday. The MOA between AFB and Rahsia Estates is a strategic partnership whereby the bank will be introducing the property to local and international investors interested in high-profile properties in prime locations. AFB, a full-fledged Islamic bank, is backed by Qatar Islamic Bank, RUSD Investment Bank Inc of Saudi Arabia and Global Investment House of Kuwait.

Present at the event were Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit and AFB Chief Executive Officer Datuk Mohamed Azahari Kamil. The resort, sprawled across 6.9 hectares of undulating land facing the Andaman Sea and Pulau Dayang Bunting, was set to be Langkawi's first niche mixed residential and commercial development, Hanizah said. "The development will abide and follow the guidelines as laid out by the Green Building Index once operational by the year 2014. "It stands to become one of Langkawi's award-winning landmarks, offering luxurious accomodation, and top-rated customer services within a gated community and security service.

"As the economic climate is on a recovery trend, Rahsia Estates notes the demand for such a mixed-property development project. This will appeal to discerning tourists who enjoy a certain lifestyle, as well as second home-buyers wishing to set up home base and live in the island, particularly, those who are participating in the Malaysia-My-Second-Home programme," she said. Meanwhile, Azahari said he had confidence in Rahsia Estates' resort project in Langkawi eventhough the property market was currently "soft". "The company has secured one of the best locations on the island that stands to ensure the development's successful completion and visitors' satisfaction. "The bank believes that property transactions will start to move upwards in the near future since there are positive signs of recovery," he said.

He said Rahsia Estates Residences & Spa Langkawi would become the most attractive and rare property jewel to be acknowledged as one of the nation's luxurious property resorts and one of the iconic resorts of Langkawi. "The bank's strategy is to market the property to its Middle Eastern network to take advantage of the potential of this exquisite property development in the region," he said.
The bank had already identified potential buyers from the Middle East, he added.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Visa-free Transit For Indian Subcontinent Nationals From July 1

KUALA LUMPUR: To attract more tourists, the government will start issuing a “visa-free transit” facility for nationals from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka starting July 1. This step was introduced to attract more tourists from the four countries this year. A statement from the Immigration department Friday said that the government was expecting 650,000 tourists this year.
-the star.

MITA Denies Part In Presscon But Supports Non-compulsary MATTA Membership

THE MALAYSIAN Indian Travel and Tour Association (MITA) has clarified that it "does not bear grievances against Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents (MATTA)", following a report on national travel and tour associations urging the Malaysian tourism minister to end compulsory membership in MATTA (TTG Asia e-Daily, June 4). MITA president, K Thangavelu, said his association was not part of the June 3 joint press conference by captains of Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association, Car Rental Association of Malaysia, Bumitra Malaysia and Malaysian Chinese Tourism Association. He, however, said MITA supported the call for non-compulsory MATTA membership as this would save members from paying double membership annual fees and assist MITA with its membership drive. K Thangavelu added that MITA, along with the other associations, sent memorandums to the Tourism Ministry of this matter in August 2009 and last month.
-TTG Asia.

Tourism Ministry To Launch Student Discovery Malaysia Programme In China

GUANGZHOU, June 11 (Bernama) -- Malaysia is stepping up its tourism promotion in China, a key market, and will launch a Student Discovery Malaysia programme in Shenzhen at the end of the month to attract youngsters. The programme is targeted at 10 to 15-year-olds to visit Malaysia with their parents, said Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen, who is on a four-day working visit here. "Through the programme, we are introducing educational tours such as discovering the flora and fauna in Malaysia through jungle trekking," she told Bernama on Friday. Tour packages at affordable prices will be included in the programme to attract more families from China to visit Malaysia.

