Saturday, 31 July 2010

Promote Traditional Foodfare To Entice Tourists - SEDC Chairman

KUCHING, July 31 (Bernama) -- The Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) wants Malay villages situated along the banks of Sungai Sarawak, to promote the "cendol" dessert to local tourists, State Tourism Assistant Minister Datuk Talip Zulpilip said on Saturday. Talip, who is also SEDC chairman, said the dessert originating from Kampung Sungai Bedil Besar, was already being promoted at Riverside Majestic Hotel and Grand Margherita Hotel, both owned by the SEDC.

Cendol is made from coconut milk, a worm-like jelly made from rice flour with green food colouring derived from the pandan leaf, shaved ice and palm sugar. "The cendol from this village has received tremendous response from tourists. "Foreign tourists find such traditional food fare, which is delicious and wholesome, very exotic," he said when launching a food fair at Kampung Sungai Bedil Besar, Petra Jaya, near here. The two-day food fair is being held in conjunction with the ongoing Sarawak Regatta.

Talip was confident sales of traditional food products would help uplift the socio-economic status of villagers by the spin-offs created when tourists visit their villages. Additional delicacies from Kampung Sungai Bedil Besar is expected to be included in the Ramadhan menu to be served at SEDC's two hotels.

Malaysia Airlines Offers More Direct Flights To Sydney And Brisbane

KUALA LUMPUR, July 30 -- Malaysia Airlines (MAS) will offer two additional direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney and three new flights from Kuala Lumpur to Brisbane effective Oct 31, 2010. The two new flights to Sydney will depart Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9.00am and arrive at 7.55pm. Collectively, MAS would offer 14 weekly flights to Sydney, said the airline in a statement Friday.

Customers will also enjoy five weekly flights to Brisbane except for Tuesday and Thursday. The three additional flights will depart Kuala Lumpur every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at 9.40am and arrive in Brisbane at 7.55pm. Tickets are now available for purchase at Malaysia Airlines Senior General Manager Commercial Strategy Dr Amin Khan said,"We are delighted to boost our services to Australia. Both Brisbane and Sydney have shown growth with an average load factor of 73 per cent, four per cent higher than last year." Apart from Sydney and Brisbane, Malaysia Airlines also connects to Melbourne 14 times weekly, Perth 10 times weekly and Adelaide four times a week.

35% Of Tourism Income From Shopping By 2020

KUCHING, July 29 (Bernama) -- The Tourism Ministry is targeting to achieve 35 per cent of income generated by the tourism industry from shopping activities by the year 2020, said its deputy minister, Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit. He said more aggressive efforts were needed from entrepreneurs in the tourism industry, including owners of shopping outlets, by intensifying promotion outside the country to turn Malaysia into a leading shopping destination regionally and internationally. "Currently, Singapore and Hong Kong are still among the favourite shopping destinations for tourists recording 35 per cent of their tourism income, with Hong Kong recording almost 55 per cent, and we want to achieve the 35 per cent mark by 2020," he said at the launching the Sarawak level of the Malaysian Mega Cheap Sale Carnival 2020, at the Sarawak Plaza shopping centre, here Saturday.

He said that in terms of income generated by the tourism industry last year, 28.3 per cent or RM15.11 billion of the RM53.4 billion overall income came from shopping while 31.1 per cent came from accommodation and 17.4 per cent from food and beverage. The Mega Sale attracted 6.3 million tourists which was an increase of 12.4 per cent compared to the figure recorded in 2008, where Malaysia only received 5.37 million tourists, he added.

Agong Officiates Malaysia International Dive Expo 2010

KUALA LUMPUR, July 30 (Bernama) -- Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Friday officiated the Fifth Malaysia International Dive Expo (MIDE) 2010. Tuanku Mizan, accompanied by Raja Permaisuri Agong, Tuanku Nur Zahirah and their four children, also toured the expo. Their son Tengku Muhammad Mua'az and daughter, Tengku Fatimatuz Zahra' also participated in the Reading Pledge with Kids Scuba Ranger during the opening ceremony at the Putra World Trade Centre here.

Also present were Secretary General, Ministry of Tourism Malaysia Datuk Ong Hong Peng and National Art Gallery director-general Datuk Mohd Yusof Ahmad. The fifth edition of the expo, which has 250 booths and 150 exhibitors, is expected to attract more than 10,000 visitors. Besides sales of diving products and packages for dive destinations, there will also be seminars, workshops for digital underwater photography and talk shows hosted throughout the three days of the expo.

More South Koreans To Visit Malaysia With AirAsia X Daily Flights

SEOUL, July 30 (Bernama) -- Malaysia will receive more tourists from South Korea when budget long haul airline AirAsia X operates daily Seoul-Kuala Lumpur flights starting November. Tourism Malaysia deputy director Said Zulkifli Said Ahmad said flights between Incheon International Airport (IIA) and KL International Airport (KLIA) will be launched in Seoul on Aug 2. He said the Kuala Lumpur-Seoul daily flights would increase South Korean tourist arrivals to Malaysia to 300,000 compared to 250,000 last year. "Tourism Malaysia will campaign hard as South Koreans usually travel during the winter months of November until February," he told Malaysian reporters at his Seoul office in Hansung Building here Friday.

Korean tourists who comprise mostly golfers, environmentalists and scuba divers love to visit Malaysia as the country has a lot of destinations to offer. "They love Sabah for the many golf courses, rich marine life and the protected environment." Tourism Malaysia is promoting the country via Korea Travel Fair (KOTFA), Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme, Malaysian Food Festival and Busan Travel Fair. Said Zulkifli said about 500 South Korean families had joined the MM2H programme. Some 90,000 Malaysians visited South Korea annually.

Malaysians captivated by TV series 'Winter Sonata' and 'Autumn In My Heart' usually visit Seoul Tower and shop at Itae Won, Dong Dae Mun and Nam Dae Mun. He said Malaysia could market TV series to Korea now that the novel `Nyawa di Hujung Pedang' had been translated into Korean language. The novel written by Ahmad Murad Nasaruddin was launched by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin during his visit to South Korea which ended yesterday.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Langkawi To Be Developed Into A Global Tourist Destination

LANGKAWI, July 29 (Bernama) -- Langkawi will be developed into a global tourist destinations, Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said. He said a special committee chaired by the ministry, and represented by other ministries as well as the Langkawi Development Authority (Lada) and the Kedah government, was set up early this year to outline programmes for the purpose.

Among the products which would be promoted to attract more tourists to Langkawi were eco-tourism, health-tourism and programmes which involved the participation of airline companies, including from China and India, he told reporters after a dialogue with tour operators here Thursday. Earlier in his speech, Ahmad Husni said Langkawi recorded 2.376 million tourist arrivals last year, from 2.303 million in 2008. He also announced a RM3 million allocation to Lada for purchase of equipment to clean the beaches.

‘Regulate beach touts’

GEORGE TOWN: The Tourism Ministry has asked the Penang state government to use the Personal Watercraft (Penang) Enactment 1999 against unlicensed traders and beach activity operators. “Come out with guidelines for these operators to comply with before granting them a permit,” Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said at a press conference at Penang International Airport here, Dr Ng said the issuance of permits for water sports activities comes under the purview of the state government as the Tourism Ministry was only responsible for issuing licences for tour operators, tourist guides and tour buses.

She said Penang police would hold a meeting with all agencies involved today to come up with a long-term solution for beach touts. Dr Ng was commenting on reports of unruly beach touts who allegedly endangered hotel guests’ safety and harassed them to take part in beach activities.
“We have a total of 5.4 million tourists visiting Penang in 2009 and of those, 1.2 million visited Batu Ferringhi. “600,000 tourists visited the Batu Ferringhi beach so this is a very serious matter,” she said. About 70 unlicensed operators offer beach-related activities – buggy rides, horse riding, parasailing and water scooters – along the 3km-long stretch. A joint operation by state and federal agencies, codenamed Ops Sepadu, will be taking place today to put a stop to the illegal activities which have marred the image of the famous stretch for decades.
-thestar online.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

32 More Islands To Become Marine Parks

REDANG ISLAND, July 29 (Bernama) -- The Marine Parks Department plans to gazette 32 more islands as marine parks to raise to 74 the number of islands so categorised to protect marine resources including corals. Its director-general, Abdul Jamal Maidin, said the department was gathering data on the islands to make the recommendation to the government as soon as possible. "So far, 42 islands in the country have been gazetted as marine parks," he told reporters after launching a coral nursery at the Redang Island Marine Park Centre here Wednesday.

