Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Wakil media merasai pengalaman sukan layar

KUALA TERENGGANU 29 Nov. - Wakil media di sini semalam diundang untuk merasai sendiri pengalaman sebagai peserta dalam sukan layar sempena kejohanan Piala Monsun yang akan bermula hari ini. Ia juga bagi memberi kefahaman kepada mereka tentang perjalanan dan format pertandingan semasa membuat liputan kejohanan bertaraf dunia itu kelak. Pasukan media bersaing bersama lima lagi pasukan dalam program pra piala Monsun yang dinamakan kejohanan Motour Tourism Cup, anjuran Pejabat Pelancongan Negeri.

Pasukan Persatuan Pemandu Pelancong Negeri Terengganu (Tenaga) yang dianggotai pemandu pelancong muncul sebagai juara dengan mudah menewaskan pasukan Persatuan Hotel Terengganu (MAH) dalam pertandingan akhir. Turut serta, pasukan Persatuan Ejen-Ejen Pelancongan dan Pengembaraan Malaysia (Matta), Kelab Wartawan Terengganu (KAWAT) dan Dewan Perniagaan Melayu Malaysia Negeri Terengganu (DPMMNT). Kejohanan kali kedua ini dianjurkan dengan kerjasama T-Best Event Sdn. Bhd. dan turut dihadiri Penasihat Piala Monsun, Datuk Peter Gilmour.

Majlis penutup kejohanan tersebut di Ri-Yaz Heritage Marina Resort & Spa, Pulau Duyung berlangsung dekat sini petang semalam. Bercakap kepada pemberita, Pengarah Pelancongan negeri, Ahmad Fathil Abd. Ghani berkata, selain memberi kefahaman kepada media bagi memudahkan mereka membuat liputan, ia juga bagi menyedarkan mereka tentang potensi kejohanan ini dari sudut pelancongan. "Pengetahuan yang mendalam mengenai format kejohanan di kalangan pengamal media mampu memaparkan liputan berita yang mampu memberi kefahaman kepada masyarakat.

"Melalui program seumpama ini serta beberapa siri penerangan oleh pihak penganjur, tahap kefahaman pihak media serta penggiat industri pelancongan terhadap kejohanan ini semakin meningkat berbanding pada awal penganjurannya dahulu. "Ini kerana, mereka berperanan sebagai 'duta kecil' yang akan mempromosi kejohanan berprestij yang bakal memasuki edisi kelima melalui tulisan berdasarkan pengalaman mereka sendiri di arena perlumbaan sebenar," katanya. Tambah Ahmad Fathil lagi, pengalaman yang dilalui oleh para peserta boleh dijadikan sebagai aset untuk mempromosikan kejohanan Piala Monsun berdasarkan penghayatan mereka sebagai peserta. "Di samping menjalinkan hubungan erat antara penggiat industri pelancongan dengan pihak media, kejohanan ini sebagai inisiatif pihak penganjur untuk memberikan pendedahan awal," katanya.

-Utusan Online.

Huge interest for Malaysian Grand Prix promotion in Perth

MELBOURNE: Malaysia Airlines staged a hugely successful Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix promotion in Perth over the weekend. The capital of Western Australia staged its first Festival of Speed on Sunday, with a demonstration of a Red Bull Formula One car driven by Australian F1 driver Mark Webber.

Mark Webber

The festival attracted a huge crowd, with many driving to the venue being forced to turn back as it took them some two to three hours to get into the circuit. “The amount of interest in the Malaysia Airlines stand at the Festival of Speed, the first event of its kind to be held in Perth, was not only very noticeable but quite staggering,” former Australian Grand Prix official Geoffrey Harris said yesterday. “The West Australian newspaper had run a 16-page supplement about the festival with a half-page advertisement on a competition to win a trip to the Malaysian Grand Prix.

“A huge number of people were entering the site. It was also noticeable that neither the organiser of the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne nor the event’s airline sponsors Qantas had any presence at the Perth festival. “Yet, if you wanted to entice F1 fans from Perth to KL, they all were at the Barbagallo Raceway. I think Malaysia Airlines kicked a big goal on Sunday. “Webber visited the Malaysian stand to draw the names of two winners who will attend the Sepang Grand Prix, as guests of the organisers.”

Webber was the winner of six grand prix and finished third in this year’s world championship. The Perth youngster on the brink of F1 racing, Daniel Ricciardo, also demonstrated the Red Bull car on Sunday. Ricciardo, 21, was named, as the third driver for the Italian-based Scuderia Toro Rosso – Red Bull’s second, smaller F1 team. The Malaysian GP will be the third round of the F1 world championship and scheduled in mid-April. Webber’s visit with the Red Bull car was the first time a contemporary F1 driver and car had been seen on a track in Perth since 1962. 

— Bernama

Kapit offers plenty for tourists and adventure seekers

THE sunset in the mountainous Kapit Division with the Rajang River in the foreground, offers a breathtaking view at dusk. Located inland of Sarawak, Kapit is a charming rural place that one should visit to appreciate the state’s unique geography and culture. It is home mainly to the Ibans with a handful of Chinese, Malay, Melanau and Orang Ulu – thus visiting the division can be an enriching cultural experience as well. Kapit is also synonymous with the most expensive freshwater fish in the state, Empurau, which cost more than RM500 per kilogramme! This is due to high demand for its delicious flesh.

Scenic: Magnificient view as the sun sets in Kapit.

The difficulty in catching this fish also contributes to its price as it is a slow-growing species and very particular about its habitat and breeding ground; preferring clear running water and where its favourite food, the Engkabang fruit, are available. Kapit is the seventh of 11 administrative region in Sarawak and it is the biggest division spanning an area of about 40,000sqkm. It is has three districts namely Kapit, Song and Belaga, and two sub-districts Nanga Merit and Sungai Asap.

To reach Kapit, one has to travel to Sibu Division either by air, land or river and then board an express boat that is available from as early as 5.45am and ends at about 2pm. A trip cost between RM20 and RM30 depending on seating class – first, second or economy. There are several express boat operators servicing the route almost hourly. The 126km journey along the longest river in the country, Rajang River, takes nearly three hours. River transportation is the only mode of transport to Kapit for most people but plans are on the way to build a road from Kanowit in Sibu division to Song and to Kapit.

The past captured: A large painting depicting the history and culture of Kapit being exhibited at Fort Sylvia.

As one leaves the modern and bustling town of Sibu, the landscape along the riverbank also changes. One will pass by many longhouses as well as timber mills and log ponds, and the lush secondary forests and fruit trees. In Kapit, life starts early. In the town area, one can hear the shutters of shops being pushed up for business as early as 5am; while by 6am the earliest passenger express boat leaving for Sibu will honk intermittently and calling for passengers to board until it leaves the terminal at 6.40am.

Going around Kapit town is easy as everything from places of interests to budget hotels, eateries, shops and government offices are all within walking distance. Among others, the wet market or Pasar Teresang is a must-visit place in Kapit town. It is just a few minutes walk away from the passenger express terminal and even at the break of dawn, it is already bustling with life. Every market is unique and has a story to tell. So do spend some time chatting with the traders who are very friendly.

Colourful local handicraft: Iban and Orang Ulu handicraft are available at Kapit’s wet market, Pasar Teresang.

There are many fresh jungle produce which one cannot find in other wet markets. The hawkers at the market particularly the Ibans are rich in traditional knowledge. If one is looking for a natural flavour enhancer, there is a plant the locals called ‘Tubu’. The locals also love to cook their fish and shrimp with leaves plucked from the forests like ‘Riang’ and ‘Rampo’ which they claim make dishes very palatable. Local handicrafts are also sold at Pasar Teresang from traditional Iban and Orang Ulu rattan products to colourful bead bags.

Another place within walking distance is Fort Sylvia, which was built in 1880 by the second White Rajah, Charles Brooke. Formerly known as Fort Kapit, it was built to prevent the Iban from expanding upriver into Orang Ulu territory. Over the years, the fort witnessed both punitive expeditions and peace treaties with the final one made on Nov 16, 1924 – the Kapit Peace-making between the Iban and Orang Ulu. Fort Sylvia, made from Sarawak’s famous ironwood, ‘Belian’, also withstood onslaught of floods in 1887, 1934, 1961 and 1983 with water levels clearly marked on the front wall of the fort.

Today, the fort is under the care of the Tun Jugah Foundation, which has turned it into a mini museum. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday between 10am and 12 noon, and 2pm to 5pm. Among others, it exhibits documents relating to the history of Kapit, heirloom jars, brass cannons and photographs of prominent people from the division like the late Tun Jugah Barieng. To learn more about the state and division’s history, head down to Kapit’s Civic Centre which also houses another museum which is open during office hours. A trip to Kapit will not be complete without visiting one or two longhouses either in Kapit district itself or neighbouring districts or sub-districts. So, ask the locals around or the budget hotel proprietors or staff for assistance to find your way to these longhouses. One of the recommended longhouses is Rumah Bundong. It is one of the oldest longhouses in Kapit, some 40km from town. An hour’s walk from this longhouse is the 50m-high Wong Tinggi Waterfall.