A group of 128 will be the first group to join the programme to visit the Kota Tinggi Resort at end of this month. Dr Ng urged Malaysian resort and tour operators to participate in the programme to help promote the country's tourism industry. "Besides educational tours, the ministry is also trying to link four-wheel drive associations in Malaysia and China to organise tours in Malaysia as our country can be the ideal location for four-wheel adventures," she added. Dr Ng will also visit Zhengzhou city in central Henan province to attend the International Mayors Forum on Tourism today and meet local tour operators.

Malaysia will also participate in the World Tourism Day celebration in Guangzhou city on Sept 27 with 12 booths to promote Malaysian tourism products at the an exhbition. "Some 200 million people are expected to visit the exhibition and the ministry is planning to conduct an investment seminar during the event to bring more investments from China to Malaysia," she added.

Tourism Ministry Would Consider Guangzhou District As An Import Centre For Malaysia Durian

GUANGZHOU, June 10 (Bernama) -- The Tourism Ministry is considering making Guangzhou district a centre for exporting Malaysia durian to China, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen. "Guangzhou is a huge fruit market which has great potential for fruit export and Malaysia is yet to explore this market," she said at a dinner hosted by Guangdong Province Tourism Administration chairman Yang Rongsen here on Thursday. She said the short distance between Guangzhou and Malaysia was ideal for Malaysian durian to be exported to China to ensure that the fruit maintained its freshness. "The ministry will work with the Agriculture and Agro-based Ministry to discuss exporting durian to Guangzhou," she said.

Dr Ng, who is on an four-day working trip to China, is visiting Guangzhou and Zhengzhou. She will hold dialogues with the local tourism operators and attend the International Mayor's Forum on Tourism (IMFT) in Henan on Friday. Dr Ng said that with the increasing tourist arrivals from Guangzhou to Malaysia, Malaysia Airline had doubled its daily flight from Guangzhou to Kuala Lumpur from one flight per day. The Southern Airline in China had also opened up a new route from Guangzhou to Penang with a daily flight, she added. Dr Ng said she was informed by the Guangzhou tourism operators that the new route had received great response the locals. Meanwhile, Yang, in his speech, said Malaysia had emerged as a popular destination for tourists from Guangzhou and the district was looking at working with Malaysia in promoting the tourism industry for both sides. "Exploring the fruit market here by importing delicious fruits such as durian is a great idea in promoting the tourism industry as durian is the favourite fruit of many locals here," he said.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

MyCEB Comes Out Of Its Shell

A Young Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) is gaining a sure-footing, tabling a proposal to the government for an undisclosed, "much larger" funding and brushing aside questions about its "neutrality". Operational in August 2009, the bureau said it supported 15 bids last year representing 16,150 delegates and RM147 million (US$44 million) spending. MyCEB's budget looks a pittance at RM10 million per financial year currently. It is angling for a "much larger" funding and one that covers three years instead of one in order to compete in international association meetings bidding.

The bureau is proving its worth with one of its biggest catches this year being the 2,500-pax Federation of International Surveyors International Congress 2014. To gain endorsement as a central bureau, it is also out to show it is neutral and supports all of Malaysia's major convention states - Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Langkawi and Sarawak, which has its own convention bureau. A new corporate logo has been unveiled and the bureau's staff strength has been budgeted to grow from five now to over 20 by mid-year. A new office in the heart of Kuala Lumpur city centre further signals MyCEB is here to stay.
-TTG Asia.

Ramadan Summer Festival To Attract Arab Tourists

KUALA LUMPUR: The first ever Malaysia Ramadan Summer Festival, featuring food, shopping and fun-filled activities till the early hours of the morning, will be held in i-City Shah Alam to attract Middle Eastern tourists during this Ramadan in August. Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said the i-City, which provides 24-hour tourism products and facilities, would be promoted to encourage Arab tourists to visit Malaysia.