The nursery was set up jointly by the Education Ministry with the collaboration of the Marine Parks Department and Universiti Malaysia Terengganu. Abdul Jamal said some 800 islands in the country could be gazetted as marine parks. He also said that the department had detected 352 cases of trespassing by fishermen at marine parks between 2003 and 2009, and 34 cases from January to June this year. All these cases had been referred to the Fisheries Department for prosecution, he added.

Malaysia Airlines Eyes 5 Per Cent Annual Growth Revenue From Charter Services

KUALA LUMPUR, July 28 (Bernama) -- Malaysia Airlines (MAS) expects a five per cent annual growth in revenue from charter services due to high demand and the availability of resources, its Head of Hajj and Charter Department, Captain Nik Ahmad Huzlan Nik Hussain said. Last year, MAS recorded about RM200 million in revenue from its charter flights, including hajj services. "The charter flight business is very much a side business for MAS. We only pursue it whenever there is a request," he told reporters on the sidelines after a signing ceremony between MAS and travel agency, Apple Vacations & Conventions, here Wednesday.

Under a RM2.0 million contract, Apple Vacations would use MAS' A330-300 aircraft to facilitate three direct charter flights between Kuala Lumpur and Hokkaido, Japan, in December this year. Nik Ahmad Huzlan said the national airline saw increasing demand for charter services, especially, for high-end travelers and special initiatives like peacekeeping missions and critical auto parts freight. "The charter services are not exclusive to any individual. We also cater to corporate customers. We have received a lot of applications from inviduals as well as organisations. "Our charter flights are especially for places that are difficult to get to and which other airlines refuse to service," he explained. He said MAS' charter services for both passenger and freight movement is well known and much sought after by the government, associations and world renowned sports bodies like the English Premier League (EPL) and Formula One (F1).

MAS handles about 300 charter flights for hajj services annually and between 500 and 600 flights for the same period for other travellers and on special request. On the deal with Apple Vacations, Nik Ahmad Huzlan said MAS is looking forward to working closely with the company and hoped the relationship will continue into the future. "This is our first charter service with a travel agency and we are looking to collaborate with others as well," he added. He noted that the collaboration with Apple Vacations would enable MAS to attract tourists from Hokkaido to Malaysia, as currently there is no direct service between the city and Kuala Lumpur. The direct charter flights on MAS would help reduce travel time by a whopping 60 per cent. This leaves holiday-makers with more time to spend in Malaysia.

Bandar Maharani To Be Promoted As Tourist Destination

MUAR, July 28 (Bernama) -- Johor's former royal town, Bandar Maharani, will soon be promoted as a tourist destination due to its historical sites and attractions. Muar Municipal Council (MPM) president Mohd Fuad Redzwan told Bernama among the sites to be highlighted would be the Kubu Bentayan, the last fortress of the Melaka Sultanate soldiers before they retreated to Kota Kuala Pagoh during the onslaught of Portuguese in the 14th century. He said that apart from Kubu Bentayan, the 7km fortress at Kota Buruk on the riverbank of Sungai Muar could also be promoted as a tourist attraction.

International Dragon Boat Race May Fire Up 2011 Sarawak Regatta

KUCHING, July 28 (Bernama) -- Come next year, the Sarawak Regatta might just fire up its tourism appeal as plans are underway to introduce an international dragon boat race. Kuching Division Resident Liew Jin Min said the dragon race was proposed, following enquiries from water sport enthusiasts from foreign countries. "We have received an enquiry from Australia whether there would be a dragon boat race for this year's regatta. While there will not be one (this year), we propose to hold it next year," he told a news conference on Wednesday.

Liew said, this year's regatta would be held on a grander scale than those in previous years, adding that international sport channel ESPN would cover the three-day event, beginning Friday, at the Kuching Waterfront. He said 17 events would be held at the regatta, involving 5,844 peddlars. Indonesia and Brunei have confirmed participation. "Among the events to be contested are long boat race, jet ski race and passenger boat race," said Liew. He said the number of visitors for this year's regatta was expected to exceed last year's turn out of 50,000 visitors.

More Indians Staying In Malaysian Serviced Apartments

AGENTS are seeing rising demand for serviced apartments from Indian leisure and business travellers. Tina Travel & Agencies managing director Adam Kamal said the average size of Indian family groups three years ago was two people hence demand for serviced apartments then was almost nil.

"Now, more Indians are travelling with extended families due to improved connectivity and cheap fares so the average group size has increased to four. Serviced apartments with two bedrooms are more cost-effective compared to booking two rooms in a five-star hotel," he said. Arokia Das Anthony, managing director of Red Apple Travel & Tours, has likewise seen more Indian business travellers requesting for serviced apartments. "They want the cooking facilities as they are extremely fussy over their meals. (Other facilities) are not important."
- TTG Asia.

Sibu To Have New Attraction Comes This Sunday

SIBU, July 28 (BERNAMA) -- Sibu town will have a new attraction beginning this Sunday. The new Sibu Cultural Heritage Centre, which occupies the former the old Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) Administrative Building, will be open to the public from 11am after its soft opening ceremony earlier in that day. According to Daniel Ngieng, the council deputy chairman, one of its main components would be the mini museum located on the first floor. "Visitors will be able to see ceramic items from China, Japan and Siam (Thailand) dating back to the 11th century. "They will be among the more than 10,000 items on display," he told a press conference to announce its soft opening by Second Finance Minister/ Minister of Environment and Public Health, Datuk Sri Wong Soon Koh.

Daniel said besides sections on the town history, there would be cultural exhibits from the town's five major communities namely the Iban, Chinese, Malay, Orang Ulu and Melanau. He said a private company had contributed RM5 million to refurbish the old council building to become the cultural heritage centre. Meanwhile, the museum would be open from Tuesday to Sunday except Monday and Public Holidays, according to its manager Ling Muk Jii. "The opening hours are from 9am till 5pm," he said. He said it would still be managed by the Sibu Civic Centre where it was formerly located.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Annual Borneo Cultural Festival To Be A Grandeur Do Next Year

SIBU, July 26 (Bernama) -- The 10th edition of the Borneo Cultural Festival, Sibu and Sarawak central region signature tourism event, will be celebrated on a grander scale next year. Sibu Municipal Council chairman Datuk Tiong Thai King when closing the 10-day annual festival at the town square here last night said efforts would also be taken to upgrade it to a regional and international event.

Minister of Social Development and Urbanisation Datuk Sri William Mawan Ikom officiated the function on behalf of Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud. The festival, inaugurated in 2002 after fine tuning pioneer celebrations like Pesta Sibu, Millennium Celebration and the Borneo Tribal Extravaganza, has the ability to attract much bigger crowds than any other celebration in the state, since Saturday night alone an estimated 30,000 people attended the festival, said Tiong. He added that the festival was basically about promotion and preservation of traditional culture of the state's multi-ethnic society, especially among its new generation. Last night, an equally huge crowd were treated to performances by cultural groups from China, Taiwan, Pontianak and from Kuala Lumpur. Meanwhile, Mawan said when Malaysians of different races appreciate, enjoy or participate in each other culture, their unity and harmony and spirit of co-operation could be further enhanced.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

SEDCO To Build RM30 Mil Holiday Resort In Semporna

KOTA KINABALU, July 23 (Bernama) -- The Sabah Economic Development Corporation (SEDCO) proposes to build a RM30 million holiday resort in Semporna, Sabah's east coast. Chairman Datuk Mohd Ariffin Arif said the project to be undertaken by SEDCO subsidiary, Sabah Urban Development Corporation Sdn Bhd (SUDC), was currently studying the resort's layout plan. "We want the layout plan for the one-storey resort to be unique and creative, from an aerial view the resort will look like "lepa-lepa" (a type of canoe made by hollowing a tree trunk).

