Monday, April 30, 2012

Promosi candat sotong ke peringkat global


KUALA TERENGGANU 29 April - Aktiviti mencandat sotong di perairan negeri ini melalui pakej terancang akan dipromosikan ke peringkat antarabangsa sempena Tahun Melawat Terengganu 2013.


Pengarah Lembaga Penggalakan Pelancongan Malaysia (Tourism Malaysia) Terengganu, Mohd. Nasir Kushairi berkata, aktiviti menarik yang menyajikan pengalaman unik itu tidak seharusnya disia-siakan untuk menarik pelancong. "Aktiviti tersebut akan dipromosikan di semua 44 pejabat Tourism Malaysia di seluruh dunia sebagai salah satu tarikan ke Malaysia khususnya Terengganu. "Mencandat sotong merupakan satu aktiviti yang unik dan hanya boleh dilakukan pada musim tertentu iaitu pada April hingga pertengahan Jun setiap tahun," katanya.


Beliau berkata demikian sempena majlis ramah mesra bersama media dan meraikan Kelab Rekreasi Tourism Malaysia 'Jom Gi Candat 2012' di Hotel Seri Malaysia Marang di sini semalam. Sehubungan itu katanya, Tourism Malaysia Terengganu akan bekerjasama dengan agensi pelancongan, pengusaha bot dan hotel bagi menyediakan pakej yang menarik. Katanya, beberapa siri perbincangan dan pertemuan dengan agensi yang berkaitan sudah dilakukan untuk memastikan pakej yang disediakan selaras dari segi kemudahan, keselesaan dan kadar harga.


Nasir berkata, sebagai contoh pada masa ini kadar sewa bot yang ditetapkan oleh tekong bot adalah berbeza dan ia boleh mengelirukan pelancong terutama yang pertama kali menyertai aktiviti tersebut. Beliau berkata, dengan adanya penyelarasan itu aktiviti mencandat sotong dapat dipromosikan dengan sempurna yang diharapkan ia akan menjadi aktiviti terunggul di negeri ini setaraf dengan Piala Monsun dan kejohanan kuda lasak.


Selain itu katanya, Tourism Malaysia Terengganu akan melancarkan Pakej Pelancongan Berbasikal yang berkonsepkan kayuhan riadah di Pantai Batu Buruk pada 19 Mei ini. Menurut beliau, program yang dilancarkan di peringkat kebangsaan pada 31 Mac lalu diharap dapat mempromosi tempat-tempat rekreasi dan pelancongan menarik selain dapat menyemai gaya hidup sihat menerusi sukan berbasikal.
-Utusan Online.

Industri inap desa jana pendapatan RM1 juta


MOHAMAD Hasan (duduk, tengah) bersama peserta program inap desa yang terpilih di Inap Desa Kampung Sega, Rantau, Seremban, semalam. -MINGGUAN/NOOR HANIS HARUN


SEREMBAN 28 April - Keindahan alam semula jadi dan keunikan budaya tradisional masyarakat Melayu yang ditawarkan inap desa Kampung Sega, dekat Rantau di sini berpotensi besar dalam membangunkan sektor pelancongan di negeri itu.


Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan menjelaskan, berdasarkan statistik yang dikeluarkan pada tahun lalu sahaja lebih 11,000 pelancong dari luar negara datang menginap di inap desa di seluruh negeri ini. Katanya, respons positif yang diterima daripada pelancong dalam dan luar negara telah menjana pendapatan tidak kurang RM1 juta setiap tahun.


''Kita ambil contoh acara ibadah korban sempena Aidiladha yang diadakan sejak 2006 yang mana program untuk mempromosi dan memperkenalkan pelancongan ibadah kepada pelancong asing terutamanya dari Singapura. ''Kita ingin pelancong-pelancong menyaksikan dan terlibat sendiri dengan aktiviti korban bermula dengan pembahagian lembu, penyembelihan, melapah sehingga pengagihan daging yang dijalankan dalam suasana kampung," katanya.


Mohamad berkata demikian pada majlis penyerahan sijil kepada 20 peserta program inap desa Kampung Sega Ulu, Rantau, dekat sini hari ini. Jelas beliau, kerajaan negeri telah mengenal pasti jalan dan kemudahan asas yang rosak untuk diperbaiki bagi mewujudkan persekitaran yang selesa dan kondusif di Kampung Sega. "Kerajaan negeri telah meluluskan RM500,000 untuk diagihkan kepada pentadbiran inap desa Kampung Sega bagi projek membaik pulih jalan dan kemudahan asas," katanya. Menurut beliau, pembangunan sektor pelancongan berasaskan inap desa ini bukan sahaja dapat menjana ekonomi harian penduduk kampung, malah dapat meningkatkan lagi kemajuan sektor pelancongan di negeri ini.
-Utusan Online.