She said that as Ramadan fell during the Arab summer holidays, the ministry would work with i-City to develop suitable tourism products for the fasting month. She said special strategies had been drawn up carefully to ensure tourist arrivals from Middle East could be maintained. “Ramadan will fall during the summer, not only this year, but all the way to 2015. “We have to strategise carefully and work hard. Otherwise tourist arrivals from the Middle East will definitely drop,” she told a press conference Wednesday.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Kuala Krau Forest Gazetted As Pahang Bio-Valley

TEMERLOH, June 8 (Bernama) -- Pahang has gazetted 76,000 ha of the Kuala Krau Forest Reserve near Lanchang as the state bio-valley and logging is prohibited in the area. State Information, Innovation, Science and Technology Committee chairman Datuk Mohd Sharkar Shamsuddin said with the move, encroachment, felling of trees and poaching were banned in the 1,000-year-old forest.

The forest is endowed with precious wildlife such as rhinoceros, deer, antelope, napuh and wild ox, he told reporters after attending the Biodiversity Goodwill Programme hosted by the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) in Bukit Rengit, Lanchang, near here Tuesday. Mohd Sharkar, who is also Lanchang assemblyman, said the state government was also planning to turn Lanchang into a natural food production centre with a honey processing factory and a mineral water plant being earmarked for the area. "Lanchang has enough resources for the production of honey and mineral water. The projects will not only be a source of income for the local community but also the state government," he said.

Friday, 4 June 2010

International Harley Big Bikers Rally In Malaysia

Malaysia will soon be filled with the distinctive “chug-chug-chug” of Harley Davidson bikes as a convoy of between 200 and 300 riders from all over the world rendezvous in Kuala Lumpur to participate in the 1st Southeast Asia Harley Owners Group Rally 2010.

The group, members of the Harley Owners Group from Australia, Brunei, China, England, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Macao, New Zealand, Singapore and the USA, is here to experience the thrill of cruising along Malaysian highways. The first leg of their trip covers Singapore on 4 June, followed by Singapore-KL from 5-6 June, KL-Hatyai on 7 June and Krabi Island from 8-11 June.

The Malaysian leg of the rally will expose the riders to the smooth ride along the Melaka highway, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Genting Highway, and northwards to the Malaysia-Thailand border. The riders will get to experience Kuala Lumpur’s exciting street-party scene along the Golden Triangle area, ride through the beautifully-landscaped Putrajaya city, and visit Bentong town for a Malaysian tropical fruits treat.

Organised by the Harley Owners Group in Southeast Asia, the event is a joint effort by the Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Brunei chapters of the highly-prestigious club. Tourism Malaysia is a co-sponsor of the event.

Due to the growing interest in big bike tours, Tourism Malaysia is keen to develop this niche interest into another highly-marketable tourism product. Malaysia is well-positioned as an attractive biking destination thanks to its well-connected highways, exotic culture, and diverse attractions. There is also an opportunity to work with neighbouring countries to create a three-destination biking package that will offer more value-for-money for bike enthusiasts.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Royal Jordanian kembali ke Malaysia

Tiga pramugari Royal Jordanian, (dari kiri), Faikratol, Nath Phan dan Oraib Abu Al Haija memperkenalkan perkhidmatan syarikat penerbangan itu pada Majlis Sambutan Ketibaan Pesawat Royal Jordanian buat pertama kalinya selepas tujuh tahun di KLIA, semalam.

KUALA LUMPUR 2 Jun - Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) menyasarkan dua lagi syarikat penerbangan asing akan mengadakan perkhidmatannya di Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Kuala lumpur (KLIA) pada tahun ini.

Sekiranya persetujuan dicapai, ia akan menjadikan jumlah keseluruhan syarikat yang beroperasi di KLIA kepada 62 buah, kata Pengarah Urusannya, Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad hari ini.

Bashir berkata, ketika ini, MAHB sedang menjalankan perbincangan dengan beberapa buah syarikat penerbangan untuk memulakan perkhidmatan mereka.

Beliau berkata demikian kepada pemberita pada majlis menyambut penerbangan Royal Jordanian, di KLIA, hari ini.