"The new resort will provide the impetus for tourism development in Sabah, particularly the tourism sector in Semporna," he told reporters after opening a property exhibition hosted by Sabah Urban Development Corporation. Mohd Ariffin said since SUDC was set up 38 years ago, it had helped the state government implement development projects state-wide, including building shophouses, to help uplift the socio-economic status of Bumiputeras via property ownership at competitive prices.

He said SUDC was also building Darvel Bay Plaza, the biggest shopping mall in Lahad Datu, costing about RM40 million. Earlier, in his speech, Mohd Ariffin hoped the property exhibition would help SUDC reach out to more buyers and to the people to know SEDCO's roles and contributions through SUDC. "I hope this exhibition will have a positive impact on property buyers and local economic development," he said. The state government through SEDCO was determined to ensure that the people tasted development via provision of industrial and commercial areas and housing and tourism projects.

Ministry Mulls Making Terengganu A Tourism Icon

KUALA TERENGGANU, July 25 (Bernama) -- The Tourism Ministry is considering making Terengganu a tourism icon as the state meets the requirement to be given such a status. Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Dr James Dawas Mamit said the state had idyllic islands, marine parks, clean beaches and an inland lake, which was the biggest man-made lake in the country.

"We find that 38 per cent of tourists coming to Terengganu do so for eco-tourism and nature activities while the remaining 62 per cent were undecided. "To this undecided group, we can recommend the Islamic Civilisation Park, the islands, the lake and other attractions," he told reporters after making a three-day working visit to Terengganu, here Sunday. He added that connectivity was another factor that favoured the state getting the status.

All Three-Star Hotels And Above In Sarawak Have Halal Certification

KUCHING, July 25 (Bernama) -- All three-star hotels and above in Sarawak have halal certificates issued by the Sarawak Islamic Religious Department and recognised by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim), Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister's Office Datuk Daud Abdul Rahman said. As such, he said, unlike in the peninsula, the halal issue concerning restaurants in major hotels in Sarawak did not arise.

Speaking to reporters after declaring open the Nizamir Textiles Sdn Bhd here Sunday, he nevertheless reminded Muslims to check the backgrounds of restaurants to ensure they offer halal food. The department, he said, would continue to carry out checks to ensure the halal logo displayed in restaurants were not abused. Meanwhile, he said the Sarawak Baitulmal Fund would allocate RM1.2 million to 1,200 mosques and surau in the state to implement programmes during the Ramadan month.

Thursday, 22 July 2010


Hamfest Malaysia 2010 akan dianjurkan di Tapak Menara Kuala Lumpur pada 30, 31 Julai dan 1 Ogos 2010. Hamfest Malaysia yang pertama kali diadakan ini adalah untuk memberikan pendedahan kepada orangramai berkenaan dengan konsep pengunaan Radio Dua-Hala semasa aman dan bencana di Malaysia. Festival ini akan disertai oleh Kelab-kelab Radio Amatur dari seluruh negara dan juga agensi-agensi kerajaan yang menggunakan kemudahan radio komunikasi dua-hala UHF, VHF dan HF.

Sesi penerangan daripada agensi-agensi kerajaan akan diatur untuk memberi penerangan lanjut kepada pengunjung-pengunjung mengenai peraturan-peraturan pengunaan Radio Amatur di Malaysia. Sesi penerangan oleh Syarikat pengeluar sistem Radio Dua-hala seperti Yaesu, Kenwood dan juga Icom akan turut dilangsungkan.

Pameran pengunaan Radio Komunikasi oleh Agensi Kerajaan seperti PDRM, JPAM, BOMBA, ATM dan juga SMART akan turut diadakan di Tapak Perkemahaan berdekataan dengan lokasi utama pameran. Aktiviti-aktiviti yang boleh disertai oleh pengunjung adalah seperti berikut:

a. Aktiviti Skill-Stations – Pengenalan kepada Radio Komunikasi, Berkomunikasi di frekuensi VHF dan HF. Menaikan antenna diapole HF, mempelajari teknik navigasi dan bacaan peta.

b. Fox Hunting – Mencari lokasi pemancar beacon dengan menggunakan teknik pencarian melalui Radio Dua-Hala.

c. Distance Contact Contest (DX Contest) – Mendapatkan contact rakan-rakan Amatur di seluruh dunia.

Hamfest Malaysia 2010 juga dibuka kepada orangramai dan murid-murid sekolah. Kerjasama dengan Kementerian Pelajaran akan dilakukan untuk membolehkan ianya dihadiri oleh murid-murid semasa waktu persekolahan.

Maklumat lanjut:
Lokasi : Tapak Menara Kuala Lumpur
Tarikh : 30-31 Julai dan 1 August 2010

Laman web :

Top Dive Spots Closed Due To Coral Bleaching

Numerous islands in marine parks in three states have been closed due to coral bleaching. The Department of Marine Park Malaysia said the closure will take place from 2nd of July until October 31, 2010.

All recreational activities, including snorkelling and scuba-diving, are prohibited during that period of time. The affected areas are listed as below :

Pulau Payar, Kedah : Teluk Wangi, Pantai Damai dan Coral Garden;

Pulau Perhentian, Terengganu : Teluk Dalam, Pulau Perhentian Besar, Tanjung Tukas Darat and Tanjung Tukas Laut;

Pulau Redang, Terengganu : Teluk Bakau, Pulau Tenggol, Teluk Air Tawar;
Gugusan Pulau Tioman, Pahang : Pulau Chebeh dan Batu Malang;

The General Director of Department of Marine Park Malaysia, Abd Jamal Mydin said, those areas have been closed due to coral bleaching phenomenon which become more serious and to avoid the damage of the coral as well. Human activities and current climatic condition would have an impact on the reef.

Ipoh Hertage Walk (Old Town)

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Sabah Banks On New Haneda Airlinks

MALAYSIA Airlines' (MAS) introduction of thrice-weekly flights from Kota Kinabalu to Haneda Airport, Tokyo, from November 15, is expected to help Sabah boost Japanese arrivals. Japan is Sabah's sixth biggest source market last year, and its travellers are high-yield tourists who stay an average of five nights in the destination and spend an average of RM2,620 (US$815) per visit, according to Sabah Tourism Board’s senior marketing manager Tay Shu Lan.

The board and inbound players will participate in the upcoming World Travel Fair in Tokyo this September. Birdwatchers and financially-independent women were new segments of the Japanese market Sabah aimed to attract, said Tay. MAS' new services, which use B737-800 aircraft, will complement its existing 11 weekly flights from Kuala Lumpur to Narita, twice-weekly direct flights from Kota Kinabalu to Narita and five-weekly flights from Kota Kinabalu to Osaka via Kuala Lumpur.

Tourism Ministry To List More Duty Free Items To Make Malaysia Shopping Destination

KUALA LUMPUR, July 20 (Bernama) -- The Tourism Ministry hopes to identify more goods to be listed under duty free items to make Malaysia a preferred shopping destination for tourists, said its minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen. She said shopping has been recognised as a major contributor to Malaysia's tourism industry. "We want to be a mega shopping player in the world and working hard to make Malaysia a duty free country for goods. I am not saying that goods in Malaysia are the cheapest, but it is value for money," she told reporters after launching the Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival 2010, here Tuesday.

The Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival will be held from Saturday to Sept 16 and Yen Yen expressed satisfaction with tour operators for promoting the Mega Sales event to countries like Vietnam, India, the Middle East, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan by including shopping as part of their tour packages. She said tour operators had worked together with hotels, airlines, shopping complexes to promote the mega sale, which included offering discounts to those who took up the packages. Yen Yen said from January to May this year, the number of tourists arrivals had grown by 4.2 percent from 9 million to 9.6 million tourists, generating revenue of RM13 billion.

Last year, the July Mega Sales attracted 6.3 million tourist, which was an increase of 12.4 percent compared with the same period in 2008, where Malaysia only received 5.37 million tourist, she said. From the total tourist arrivals last year, shopping activities generated a revenue of RM15.11 billion to the country, she added.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Kelantan Plans To Build Wau Museum In Pantai Irama, Bachok

BACHOK, July 18 (Bernama) -- The Kelantan government plans to build a wau (Kelantanese kite) museum in Pantai Irama, here next year in line with the move to make the beach resort area a permanent site for national and international-level wau competitions. State Local Government, Tourism and Culture Committee chairman Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said the setting up of the museum was important to revive this traditional game which was gradually being forgotten by the younger generation."By having such a museum, we can gather kite enthusiasts and display wau of various shapes and designs to attract tourists.