Kapit community leader Temenggong Lau Kah Kii, 70, said the division is a pleasant place to visit because it is safe and friendly. “Everyone knows everybody here,” he said. Central Region Hotel Association Kapit deputy chairman Sylvester Law said the division has many tourism potential ranging from history, culture and nature. However, he said to develop tourism in the division required better coordination among stakeholders among the government and private sector including passenger express boat operators. “We in the private sector cannot develop tourism on our own. We need all the help we can get like from the Sarawak Tourism Board, Kapit District Office and Resident Office to promote Kapit in the country and overseas,” he said.

He pointed out that one of the main points was to set up a tourist information centre or counter at the wharf so that tourists could ask their way around and get some brochures or the town map. “The wharf is the best place because it’s the arrival ‘hall’ for everyone to Kapit,” he said. Law said Kapit also lacks trained tourist guides which must be addressed by all stakeholders so that visitors will get the best out of their trip and have a memorable stay. “We need proper tourism facilities like training centres for front liners and a tourist information centre, and guidelines for stakeholders,” he reiterated. He believed tourism could be a booming industry in the quaint and peaceful division.

-thestar online.

Bag label opens its first standalone store in South East Asia

RADLEY the British bag label has come into its own. After having a presence in department stores in Kuala Lumpur and Penang, it has finally opened its first standalone store, right here in Pavilion KL. The label was founded in 1998 by Lowell Harder. While the label is mainly known for its bags it also has accessories such as shoes (but the local stores only stock bags at present). At the launch, the audience was entertained by up and coming stand-up comedian Kuah Jenhan. This was followed by a “fashion show”, featuring six non-professional “models”.

Various shapes and sizes: The range of Radley bags on its display wall.

The label is noted for its love of colour and hand-crafted, distinctive designs which is reflective of a slightly eccentric Englishness. While inspirations are sourced from all over the world, the core of its designs are home-grown. The use of colour is the essence of Radley. Colour is used to capture humour or display an emotion. To give off an attitude or make a statement. To add to character and to enrich. At least, that’s what Radley claims. The store in Pavilion is the first new concept store in South East Asia following the successful launch of the first new concept store in Metro Centre, Newcastle in the UK on Oct 2010.

“The new store concept is a result of direct dedicated research and will highlight our position as the UK high Street’s leading premium accessories brand. It aims to engage the consumer, whilst allowing for one universal brand signature. We are delighted with the remodelled concepts and look forward to seeing customer’s reactions”, said Radley chief executive office Sven Gaede. The boutique boasts of a store aesthetic which sees the interior visual merchandising incorporating the introduction of showcase walls, display tables and mannequins. All of which mirrors the brand’s values — attention to detail and expert craftsmanship.

Bag madame: A model showing the media some of the Radley bags.

A dramatic move from Radley’s current modern minimalist stores, this new in-store environment brings warmth and texture; a design that reflects Radley’s increased product offering and provides a richer, emotive brand experience in a bid to satisfy existing customers and to encourage potential new clientele. A partnership between Radley and Caulder & Moore, a retail design expert gave birth to this new retail concept. It reflects Radley’s unique brand DNA whilst creating a uniform brand identity and differentiating itself from its competitors. Radley’s other counter portfolio currently stands at eight within the following departmental stores in Malaysia; Isetan, KLCC, Robinsons, The Gardens, Parkson, Pavilion, Parkson KLCC, Parkson 1 Utama, Parkson Subang Parade, Parkson, Sunway Pyramid, and Parkson, Gurney Plaza Penang.

-thestar online.

New umbrella body links Malaysia's tourism players

The Newly-Minted Malaysia Tourism Federation aims to become a platform for national and state tourism-related organisations to collaborate on direction-setting and proposing of policies for the industry. Registered on November 18, the federation's president Joshua Peter Tan said its role was to serve as an umbrella body to bring stakeholders together to dialogue on tourism issues. It also hopes to run tourism-related conferences and provide human capital training for the travel trade.

He said: "We also want to work closely with the tourism ministry and state tourism bodies to ensure continued sustainable growth of Malaysia's tourism industry." Tan's immediate task is to recruit members from national and state tourism associations across all segments such as the hotels, travel and tour operators, tourist guides and transport operators. An inaugural meeting is planned for mid-December and there are plans to establish a full-time secretariat. Tan expects the Federation, which will be officially launched in January next year, to eventually be a member of international travel trade associations such as the Pacific Asia Travel Association and the ASEAN Tourism Association.
-TTG Asia.

3 inisiatif utama tingkat pelancongan Johor

NUSAJAYA 29 Nov. - Kerajaan negeri menggariskan tiga inisiatif utama bagi menjadikan Johor sebagai destinasi pelancongan terunggul dan berkualiti dalam tempoh lima tahun ini. Sehubungan itu, Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Pelancongan dan Perdagangan Dalam Negeri dan Hal Ehwal Pengguna Johor, Hoo Seong Chang berkata, inisiatif itu memberi tumpuan kepada pengembangan produk bernilai tinggi. Katanya, inisiatif berkenaan adalah meningkatkan sumber manusia berkualiti, mewujudkan produk pelancongan dan menyediakan pelan pemasaran pelancongan yang efektif.

"Untuk inisiatif pertama, pakatan strategi dan perkongsian pintar antara kerajaan negeri dengan institusi latihan berkaitan pelancongan di negeri ini akan dipertingkatkan," katanya. Beliau berkata demikian dalam ucapan penggulungannya bagi menjawab soalan Datuk Tee Siew Kiong (BN-Pulai Sebatang) pada Sidang Dewan Undangan Negeri Ke-12, di sini hari ini. Katanya, antara institusi yang menawarkan kursus pelancongan adalah Reliance College Sdn Bhd, Kolej Hospitaliti YPJ, SF Tourisam Academy Sdn Bhd, dan Git Academy Sdn Bhd. Seong Chang berkata, untuk inisiatif kedua, kerajaan negeri melalui Unit Perancangan Ekonomi Johor akan menjalankan kajian bagi menyediakan satu pelan induk pelancongan yang menggariskan hala tuju industri pelancongan. Menurutnya, pelan tersebut bakal dimulakan pada suku tahun kedua 2011 dan akan menjadi pelengkap kepada pelan induk pelancongan Iskandar Malaysia.

"Di bawah inisiatif kedua, fokus akan diberikan kepada sembilan teras pelancongan iaitu eko, warisan, agrotourism dan inap desa, pantai dan pulau, sukan, M.I.C.E (mesyuarat, insentif, konvensyen dan ekspo), golf, makanan dan membeli-belah serta kesihatan," katanya. Katanya, daripada sembilan teras pelancongan itu, kerajaan akan memberi keutamaan kepada 15 inap desa dan 10 produk pelancongan yang dipilih sebagai ikon pelancongan negeri. Beliau berkata, antaranya ialah Bangunan Sultan Ibrahim, Kota Iskandar, Muzium Diraja Sultan Abu Bakar, Pulau Rawa, Pulau Sibu, Danga Bay dan Taman negara Johor Endau Rompin.

Sementara itu, untuk inisiatif ketiga, kerajaan bersama pihak swasta akan mempertingkat dan meneruskan program pemasaran serta promosi produk pelancongan secara agresif di peringkat domestik dan antarabangsa. Beliau berkata, antara gerak kerja yang dirangka adalah menganjurkan Fam-Trip, mengadakan pameran pelancongan di dalam dan luar negara, meningkatkan promosi dan pemasaran inap desa serta mempromosikan acara bertaraf nasional dan antarabangsa.
-Utusan Online.

Melaka perkenal pelantar memancing

JASIN 29 Nov. - Melaka sememangnya terkenal dengan pelbagai produk pelancongan, tidak kira sama ada di dalam kawasan pusat bandar ataupun luar bandar, tarikannya di darat atau pun di laut. Destinasi tumpuan seperti kota lama A'Famosa, Menara Taming Sari, Taman Tema Air Melaka, Zoo Melaka dan Perigi Hang Tuah di Kampung Duyong sudah sinonim dalam kalangan pelancong asing yang pernah berkunjung ke negeri ini. Bagaimanapun, selain berkunjung ke destinasi tersebut, anda mungkin boleh mencuba aktiviti memancing bagi mengisi masa percutian anda di negeri ini. Pelancong mahupun orang awam lain boleh mencuba memancing di lokasi khas disediakan oleh Jabatan Perikanan negeri iaitu di Pelantar Sempang Pantai, Merlimau yang terletak kira-kira 30 minit dari pusat bandar Melaka.

Dengan menaiki selama 10 minit melalui bot khas yang disediakan di Jeti Sempang Pantai, Merlimau, kaki pancing akan dibawa ke Pelantar Sempang Pantai yang terletak di tengah laut Selat Melaka. Pelantar yang dibina dengan kos sekitar RM40,000 itu mula digunakan sejak November 2009. Ini merupakan salah satu inisiatif Jabatan Perikanan negeri yang mahu memperkenalkan pelantar memancing di tengah lautan ini sebagai salah satu destinasi pelancongan. Dengan sokongan Kumpulan Komuniti Pengurusan Perikanan Persatuan Nelayan Kampung Sempang Pantai, aktiviti memancing di pelantar ini sedikit sebanyak membantu pendapatan nelayan di kampung tersebut. Keadaan ini adalah kerana pengunjung akan berurusan dengan nelayan di sini seperti penghantaran pergi balik dari pelantar tersebut.