Another tourist attraction in Malacca


MALACCA: Malacca Tourism Association (MTA) has expressed delight over the recent discovery of an ancient Portuguese bastion at Padang Nyiru here. The association said they were willing to work closely with the state government to conserve the site and to turn it to a top-tourist attraction for the city.
MTA president Madelina W.L. Kuah described the discovery as an intriguing piece of good news for Malaccans that would further accelerate the arrival of tourists to the state. Those in the tourism industry are extremely excited and willing to assist the state government and Heritage Department to preserve the site, she said.
Reminder: The Heritage department has placed a signage to indicate that research work on the newly found Bastion is ongoing.
It is learnt that archaeologists from the Heritage Department had begun research work at the site where the fort believed to be the remaining of St. Dominic bastion is buried underneath. St Dominic, fronting the Malacca river is part of the larger A’Farmosa fortress built by Portuguese to safeguard the interest especially evading attack from the sea.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam announced recently that the Federal Government had disapproved a proposed multi-storey car-park project at the site following the discovery of the bastion underneath the site. He said the Information, Communication and Culture Ministry has asked the state government to source for another alternative area after soil test at Padang Nyiru confirmed there was a fort with historical values buried underneath.
The site, neighbouring Malacca’s Little India and St Francis Church, is currently a car park managed by a private concessionaire. In 2007, parts of the bastion and the walls - an extension to the A’Famosa fortress left by the Portuguese were discovered during construction of the RM24.5mil Taming Sari viewing tower in Jalan Quayside next to Malacca River.
Following the find, the Federal Government issued a stop-work order to preserve the 17th century Dutch-era fortress and the 110m revolving tower project was relocated to another site. Middleburg Bastion, estimated to be 1.5km long, was a strategic military landmark in Malacca 250 years ago. It was built as an extension to the A’Famosa fortress left by the Portuguese.
A local relic collector from Tengkera said he noticed several officials from Heritage Department surveying the site about a month ago. The collector who requested anonymity said he went to the site in the hope of procuring some articafts after hearing that excavation work was being carried-out at the site. “I was told that they found a new fort while certain part of the remains were visible during the excavation at the site fronting a bank. I dont know the latest development but was told by the officials that they would soon cordon-off the area,” he said.
-thestar online.

Laying the Lego foundation


Asia's first Legoland theme park — Legoland Malaysia — in Nusajaya, Iskandar Malaysia, Johor is set to open its doors to visitors on Sept 15.
Legoland Malaysia general manager Siegfried Boerst said work on the park is now approximately 75% completed with most of the rides and infrastructure already installed. He said, in March contractors began work on “theming” the park and next month they would begin the installation of 50 million Lego bricks and models into the park.
Mega project: Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman (left) being briefed by Legoland Development general manager John Ussher (right) at the groundbreaking ceremony of Legoland Malaysia.
“We are ready to welcome one million visitors through our gates in the first year of operations or between 10,000 and 15,000 daily,’’ said Boerst. He was speaking to Malaysian and Singaporean journalists during a site visit recently.
The US$200mil (RM608 mil) theme park on a 30.75ha site will cater to families with children from two to 12 years old with 40 rides, shows and attractions. Many of the rides are hands-on, so visitors can push, pull, pedal, programme, steer, squirt, splash, crawl, climb and build for a full-day of non-stop fun.
“The park is divided into seven theme areas, with each area designed for children to explore and enjoy all the activities,’’ said Boerst. The theme areas are called The Beginning, Lego City, Miniland, Land of Adventure, Imagination, Lego Kingdom and Lego Technic.
Ollie the Dragon (below) and Ollie Junior at Legoland Malaysia corporate office in Nusajaya, Iskandar Malaysia, Johor.
He said what sets Legoland apart from other theme parks is the “interactivity and participation to stimulate the imagination and creativity of children”. Boerst said the combined components of play, bonding, and experiencing while creating would allow children to share the values with their friends and peers. “This offers unique opportunities for families to bond and strengthen relationships in today’s world dominated by digital gadgets,’’ he added.
Boerst said the response to the park’s pre-opening promotional drive, which began in January, was good with 35,000 annual passes sold online by the closing date on April 16. He said the figure was the highest ever recorded for the sale of pre-opening annual passes for any of the Legoland theme parks. Boerst said 60% of the passes were bought by Malaysians and the remaining 40% by foreigners, with Singaporeans making up the majority of foreign buyers and the rest from other countries.
Other Legoland theme parks are Legoland Billund in Denmark, Legoland Windsor outside London, Legoland Deutschland near Gunzburg, Germany and Legoland California and Florida in the United States. There are also plans to open a Legoland Hotel on a 0.97ha site next to Legoland Malaysia in 2014. The hotel will also be the first in Asia and the fourth Legoland Hotel. The other Legoland Hotels are located in Billund and Windsor, with a third one set to open in California next year.
Legoland Malaysia is a joint-venture project between Iskandar Investment Bhd and Merlin         Entertainments Group — the world’s second-largest operator of visitor attractions. Merlin Entertainments operates 78 attractions, six hotels, two holiday villages in 17 countries and across four continents. The company runs, among others, Sea Life, Madame Tussauds, The London Eye, Sydney Aquarium, Sydney Tower Eye and Skywalk, Alton Towers Resort, Thorpe Park and Chessington World of Adventure.
-thestar online.
www.legoland.com.my

Datai Hotels & Resorts launched

MALAYSIA is spinning off a new hotel brand, Datai Hotels & Resorts, from one of its most acclaimed resorts, The Datai Langkawi.