This is in line with making Bachok an Islamic tourism town," he said at the presentation of prizes and closing of the International Wau Invitational Competition 2010, here, Sunday. The ceremony was officiated by Kelantan Deputy Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yacob, representing Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat. Also present were Kite Flying Association of Malaysia deputy president Hussein Harun and Kelantan Kite Flying Association president Nik Ariff Nik Hassan. Takiyuddin, who is also the competition organising committee chairman, asked that the Bachok District Council discuss with the Kelantan State Economic Development Corporation and state government to get approval for the land for the museum as it belonged to a state government subsidiary company.

He said the state government could also use its quarters near the beach area to be turned into a wau museum before a permanent building could be constructed for the museum. Takiyuddin, who is also the State Museum Corporation chairman, said building of the wau museum and providing a permanent site for wau-flying competitions were in tune with the effort to draw more tourists to Kelantan, targeted at 4.5 million this year. The Kelantan team emerged as the overall champion in the four-day competition which ended today, while two teams from the Federal Territory were the runner-up and in third place respectively.

Ekopelancongan Tarikan Baru: Ng

PUTRAJAYA: Kementerian Pelancongan menyasarkan kehadiran 36 juta pelancong asing ke negara ini menjelang 2020 berbanding 23.7 juta tahun lalu berikutan pelancaran pelbagai produk terbaru pelancongan khususnya ekopelancongan, kata menterinya, Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen. Katanya, jumlah pelancong asing dijangka mampu menyumbang sebanyak RM144 bilion setahun kepada Keluaran Dalam Negara Kasar (KDNK) pada 2020 berbanding RM48 bilion setahun, tahun lalu.

Justeru, beliau memohon kerjasama orang ramai untuk sentiasa menjaga kebersihan dan keindahan taman rekreasi di seluruh negara, memandangkan ia antara produk pelancongan terlaris di kalangan pelancong asing. “Sektor pelancongan satu industri penting kepada negara. Jadi, kita perlu meningkatkan daya saing negara kerana semua negara di dunia kini memberi tumpuan kepada sektor pelancongan. “Atas dasar itulah, kementerian melaksanakan kempen 1Malaysia Bersih, 1Malaysia Indah bagi mengubah sikap rakyat mengenai kepentingan menjaga kebersihan di taman rekreasi dan kemudahan yang disediakan seperti tandas,” katanya ketika berucap pada majlis pelancaran Kempen 1Malaysia Bersih, 1Malaysia Indah di sini, semalam.

Turut dilancarkan lagu kempen 1Malaysia Bersih 1Malaysia Indah dan maskot kempen iaitu Mr Bin. Hadir sama, Timbalan Menteri Belia dan Sukan, Gan Ping Sieu; Ketua Pengarah Tourism Malaysia, Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab dan Presiden Perbadanan Putrajaya (PPj), Tan Sri Samsudin Osman. Kempen bertemakan ‘Hayati Pelancongan, Bertindak Demi Pelancongan’ itu bertujuan memupuk semangat cintakan keindahan dan kebersihan di kalangan rakyat , khususnya di destinasi pelancongan yang sentiasa menjadi tumpuan pelancong dari dalam dan luar negara. Katanya, kempen ini diharap dapat meningkatkan kesedaran masyarakat mengenai implikasi kebersihan kepada industri pelancongan, supaya mereka bersama-sama menjaga keindahan dan kebersihan lokasi pelancongan negara. “Kerjasama semua pihak termasuk rakyat, pertubuhan bukan kerajaan (NGO), pihak berkuasa tempatan (PBT) dan kementerian terbabit mampu memastikan taman rekreasi kekal bersih dan indah, sekali gus menarik minat pelancong kembali ke negara ini,” katanya.

Sehubungan itu, beliau berkata, kementeriannya akan melantik pakar landskap dan botani untuk memberi penarafan kepada semua taman rekreasi di negara ini, bagi memudahkan usaha mempromosi taman terbabit di luar negara antaranya Taman Tasik Seremban, Taman Botani Putrajaya dan Taman Tasik Perdana. Pada majlis itu, Kementerian Pelancongan menyumbangkan sebanyak RM617,000 kepada 617 kelab pelancongan di sekolah seluruh negara, bagi menjalankan kempen 1Malaysia Bersih, 1Malaysia Indah. Ng berkata, ahli kelab pelancongan itu akan memainkan peranan sebagai duta kecil dalam menyebarkan maklumat mengenai kempen berkenaan kepada masyarakat setempat.
-Berita Harian Online.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

More MAS Flights To Japan By Year End

KUALA LUMPUR, July 18 (Bernama) -- Malaysia Airlines (MAS) will operate more flights to Japan from Sabah, including a new destination from Kota Kinabalu to Haneda Airport, south of Tokyo, from Nov 15. MAS will also increase its current six weekly flights to Kansai International Airport, 50km from Osaka city, to eight weekly from Jan 15 next year, comprising six weekly flights from Kuala Lumpur and twice weekly from Kota Kinabalu.

Its senior general manager (Commercial Strategy) Amin Khan said there would be three weekly flights from Kota Kinabalu to Haneda Airport -- at 4.35pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, which would complement the airline's existing 11 weekly flights from Kuala Lumpur to Narita International Airport. We are confident that these services will be well received as the new flights into Haneda Airport will provide customers with easier and speedier access into the city of Tokyo," he said in a statement issued here Sunday. He said the airline would be using the new, roomier interior and latest generation seats of B737-800. Every business and economy-class seat will also be equipped with the latest inflight entertainment system offering both audio and video on demand.

Malaysia Targets 36 Million Tourist Arrivals By 2020

PUTRAJAYA, July 18 (Bernama) -- The government targets 36 million tourist arrivals by 2020 as there has been a steady increase in the numbers of tourists visting Malaysia each year, said Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen. She said 36 million tourist arrivals would enable the government to get a revenue of RM3 billion a week. "Malaysia is becoming more and popular as a tourist destination, in fact were were in ninth place as the most visited country last year," she told a press conference after opening the 1Malaysia Clean and Beautiful campaign at the FLORIA 2010 flower festival, here Sunday.

Dr Ng said, from January till May this year, tourist arrivals also increased to 9.6 million persons as compared to 9.2 million for the same period last year. "In Asean, Malaysia has the highest tourist arrivals followed by Singapore," she said. On the campaign, Ng said each and every Malaysian must do his or her part towards ensuring cleanliness of their surroundings. She said the tourism industry was a very competitive one and that clean surroundings gave the country and edge over its competitors.

Sibu To Bake Its Way To promote Local Tourism

SIBU, July 18 (BERNAMA) -- Sibu intends to bake its way to further promote the local tourism industry. Plans are underway to come up with its very own biscuits, cakes and puffs in the shape of a swan which signifies the town symbol. A contest, in conjunction with its ongoing signature tourism event, Borneo Cultural Festival (BCF), is being held for bakers and individuals to come up with 15 types of biscuits and 15 types of cakes/puffs.

Known as 'Swan Delicatessen Nomination', it is the brainchild of state environment and public health minister Datuk Sri Wong Soon Koh, who is also former state tourism minister. Wong said visitors coming here would soon be able to take home the biscuits, cakes and puff which would help them remember the town to make frequent visits. "They can also be our tourism promoters when they give the pastries to others. So, it goes without saying all your creations should not only be delicious but be unique," he told reporters when visiting the 3rd BCF Trade Exhibition 2010 organised by Garden and Leisure (M) Sdn Bhd Saturday night. Seventy-eight exhibitors from the automobile, education, manufacturing, health, food and fashion sectors, among others, are participating in the 10-day event which began on July 16.

Langkawi Tour And Travel Fair In Singapore On Thursday

LANGKAWI, July 18 (Bernama) -- The Langkawi Development Authority (Lada) will hold a tour and travel fair in Singapore on Thursday to attract more visitors from the republic to the duty-free island. Lada deputy general manager Hanafi Ahmad told Bernama that Singapore was an important market due to its position as a hub for air travel.