Dengan mempunyai kemudahan lengkap seperti bilik air, dua buah bilik untuk lelaki dan perempuan serta dapur untuk memasak, pelantar ini boleh digunakan sebagai pengisian percutian keluarga. Bayaran yang dikenakan adalah RM30 untuk orang dewasa dan percuma bagi kanak-kanak. Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Pembangunan Desa dan Pertanian negeri, Datuk Mohamad Hidhir Abu Hassan berkata, pelantar tersebut menjadi salah satu tarikan utama pelancongan terutamanya kaki pancing yang mahukan satu kelainan sepanjang menjalankan aktiviti ini.

Menurutnya, pembinaan pelantar tersebut adalah yang pertama di negeri ini dan menjadi salah satu matlamat Jabatan Perikanan untuk menarik minat kaki pancing bagi merasai pengalaman memancing di tengah lautan. ''Dengan pelbagai kemudahan yang lengkap disediakan di sini, saya pasti pelantar Sempang Pantai ini akan mendapat sambutan yang lebih menggalakkan dari mereka yang suka memancing. ''Sekali gus ia menggalakkan industri perikanan di negeri ini untuk membangun dan tidak tertumpu kepada hasil nelayan malah menjadikan pelantar ini sebagai salah satu destinasi pelancongan negara," katanya ketika ditemui Utusan Malaysia di sini baru-baru ini.

Menurutnya, Jabatan Perikanan negeri sedang dalam usaha menambah dua lagi buah pelantar yang ketika ini sedang dijadikan sebagai pusat pembiakan kerang. ''Pelantar yang digunakan sebagai pembiakan kerang ini merupakan salah satu projek perintis seluas 1.6 hektar.
''Jika projek perintis ini berjaya, pihak Jabatan Perikanan negeri akan memperluaskan pembiakan kerang di tengah laut Sempang Pantai sekali gus membantu menjana pendapatan nelayan di sini," katanya. Kata beliau, dua lagi pelantar akan dibuka sebagai tempat memancing juga dapat menarik lebih ramai kaki pancing untuk menjalankan aktiviti bersama keluarga dan rakan-rakan. Menurut Hidhir, bagi yang berminat boleh menghubungi Pegawai Perikanan, Mohd. Kadir Mohd. Yassin di talian 012-9401303.
-Utusan Online.

Revitalising tourism

NEW tourism products will be developed to revitalise the tourism industry in Sarawak. Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan, who is also Tourism and Heritage Minister, said there was a need to inject new ideas into the tourism industry because it was starting to become stagnant. “There are many new areas of interest that we have yet to open up in the state. We are looking at new attractions such as historical sites, beautiful natural spots, farms, offshore reefs, homestay in remote areas and the likes. “I am gathering more ideas from the tourism players in the private sector. We need to be more innovative and creative in promoting Sarawak so that we can bring in more local and international tourists again,” he told a press conference in Miri yesterday.

Dr Chan said that in places like Miri, the potential of war-time historical sites — such as the beachfront where the Japanese landed in their bid to capture the oil-wells — could be explored.
He pointed out that many Australian and British soldiers had died in the city while trying to liberate Sarawak from the Japanese. “A lot of foreigners will come to pay their respect to their loved ones who have died here if we have some sort of a monument to remember these foreign soldiers who had died,” he said. Dr Chan said his ministry was also looking into ways to expand the markets which sell native products, local vegetables and foodstuffs as these areas were very popular with foreign tourists. He said that even farms and orchards had potential to lure tourists.

Another area where there could be huge tourism income are the various harvest festivals celebrated by the different ethnic groups, he said. He said foreign tourists could be offered homestay packages where they would stay in longhouses for an extended period to help the locals harvest fruits like durians, and also partake in harvests of rice, tapioca and the likes.
As for the fishing villages along the coast, Dr Chan said homestay packages could be offered whereby foreign tourists could be taken for deep-sea fishing or inland fishing to offer them a unique experience.
-thestar online.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Perak wujud galeri kartun Lat

IPOH 28 Nov. - Kerajaan negeri mengenal pasti beberapa produk pelancongan baru yang mampu menarik lebih ramai pelancong ke negeri ini. Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Industri, Pelaburan, Pembangunan Usahawan, Pelancongan dan Hal Ehwal Wanita negeri, Datuk Hamidah Osman berkata, antara produk tersebut adalah mewujudkan sebuah galeri kartun bertaraf antarabangsa tidak lama lagi. Beliau berkata, galeri yang akan menempatkan karya-karya pelukis tersohor negara, Datuk Mohamad Nor Khalid atau lebih dikenali sebagai Lat itu akan diwujudkan di Kota Baharu di sini.

"Datuk Lat adalah pelukis kebanggaan kita dan karya dihasilkannya mempunyai keunikan tersendiri serta bertaraf antarabangsa," katanya. Beliau berkata demikian pada majlis perasmian Warisan Perak yang Hilang di Garden Villa di sini, semalam. Pelbagai pertunjukan kebudayaan seperti seni silat lincah, tarian, gendang, tarian singa dan pameran diadakan pada majlis itu. Hamidah yakin galeri tersebut akan menjadi salah satu daya tarikan pelancongan yang menarik di negeri ini. "Usaha yang dibuat ini membuktikan golongan ternama dapat membantu memperkenalkan kebudayaan yang ada di negeri ini," katanya.

Tegas beliau, selain itu, bangunan-bangunan yang mempunyai nilai sejarah juga akan dikekalkan. "Negeri ini amat kaya dengan warisan kebudayaan pelbagai kaum yang sewajarnya dipertahankan bagi kepentingan industri pelancongan. "Kita perlu bangga dan sayang dengan warisan yang kita ada kerana ia mempunyai keistimewaan yang tersendiri," katanya.
-Utusan Online.

YTL expands into North Asia

YTL Hotels will expand its portfolio to 16 by early next year with the opening of one hotel each in Japan and China. The Green Leaf Niseko Village in Hokkaido, which YTL acquired last year, is slated to open on December 14 after renovations. The property will be comparable to those in ski destinations such as Aspen, Vail and St. Moritz, which is the sister city of Niseko, said YTL Hotels executive vice president, Laurent Myter. Over in Shanghai, guest suites at the Swatch Art Peace Hotel will open in March 2011. The heritage property is located on Nanjing Road at the famous Bund intersection, overlooking the Huangpu River.

Myter also revealed that YTL had two island resorts under construction in Sabah, one in Pulau Gaya and another in Pulau Tiga. These are scheduled for completion in 2012 and will be owned and managed by YTL.
-TTG Asia.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

MATTA announces that travel agents will charge a consultation fee

KUALA LUMPUR: Beginning January 2011, travel agencies all over Malaysia will begin charging a consultation fee for producing the best personalised service for their clients. The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) announced this at Wisma MATTA in Desa Perdana to reporters. According to MATTA president Datuk Mohd Khalid Harun, the fee had been successfully implemented in other countries that had increased the level of service and quality. “Over the years, airline commissions have declined, hotel’s internet booking have increased but we are still rendering free services to those who ask for quotations or tour packages even before they confirm their purchase with us,” he said.

Deputy president, John Tan, added that a lot of work was involved in compiling the quotation and the work could not be done for free anymore. “Some corporate clients ask several companies for quotations because it is free and, at the end, only one receives the deal. This is not fair to us. So with this fee they will think twice before doing this. We are educating them,” he added. Tan said all clients should decide on the destination, do a little groundwork and decide on their budget so a win-win situation could be found for both parties.

Khalid added that travel agents were now consultants with their expertise and strengths. This fee structure has been configured by their Outbound committee. The fee suggested by MATTA is merely a guideline and travel agents are free to change the price according to their service. For frequent individual travelers, the charge is RM300 per quotation for both domestic and international travel, while corporate consultation fees are priced at RM200 per quotation for the first three quotations and RM500 per quotation for the fourth quotation onwards for both domestic and international travels.

“The fee will be absorbed as part of the payment if the client decides to purchase from the agency and one free revision will be given on the same quotation,” added Jeffri Sulaiman, vice president of MATTA Outbound. Jeffri also said they would begin road shows around the country to disseminate the information to all their 2700 registered members. Khalid added that if customers felt that they were unhappy with the services or the charges they were welcome to lodge complaints with MATTA. For more information log on to www.matta.org.my or call 03-92876881.

-thestar online.

Increase direct flights to boost tourism

KOTA KINABALU: More airlines will be invited to operate direct flights, including chartered, to help increase tourist arrivals to Sabah. Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said this is important as over 90% of tourists to Sabah arrive via air. The state has 112 direct flights weekly to 12 international destinations namely: Brunei, Hong Kong, Shenzen, Jakarta, Tokyo, Osaka, Singapore, Seoul, Taipei, Kaohsiung, Manila and Clark (Philippines).

“We received 28 chartered flights from January until October. My ministry will add more tourist destinations in Sabah,” he said in reply to a question by Datuk Liew Teck Chan in the state assembly here. Masidi was confident the weekly flights would be increased from 112 to 121 by June 2011 in line with Kota Kinabalu’s status as Malaysia Airlines eastern hub. He said Sabah Tourism Promotion Board would participate in 60 sales promotions, exhibitions and seminars at home and abroad next year. Some 414,783 tourists visited Sabah from January to September compared to the corresponding period last year.
– Bernama.

Nikko rebranded as InterCon in Kuala Lumpur

The Intercontinental hotel brand will debut in Malaysia in February next year, replacing the Nikko Kuala Lumpur. The 473-room hotel is located at Jalan Ampang in the heart of the Malaysian capital's business, shopping and entertainment district. The property is slated to embark on a 30-month refurbishment, which will take place in three phases.

