Saturday, March 31, 2012

Nicol tames Annie for eighth KL Open title

KUALA LUMPUR: Squash queen Nicol David won her eighth Kuala Lumpur Open title when she beat Hong Kong's Annie Au 11-4, 12-10, 11-9 at Berjaya Times Square on Saturday.

It was the six-time world champion's 60th Women's International Squash Players Association title. "It was nowhere near easy as I was trailing hard in the second and third set,” said Nicol. "It was a really tough match and there was only a fine line between winning and losing and I just had to stick in there and play my own game," she said.

Nicol thanked CIMB for upgrading the tournament to a World Series Gold event. "It really meant a lot for the sport,” said an emotional Nicol.

-thestar online.

Diethelm, Golfasian team up to drive golf tourism in Malaysia

Diethelm Travel Malaysia and Golfasian, a Bangkok-based inbound operator specialising in golf tours to Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, have partnered up to promote golf tourism in Malaysia.

 

Golfasian will undertake the sales and marketing of golf tours to Malaysia on behalf of the venture, while Diethelm Travel Malaysia will provide on-the-ground services. The venture will operate as a business unit within Diethelm Travel Malaysia. "Golf is very popular in Malaysia and we believe there is considerable potential to develop this business,” said Diethelm Travel Malaysia managing director, Manfred Kurz.

 

"Malaysia has exciting courses, beautiful holiday destinations, wonderful sightseeing and relaxation. We have high hopes of attracting more visitors on specialist golf trips, as well as holidaymakers who want to play golf among their other activities.”

 

Golfasian managing director, Mark Siegel, said: "There is considerable potential for more foreign golfers to visit Malaysia. It is the third largest golf destination in South-east Asia and is destined become bigger in the future.” Golfasian and Diethelm Travel Malaysia will showcase the new joint venture at the International Association of Golf Tourism Operators convention in Kuala Lumpur from April 22-24. This year, Golfasian is expecting a lift in inbound golf tourism bookings to more than 6,500 to all its Asian destinations.

-TTG Asia.

Firefly adds Hat Yai, Kelantan-Johor connections

Firefly will launch two new routes, thrice-weekly Kota Bharu-Johor Bahru services on April 26, and four-weekly Subang-Hat Yai flights on May 2.

 

With the Kota Bharu-Johor Bahru flights set to link the respective state capitals in Kelantan and Johor, Firefly will be the first carrier to offer a direct connection between the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia and Johor. “The airline is targeting domestic traffic for this route, as well as Singaporeans keen on visiting Kota Bharu and other parts of the East Coast,” said Firefly head of marketing & communications, Angelina Fernandez.

 

COO Malaysia Airlines Shorthaul/Firefly, Ignatius Ong, said: “The rapid developments at Iskandar Malaysia have made Johor an increasingly popular destination for both leisure and business travellers." “(Johor) also serves as an affordable gateway to Singapore. We anticipate Malaysians using our new services to fly to Johor and travel onward by land to Singapore.”

 

According to Ong, Malaysians were drawn to Hat Yai for its shopping, culinary and city attractions, as well as its status as a gateway to the island destinations of Satun and Trang. “We expect our load factor on the Subang-Hat Yai route to comprise Malaysians, as well as foreign tourists who choose to combine Malaysia and Thailand in their holiday itineraries,” he said.

-TTG Asia.

AirAsia offers more frequent Vientiane flights

PETALING JAYA: AirAsia will be flying from Kuala Lumpur to Vientiane, Laos, seven days a week beginning May 27 compared to the current three days.

It will be offering a special promotion fare of RM139 one-way in conjunction with the additional flight frequencies. “This promotional fare is only valid for the new additional flights on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

The booking period for this exclusive promotion will be from now until tomorrow, for the travel period between May 27 and Sept 30. Passengers are encouraged to book their value-added services together with their flights to save up to 50%.