Last year, Langkawi recorded more than 40,000 arrivals from Singapore. Twenty-five tour and travel operators, hotels, airlines as well as cultural troupes will participate in the travel fair. Four airlines are currently servicing the Langkawi-Singapore sector namely Singapore's SilkAir and Tiger Airways, and Malaysia's Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia.

Friday, 16 July 2010

MyCEB Moved

The company in-charge of promoting Malaysia MICE market have moved to new office on 1 July 2010. The new office location and contact as below:

Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB)
Suite 14.3, Level 14,
Menara IMC,
8, Jalan Sultan Ismail,
50250 Kuala Lumpur

Tel : 03-2034 2090
Fax: 03-2034 2091

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Art Tourism To Boost Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen has gone another step to aggressively put Malaysia on the map by promoting “art tourism”. “We are positioning Malay­sian art as a tourism product. We encourage tourists to visit the country not only because of food, beaches or shopping but admire homegrown art pieces,” said Ng during an exclusive interview with BBC World News’ Fast:Track host Fiona Foster at the 1Malaysia Contem­porary Art Tourism 2010 (MCAT 2010) held at Galeri Seri Perdana here yesterday.

Selling point: Dr Ng explaining Malaysian art to Foster at Galeri Seri Perdana yesterday.
Ng added that most tourists viewed Malaysia as a developing country which had not attained cosmopolitan status. She hoped positioning local art as a tourism component would boost the country’s image. “Malaysia has talented artists who have exhibited beautiful contemporary art pieces. Hopefully tourists will purchase these pieces as souvenirs,” she said. MCAT is an innovative tourism product by the Tourism Ministry. The festival, which ends in September, features internationally-acclaimed Malaysian artists like Abdul Multhalib Musa, Fauzan Omar, Annuar Rashid, Yusoff Ghani, Eng Hwee Chu and A. Jegadeva.

Fast:Track delivers the latest travel news from the industry itself, offering insights into exclusive and desirable places to visit while looking at issues affecting both the business and leisure travellers. The programme is aired on Saturday (6.30am and 8.30pm) and Sunday (2.30am and 2.30pm) on BBC World (Astro Channel 512).

Fast:Track’s special on Malaysia features MCAT 2010, Taman Negara National Park and Foster’s homestay experience in Kampung Sungai Haji Dorani, Sabak Bernam, Selangor.
“Malaysia is a fascinating, picturesque place. Through this programme, viewers will get to know what the country has to offer for tourists than a regular holiday,” said Foster, a TV presenter and journalist, who has also spent several years working in the United States.

-thestar online.

Kedah Provides Various Incentives To Woo Tourists To Langkawi

LANGKAWI, July 15 (Bernama) -- Various incentives are provided by the Kedah government to woo tourists to Langkawi and make the legendary island a major destination for tourists in the state. State Tourism, Social Development and Human Resource Committee chairman S. Manikumar said the incentives were introduced to make tourists stay longer on the island, hence helped to generate more income for locals. "This is to make Langkawi a major destination for tourists in Kedah and to boost development of Kedah's tourism sector," he said at the presentation of awards to the Underwater World Langkawi (UWL) agents here last night.

Manikumar said the state government would cooperate and coordinate programmes with Tourism Malaysia to promote Langkawi, like through the "Cuti-Cuti 1Malaysia". Meanwhile, Eden Inc Bhd executive chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Mohamad said UWL was the biggest aquarium in the country. It has 500 species, like the Anaconda, Rockhopper Penguin and the African penguin, and 4,000 marine life which are displayed in more than 100 huge tanks. Since August 1995, UWL had attracted seven million visitors, he added. He said UWL had been awarded the "Outstanding Tourism Product" for two consecutive years.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

21 Villagers In Sarawak Offering 19 Types Of Homestay Programmes

SIBU, JULY 14 (Bernama) -- Twenty-one villages in the state are now offering 19 types of homestay programmes under the guidance of the federal Tourism Ministry. However, the ministry would like more to participate, state director of Tourism Malaysia Ahmad Johanif Mohd Ali said here Wednesday.

They could get the registration form from the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism and Heritage Sarawak, 2nd Floor, Bangunan Baitul Makmur, Medan Raya, 93050 Petra Jaya, Kuching or call 082-319313 to do so. Ahmad Johanif said this when closing a three-day basic homestay course organised by Tourism Malaysia. Thirty-seven participants from Dalat, Mukah, Bintulu, Sebuyau, Kanowit and Sibu took part in the course. Of the number, 33 are new and four are already homestay hosts or coordinators.

Ahmad Johanif said the homestay programme's main objective was to encourage rural communities to involve themselves in the tourism industry for additional income. "It is also to produce tourism entrepreneurs among the rural communities and is in line with the government's agenda in the Tenth Malaysia Plan to raise the monthly income level of the bottom 40 per cent hardcore poor. "Tourism Malaysia will do the advertising and promotions for them through its 34 branches worldwide," he said. He said foreign tourists could pick up tourism brochures on the country and would pick the homestay programme that was ideal and appealing to them.

Tourism Minister Suggests Theme Park In Every State

KUALA LUMPUR, July 14 (Bernama) -- Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen has suggested that each state in the country set up a theme park featuring its own uniqueness and specialties. "I believe theme parks have very good potential to attract repeat visitors and also boost domestic tourism in the 13 states of Malaysia," she told the media after launching the Asian Attraction Expo 2010, on Wednesday. Dr Ng said currently, the country's 28 theme parks were concentrated on the west coast of the peninsula such as in Selangor, Malacca and in Genting Highlands, Pahang.
"We don't have any in the east coast at all, so we are looking at this. It is not a matter of how many theme parks we have. They can be of medium size but the most important is to provide a niche product," she said. Dr Ng said she would be interested to discuss the matter with some states and urged the private sector to take the lead in building theme parks. On the three-day expo organised by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), she said it would provide a good opportunity to learn more about the industry. Over 200 suppliers from around the world are participating in the expo.

Selected Foreign Tour Guides To Operate In Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, July 13 (Bernama) -- Selected tour guides from Russia, South Korea, Iran and Japan will be allowed to operate in Malaysia starting October to meet the demand for more tour guides who speak foreign languages, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said Tuesday. She said the government would scrutinise the foreign tour guides before allowing them to operate in the country. "We will be very selective. Only tour guides who know Malaysia well will be selected. We will also accept recommendations from tour operators," she told a news conference after chairing a dialogue session between the ministry and industry players on the Malaysia Tourism Transformation Plan 2020, here.

Ng said that last year the ministry spent RM3.6 million on capacity-building programmes for tour guides, which included tour guide and foreign language courses. These programmes were among the government's efforts to increase the number of foreign language speaking tourist guides for Arab, French, German, Korean and Russian tourists, she said. She also said that in the first five months of this year, the number of tourist arrivals saw an increase of 4.2 per cent to 9.6 million compared to 9.2 million for the corresponding period last year. Ng said that beginning October, tour companies would no longer be required to register with the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) to run their business. She said Matta would play the role of capacity-building and educate its members on issues pertaining to tourism.

China, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan Climb ICCA Chart

CHINA, South Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan were the only Asia-Pacific countries that improved their rankings in the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) world rankings for international association meetings organised in 2009. According to the results released on July 9, China moved to ninth position in 2009 from 11th spot for having hosted 22 more international association meetings. It organised 245 international meetings last year. South Korea and Malaysia rose a notch to 15th and 31st spot respectively. Taiwan moved to 32nd spot from 35th in 2008.

The ICCA rankings were determined by the number of association meetings hosted by a country. ICCA Asia-Pacific regional director Noor Ahmad Hamid said: "The rankings are important, as they show the strength of the destination to attract international association meetings to their shores. Those countries that have increased their number of international meetings...have a strategic plan in place in terms of national bidding and concerted efforts by industry players to attract international association meetings."
-TTG Asia.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Public Limousine Service Is Langkawi's Latest Attraction

LANGKAWI, July 12 (Bernama) -- Limousines will become the latest attraction in Langkawi and increase the quality of public transportation service in the resort island. Chairman of the Kedah chapter of Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) Pishol Ishak said 50 limousine permits were issued to the Langkawi Development, Service and Tourism Cooperative for that purpose.