"Malaysia was one of the few South-east Asian countries that saw an increase in visitor arrivals in 2009, a trend that has continued to date this year. This is a hotel market that has potential for long-term growth, especially in view of Malaysia's target of reaching 36 million tourist arrivals by 2020," said Jan Smits, managing director of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) Asia Australasia. Together with the recent signing of the Holiday Inn Express in Kota Kinabalu, IHG will have all its key brands operating in Malaysia when the Holiday Inn Express opens.
TTG Asia.

No blanket ban on water sports

GEORGE TOWN: The state government will not impose a blanket ban on commercial water sports activities in the Batu Ferringhi tourism belt as there is still demand for them among some tourists. State Local Government and Traffic Management Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the state would need to be fair to all parties, therefore it only planned to regulate such activities in stages. He said the state would consider a proposal by the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) for a blanket ban on all forms of commercialised water sports when it embarked on regulating such activities in stages.

Chow reiterated that horse riding and beach buggies would be banned soon while water scooter riding, and parasailing would be allowed under strict regulation and enforcement. He was commenting on a statement by CAP president S.M. Mohd Idris that confining water scooter rides and parasailing to a small beach zone, would make the situation worse. Mohd Idris had reportedly said that lives had been lost in the past through such activities and confining them to a smaller zone, would cause the area to be crowded.

Malaysian Association of Hotels Penang Chapter chairman Marco Battistotti said when these activities were properly regulated, the operators would have to abide to safety measures. “Such regulations are in place in Europe, Thailand, Bali (Indonesia) and Egypt. I think the authorities would regulate them by making the designated area for water-sports larger instead of narrowing it to a smaller area.” “I know Mohd Idris is championing many issues, but I have not seen him once in a meeting organised by the Penang Municipal Council on the issue,” he said.
-thestar online.

Kerajaan negeri belanja RM72j

MARAN 24 Nov. – Kerajaan negeri membelanjakan RM72 juta bagi meningkatkan prasarana dan kemudahan pelancongan dalam usaha menarik lebih ramai pelancong ke negeri ini. Pengarah Pelancongan negeri, Idros Yahya berkata, peruntukan itu turut membabitkan aspek promosi dan publisiti di samping menyediakan kemudahan yang lebih baik seperti bekalan air bersih dan tandas. Menurutnya, penyediaan kemudahan itu berjaya membantu meningkatkan jumlah kehadiran pelancong seramai sembilan juta orang ke negeri ini tahun lalu. “Sasaran kita pada tahun ini ialah seramai 10 juta pelancong berikutan usaha keras kerajaan negeri dan Kementerian Pelancongan mengadakan promosi intensif di luar negara.
“Kita sentiasa meningkatkan usaha menarik pelancong dan kemudahan infrastruktur supaya Pahang menjadi destinasi wajib mereka dikunjungi,” katanya kepada Utusan Malaysia, di sini hari ini.

Idros berkata, pihaknya sangat mengambil berat aspek kebersihan di kawasan tumpuan pelancong bagi mengelakkan berulangnya kejadian di Hutan Rekreasi Lubuk Yu, Maran yang terpaksa ditutup tiga bulan selepas dilanda wabak kencing tikus. Beliau berkata, kejadian tersebut banyak mengajar pihaknya dan pengunjung supaya mengutamakan kebersihan. Beliau tidak menafikan ada pengunjung mengabaikan aspek kebersihan menyebabkan kawasan hutan lipur menjadi sarang tikus membiak yang membawa pelbagai penyakit berbahaya. “Sehubungan itu, kita memantau 25 hutan lipur supaya aspek kebersihan dan keselamatan yang disediakan dapat dimanfaat dengan baik,” katanya.

Katanya, Pahang sangat bertuah kerana mempunyai banyak kawasan menarik seperti air terjun, tanah tinggi dan pulau untuk dikunjungi dan ia harus dieksploitasi dengan baik bagi melonjakkan ekonomi negeri. Oleh itu, tegasnya, adalah menjadi tanggungjawab penduduk negeri ini bersama-sama menjaga kebersihan, memulihara dan memelihara flora serta fauna bagi mengekalkan keaslian kawasan itu. “Kita sangat komited meningkatkan kemudahan dan nilai tambah di destinasi pelancongan sedia ada seperti di Genting Highlands dan Bukit Fraser berikutan pelancong gemarkan kawasan bersih dan segar,‘‘ katanya. Pada tahun lalu, kata Idros, Genting Highlands dikunjungi lebih lima juta pelancong, sekali gus menjadi aset utama bagi perkembangan industri pelancongan negeri.
-Utusan Online.

417,079 pelawat kunjungi Menara Taming Sari

MELAKA 24 Nov. - Menara Taming Sari Berhad (MTSB) mencatat kutipan sebanyak RM3.92 juta melalui 417,079 pengunjung yang menaiki produk pelancongan menara berputar itu dalam tempoh 10 bulan pertama tahun ini. Ketua Pegawai Eksekutifnya, Nazary Ahmad berkata, kutipan sebanyak RM3.92 juta itu dicatatkan sepanjang tempoh 276 hari menara itu beroperasi dari 1 Januari hingga 31 Oktober lalu.

Menurut beliau, jumlah tersebut menurun sedikit berbanding kutipan sebanyak RM3.93 juta sepanjang 283 hari beroperasi dalam tempoh yang sama tahun lalu. "Ini bermakna, terdapat perbezaan tujuh hari waktu operasi antara tahun lalu dan tahun ini menyebabkan pendapatan tahun ini berkurangan sebanyak RM13,791. "Walaupun tujuh hari tidak beroperasi tahun ini, perbezaannya tidaklah begitu ketara kerana MTSB sentiasa memperkenalkan pakej promosi selain nilai tambah kepada produk-produk sedia ada," katanya kepada Utusan Malaysia ketika dihubungi di sini hari ini.

Secara purata, menurut beliau, menara berputar setinggi 110 meter memperoleh jualan tiket sekitar RM12,000 atau RM14,000 sehari. Tambahnya, dalam tempoh dua tahun tersebut, kutipan bulanan tertinggi pernah diperolehi MTSB adalah sebanyak RM667,345.50 sepanjang 30 hari beroperasi pada Jun tahun lalu. "Sebanyak 75,582 tiket telah terjual pada bulan tersebut. "Pada Januari lalu pula, walaupun hanya beroperasi selama tiga hari, kita berjaya kutip sebanyak RM153,112 apabila 12,941 orang menaiki menara berputar ini," katanya.
Menara Taming Sari mula dibina pada Ogos 2006 dengan menggunakan kepakaran kejuruteraan dari Switzerland dan mula beroperasi sejak 18 April 2008. Berperanan sebagai menara tinjau, ia boleh menampung kapasiti sehingga 66 orang dalam satu-satu masa.
-Utusan Online.

Shopping to bring in RM16bil this year

KUALA LUMPUR: The Tourism Ministry expects shopping to contribute RM16bil to the country’s total tourist expenditure this year. Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said shopping which contributed RM15.1bil in 2009, came second after accommodation. “We hope shopping would contribute an extra RM1bil to the total tourism expenditure this year,” she said at a press conference after launching the Malaysia Year End Sale (M-YES) 2010 at Fahrenheit88 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Last year, shopping contributed about 28.3% of total tourist expenditure. She said it was the ministry’s aim to increase this to 35% by 2020. Dr Ng said Mastercard, the anchor credit card partner in M-YES 2010, reported an increase of 27% in sales in July and the total amount that shoppers spent using the card was RM4bil in just 30 days of shopping. She said the ministry spent about RM20mil every year to develop and promote Malaysia as a top world destination.
“This covers Tourism Malaysia’s Mega Familiarisation Programme, initiatives to promote Malaysia abroad, advertisements and launches,” she said.

Dr Ng said under the Tourism Malaysia’s Mega Familiarisation Programme, 156 journalists, tour operators and key tourism industry players from 20 countries were invited to cover M-YES 2010. “They are from Italy, Australia, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, Russia, the Philippines and the United States,” said Dr Ng. Dr Ng added that the ministry hoped to develop Bukit Bintang as a world famous shopping destination like Milan and New York City. She also said that on Jan 1, Malaysia would be a “duty-free” country and that import duties for 300 tourism-related goods would be abolished. “All goods except cigars and cigarettes, liquor and imported cars would be duty free,’’ she said. M-YES is in its tenth year and will end on Jan 2.
-thestar online.

Malaysia Week kicks off in Chiang Mai

BANGKOK: Tourism Malaysia is organising a Malaysia Week in Chiang Mai to promote the best that the country has to offer in food, education and tourist attractions. The five-day event starts today and will further tap the northern Thailand’s tourist potential, said director of Tourism Malaysia’s Thailand office Iskandar Mirza Mohd Yusof
He added that representatives from Malaysian higher learning institutions; food-producing companies, travel agencies as well as hotel operators would take part in the promotion to be held at Central Plaza. “We are targeting not only tourists from Chiang Mai but also the big expatriate community in the province,” he said.

In terms of education tourism, Malaysia’s geographical proximity to Chiang Mai as well as its accredited quality and cost-effective education could be the main factors to entice Chiang Mai’s middle-income people to send their children to Malaysia for tertiary education, added Iskandar Mirza. Chiang Mai will be AirAsia’s third hub in Thailand after Bangkok and Phuket starting in January next year, and this is likely to further facilitate the mobility of people in the province.