Penerbangan Royal Jordanian menyambung kembali perkhidmatan ke Kuala Lumpur selepas terhenti selama tujuh tahun dan penerbangan pertama tiba di KLIA pada pukul 7.30 malam, melalui Bangkok, Thailand.

Royal Jordanian menawarkan perkhidmatan tiga kali seminggu ke Malaysia melalui Bangkok iaitu pada Isnin, Rabu dan Jumaat menggunakan pesawat Airbus 330.

Bashir berkata, pihaknya berharap syarikat penerbangan berkenaan akan menawarkan penerbangan terus dari Amman, Jordan ke Kuala Lumpur.

Sebelum ini, MAHB berjaya menarik dua lagi syarikat penerbangan dari Timur Tengah iaitu Oman Air dan Mahan Air.

Sementara itu, Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif Royal Jordanian, Hussein Dabbas berkata, keputusan untuk menyambung semula laluan ke Malaysia adalah disebabkan pertumbuhan ekonomi yang menggalakkan di negara berkenaan dan menganggapkan Malaysia sebagai pintu masuk ke Asia Tenggara.

Dabbas berkata, perkhidmatan ini akan memberi kelebihan dari segi ekonomi dan juga jaringan sosial kepada kedua-dua negara pada masa hadapan.

-utusan online.

Tune Hotels Opens ninth Hotel In Kota Damansara

KUALA LUMPUR, June 3 (Bernama) -- Tune today opened its latest hotel in the Kota Damansara township of Petaling Jaya, complementing its existing hotels in the Klang Valley. Tune Hotel Kota Damansara is the ninth hotel to open since Tune launched its first in 2007, making it one of the fastest growing hotel chains. The opening came two weeks after Tune Hotel Danga Bay in Johor Baharu started operations on May 15, 2010. "This is our commitment to the tourism and hospitality industries. We want to be a relevant player both domestically and internationally," said Tune's group chief executive officer Mark Lankester. "Affordable accommodation offered by Tune Hotels not only spurs domestic and local travel but also attracts foreign tourists who have contributed significantly to the economy," he said.

Under its global expansion plan, Tune has forged strategic partnerships with Apodis Hospitality Group for 20 hotels in India by 2012, Bangkok-based Evolution Capital PCL for 44 hotels across Thailand, China, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Indonesia, and UK-based Queensbay Group Ltd for 15 hotels in London. Recently, Tune formed a 50-50 joint venture with Singapore-based Plato Capital Ltd to have 10 operational assets in South-East Asia, Australia and the United Kingdom by 2013. Together with homegrown development in Malaysia,
Tune targets to have 100 operational hotels worldwide by 2012. Tune Hotel Kota Damansara is jointly developed and operated by Tune and Easywell Sdn Bhd.

Sabah To Host World Tourism Conference In October

KOTA KINABALU, June 2 (Bernama) -- Sabah will host the prestigious World Tourism Conference (WTC) on Oct 4-6, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said. He said the event would provide opportunities for the state's tourism sector to showcase Sabah's assets to the international delegations and provide avenue for stakeholders to participate. Musa said the federal government had approved an allocation of RM500,000 to the Tourism Ministry to organise the event. "We welcome and thank the federal government especially the Tourism Ministry for suggesting that the event be hosted by Sabah," he told reporters after chairing the state cabinet meeting, here Wednesday.

He said the WTC 2007, hosted by Kuala Lumpur, attracted 826 participants from 72 countries including 13 ministerial-level participations. "This will bring about positive impact to the state's tourism sector. We hope that participations would be as many as the WTC 2007 in Kuala Lumpur," he said. According to the WTC website, the conference, organised by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, was held for the first time in Manila, the Philippines in 1980 followed by Acapulco, Mexico in 1982. After an absence of 25 years, the WTC returned for the third time in Kuala Lumpur in 2007.