-thestar online.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Promoting Malaysia To Turkish Golfers

Kuala Lumpur, March 28, 2012 – Malaysia is hosting a friendly golf tournament with Turkey at the Glenmarie Golf & Country Club, Shah Alam beginning today until  March 30, as part of the government’s  efforts in promoting luxury tourism in the Turkish market. 

The tournament, jointly organised by the Malaysia Golf Association, the Turkish Golf Federation, and Tourism Malaysia, aims to promote Malaysia’s up market products, as well as position the country as an ideal golfing destination among the growing number of Turkish tourists coming here. Both countries are represented by an 8 Man & 4 Ladies Team, who will play a fourball match, a foursome match, and a singles match throughout the three-day event. 

Members of the Turkish media, including CNN and Turkish news agencies are here, not only to report on Malaysia as a fun and exciting golfing destination, but also on other local tourism products, such as the recent Petronas F1 Malaysia Grand Prix, the Malaysia International Shoe Festival, as well as  tourist attractions in Melaka, Penang and the duty-free island of Langkawi. Turkey is one of the emerging markets for tourism in Malaysia, and Tourism Malaysia has recently reopened its office in Istanbul to strengthen Malaysia’s presence there. Last year recorded 8,577 Turkish arrivals to the country. 

Malaysia’s balmy weather  is ideal for golf all-year round, at any one of the 207 golf courses currently available nationwide. Out of these courses, more than half consist of 18-hole and above courses that are open to the public, signifying a RM20 billion investment in the golfing industry.    

Golf tourism is currently one of the 12 Entry Point Projects (EPPs) under the Tourism National Key Economic Areas (NKEA) to enhance Malaysia’s tourism yields, and establish itself as a luxury tourism destination. 

Last year, Malaysia was named Asia’s Leading Sports Tourism Destination by World Travel Awards, an organisation that recognises excellence in all sectors of the travel and tourism industry. Among other golfing events to look forward to this year are the Malaysia Maybank Open (12-15 April); the Sime Darby – LGPA Malaysia (11-14 October); the CIMB Asia Pacific Golf Classic (October) and the Iskandar Johor Open in November. 

-Tourism Malaysia.

Kenny G Concert in Malaysia 2012

Date: 19 May 2012 (Saturday)
Time: 8 pm
Venue: Arena of Stars, Genting Highlands
Web: www.rwgenting.com
-rwgenting.

Bangkok Airways, MAS to code share

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and Bangkok Airways have started a code-sharing agreement on the Thai carrier's selected domestic flights and international routes between Thailand and Malaysia.

The arrangement, effective March 25, also covers MAS' services between Malaysia and Thailand. MAS senior vice-president (international affairs) Germal Singh said MAS was delighted with the cooperation with Bangkok Airways, which was growing fast in Thailand's premier domestic and regional airline market.

-Bernama.

MAS, AirAsia X sign accord

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has entered into a re-accommodation agreement (RA) with AirAsia X, which would enable the latter's passengers to fly on the national carrier to “utilise excess capacities” and “generate additional revenue”.

MAS said in a filing with the stock exchange that the agreement was to facilitate the re-accommodation of AirAsia X's ticketed passengers following the suspension and termination of its flights to Mumbai, New Delhi, London and Paris.

“As part of their service recovery measures, AirAsia X has requested the assistance of MAS to re-accommodate their passengers through an RA. “MAS has, in the past, upon request, on an ad-hoc basis provided uplift and re-accommodation of passengers of other airlines including AirAsia X, in line with normal industry practice.

Service recovery measures: MAS says the agreement is to facilitate the e-accommodation of AirAsia X’s ticketed passengers following the suspension and termination of its flights to Mumbai, New Delhi, London and Paris. — EPA

“These ad-hoc uplift and re-accommodation were provided, subject to the availability of excess seats on MAS flights and to MAS's commercial benefit,” it said. On the rationale for the RA, MAS said it would help fill projected excess capacities and gain incremental revenue. The financial risks to this, it added, were non-existent as the payment “will be collected upfront”.