Iskandar Mirza said many tourists from Chiang Mai visit Malaysia between November and March. He said a teh tarik demonstration; a Sape (Sarawak traditional musical instrument) performance, a jigsaw competition, quiz and guess-the-name of tourist attractions contests would be held during Malaysia Week. Some 1.4 million Thais visited Malaysia last year and this year’s projection of 1.5 million visitors could be achieved, said Iskandar Mirza.
-thestar online.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Chinese agents go on fam trips to heart of Sabah

The Eastern Malaysian state of Sabah is taking travel agents from Hong Kong and China on familiarisation trips of less-discovered places such as Sandakan and Tawau, in a bid to promote destinations beyond the capital city Kota Kinabalu. It is starting by leading a five-night fam trip for Hong Kong agents this week. This will be followed by similar fam trips for agents from China. Sabah Tourism Board (STB) senior marketing manager, Tay Shu Lan, said the number of arrivals from China (including Hong Kong and Macau) totalled 74,557 for the first nine months of the year, up from 66,887 over the same period last year.

A key reason for the spike was a TVB TV series called Born Rich, which was partly shot in Sabah, said Tay. The Cantonese drama was aired late last year. However, Tay pointed out that some 90 per cent of Chinese visitors were still heading only to Kota Kinabalu, a trend that STB hopes to change by promoting other destinations known for special interests such as diving, wildlife and agro-tourism. Malaysia-based Mayflower Acme Tours manager of international sales for Greater China inbound, K.M. Lam, noted the company was receiving an increasing number of enquiries for Sabah. Lam said: "During key holiday seasons such as China National Day and Chinese New Year, demand is higher than supply."
-TTG Asia.

Pendapatan inap desa meningkat tiga kali ganda

KOTA KINABALU 23 Nov. - Pendapatan industri inap desa Sabah menunjukkan peningkatan tiga kali ganda kepada RM2.2 juta tahun lalu berbanding hanya RM528,759 ketika ia mula diperkenalkan pada 2006. Pembantu Menteri Pelancongan, Kebudayaan dan Alam Sekitar negeri, Datuk Ellron Alfred Angin berkata, pada 10 bulan pertama tahun ini, industri tersebut merekodkan pendapatan RM1.9 juta membabitkan kehadiran 12,601 pelancong.

"Setakat Oktober lalu hanya terdapat 237 peserta inap desa berdaftar membabitkan 19 kampung di 12 daerah di negeri ini. "Pada 2006, hanya 5,152 pelancong bercuti di inap desa tetapi pada tahun lalu ia meningkat kepada 15,244 orang," katanya pada sesi soal jawab pada persidangan Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) Sabah di sini hari ini. Beliau menjawab soalan lisan Datuk Justin Guka (BN-Bingkor) mengenai bantuan yang diberikan kerajaan kepada pemilik-pemilik inap desa bagi memajukan industri tersebut di negeri ini.

Ellron berkata, selain memberikan latihan melalui kursus asas pengurusan inap desa, kerajaan juga membantu menaik taraf infrastruktur asas dan kemudahan kepada pelancong di kawasan luar bandar. Katanya, di bawah Rancangan Malaysia Kesembilan (RMK-9), Kerajaan Persekutuan dan negeri telah meluluskan peruntukan RM2.5 juta bagi menaik taraf dan menyediakan kemudahan pelancongan di kawasan inap desa. "Sebanyak RM1.1 juta telah digunakan untuk menaik taraf kemudahan pelancongan di inap desa Papar, Tuaran, Kudat, Kinabatangan dan Ranau.

"Selain itu, sebanyak RM555,000 telah diberikan sebagai bantuan menaik taraf tandas dan bilik mandi di 111 rumah peserta inap desa berdaftar yang layak iaitu RM5,000 setiap peserta. ''Bantuan lain termasuk membina papan tanda di 16 kawasan inap desa membabitkan peruntukan RM250,000, kursus kepada peserta inap desa (RM400,000) dan promosi (RM70,000)," katanya. Menurutnya, bantuan yang dinyatakan itu tidak termasuk program pembangunan lain seperti pembinaan jalan raya dan penyediaan bekalan air serta elektrik oleh agensi kerajaan negeri dan Persekutuan.
-Utusan Online.

Muzium Pulau Besar dibuka kepada orang ramai

MELAKA 23 Nov. - Hasrat kerajaan negeri untuk menubuhkan sebuah muzium di Pulau Besar di sini sejak setahun lalu menjadi kenyataan apabila ia mula dibuka kepada orang ramai mulai semalam. Pengerusi Lembaga Pengarah Perbadanan Muzium Melaka (Perzim), Datuk Wira Hamdin Abdollah berkata, Muzium Pulau Besar bernilai kira-kira RM2 juta itu menghimpunkan pelbagai artifak yang ditemui di pulau tersebut. Menurutnya, selain itu muzium yang merupakan cawangan ke-23 Perzim tersebut turut menyediakan pelbagai bahan yang menceritakan sejarah mengenai pulau yang berkeluasan 168 hektar itu.

"Diharapkan, Muzium Pulau Besar ini akan melengkapkan lagi pulau yang mempunyai tarikan tersendiri ini sebagai sebuah lokasi pelancongan menarik pengunjung dari dalam dan luar negara. "Banyak maklumat tentang Pulau Melaka dipamerkan di muzium ini antaranya tokoh Islam seperti Sultan Al-Arifin Syeikh Ismail dan peranan Pulau Besar sebagai pusat bekalan air kepada pelayar dari China dan Eropah semasa berada di Selat Melaka," katanya. Beliau berkata demikian selepas meninjau Muzium Pulau Besar di pulau tersebut yang mula dibuka kepada orang ramai semalam. Hadir sama, Setiausaha Kerajaan Negeri merangkap Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Pembangunan Pulau Besar, Datuk Omar Kaseh dan Pengurus Besar Perzim, Khamis Abas.

Menurut Khamis, Muzium Pulau Besar dibuka setiap hari dari pukul 9 pagi hingga 5 petang dan mengenakan bayaran sebanyak RM3 bagi setiap dewasa manakala RM1 bagi kanak-kanak. "Muzium yang terletak berhampiran dengan jeti Pulau Besar ini turut mempamerkan beberapa artifak dari Indonesia yang dapat mengembalikan semula kegemilangan Melaka suatu ketika dahulu yang terkenal di seluruh dunia," katanya.
-Utusan Online.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Malaysia launches subvention for the first time

As tipped by TTGmice last month, Malaysia's tourism ministry is introducing a two-year subvention programme from 2011 worth RM100 million (US$32.3 million) to help the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) attract more international conventions. In order to qualify, conventions must comprise at least 20 per cent international delegates and chalk up a minimum of 1,000 roomnights. 

MyCEB, CEO, Zulkefli Sharif said the programme included both financial as well as non-financial aid such as on-site support, event marketing and delegate boosting. Said Zulkefli: "The subvention programme will provide a significant boost to Malaysia’s business tourism industry. Besides supporting the nation’s bid for international meetings, it will also help to stimulate growth in business tourism arrivals and foreign exchange earnings." Malaysia aims to grow business tourism arrivals from five per cent of overall tourist arrivals in 2009 (1.2 million) to eight per cent by 2020 (2.9 million). Anthony Wong, group managing director, Asian Overland Services Tourism & Hospitality group, said: "This is just what we need to compete on a global level to attract more international meetings to Malaysia." 
-TTG Asia.

Penggiat industri perlu kreatif tarik pelancong

KUCHING 22 Nov. - Penggiat industri pelancongan di negeri ini digesa lebih kreatif dan proaktif dalam mempromosikan produk pelancongan sedia ada dalam usaha meningkatkan kedatangan pelancong ke Sarawak. Timbalan Ketua Menteri, Tan Sri Dr. George Chan Hong Nam berkata, usaha itu perlu memandangkan jumlah pelancong yang datang ke negeri ini menurun sebanyak 1.5 peratus bagi tempoh lapan bulan pertama tahun ini iaitu 2,063,240 jika dibandingkan dengan tempoh yang sama tahun lalu.

Katanya, walaupun jumlah kedatangan pelancong pada Oktober mencatatkan peningkatan sebanyak 1.39 peratus, penggiat industri harus merasa bimbang dengan trend itu. Katanya lagi, ini kerana, peratusan itu amat kecil jika dibandingkan dengan prestasi sektor pelancongan peringkat nasional yang mencatatkan peningkatan sebanyak 5.2 peratus dalam tempoh lapan bulan pertama tahun ini iaitu 16.18 juta pelancong. ''Saya agak malu melihat situasi seumpama ini kerana kita (Sarawak) juga mempunyai kemudahan berkualiti sama seperti tempat pelancongan lain. ''Justeru, penggiat industri ini (pelancongan) perlu lebih proaktif dan agresif dalam mempromosi acara atau produk pelancongan dalam usaha kita menarik lebih ramai pelawat datang kembali ke negeri ini," katanya di sini hari ini.