So far, the public limousine service had received encouraging response, he said at the tourism product operators get-together session at the De Baron Resort here today. Pishol said the cooperative would also increase the number of their limousines in stages. Over 100 tourism product and rental car operators took part in the session which was launched by Langkawi Development Authority deputy general manager (I) Hanafi Ahmad.

Show Cultural Richness For Tourists To Return, Says Masidi Manjun

KOTA KINABALU, July 12 (Bernama) -- There is a need for Malaysians to exhibit their rich culture and traditions for tourists to return for new scenes and experiences. Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said if Malaysians did not value and practise their own culture, it would be possible for the number of international tourist arrivals this year to drop compared to 23.6 million last year.

"Last year was the hardest year for the global tourism industry, but Malaysia was fortunate. In fact, our tourist arrivals increased. "One reason was the political uncertainty in neighbouring Thailand and many tourists shifted their holiday plans to Malaysia. "But now Thailand's situation is getting better and they (tourists) may revert to holidaying there instead of here and this could also hurt Sabah's tourism industry," he told reporters before presenting a keynote address at an international conference on tourism development, here, Monday. The conference on "How to successfully design and implement master plans for sustainable tourism development" was earlier officiated by the Foreign Minister's political secretary Datuk Norhaidi Che Dan.

Masidi said if Malaysia's tourism industry did not improve its products and services, it would be unlikely for the country to meet the 24 million target in international arrivals, expected to generate RM54 billion in tourism receipts this year. Last year, it generated RM53.4 billion or an average of RM1 billion a week, he said.

On Sabah's part, Masidi said the locals should become tourist ambassadors for tourists to obtain first-hand information on the state and elevate Sabah's image as a hospitable, chivalrous holiday destination. "But its a shame if the Sabah people themselves do not have basic knowledge of their own state," he said. In his keynote address, Masidi said his ministry had commissioned the Sabah Institute for Development Studies to undertake a review of the current 15-year Sabah Tourism Master Plan (STMP) and formulate the second STMP for 2011-2025. "The Sabah tourism industry has reached a crossroad in its development and continues to grow steadily, although it has yet to reach a maturity where the industry can be sustainably self-regulating," he said. The two-day conference from today and involving 16 countries is jointly organised by the Islamic Tourism Centre and Universiti Malaysia Sabah.

Malaysia Can Be World's Eco-Tourism Leader

KUALA LUMPUR, July 11 (Bernama) -- Malaysia is a hot-bed for the world's rarest iconic natural attractions and serves as a tourist magnet. The country has attractive locations with vast potential for development as eco-tourism icons, according to a development planning expert. Universiti Teknologi Malaysia centre for innovative planning and development director Prof Amran Hamzah said Malaysia's natural attractions would lure tourist arrivals to the country. Tourists will be spellbound by the unique flora and fauna, clean beaches, exotic marine life, oldest rainforest and the world's biggest caves.

Currently, Amran said Sabah and Sarawak were the country's largest contributors to the eco-tourism industry as compared with Peninsular Malaysia, as they had the world's rarest iconic attractions. For example, he said the Mulu National Park in Sarawak, and Mount Kinabalu and Sipadan Island in Sabah were deemed among the world's top five locations for scuba diving activities. "Tourists will come to Sabah and Sarawak because they know they can find the orang utan in Sepilok or Kinabatangan where there is a unique range of eco-tourism attractions. "They cannot find an orang utan in the peninsula," he told Bernama in a recent interview.

Amran said there were many high potential places in the peninsula, including national parks, which were either under-developed or over-developed. Among the places were Tanjung Piai in Johor, Royal Belum (Perak), Bera and Chini Lakes in Pahang, he noted. He said eco-tourism activities could be the source of handsome income for the country, as well as local residents.

However, the growing passion to develop eco-tourism attractions could also lead to negative impact on the environment and the people, if the source of wealth was badly-managed. "The problem is that we have various sources of wealth but sometimes, the development planning was not in line with the sustainable development principles. "Eco-tourism means, we should add value to the source of wealth and the people. They should get the highest revenue. If it means that the people will be sidelined, then, we will fail," he said. Amran said planning, management and systematic monitoring should be done to prevent massive destruction of the environment because the country was capable of developing its eco-tourism industry. "It's dangerous to be hasty...When a sanctuary becomes a zoo, that's dangerous. We have to monitor the consequences. If the impact is negative, we should put a limit to it and create public awareness and educational elements," he said.

He said the homestay programme, on the other hand, could boost the eco-tourism industry as it involved existing villages and their natural environment. He said homestay programme operators should introduce unique and attractive package to lure more tourists as it brought extra income to the locals and country. "We have a great homestay programme, we are number one in Asia," added Amran.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Malaysia Airlines Offers All-inclusive Summer Packages

DUBAI, July 8 (Bernama) -- Malaysia Airlines is offering attractive, all-inclusive summer packages to Malaysia from 2,339 dirhams per person to those wishing to escape the current summer heat in the Middle East. Under its Everyday Value Fares (EVF) campaign, all packages are inclusive of return economy class travel on Malaysia Airlines, accommodation and daily breakfast. The travel period is between July 21, 2010 and Jan 31, 2011.

"Customers should grab these amazing offers. This is an opportunity for those on leisure travel to experience the cultural melting pot in Malaysia," Merina Abu Tahir, Malaysia Airlines' Regional General Manager for Middle East, Africa and South America said here Thursday. She said customers had a wide choice of destinations ranging from shopping in Kuala Lumpur to the sunny beaches of Penang and Langkawi as well as eco-tourism in Sabah and Sarawak. "We offer the benefits of travelling with 5-star full service carriers and a competitive fare to Southeast Asia," Merina said of the airline which received the "Staff Service Excellence for Asia" and "World's Best Economy Class" awards at the World Airline Awards 2010.

Citing an example, Merina said the airline's return fares to Beirut could cost 1,125 dirhams inclusive of taxes."Our fares are competitive and what's important is that they include everything. Customers enjoy all the comforts of air travel without having to pay extra," she said. Customers can enjoy further convenience as a new check-in feature is available online which enables them to bypass queues. For the Middle East region, Malaysia Airlines currently offers services between Kuala Lumpur and Dubai (seven times a week), Jeddah (4), Dammam (2), Beirut (3) and Istanbul (3). The national carrier also serves Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Bahrain, Doha, Kuwait and Muscat via code share partners Etihad, Gulf Air, Qatar Airlines, Egypt Air and Oman Air.

Homestay Plan Along KTM Route

KUALA LUMPUR: The Tourism Ministry has joined hands with Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) to promote rural tourism. Together they plan to encourage travellers to participate in a homestay programme that is ac­­cessible by rail. The 22 homes are located along the Singapore-Tumpat and Singa­pore-Padang Besar lines. “The philosophy behind the programme is getting rural folks to share in the growing tourism economy,” said minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen when launching a new travel TV programme recording a traveller’s exploration of the country’s places of attractions on board a train.

Aside from stopping by the various homestay locations endorsed by the ministry, Sarawak-born TV host Henry Golding, 23, will also take viewers to other attractions in the country accessible by the KTM service. A ministry official said that KTM stations where the homestay locations are situated include Kluang, Gemas, Men­takab, Kuala Lipis. Gua Musang, Dabong, Kuala Kerai, Tanah Merah, Wakaf Bharu, and Tumpat. On the Singapore-Padang Besar line, nearby stations include Tampin, Seremban, Kajang, Ipoh, Bukit Mertajam, Butterworth, Alor Setar, Arau, and Padang Besar. The 10-episode show on 8TV, named “Welcome to the Rail World” airs every Wednesday and will debut on July 21.

Malaysia Airlines-MITM Travel Fair 2010 Expects 60,000 Visitors

KUALA LUMPUR, July 8 (Bernama) -- The Malaysia Airlines-MITM Travel Fair 2010 is expected to have a visitor turnout of 60,000 with sales turnover exceeding at least RM50 million. Chairman of Malaysian International Travel Mart (MITM) 2010 organising committee and President of Malaysian Chinese Tourism Association (MCTA), Paul Paw said the event scheduled from August 13 to 15, will be staged at the Mid Valley Exhibition Centre. "It will bring together tourism products under one roof," Paw said during the soft launch of the Malaysia Airlines-MITM Travel Fair 2010 here Thursday.