The move comes amid earlier allegations that MAS had suffered financial losses because it flew for almost free passengers of AirAsia Bhd's long-haul, low-fare affiliate to destinations the latter had suspended. AirAsia X has since refuted this, saying it had agreed to pay “commercial rate” for getting its passengers rebooked on MAS flights.

AirAsia X had in January announced the suspension of four flights to Europe and India, followed by its KL-Christchurch route. It said at the time the cancelled European and Indian flights would be compensated with an alternative travel option at no additional cost, including full refunds, re-routes to other AirAsia X destinations, or a move to an alternative carrier where available.

-thestar online.

Get all-in fares from RM25 in AirAsia’s big sale

PETALING JAYA: AirAsia’s Big Sale is back, with all-in fares from as low as RM25 one way to domestic destinations and RM55 one way to international destinations across both AirAsia and AirAsia X’s route network.

The promotional fares, which are available at www.airasia.com and on all of AirAsia’s mobile booking platforms, are on offer from today until Sunday, in which buyers would be able to travel from Oct 1 to Jan 31, 2013. All-in fares are from RM25 one way to domestic destinations such as Penang, Alor Setar, Johor Baru, Kota Baru, Kuala Terengganu, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and many more.

One-way fares for international destinations such as Indonesia, Singapore, Hat Yai, Krabi, Phuket, Da Nang, Hanoi, Vientiane, Chennai, Kochi, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Macau and others are from RM55. Passengers can also fly long-haul with AirAsia X from RM225 one way to China and from as low as RM295 one way to Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Australia.

AirAsia’s Regional Head of Commercial Kathleen Tan urged Internet surfers to be patient in anticipation of massive traffic at its website. “We know that there is a huge demand for travel out there, especially in the Asean region, and guests should not miss out to travel to new destinations or revisit their favourite ones,” she said in a statement yesterday.

For other ongoing AirAsia travel pro motions and activities, follow the airline’s social media channels on Twitter (twitter.com/AirAsia) and Facebook (facebook.com/AirAsia).
-thestar online.

Pakej Berbasikal Cuti-cuti 1Malaysia

Tarikh: 1 April 2012 (Ahad)
Masa: 7.00 pagi ~ 10.00 pagi
Tempat: Taman Tasik Raub, Pahang
-TourismMalaysia.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

MAS offers more flights to eight routes

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) will be offering more frequent flights to eight long-haul destinations beginning today after anticipating an increase in demand.

There will be increased full-service weekly frequencies between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing, Manila, Phnom Penh, Los Angeles, Taipei, Bangkok, Medan and Jakarta. There will also be gradual increase of total seats from 19,540 to 24,820 by May 1. These routes will be operated mainly by the Boeing B737-800 and B777-200 aircraft, which are equipped with in-seat personal TV screens and more leg room for customer comfort.

“The additional frequencies also seek to offer travel enthusiasts from Malaysia more convenient connections to enjoy events like the Penghu Fireworks Festival in Taiwan, Beijing International Book Fair and Cocoa de Flores in Manila, among many others,” said a statement from MAS.

For more details, visit www.malaysiaairlines.com, or call MAS' 24-hour call centre at 1-300-88-3000 or all ticket offices in Malaysia.

-thestar online.

Shoot for the stars in MAS’ ‘Big Flight’ competition

PETALING JAYA: YouTube users can put their creative work to earn them a unique joyride on the new Malaysia Airlines A380 through “The Big Flight” competition.

By submitting a creative video and garnering votes to win, YouTube users have the chance to win a flight for four on board the new aircraft in June. “This is the first time any airline has given YouTube users an opportunity to be part of a milestone in Malaysia's aviation history,” said Malaysia Airlines marketing and promotions senior vice-president Al-Ishsal Ishak.

“There is much excitement on the arrival of our new aircraft. Eight creative winners have the chance to bring along three friends each for an exclusive experience in the air,” said Al-Ishsal.