MAHB Eyes Two More Airlines

SEPANG, June 2 (Bernama) -- Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd expects two more airlines from the region to fly into the KL International Airport (KLIA) this year, says Managing Director Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad. "We are currently in talks with a few airlines and hope to finalise two before year-end," he told reporters at a welcoming reception for the Royal Jordanian Airline which resumed its services to Kuala Lumpur Wednesday after a seven-year hiatus. The Royal Jordanian's flight arrived at the KLIA at 7.30pm on a routing via Bangkok, Thailand. The airline ceased its operations to Kuala Lumpur in 2003.

It is the third Middle Eastern airline that MAHB managed to secure this year after Oman Air and Mahan Air. Royal Jordanian will fly to Malaysia three times a week with flights scheduled for Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with a stopover in Bangkok on its latest Airbus 330. "We look forward to their success on this route and hope that the airline will be offering direct flights between Amman and Kuala Lumpur very soon," Bashir said. The airline's chief executive officer Hussein Dabbas meanwhile said the decision to reconnect route to Malaysia was due to the positive growth in the country, which is considered a gateway to Southeast Asia. Dabbas said Jordan was a stopover destination for Malaysian passengers travelling to the holy places in Mecca and Medina.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

AirAsia To Have Two Daily Flights To Phnom Penh

KUALA LUMPUR, June 1 (Bernama) -- AirAsia will begin its second direct daily flight from Kuala Lumpur to the Phnom Penh International Airport on August 25 to meet the increased demand from business and leisure travellers. The low-cost carrier will start with 14 weekly flights to the city, it said in a statement Tuesday. Phnom Penh is the first Cambodian destination to be serviced from Kuala Lumpur and AirAsia currently flies to Siem Reap daily from here. AirAsia's regional head of commercial, Kathleen Tan, said the Phnom Penh route had recorded a strong demand with over 480,000 passengers carried since its first flight to Cambodia. "This service will give travellers better connectivity by reducing transmit times when connecting to further destination from Kuala Lumpur hub to other cities," she said. Tan said with the second daily flight, passengers will have a smarter alternative travelling choices to fly low cost and enjoy other value-added services offered via online booking. The airline also announced its new promotion from as low as RM69 for bookings made from June 1 to 6, 2010, for travel between August 25, 2010, to May 8, 2011.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

KTMB To Make Rail Tourism Package Permanent Feature

KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 (Bernama) -- Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) will make its rail tourism package a permanent feature in its bid to expand its services. The programme which is undertaken by KTMB Intercity Service with the cooperation of the Tourism Ministry will focus on homestay in areas served by the railway line. They include historical areas and those with certain attractions like Gemas and Tampin in Negeri Sembilan. Marketing manager for the Strategic Business Unit of KTMB's Intercity Service, Mohd Noordin Kimi, said the rail tourism programme was expected to be introduced this July in an effort to diversify the services of KTMB, which would be celebrating its 125th anniversary Tuesday.

He said although since five years ago, KTMB had created tourism packages on its own, they were not expansive, but this time with the involvement of the Tourism Ministry, there would be more focus. "We will now focus on promoting tourism in areas where the railway line passes through, with the programme having 10 themes including relaxation, education, recreation, sports, health and religion," he said. "The relaxation theme, for instance, will include a visit to Langkawi Island, shopping in Padang Besar, and a visit to Hat Yai and Kelantan. "In the education-themed package, primary school pupils from the urban areas will be able to spend their holidays in a rural setting." .Mohd Noordin said the Tourism Ministry would draw up the travel packages, decorate the coaches involved, put up banners and issue brochures and pamphlets on the programme, besides monitoring the programme. "A committee comprising representatives from the ministry, KTMB, homestay operators associations and other relevant parties will be formed to ensure smooth running of the rail tourism programme and good public response to it." He said KTMB had officially appointed six travel agents to manage the programme that was targeted to attract 18,000 local and foreign tourists yearly.