He also said that for the first time in the history of MITM travel fair, all booths were sold out in 14 days from the date it opened for registration in mid April this year. "Over 40 travel agents are participating in the event. Tourism Malaysia has also taken six booths in this fair. "Meanwhile, the director general of Tourism Malaysia, Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab said the Malaysia Airlines-MITM Travel Fair could be a platform to promote tourism in Malaysia particularly among domestic travellers. "From past experience, it's domestic travellers who had helped to sustain the tourism industry especially during economic crisis," Mirza said. The government has set the target of positioning Malaysia among the top 10 global tourist destinations by 2015, he added.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Tren Elektrik KL-Ipoh Mula Julai

KUALA LUMPUR 6 Julai - Perkhidmatan tren elektrik (ETS) yang dijangka menjimatkan masa perjalanan antara Ipoh ke Kuala Lumpur daripada tiga jam kepada dua jam akan beroperasi pertengahan bulan ini. Presiden Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB), Dr. Aminuddin Adnan bagaimanapun tidak menyatakan tarikh pelancaran perkhidmatan yang bergerak pada kelajuan 140 km sejam itu.

Beliau berkata, KTMB menyasarkan pengguna daripada golongan profesional dan ahli perniagaan, selain pengguna pengangkutan awam sedia ada. "Dengan kelajuan yang tinggi 140kmj, kita akan mengurangkan masa perjalanan dan menjimatkan masa. Perkhidmatan pramugari dan pramugara yang disediakan dapat memberi keselesaan dan perkhidmatan yang lebih baik kepada pengguna. "Pada masa akan datang, kami akan sediakan wifi dan kami sedang mendapatkan service provider untuk menyediakan perkhidmatan itu," katanya kepada Bernama di sini.
-Utusan Online.

Malaysia Fights For The Hand Of Indian Wedding Segment

INBOUND tour operators in Malaysia specialising in the Indian market are competing with Thailand for the Indian wedding segment. Ground rates are usually the deciding factor, noted Adam Kamal, managing director of Tina Travel & Agencies. "The challenge is to offer ground arrangements as competitive as Bangkok and Pattaya, as wedding organisers are very price-conscious. Usually, the bride's parents would pay for the wedding, including tours and accommodation for guests." Adam lost two groups to Pattaya earlier this year and is up against the destination again for another bid for a 600-pax wedding group from Mumbai in November.

Tourland Travel managing director A Aruldass has been updating his Indian agent partners on value-for-money offerings at Malaysia's five-star properties and cost-saving possibilities on wedding requirements such as Hindu priests, musicians and chefs. Red Apple Travel & Tours managing director Arokia Das Anthony said word-of-mouth marketing was very effective. So far, he has organised seven Indian weddings since the last quarter of 2009, with another in the pipeline for this year-end.
-TTG Asia.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Ng: Homestay Is More than Just Accommodation

KUALA LUMPUR: Homestay operators who only rent out their premises to tourists will not be recognised by the Tourism Ministry, said minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen. “The homestay programme is not only about accommodation. It is also, among others, about getting to know how the locals live and their culture, and visiting durian orchards and rubber estates. “Tourists must also be able to enjoy local dishes with Malaysians and experience village daily life with them,” she told reporters after opening an event on Connecting Homestay to the World (Indonesia market) at Seri Pacific Hotel here yesterday.

Besides providing tourists with experience in local village life in terms of culture and food, Dr Ng said the host was also expected to teach tourists songs, how to cook Malaysian fare or even play games.

Get to know Malaysia: Ng (third from right) introducing the homestay programme to Indonesia Business Women’s Association chief Irma Hafida Rachman (left) and other Indonesia participants Monday. Also present is Homestay Association of Malaysia chairman Datuk Sahariman Hamdan (right).

“We also encourage foreign tourists to plant a tree before they leave the country under our plant-a-tree programme,” she said, adding that the homestay programme had received positive response from both foreigners and locals. Currently, the ministry recognises 3,600 homes under its programme. She said the ministry wanted to prevent people from misusing the homestay brand as it had a lot of growth potential in both domestic and international markets. She said homestay operators also needed to give an assurance that they would keep their villages clean and that the conditions of the houses and their surroundings met the Government’s criteria. Dr Ng said Malaysia was also aiming to attract tourists from five Indonesian cities with its homestay programme. “These areas have high potential growth for homestay in Malaysia. “We hope to attract more Indo nesian tourists to visit us,” she said, adding that the cities were Pekan Baru, Medan, Bukit Tinggi, Padang and Bandar Aceh.

Easier Transfer Between KLIA Terminals For Connecting Passengers

SHUTTLE coaches will ply the airside between the Kuala Lumpur International Airport's low-cost carrier terminal and main terminal building by this year-end, providing easier transfers for passengers with connecting flights. Malaysia Airports Holdings senior general manager operation services Azmi Murad said the new service would save the approximately 500 passengers shuttling between the two terminals everyday a 15-minute drive. However, passengers would still have to carry their luggage from one terminal building to another and check-in again for their connecting flight, as interlining facilities would not yet be available.
-TTG Asia.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Telaga Air Esplanade To Emerge As Eco-Tourism Centre

KUCHING, July 5 (Bernama) -- The RM9.2 million Telaga Air Esplanade, which was completed in April, will emerge as the state's new eco-tourism centre. This is because the esplanade, which is near to the Tanah Bencah National Park, one of the national park gazetted by the Unesco, is surrounded by natural infrastructure like beautiful island and beaches. "The government's efforts to turn the esplanade into tourist attraction will enable the local people to showcase their respective tourism products," Pantai Damai assemblyman Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi said on Monday.

He said the Telaga Air Rural Development Centre, comprising nine villages which made up the esplanade, was a suitable location to showcase local products. He said this when opening the "Sepakat Bestari" Carnival 2010 organised by Sarawak Information Department at the Telaga Air Esplanade, here on Monday. Various activities, including stage performance, 1Malaysia talk, and 'Bubur Lambuk" (savoury porridge) cooking demonstration had been lined-up for the two-day carnival.

"Village Stay" To Make Use Of Empty, Abandoned Houses

KUALA LUMPUR, July 5 (Bernama) -- Empty and abandoned houses in villages can be a new source of extra income for villagers as the Tourism Ministry plans to have a new category called "village stay", Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said on Monday. She said that compared to homestay, village stay would only provide the basic necessities without the choice of having the experience and engaging in activities with the home owners.

"Maybe you want to do other things (own activities) but you want to stay in the village and don't want the homestay experience," she said after meeting 64 Indonesian homestay participants here. She said, however, the ministry would hold discussions with the Malaysian Homestay Association so that they could understand the purpose of having a village stay. "Maybe they have 40 tourists. The village can only provide facilities for 20 people. So, maybe, that accommodation (village stay) can provide some sort of complementary support," she said. Ng said 17,842 foreign tourists had experienced homestay in the country in the first four months of this year, besides 52,575 Malaysians.

On another matter, Ng said she had explained to Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia the conflicting answers given in the Dewan Rakyat with regard to Malaysia's pavilion at the Shanghai World Exposition. "The answer to Fong Po Kuan (DAP-Batu Gajah) was very clear. It is RM20 million for building, RM15 million for management ... for example opening ceremony, national day, closing ceremony, the cultural group and all. It is very clear when the combined cost is RM35 million," she said. Last week, Teresa Kok (DAP-Seputeh) had demanded action against Ng on the grounds that her ministry's written reply to Fong on June 15 had stated the cost of the pavilion as RM35 million but Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit had told the Dewan Rakyat that it was RM20 million. "The deputy minister answered according to the question: how much was the cost to build. It cost RM20 million to build," Ng said.

Lundu Has Strong Potentials To draw Tourists

KUCHING, July 5 (Bernama) - Lundu, a coastal village near here, will become an increasingly popular tourist destination in the state, said Special Advisor in the Chief Minister's Office, Tan Sri Adenan Satem on Monday. Adenan, who is also the Tanjung Datu State Assemblyman, said Lundu, located in the south-western part of the Kuching Division and bordering West Kalimantan, Indonesia, offered various attractive tourism products such as waterfalls, beaches and the national park.