Malaysia Airlines will receive the first of six A380 aircraft in mid-June. The aircraft features 494 seats in a three-class configuration comprising eight first-class seats, 66 business-class seats and 420 economy seats. The airline launched “The Big Flight” competition on its official YouTube brand channel yesterday.

Twenty short-listed videos will be chosen and put up on YouTube for voting by the public. The top eight most voted videos will win the joyride tickets. Submission of videos ends on April 22. For more information, go to www.youtube.com/MalaysiaAirlines.

-thestar online.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Super GT International Series Malaysia 2012

Date: 9~10 June 2012
Venue: Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
Ticket: www.ticketcharge.com
-Ticketcharge.

The 3rd Malaysia international Shoe Festival 2012

Date: 29 March~1 April 2012
Venue: Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC), Kuala Lumpur
Web: www.malaysiafootwear.com

Hamilton takes pole position for F1 Malaysian GP

SEPANG, Malaysia (AP) - Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position Saturday for the Malaysian Grand Prix after again edging out teammate Jenson Button to make it an all-McLaren front row in successive races.

Hamilton made it back-to-back poles with a time of 1 minute 36.219 seconds at Sepang International Circuit, beating Button by a tenth of a second and giving the team its first-ever pole in Malaysia for Sunday's race. Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher was third fastest, ahead of Red Bull's Mark Webber and Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen, who will take a five-place grid penalty for changing his gearbox and will start tenth.

World champion Sebastian Vettel qualified sixth, Lotus' Romain Grosjean seventh, and Mercedes' Nico Rosberg eighth. Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Sauber's Sergio Perez completed the top 10. Rain held off throughout qualifying but is an ever-present threat at Malaysia and could well affect Sunday's race.

Hamilton had a skip in his step as he emerged from the car, in contrast to his post-race demeanor in Australia when he was very disappointed to have finished third after starting from pole. "I don't know if (pole) is the best place possible to start here, its a long haul to turn one," Hamilton said. "Its about positioning, its about tire management. Its a tricky circuit with the track temperatures and the humidity outside - its going to be tough tomorrow."

Button was again second-best to his teammate but the 2009 Malaysia winner will be bolstered by the memory of last weekend in Australia when he beat Hamilton off the line and sped to victory. "I can't complain too much - its good for us as a team to be in the front row," Button said. "You want it the other way around, but Lewis did a great lap at the start."

Schumacher came inside two tenths of his first pole position for six years but was enthused by the progress Mercedes is making. "This was the maximum that was available," Schumacher said. "Its a great achievement. When you think about who is behind us, who would have thought last year?"

Results after qualifying Saturday for Sunday's Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix at the 5.543-kilometer (3.444-mile) Sepang International Circuit with driver, country, car, fastest lap time and laps completed:

Qualifying

1. Lewis Hamilton, Britain, McLaren, 1 minute, 36.219 seconds, 14 laps.
2. Jenson Button, Britain, McLaren, 1:36.368, 14.
3. Michael Schumacher, Germany, Mercedes, 1:36.391, 14.
4. Mark Webber, Australia, Red Bull, 1:36.461, 19.
5. Kimi Raikkonen, Finland, Lotus, 1:36.461, 13.
6. Sebastian Vettel, Germany, Red Bull, 1:36.634, 14.
7. Romain Grosjean, France, Lotus, 1:36.658, 14.
8. Nico Rosberg, Germany, Mercedes, 1:36.664, 14.
9. Fernando Alonso, Spain, Ferrari, 1:37.566, 16.
10.Sergio Perez, Mexico, Sauber, 1:37.698, 17.

Eliminated after second session

11. Pastor Maldonado, Venezuela, Williams, 1:37.589, 14.
12. Felipe Massa, Brazil, Ferrari, 1:37.731, 15.
13. Bruno Senna, Brazil, Williams, 1:37.841, 13.
14. Paul di Resta, Britain, Force India, 1:37.877, 15.
15. Daniel Ricciardo, Australia, Toro Rosso, 1:37.883, 14.
16. Nico Hulkenberg, Germany, Force India, 1:37.890, 13.
17. Kamui Kobayashi, Japan, Sauber, 1:38.069, 12.