Beliau berucap merasmikan Persidangan Transformasi Prestasi Pelancongan Sarawak yang turut dihadiri Menteri Muda Pelancongan dan Warisan, Datuk Talib Zulpilip dan Mong Dagang serta Setiausaha Tetap Kementerian Pelancongan dan Warisan, Datu Ik Pahon Joyik. Hong Nam yang juga Menteri Pelancongan dan Warisan Sarawak meminta operator pelancong di negeri ini untuk menambah nilai mutu perkhidmatan serta pakej pelancongan yang disediakan agar ia lebih menarik, komprehensif dan kompetitif. Ujar beliau, pelancong asing majoritinya amat menyukai kelainan pakej pelancongan yang akan membuatkan mereka berasa santai dan puas hati, bukannya melihat kepada faktor kos perkhidmatan.

''Oleh itu, para pemandu pelancong perlu memperlengkapkan diri dengan ilmu dan panduan berhubung kepelbagaian aset kekayaan dan keunikan produk pelancongan di negeri ini sebelum diterjemahkan kepada para pelancong. ''Ini kerana saya percaya bukan semua pelancong inginkan pakej pelancongan yang murah tetapi mereka sebenarnya ingin mencari kelainan dan pengalaman yang sukar untuk dilupakan," katanya. Sementara itu, Hong Nam menambah, kementeriannya akan melancarkan 'MICE One-Stop Shop' dalam usaha meningkatkan perkembangan sektor pelancongan Sarawak dengan lebih pantas.
Utusan Online.

Kedatangan pelancong ke Sabah meningkat

KOTA KINABALU 22 Nov. - Seramai 585,828 pelancong asing mengunjungi Sabah sepanjang sembilan bulan pertama tahun ini iaitu peningkatan sebanyak 33.1 peratus berbanding 440,109 pelancong bagi tempoh sama tahun lalu. Menteri Pelancongan, Kebudayaan dan Alam Sekitar negeri, Datuk Masidi Manjun berkata, kerajaan negeri mensasarkan kehadiran 600,000 pelancong asing tahun ini dan yakin ia mampu dicapai.
"Kementerian sudah meningkatkan aksesibiliti udara bagi mengembangkan lagi sektor perlancongan di negeri ini termasuk mempertingkatkan usaha menggalakkan syarikat penerbangan mengadakan penerbangan terus berikutan lebih 90 peratus kedatangan pelancong adalah melalui udara.

"Hasilnya, Sabah kini mempunyai 112 penerbangan terus antarabangsa seminggu dari 12 destinasi beberapa bandar raya di Brunei, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Filipina, Singapura, Korea Selatan dan Taiwan," katanya pada sesi soal jawab sempena persidangan Dewan Undangan Negeri Sabah di sini hari ini. Beliau berkata demikian ketika menjawab soalan Datuk Liew Teck Chan (BN-Likas) mengenai jumlah kedatangan pelancong sepanjang tahun ini dan langkah diambil untuk menarik lebih ramai kehadiran pelawat pada tahun hadapan. Menurut Masidi, kerajaan negeri juga mengalu-alukan langkah Penerbangan Malaysia (MAS) yang menjadikan Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Kota Kinabalu (KKIA) sebagai Hab Timur syarikat penerbangan utama negara itu.

"MAS mengumumkan akan mempertingkatkan jaringan udara bagi laluan antara bandar sedia ada seperti Taipei, Kaoshiung, Hong Kong, Seoul dan Osaka. Tindakan ini secara tidak langsung meningkatkan kehadiran pelancong ke negeri ini. "Malah, kekerapan penerbangan ke bandar raya ini meningkat daripada 112 kepada 121 penerbangan menjelang Jun tahun hadapan," katanya. Beliau menambah, kerja menaik taraf KKIA berjalan seperti dirancang dan berpotensi menjadi lokasi tumpuan apabila siap sepenuhnya tahun depan. Masidi berkata, selain meningkatkan aksesibiliti udara, kerajaan negeri melalui Lembaga Pelancongan Sabah (STB) akan meningkatkan lagi penyertaan dalam misi jualan, pameran pelancongan, seminar, roadshow di dalam dan luar negara. ''Antaranya menyertai Ekspo Pelancongan IMEX 2011 di Jerman yang dijangka mampu memantapkan strategi menarik kehadiran pelancong," katanya.
-Utusan Online.

Pusat tenun songket di Gong Kapas

KUALA TERENGGANU 22 Nov. – Yayasan Pembangunan Usahawan (YPU) Terengganu akan mewujudkan sebuah pusat latihan tenunan songket di Kampung Gong Kapas di sini, akhir bulan depan. Pengurus Besarnya, Azmi Razik berkata, ia bertujuan melahirkan lebih ramai penenun songket di kalangan generasi muda dan menyelamatkan industri songket di negeri ini daripada berkubur pada masa depan. “Pada masa ini Terengganu mengalami masalah kekurangan penenun berpengalaman serta mahir dan langkah mewujudkan pusat latihan itu dilihat sebagai satu cara untuk menyelamatkan industri songket di negeri ini,” katanya di sini, semalam.

Beliau berkata, pusat latihan itu mampu melatih 10 orang penenun songket dalam satu-satu masa dengan bimbingan penenun songket berpengalaman dan mahir. Katanya, dengan latihan itu, YPU berharap songket-songket yang dihasilkan di negeri ini lebih bermutu tinggi sekali gus mampu menembusi pasaran antarabangsa. Azmi berkata, pada masa ini songket, batik dan sutera Terengganu mendapat permintaan daripada industri tekstil daripada beberapa buah negara barat. “Ini satu peluang terbaik bagi pengusaha songket, batik serta sutera Terengganu untuk menembusi pasaran global dan baru-baru ini kerajaan negeri juga menghantar satu rombongan terdiri daripada pengusaha batik, songket dan sutera Terengganu ke luar negara untuk melihat peluang pasaran di sana,” katanya.

Dalam perkembangan lain, kerajaan Terengganu dengan kerjasama YPU akan menganjurkan festival batik, songket dan kraf Terengganu 2010 di Pusat Dagangan Terengganu (TTC) bermula 25 November ini. Azmi berkata, objektif utama festival selama dua minggu itu bertujuan merealisasikan peranan industri kraf sebagai pemangkin pembangunan ekonomi dan sosioekonomi negeri dan negara. “Selain itu, ia dapat memberi peluang kepada usahawan dan pengusaha industri kraf mempromosi dan mengetengahkan produk mereka kepada masyarakat umum selain peluang mencari rakan niaga,”katanya.

Tiga homestay sahut cabaran

KUCHING 22 Nov. – Tiga kawasan homestay di Sarawak yang terpilih menjadi calon Anugerah Pelancongan Homestay Utusan Bersih dan Indah pada tahun ini telah diadili oleh jawatankuasa anugerah tersebut pada 19 dan 20 November lalu. Tiga homestay dicalonkan bagi memenangi anugerah ini iaitu Homestay Kampung Mongkos, Samarahan; Homestay Kampung Benuk dan Homestay Kampung Annah Rais, masing-masingnya di Kuching.

Kriteria yang diberi penekanan dalam sesebuah homestay itu untuk memenangi anugerah tersebut adalah pengusaha homestay perlu mengekalkan kebersihan dan keindahan tempat-tempat pelancongan sekali gus menarik minat para pelancong untuk datang berulang-kali. Pengusaha homestay perlu mempunyai inisiatif serta kreativiti sendiri untuk menghijaukan kawasan rumah masing-masing dengan pelbagai tanaman seperti bunga-bungaan, sayur-sayuran, buah-buahan dan anak- anak pokok. Pada masa sama, para pengusaha homestay di negeri ini juga seharusnya mempunyai inisiatif untuk melaksanakan aktiviti penanaman pokok sebagai salah satu acara simbolik kepada para pelancong sekali gus menggalakkan persekitaran hijau seperti yang dicadangkan oleh Kementerian Pelancongan.

Inisiatif itu adalah sebagai menyahut seruan Kementerian Pelancongan yang melancarkan Kempen 1Malaysia Bersih, 1Malaysia Hijau baru-baru ini dalam usaha mencapai sasaran pendapatan RM12 bilion sebulan daripada sektor pelancongan dan kemasukan 36 juta pelancong asing menjelang tahun 2020. Sementara itu, jawatankuasa anugerah yang terlibat dalam mengadili ketiga-tiga homestay terbabit terdiri daripada wakil kementerian iaitu Penolong Pegawai Tadbir Kanan, Derek Jutem; Penolong Pegawai Tadbir, Jamaiah Jamali serta Humphrey Robert Linggi; Bahagian Perkhidmatan Pelancongan, Zawani Razali; Konsultan Impact Creations Sdn. Bhd., Alia HM Jally serta wakil akhbar Utusan Malaysia.

Anugerah Pelancongan Homestay Utusan Bersih dan Indah dilancarkan Menteri Pelancongan, Datuk Seri Dr. Ng Yen Yen bersama Pengerusi Eksekutif Kumpulan Utusan, Tan Sri Mohamed Hashim Ahmad Makaruddin pada 29 September lalu. Anugerah itu merupakan kerjasama Kementerian Pelancongan dan Utusan Malaysia serta pejabat-pejabat pelancongan negeri bagi memilih homestay terbaik selaras dengan Kempen 1Malaysia Bersih 1Malaysia Hijau bagi menyokong industri pelancongan negara. Setiap negeri menamakan tiga homestay terbaik untuk dikunjungi panel juri terdiri daripada wakil-wakil Kementerian Pelancongan dan Kumpulan Utusan serta juri perunding bermula Oktober 2010 sehingga April 2011 bagi memilih johan peringkat negeri. Pemenang akan menerima plak sumbangan Kumpulan Utusan bernilai RM500 dan sijil pengiktirafan daripada Kementerian Pelancongan.
-Utusan Online.