"The Lundu diastrict and Sematan sub-district have natural attractions which are suitable to be turned into tourist destinations. However, there are also destinations that have yet to be fully exploited," he said at a media conference, here. In an effort to boost the development of the tourism industry in Lundu and Sematan, he said various activities must be held to promote the hidden potentials of tourism products. Adenan said the Lundu and Sematan Carnival scheduled to be held from July 16 to 18 provided a platform to exploit the potentials for tourism in the two areas.

Langkawi Tourists Can Enjoy Helicopter Ride To Mainland Kedah

LANGKAWI, July 4 (Bernama) -- Tourists to Langkawi can now enjoy a helicopter ride to several destinations on mainland Kedah. Kedah Tourism Malaysia director Roslan Othman said the ride will take tourists to Alor Setar, Gunung Jerai and Kulim. Operated by CIG Global, the helicopter ride was a new tourism product for this resort island.

Roslan also said 19 couples from Germany, Australia, England, Norway, New Zealand, India, Japan and Latvia had registered for Langkawi wedding packages. Thirty-five tourist couples had their weedings in Langkawi last year. Some 4.2 million tourists were expected to visit Kedah this year compared to 3.8 million last year. Of the 4.2 million tourists, some 70 percent would be visiting Langkawi.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Develop Strong Art Tourism, Make Malaysian Art Iconic, SaysMuhyiddin

KUALA LUMPUR, July 3 (Bernama) -- The people must lend their support to make Malaysian art an iconic product which is desired, pursued and collected worldwide, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said Saturday. To truly develop its potential in art tourism and enhance its global appeal, the country's art and cultural products must be strong, he said. Noting that the country must look into the arts and cultural offerings which locals and foreigners clamoured for, he said today's traveller wanted the industry's offering to be fresh, new and exciting. Such a traveller, Muhyiddin said, was not only looking for destinations but also experiences.

"However, such responsibility should not be left entirely to the government but also the private sector which should lend its hand to achieve this goal. "Malaysians, the artists involved, art galleries, art promoters, art critics and art lovers and collectors, need to grow upon this base to lend their support to making Malaysian art an iconic product that is desired, pursued and collected worldwide," added the deputy prime minister. Muhyiddin was speaking at the launch of the inaugural three-month 1Malaysia Contemporary Art Tourism (MCAT) Festival at Galeria Sri Perdana here.

On the event, Muhyiddin said it was in line with the government's target in promoting differentiated strategies to cater for unique and the distinctive high-yield travellers. He expressed confidence that with the creation of more meaningful and high value products, coupled with excellent service quality, the industry would be able to attract a greater number of tourists willing to pay a premium price for first-rate experience in the country. "I believe the tourism industry has the potential to play a much more prominent role in the economy's growth. "By creating new and innovative tourism products such as MCAT, the nation's profile could be boosted as a top tourist destination, and simultaneously, contribute towards its economic growth.

Tourism has been identified as one of the 12 potential National Key Economic Areas (NKEAs). The government also targets to increase the sector's contribution by 2.1 times and provide some two million jobs in the industry by 2015. Meanwhile, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen, who was also present, said art tourism was identified as a high-yield product and would be promoted as a structured event in the tourism annual calender, beginning this year. As such, she said, festivals on arts would be held between July and September annually, in major cities across the country.

Later, speaking to reporters, Dr Ng said the ministry was planning to work with the information communication and culture ministry to transform the facade of Galeria Sri Perdana into a permanent exhibition for future art exhibitions. At the event, Muhyiddin also launched three public taxis to promote MCAT.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Malaysia Must Hightlight Attributes To Attract High-yeild Market

MALAYSIA must stop promoting the destination as a cheap option and start pitching its unique selling points if it wants to attract high-yield tourists, said the Malaysian Association of Hotel Owners (MAHO). These proposals were made to the performance management and delivery unit under the prime ministers department yesterday to support the Malaysian governments bid to transform the country into a high-income economy.

By 2015, the tourism industry is expected to contribute RM115 billion (US$35 billion) to the country's gross domestic product and create two million job opportunities. Other proposals included tax breaks and short-term loans for hotels to conduct refurbishments, and the creation of more training centres to provide vocational training for operational staff, said MAHO president Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman. The association also proposed that the Malaysia Truly Asia brand be further enhanced.
-TTG Asia.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Malaysia Prepares For Middle East Season

MALAYSIA has embarked on a new tactical campaign to bring in more tourists from the Middle East during the market's summer holidays from July to October. The country will offer more activities to entice Arab tourists to stay longer in Malaysia during the month-long Ramadhan fasting period (August 11 to September 9) and Eid ul Fitr festival. Newly-launched 1Malaysia Contemporary Art Tourism 2010, from July to September, is poised to become an annual event attracting more high-yield visitors and art aficionados.

Other events during the Middle East travel season are the Putrajaya Flower & Garden Festival from July 10 to 18 and the Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival from July 24 to September 16. Tourism Malaysia is working with relevant authorities to keep shopping malls open beyond 22.30 to give Middle East tourists more time to shop for the Eid ul Fitr festival. The NTO is also working with the religious department to get Middle East Imams (religious leaders) to perform Tarawih prayers during Ramadhan.
-TTG Asia.

International Islamic Tourism Conference & Travel Mart

Date: 28~31 October 2010

Venue: Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Tourism Conference: 28~29 October 2010 @ Tun Hussein Hall

Travel Mart: 28~31 October 2010 @ Hall 3

International Islamic Tourism Conference and Travel Mart shall explore the issues associated with the development, management and promotion of Muslim tourism. The existence of a suitable ‘Muslim tourism environment’, acknowledging such issues as “hahal services” infrastructure, entrepreneurial systems, travel and tour agencies, airlines, the mass media, safety and security, is critical for the host destination in the promotion of Muslim tourism. It is essential that the key issues are understood so that the benefits of promoting Muslim tourism may be maximised and the negative impacts minimised. Whilst the travel mart, will provide a B2B platform for trade visitors to focus, particularly, on Islamic travel and tourism.

The objectives of the conference and travel mart are fivefold:
• Firstly, to identify key issues, trends and opportunities for Muslim travel and tourism and how a host country can tap the potentials for sustainable development and for the benefit of the local community at large;
•Secondly, to provide a platform for the exchange of information and sharing of experiences of best practices in planning, management and implementation of policies and programmes on effective marketing strategies, investment, safety and security by the public and private sectors to facilitate and promote greater Muslim travel and tourism;
•Thirdly, to provide B2B Platform for tourism business partners to focus on Islamic travel and tourism do business;
•Fourthly, to create and sustain interest amongst non-Islamic countries, in particular, in developing Muslim travel packages to respective markets; and
•Fifthly, to provide for all other visitors, a wonderful possibility to discover the ‘Muslim whole world within a few hours’.

The objectives of the conference will be achieved through an examination of three main themes:
Muslim Tourism: Issues, Impacts and Opportunities – the issues associated with promoting and marketing of Muslim tourism. This theme examines such issues, and their management to ensure greater Muslim travel and tourism. Muslim Tourism Development – the means by which Muslim tourism packages can be successfully developed and promoted by the host destination. Muslim Tourism Case Studies – the presentation of case studies will allow the demonstration of aspects of best practice, the application of theory to real life contexts, and the implications for successful planning of future Muslim travel and tourism promotion and marketing.

Emirates Holidays Puts Malaysia In The Limelight

EMIRATES Holidays has published a separate English brochure on Malaysia for the Gulf Cooperation Council markets for 2010 and 2011, making Malaysia its first destination worldwide to have a brochure on its own. Emirates Holidays destination development manager Davinder Kaur said the brochure would help Malaysia stand out from other regional destinations, such as Bali, Thailand and Singapore, which had already built brand loyalty and were attracting high-yield tourists.

She said: “We believe in Malaysia and we want it to reach its potential. Malaysia is generally perceived by Middle East tourists as a cheap destination, partly because of agents’ diluting rates to get volume.” The 20-page brochure features mainly luxury, five- and four-star hotels in Kuala Lumpur, Malacca, Genting Highlands, Penang, Langkawi and Kota Kinabalu in Sabah. It was produced to meet the needs of the high-end segment of the Middle East outbound market.

-TTG Asia.