Eliminated after first session

18. Jean-Eric Vergne, France, Toro Rosso, 1:39.077, 7.
19. Heikki Kovalainen, Finland, Caterham, 1:39.306, 9.
20. Vitaly Petrov, Russia, Caterham, 1:39.567, 6.
21. Timo Glock, Germany, Marussia, 1:40.903, 8.
22. Charles Pic, France, Marussia, 1:41.250, 8.
23. Pedro de la Rosa, Spain, HRT, 1:42.914, 4.
24. Narain Karthikeyan, India, HRT, 1:43.655, 6.

Third Practice Session

1. Nico Rosberg, Germany, Mercedes, 1 minute, 36.877 seconds, 16 laps.
2. Sebastian Vettel, Germany, Red Bull, 1:37.320, 15.
3. Mark Webber, Australia, Red Bull, 1:37.338, 12.
4. Kimi Raikkonen, Finland, Lotus, 1:37.356, 13.
5. Romain Grosjean, France, Lotus, 1:37.382, 13.
6. Jenson Button, Britain, McLaren, 1:37.404, 12.
7. Pastor Maldonado, Venezuela, Williams, 1:37.455, 13.
8. Michael Schumacher, Germany, Mercedes, 1:37.663, 15.
9. Lewis Hamilton, Britain, McLaren, 1:37.776, 8.
10. Kamui Kobayashi, Japan, Sauber, 1:37.977, 17.
11. Bruno Senna, Brazil, Williams, 1:38.091, 20.
12. Sergio Perez, Mexico, Sauber, 1:38.178, 15.
13. Fernando Alonso, Spain, Ferrari, 1:38.246, 17.
14. Nico Hulkenberg, Germany, Force India, 1:38.285, 16.
15. Daniel Ricciardo, Australia, Toro Rosso, 1:38.423, 13.
16. Jean-Eric Vergne, France, Toro Rosso, 1:38.640, 11.
17. Paul di Resta, Britain, Force India, 1:38.794, 18.
18. Felipe Massa, Brazil, Ferrari, 1:39.209, 16.
19. Vitaly Petrov, Russia, Caterham, 1:39.704, 15
20. Heikki Kovalainen, Finland, Caterham, 1:40.189, 14.
21. Charles Pic, France, Marussia, 1:41.901, 14.
22. Timo Glock, Germany, Marussia, 1:42.007, 14.
23. Pedro de la Rosa, Spain, HRT, 1:42.464, 14.

-thestar online.

KK City Run 2012

Date: 1 April 2012 (Sunday)
Time: 6.30 am
Venue: Padang Merdeka, Kota Kinabalu
Web: www.dbkk.sabah.gov.my
-DBKK.

Korean all-girl sensation rocks KL

KUALA LUMPUR: The Korean wave hit the nation's capital hard as K-Pop princesses Girls' Generation rocked the Twin Towers @Live 2012 concert. The South Korean pop group entertained thousands of fans on a specially constructed stage at KLCC, with the majestic Petronas Twin Towers as the stunning backdrop.

Top South Korean band Girls’ Generation belting out a number at the Twin Towers @Live 2012 concert at KLCC in Kuala Lumpur. The nine-member group is also referred to as SoShi or SNSD by fans. The concert last night was held in conjunction with the F1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix this weekend. — AZHAR MAHFOF / The Star

The crowd went wild for Girls' Generation as they performed some of their biggest hits such as Run Devil RunThe Boys and Hoot. Die-hard K-Pop fans sang along to the mostly Korean songs, enlivening the city centre with their loud vocals.

Also performing at the first of the two-day free-for-all concert, held in conjunction with the Malaysian GP, was former Pussycat Dolls' lead singer Nicole Scherzinger. She got the crowd to jump up and dance to some of her catchy songs from her solo album.