Heritage site to reopen

A 140-YEAR-OLD building on Beach Street, Penang, that was restored at a cost of RM6.8mil will be opened to the public next month. The Logan’s Building, which is now known as the Logan Heritage, is a two-storey building owned by the OCBC Bank and it has 23 office units with a built-up area of 3,994.8sq metres. Painted in beige, it sits majestically at the junction of Beach Street, Union Street and Bishop Street.

The building used to be the workplace of a prominent lawyer James Richardson Logan in the 1860s. He and his elder brother, Abraham came from Edinburgh, Scotland, to the Straits Settlement of Penang in the 1840s. They both practised law in Singapore before migrating to Penang in the 1860s. It is said that Logan was loved by the local residents then as he was devoted to justice and knowledge. Apparently, he had on some occasions defended the needy on a pro bono basis at no cost to them.

Originally, a grand three-storey building with cast iron balconies, it was later reduced to two storeys. It also has an inner courtyard within the premises. The last occupant on the ground floor was Barkath Store before the building was closed for restoration early this year.
The restoration project was conceived by OCBC Bank which spent RM5mil while Kuala Lumpur-based TecCentury Sdn Bhd, which is a property management company, spent RM1.8mil. TecCentury executive director Joe Kan Weng Hoe said the building would be officially opened on Dec 17. It shall boast a variety of food and beverages outlets, a foreign currency exchange facility, a gadgets’ shop, a convenience store besides smaller commercial interests.

“We also hope to promote tourism with a uniqueness of Penang Heritage through this pre-war building. We also hope to turn the premises into a food and beverage hub coupled with light entertainment for bankers in the area,” he said during a briefing tour yesterday. Kan also said that a hall was also set up to be a briefing spot on Penang’s heritage. “We will work closely with the George Town World Heritage Inc to invite all schools in Penang to Logan Heritage for free briefings. “Our main objective is to embrace Penang’s heritage and we have different concepts for this building. It is also a good stop for tourists to enjoy its rich heritage value,” he said.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng who visited the building yesterday, praised the efforts of the bank and the company in meeting the heritage guidelines of the Penang Municipal Council.
-thestar online.

20-day expedition to assess biodiversity level in Semporna

KOTA KINABALU: An international team of marine biologists will be assessing the biodiversity and health of coral reefs in waters off Semporna, which is a priority conservation area. WWF Malaysia said the 20-day expedition, which begins on Nov 29, was jointly organised with Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Universiti Malaya and the Netherlands Centre for Biodiversity Naturalis. Members of the expedition include Netherlands’ Dr Bert Hoeksema who is the team leader, and UM’s Affendi Yang Amri, the coral reef status leader. The team would also help to enhance conservation and outreach efforts through better understanding of the ecosystem.

The area is recognised as a Globally Outstanding Priority Conservation Area within the Sulu-Sulawesi Marine Eco-region in the Coral Triangle, the world’s centre for marine biodiversity.
“Semporna is unusual because of its rich mix of five major reef types. Such areas usually have high levels of biodiversity because of the mix of habitat types and ecosystems,” said WWF Malaysia in a statement here yesterday. It said there were also strong indications that the Malaysian Semporna area, together with the Indonesian Berau region, shared some rare and unique species.

“A modified reef check methodology and reef profiling will be used at each site in order to take a ‘snapshot’ of the reefs’ health,” it said. Preliminary results of the expedition will be announced in Kota Kinabalu on Dec 20.
-thestar online.

Yen Yen: We must tap into lucrative MICE market

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians need to create more meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition (MICE) events. Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen stressed this yesterday, adding that it would help strengthen the country’s business tourism profile and brand globally. “We need to intelligently woo international business events to Malaysian shores. The business tourism industry is highly competitive.

“Statistics show that the estimated spending for each international business tourism visitor is RM7,418 which is three times the spending of an average leisure visitor. ”It also shows that up to 60% of these delegates eventually return as regular tourists,” said Dr Ng. She said to support the growth of this high-yield, high returns segment, the Government had pledged RM50mil worth of funding next year and a further RM50mil for 2012, as part of the 10th Malaysia Plan.
“The allocation through the Malaysian Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) is to secure international business events, making it the lead agency to develop our country’s business tourism segment,” she said at the launch of MyCEB at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre here yesterday.

Also present was MyCEB’s CEO Zulkefli Sharif, who said the funding would provide a significant boost to Malaysia’s business tourism industry. MyCEB, a non-profit organisation was established last year by the Tourism Ministry to assist the MICE market.
-thestar online.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Greener, cheaper holiday spots

As families from all over the nation converge on Kuala Lumpur for the school holidays, will they be spending some time at the parks in the city? DAWN CHAN and VEENA BABULAL report. SCHOOL holidays are here again and most parents planning to take their children out would often head straight to the latest, swankiest or biggest shopping malls with no second thoughts. These parents, especially those living in the Klang Valley, prefer to spend time with their families indoors, where they believe amusement is aplenty to please the children, albeit at "high" costs. However, there are some natural and cheaper alternatives that may provide equal satisfaction -- parks.

City parks not only offer a respite from the trials of modern life but also offer a recreational avenue within the confines of lush greenery and fresh air. Besides, visiting parks doesn't burn a hole in the pocket, too. Unlike many Western societies, where families often spend quality time together in parks, these "little triangles of green" are often seen as nothing more a place to exercise or jog for an hour or so, especially by adults. Picnics in the parks are rather uncommon despite Kuala Lumpur having a few big ones, such as the Taman Tasik Perdana, Taman Tasik Titiwangsa, Taman Tasik Permaisuri and Taman Lembah Kiara, to name a few. Taman Tasik Perdana, fondly known as the Lake Gardens, is the oldest and most popular park in Kuala Lumpur. Dating back to the 1880s, it is undergoing upgrading works as part of its conversion into an urban forest park. Phase 1 of the three-year project, which is expected to cost RM35 million overall, is nearing completion. The move came following Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's call on City Hall to spruce up the 101.25ha park. The lake in the park is special to Najib as it was launched by his father, the late prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, on May 1, 1975. More trees, such as the tembusu, majapahit, cannon bomb, pokok Johor and pokok Melaka, as well as various palms and cacti, will be planted here to complement the existing century-old trees.

Phase 1 of the project involves upgrading the waterfall and the planting of big trees in the park, such as the Moringa oleifera, Cycus revoluta and a Plumeria. Trees infested with termites and parasites will also be rehabilitated while the lake water is being purified with assistance from the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry and National Hydraulic Research Institute. Additional car parks, buggy service and bicycles will also be provided near the entrance as vehicles will not be allowed into the garden area. Among the other improvements are lighting, as well as lightning arresters to protect the trees.

Phase 2 involves the building of a cafe, a boathouse, a sculpture and a playground based on Lat's Kampung Boy characters. Phase 3 will see the installation of garden fixtures and the upgrading of car-park facilities. There will also a special garden for the disabled in the Botanical Garden, such as suitable plants and flowers for the blind to feel and smell.
-NST Online.

10 juta pelancong di Terengganu

HULU TERENGGANU 21 Nov. – Kerajaan negeri yakin Terengganu akan mengalami limpahan pelancong sehingga mencecah 10 juta orang setahun apabila Tasik Kenyir mula berfungsi sebagai zon bebas cukai menjelang akhir tahun 2012. Tasik buatan manusia terbesar di Asia yang dijadikan zon berkenaan bakal menjadi pemangkin cukup kuat bagi melonjakkan industri pelancongan dan ekonomi negeri malah mengurangkan pergantungan kepada hasil petroleum. Sehubungan itu, Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Ahmad Said meminta rakyat khususnya di sekitar daerah ini bersiap sedia untuk turut serta dalam pelbagai kegiatan bagi menjana ekonomi dan tidak sekadar menjadi pemerhati.

Katanya, keutamaan akan tetap diberikan kepada rakyat negeri ini untuk turut serta, namun melalui peluang yang terbuka kelak, mereka perlulah meneroka secara kreatif penglibatan dalam industri pelancongan. Beliau juga menasihatkan mereka yang tinggal berhampiran tidak ghairah menjual tanah-tanah mereka, sebaliknya memanfaatkan sebagai asas perniagaan termasuk membangunkan premis penginapan. “Kita menyasarkan ia akan mula beroperasi pada Ogos 2012 dan berharap pelbagai jabatan dan agensi berkaitan mengurangkan kerenah birokrasi bagi menjayakannya,” katanya.

Beliau menyatakan demikian kepada pemberita selepas Majlis Pertemuan Dengan Pemimpin Masyarakat Setempat dan Taklimat Mengenai Tasik Kenyir sebagai Zon Bebas Cukai di Dewan Majlis Daerah, di sini hari ini. Turut hadir, Yang Dipertua Dewan Undangan Negeri, Datuk Tengku Putera Tengku Awang. Taklimat disampaikan Pengarah Kastam negeri, Datuk Azis Yacub. Tasik Kenyir seluas 65,417 hektar dan mempunyai 340 pulau dengan pelbagai daya tarikan tersendiri mendapat kelulusan Kerajaan Pusat pada September lalu untuk dijadikan zon berkenaan.