Top local artistes James Baum, Reshmonu, Elecoldxhot, DJ Nadine and DJ Prem added some Malaysian flavour to the star-studded concert and had the audience going with their energetic performances throughout the night.

Orianthi, the rock guitarist sensation who was selected as Michael Jackson's lead guitarist for his This Is It tour in 2009, will continue the party at the same venue tonight. She will be rocking the stage with international R&B star Kelis. Also scheduled to perform are Faizal Tahir and DJ Nikki.

-thestar online.

Kovalainen brings iconic character to F1

SEPANG: Formula 1 driver Heikki Kovalainen has taken smash hit game Angry Birds to the world of motorsports by having the iconic red bird painted on his helmet.

Posing a sharp contrast to his green Caterham F1 team driving suit, the red Angry Birds helmet also has his name emblazoned in white on the side. The driver and the game are connected as both hail from Finland.

Striking ensemble: Kovalainen said his Angry Bird helmet was worth the wait.

Kovalainen confessed that he was such a big fan of the addictive game that he had completed all the game levels. “I'm not really hooked on any other games at the European tracks. I play quite a bit of Tiger Woods golf on the PS3 console and I have a DellAlienware computer back home that I play racing games on. “I also like to play flight simulations,” he said in an e-mail interview withThe Star.

The blonde and blue-eyed driver said he had already received many compliments for the Angry Birds logo on his helmet when he first showed it off at the first race of the 2012 F1 season last week in Australia. When asked how long he had waited for the helmet to be done, he said that it was a while. “I just knew when I first saw it, it was worth the wait,” he said, adding that the final design looked amazing.

He said the initial design was created by fellow Finn Mikael Hastbacka, who worked with the game's developer Rovio to fine-tune it. Kovalainen will race alongside teammate Vitaly Petrov to compete with 11 other teams at tomorrow's 2012 F1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix.

-thestar online.

www.caterhamf1.com

1Malaysia Chopper

M’sia riding high Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak getting a feel of the newly unveiled 1Malaysia Chopper as popular Discovery Channel host and Orange County Choppers (OCC) 
founder Paul Teutul Sr explains the details of the superbike’s design. Looking on are (from left) Tourism Malaysia chairman Datuk Dr Victor Wee, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen, Tourism Ministry secretary - general Datuk Dr Ong Hong Peng and representatives from the three tourism agencies who are participating in the ‘5 Mountains Motorcycle Tour’ package. Discovery Channel will feature the 1Malaysia Chopper in various parts of Malaysia on its show ‘American Chopper’ in April and May. 
-thestar online.

Bikers rev up for 5-Mountain Tour

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak trying out the 1Malaysia Chopper yesterday. Orange County Chopper founder and star of ‘American Chopper’ Paul Teutul Sr., is in the centre.

KUALA LUMPUR: Scenic trails guaranteed to give even the most hardcore of bikers the adrenaline-pumping excitement they crave are now being promoted by the Tourism Ministry under its 5-Mountain Motorcycle Tour. 

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who launched the tour package at the Putra World Trade Centre yesterday, also unveiled the 1Malaysia Chopper, which was designed and presented by Paul Teutul Sr., the star of the popular Discovery Channel show American Chopper and founder of Orange County Choppers (OCC).

The motorcycle design features popular Malaysian iconic landmarks including the national flag, the Petronas Twin Towers, the hibiscus and islands.Najib said the 5-Mountain Motorcycle Tour package is a good initiative to promote Malaysia as the best motorcycle touring destination in the region."Malaysia is blessed with natural beauty and I am confident that the package will be a hit with foreign bikers due to our scenic routes and warm weather," he said. Najib also thanked Discovery Channel for its features on Malaysia and expressed hope, as a "fairly regular viewer" of the channel, that he would get to see more familiar scenes in the show in the future, including the 1Malaysia Chopper. 