Ahmad berkata, selain menjadi destinasi membeli belah utama, ia akan menjadi pusat rekreasi keluarga dengan pelbagai tarikan seperti taman tema air, taman bunga, herba dan taman haiwan di samping syurga bagi pemancing antarabangsa. Bagaimanapun, menurutnya, di kalangan pemimpin pembangkang di sini, mereka cuba memberi gambaran mengelirukan kepada masyarakat berhubung usaha menjana ekonomi negeri dan rakyat. Malah, katanya, gelaran bandar Kuala Berang sebagai ‘bandar di bawah air’ yang bakal dimajukan seiring dengan perkembangan itu dijadikan bahan momokan dalam ceramah mereka. “Usaha kerajaan negeri cuba memperlekehkan dengan kenyataan kononnya tidak beri sebarang manfaat kepada rakyat dengan dakwaan kononnya ia gimik politik,” katanya.

Beliau menarik perhatian usaha awal ke arah pelaksanaan telah bermula dan kerajaan menyediakan peruntukan kira-kira RM100 juta pada tahun depan untuk menyediakan prasarana lengkap. Terdahulu, semasa berucap pada majlis itu, beliau berkata, peruntukan sebanyak RM30 juta disediakan bagi penyaluran kabel elektrik sepanjang 23 kilometer dalam waktu yang singkat untuk menyegerakan pelaksanaan projek. Di samping itu, katanya, jalan masuk dari simpang jalan utama dari Kampung Teris ke Empangan Gawi sejauh 15 kilometer dijadikan laluan empat lorong. Sementara itu, Azis dalam taklimatnya menyatakan, pihaknya akan menempatkan 50 pegawai penguat kuasa bagi melakukan pengawasan dan mengelak kebocoran hasil. “Tiga bot peronda bersama bot penguat kuasa lain akan ditempatkan di tasik itu. Beberapa kawasan yang mudah dibolosi akan di pagar,” katanya.

-Utusan Online.

574,033 pelancong naiki bot MRC

MELAKA 21 Nov. - Lebih setengah juta pelancong telah menaiki produk pelancongan sungai, bot Melaka River Cruise (MRC) sepanjang 11 bulan pertama tahun ini. Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif Perbadanan Pembangunan Sungai dan Pantai Melaka (PPSPM), Baharom Majid berkata, MRC telah menerima seramai 574,033 pelancong dari dalam dan luar negara bermula Januari hingga November lalu berbanding 422,193 dalam tempoh sama tahun lalu. Menurut beliau, angka penjualan tiket itu menunjukkan peningkatan sebanyak 151,840 pengunjung berbanding tempoh sama tahun lalu.

"Tahun lalu dari Januari hingga November, MRC merekodkan sebanyak 422,193 pengunjung telah menaiki bot ini dengan kunjungan paling tinggi pada bulan Jun sebanyak 67,659 orang dan November paling sedikit iaitu 11,376 pelancong. "Pada tahun ini pula, kunjungan pada bulan Jun melonjak kepada 87,616 orang manakala November seramai 29,714 orang," katanya ketika dihubungi Utusan Malaysia di sini hari ini. Tanpa mendedahkan jumlah kutipan yang diperolehi pada kedua-dua tahun itu, Baharom berkata, harga tiket yang dikenakan bagi setiap dewasa adalah RM10 dan kanak-kanak RM5 sejak 16 Januari tahun lalu.

Sebelum ini, MRC yang mula diperkenalkan pada 2005 mengenakan tiket berharga RM5 bagi setiap dewasa dan RM2 bagi setiap kanak-kanak sebelum harga tiket dinaikkan bermula Januari tahun lalu. Mengulas mengenai sasaran jualan tiket pada musim cuti persekolahan Disember ini, Baharom berkata, pihaknya menjangkakan antara 2,000 dan 5,000 pengunjung sehari. "Musim cuti sekolah ini kita jangka dapat jual sehingga 3,000 keping tiket sehari pada hari bekerja manakala sehingga 5,000 tiket pada hujung minggu. "Kita akan menyediakan 38 buah bot yang boleh memuatkan 40 orang setiap bot termasuk empat bot VIP yang boleh memuatkan 20 orang setiap bot," tambahnya.

-Utusan Online.

AirAsia X starts Paris service

AIRASIA'S longhaul affiliate AirAsia X will launch services from Kuala Lumpur to Paris on February 14. The airline will field four flights a week on 327-seat Airbus A340s to the French capital, its second European destination after London. AirAsia Group CEO, Tony Fernandes, said: "The route will open up affordable access between Malaysia and Europe for both ASEAN and European communities. The opportunity for French and Europeans to explore the ASEAN region has never been greater." 

AirAsia X CEO, Azran Osman-Rani, said: "We have always been enthusiastic in venturing into a new European country since we launched London. The establishment of this new route is a significant achievement for us and is a reflection of our commitment to expanding our international operations further." 
-TTG Asia.

Malaysia the top destination for Indian tourists

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has emerged as one of the top travel destinations in the Asia Pacific for Indian travellers, according to the Asia Pacific Travel Intentions Survey 2010 of Visa and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (Pata). Visa Malaysia Country Manager Stuart Tomlinson said in a statement Monday that the survey showed 46% of the respondents from India named Malaysia as the one of their highest preferred destinations for the next two years.

"Malaysia is ahead of other Asia Pacific countries and territories such as Australia (38%) and Hong Kong (34 per cent). With India now the sixth largest source market for inbound tourism to Malaysia, these survey findings are very timely," he said. Tomlinson noted that the tourism potential between Malaysia and India was tremendous as both countries had recently forged close ties with six bilateral agreements, one of which was on tourism. 

- Bernama

Saturday, 20 November 2010

MATTA starts counter services in KLIA

The Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents (MATTA) has set up a service counter in the Kuala Lumpur International Airport arrival hall to help inbound members serve their guests better. Inbound tourists with difficulties at the airport such as not being able to locate their tour representatives can approach the service counter for help, said MATTA vice president inbound A Aruldas. The counter service will also be able to assist in providing alternative airport transfers in the event of delays. Thirty-five inbound players who are MATTA members have already subscribed, for a quarterly fee, to the service launched on November 17. 
-TTG Asia.

12 pelancong Singapura sertai ibadah korban

KUALA LIPIS 19 Nov. - Seramai 12 pelancong dari Singapura menunaikan ibadah korban pada Hari Raya Aidiladha ketika menyertai Program Inap Desa di Kampung Kuala Medang di sini semalam. Pelancong berkenaan terdiri daripada ahli Persatuan Ulama dan Guru-guru Agama Islam Singapura (Pergas) yang mengadakan lawatan selama tiga hari dan menyambut Aidiladha bersama keluarga angkat masing-masing di Kuala Medang. Acara korban membabitkan sebanyak tiga ekor lembu dilakukan oleh Imam Masjid Kuala Medang, Hassan @ Ismail Mat Sam. Daging korban tersebut kemudian diagihkan kepada golongan asnaf dan 40 keluarga Orang Asli Islam di Kampung Pantos, Jelai yang dilakukan sendiri oleh ahli-ahli Pergas dengan kerjasama Jawatankuasa Kemajuan dan Keselamatan Kampung (JKKK) di kampung tersebut.

Ketua rombongan Pergas, Zubaidah Abdullah, berkata, ibadah itu sebagai tanda syukur serta memeriahkan sambutan Aidiladha bersama penduduk di pedalaman Hulu Jelai dekat sini. Menurutnya, persatuan itu melaksanakan acara korban membabitkan 5,000 kambing sempena hari pertama Aidiladha di Masjid al-Falah dan Madrasah al-Junid, di Singapura. Zubaidah berkata, cawangan Pergas di China, India, Indonesia, Mesir, Myanmar dan Australia juga mengadakan ibadah yang sama di samping turut berperanan mengembangkan syiar Islam.

Rakannya, Arhiari Ali, 62, berkata, pemilihan Kuala Medang dibuat kerana sebelum ini kumpulan masyarakat Islam Singapura pernah beberapa kali singgah di situ. "Kita tertarik dengan cara hidup masyarakat Melayu dan Orang Asli Islam di sini yang sangat bermuafakat dan kaya dengan budi bahasa khususnya menghormati tetamu luar," katanya. Ahli rombongan Pergas, Rohana Abd. Rahim, 42, berkata, ibadah korban menunjukkan Islam tidak membezakan kaum, darjat dan taraf kehidupan antara penduduk Islam Singapura dan masyarakat Melayu tradisional di Kuala Medang. "Kita bersyukur dan penuh keinsafan kerana dapat mengagihkan daging korban kepada golongan asnaf di sini termasuk menziarahi 40 keluarga Orang Asli Islam untuk menyumbangkan barang makanan," katanya.

Sementara itu, Penghulu Mukim Hulu Jelai, Mohd. Razaki Abd. Razak berkata, pelancong asing sering singgah ke kampung tersebut untuk program Inap Desa terutama pada musim perayaan. "Kami pernah menerima kunjungan pelancong dari Sweden, Korea, Jepun, United Kingdom dan Scandinavia untuk melihat masyarakat Melayu di sini berhari raya di samping menikmati keindahan alam sekitar Hulu Jelai," katanya. Beliau menambah, sehingga kini, sejumlah hampir 4,000 pelancong termasuk pelajar dari Singapura menyertai Program Inap Desa di situ ketika musim cuti persekolahan dan sambutan hari raya.

-Utusan Online.