Teutul, who presented Najib with a specially-made, signed biker's jacket, said he was delighted to have a pleasant experience here. "I've been around the world and this country offers far more than all the places I've been in. I've been here for only three or four days but so much is going on, it's unbelievable!" he said. The 1Malaysia Chopper is the result of a smart partnership between the Tourism Ministry and OCC which will also see Malaysia being featured in several episodes of the popular show to worldwide audiences in April and May this year. 

Five mountains in the country were chosen for the tour, namely Genting Highlands, Fraser's Hill, Cameron Highlands, Gunung Jerai and the Titiwangsa Range. Present at the launch were Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen and Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
-NST online.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Art-tracting more tourists

PUTRAJAYA: The Tourism Ministry is trying to get international artists to come and stay in the country as part of its efforts to make Malaysia the art hub for South-East Asia.

Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said the ministry was clear in its objective, which was to elevate Malaysia's status as an art lovers' destination for both local and South-East Asian art. However, she said it would not set rigid strategies to achieve this objective, preferring the art community to set the direction. “We (the ministry) are not experts. We offer (private) art galleries to join in on art tourism, and we also seek their recommendations and input on setting the art gallery trail.

“We haven't started but we are also trying to get international artists to come and stay here. We also want art critics to come and judge our work. “But we don't know if we are ready yet. That is why we need to get the art community involved,” she said after launching the Femme Flora art exhibition at the ministry's lobby here yesterday.

She said that although the concept of using art to promote tourism was still quite new in Malaysia, the country could very well be the art hub for the region if the figure were to be an indication. Art tourism bagged RM14mil in sales when it was introduced in 2010, with the value of art purchases in Malaysia going up to RM17mil in 2011.

Dr Ng said the ministry had to deal with a fair bit of scepticism from the local art community when it first launched art tourism until the success of the Henry Butcher auction, in which some RM1.3mil worth of art pieces were sold in 2010.

Meanwhile, 69 art pieces worth an estimated RM345,000 will be on display during the Femme Flora exhibition, which will be on until April 30. Organised as part of the Women's Month celebration, the exhibition is a showcase of art by 29 women from 10 countries, including Malaysia, Australia, China, Finland, Iran, South Korea, the Philippines and Taiwan.

-thestar online.

photo: pelancongankini

Teater Gerimis Mengundang @ Istana Budaya

Tarikh: 27 Mac ~ 8 April 2012
Masa: 8.30 malam
Tempat: Panggung Sari, Istana Budaya
Tiket: www.ticket2u.biz
-Istana Budaya.
www.istanabudaya.gov.my

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mega Fam Participants Attend F1 PETRONAS

Kuala Lumpur, March 22, 2012 - Tourism Malaysia has invited a total of 146 participants from 22 countries, under its Mega Familiarisation Programme to the F1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix from 21-25 March 2012. The participants, comprising mostly of international TV crews, journalists, as well as tour operators, will report on the race in their respective countries, showcasing Malaysia as a destination for and host of prestigious world-class events.

 

The participants come from Australia, Belgium, Brunei, China, Cambodia, France, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Thailand, the Philippines, Turkey, United Kingdom, Canada, and Vietnam.  

 

At a business briefing session at The Saujana Hotel Kuala Lumpur on 22 March, participants will be briefed on Malaysia’s attractions as a diving, golfing and biking destination by Tuan Syed Abdul Rahman, Vice President of Malaysia Scuba Diving Association; Mr. Paul Gibbons, Chairman of Malaysia Golf Tourism Association; and Ms. Ina Adham, Editor-in-Chief of World Tour Rider magazine. 

  

Minister of Tourism Malaysia, YB Dato’ Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen, will host a welcome dinner for participants at the same venue where they will be treated to a cultural performance and presented with a certificate of participation. 

 

On Friday, March 23, they will witness the launch of the 5-Mountain Motorcycle Tour package by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, YAB Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Abdul Razak, at Putra World Trade Centre. The motorcycle tour package is a collaboration by World Tour Rider and several agencies specialising in biking tours to promote Malaysia as a biking destination.  

 

Mega Fam participants will have a chance to attend all three days of the F1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix which includes the practice session, the qualifying round and the actual race from 23 to 25 March. At the end of the race weekend, participants have a choice of post-event tours to either Melaka, Penang or Langkawi. 

-Tourism Malaysia.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Return of the giant clams

Ocean beauty: A diver checking the coral which the research centre has planted and looked after.

KOTA KINABALU: Giant clams are making their way back into waters off the city after decades of uncontrolled exploitation. An award-winning marine research centre here will release 500 giant clams into the sea after three long years of breeding and nurturing the natural sea water-filtering creature.

The Marine Ecology Research Centre (MERC) at Gaya Island, a 15-minute boat ride from the city, will sporadically release the three-inch giant clams in selected ocean nurseries during its month-long marine awareness month starting tomorrow. Besides the clams, the oceanic research centre, which is attached to the Gayana Eco Resort at the island, will integrate 1,000 corals which it has planted and looked after into the reefs off the island and city.

Project director Alvin Wong said his team of marine biologists and support staff was eager to release the clams back into the sea. “Hopefully, this first batch will make it. We will monitor their progress as we continue to produce more giant clams,” said Wong, adding that they had 2,000 more giant clams in their nursery. “We chose giant clams for our Save the Giants programme because they are endangered, slow to grow and important in producing oxygen into the marine ecosystem,” he said. Wong said the first stage of the project involved work to spawn the larvae and taking care of them until these were ready to survive in ocean nurseries. He said the public must play their part to protect the marine environment by not polluting the sea or buying clams.

MERC, awarded the Most Innovative Tourist Attraction Award at the Malaysia Tourism Awards 2008/2009, is the only centre in Malaysia to have spawned giant clam spats. As part of the marine awareness programme, he said MERC would also be hosting schoolchildren and non-governmental organisations to inculcate in them the awareness for marine conservation.
There will also be a beach concert by Irish crooner Ronan Keating at sister resort Bunga Raya Island Resort on the other side of the island tomorrow for the programme.
-thestar online.

Girls’ Generation, Scherzinger and Kelis among stars to perform at F1 concert

KUALA LUMPUR: Top South Korean band Girls' Generation will make its debut in Malaysia at the Twin Towers@Live 2012 concert here on Friday.

The nine-member group is also referred to as SoShi or SNSD by fans. The group's 2009 hit single Gee holds the record for being the longest running No 1 song on
KBS Music Bank, staying at the top for nine consecutive weeks. Gee was named Song of the Decade by the South Korean music site Melon.

The K-pop sensation will be joined by Nicole Scherzinger, the former lead singer of the sizzling Pussycat Dolls. The American singer, songwriter, dancer, record producer, model and actress is returning to Malaysia for her first performance here as a solo singer.

The show replaces the aborted F1 Rocks entertainment extravaganza, following the cancelled appearance of Australian pop diva Kylie Minogue over an alleged contractual dispute between Petronas, the chief organiser of the Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix, and
Enterprise Entertainment Ltd, the London-based company who owns the F1 Rocks franchise. For more girl power, Scherzinger will be joined by an award-winning American R&B star Kelis at the concert. Scherzinger has performed here twice before with her former band. After leaving the Dolls in December 2010, she began a solo career with the release of her debut studio album Killer Love. The album's second single, Don't Hold Your Breath peaked at number one on Britain's Singles Chart, marking her first number one hit as a solo artist.

Kelis Rogers, better known as just Kelis, has won the Brit Awards, Q Awards and NME Awards and was nominated for two Grammy awards. Outside her native United States, she has had nine Top 10 singles in Britain alone. She was initially scheduled to perform here on Saturday. An estimated 70,000 crowd is expected at the Malaysian F1 concert.
-thestar online.