The resort is majority-owned by Khazanah Nasional, the government's investment holding arm , and is managed by Archipelago Hotels & Resorts, also formed by Khazanah as part of the government's plan to march forth in hospitality. With the exception of Resorts World, Malaysia virtually does not boast homegrown hotel brands which have a regional or international footprint.

A second Datai will open in Desaru in September 2014, “with a number of other exciting projects in the pipeline”, said Frank Zeller, managing director of Archipelago. The hotel is part of the Desaru Coast Integrated Tourism Destination, also driven by Khazanah.

Observers said The Datai Langkawi was a hard act to follow, in no small part due to its unique location and architecture, which cascades from centuries-old rainforest to a private beach. Zeller said it was “the ideal foundation” from which to “thoughtfully” grow the brand “through the management of appropriate and exciting luxury iconic hotels and resorts in unique destinations around the world”.

Manuel Ferrer, managing director of Pacific World Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, betted on "good to very good" prospects for Datai Hotels & Resorts. "There is a rapidly-growing class of affluent Asians for whom this kind of product is appealing. There's the increasing fascination and willingness to travel to the Orient among Western world clients and there are tens of thousands of expats in the region willing to spend their breaks in this kind of property. Plus, depending on each property, there are meetings, events, weddings. So, the clients are there. It is a matter of…above all, sticking to the brand promise of ‘creating everlasting memories’.”

This is not the first time single properties have spun off chains. Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group was built on the success of The Oriental, Bangkok (now The Mandarin Oriental Bangkok), while Soneva Fushi launched Six Senses Resorts & Spas, to name a few examples.
-TTG Asia.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Offer tour packages, cabbies told


RAUB: Taxi and hired car associations have been urged to offer attractive packages to tourists to strengthen the tourism industry.
In making the call, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said the tour packages should be made available to local and foreign tourists. Dr Ng, who officially handed over a RM500,000 taxi terminal sponsored by her ministry to the Raub district council, also launched the taxi tourism service programme here yesterday.
Under the programme, tourists can choose a day trip package to various hotspots via taxi for a single charge. “The drivers will double up as tour guides too, but they have to attend a day-long course with the ministry to participate,” said Dr Ng, who is also Raub MP.
At the launch, 36 taxi drivers were awarded certificates to participate in the ministry's pilot project. “The drivers will be given a RM100 monthly allowance each and they can earn more through the taxi tourism package,” said Dr Ng. Dr Ng said she hoped to start similar programmes in other districts.
The taxi stand that was built over four months has a unique roof which comes with a self-cleaning technology which is the first of its kind in Malaysia.
-thestar online.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Terengganu festival is back in town


KUALA LUMPUR: Savour authentic keropok lekor and nasi dagang, watch baby turtles swim and try your hand at flying a wau or doing batik painting the Pesta Negeri Terengganu (Terengganu festival) is back in town.
The festival, jointly organised by Menara Kuala Lumpur and the Terengganu government, will highlight the Tasik Kenyir development project, which will be ready in time for next year's Visit Terengganu 2013.
The festival began at Menara Kuala Lumpur yesterday and will run until May 6. It is open from 10am to 8pm daily. Entrance is free.
“Tourists and locals can look forward to tax-free shopping on Pulau Bayas, as well as island hop to see various attractions which we are building on 10 small “islands” in Tasik Kenyir.
“These include a bird island, herb and spice island and a watch tower island,” said Terengganu Tourism, Culture, Art and Heritage Committeechairman Datuk Abdul Rahin Datuk Mohd Said when launching the festival with Menara Kuala Lumpur chief executive officer Datuk Zuraidah Said, by electronically “painting” a digital batik print.
The festival is themed “Negeri Cantik, Budaya Menarik” (Beautiful State, Attractive Culture).
Abdul Rahin said that last year, Terengganu saw over 2.7 million tourists, with 50% involved in homestay programmes.
“Tourists, especially foreigners, are attracted to the rich heritage and culture they get to experience under the homestay programmes,” he said.
Kuala Lumpur and four other states will take part in the festival part of this year Pesta Negeri (Festival of States).
The dates are June 7-14 (Perlis), June 22-July 1 (Johor), July 1-31 (Kuala Lumpur), Sept 4-16 (Perak) and Oct 20-28 (Negri Sembilan).
For more information call 03-20205499 or visit www.menarakl.com.my.
-thestar online.

Yen Yen: Promote bike tourism


KULIM: The Tourism Ministry has challenged Malaysian businessmen to tap the vast potential in bicycle tourism and come up with star-rated cycling packages.
Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said they could initiate packages ranging from two-star to six-star at different prices to further promote domestic tourism. “They could offer creative-themed packages incorporated with their bicycle rentals.
Ready to go: Ng (right) giving last-minute instructions to the young cyclists during Family Fun Ride at Taman Tasik Putra in Kulim Friday.
“They could have nature trail packages, tourist destination packages or even local food and delicacies packages in their areas,” she said after opening a Kulim Family Fun Ride programme at Tasik Putra here. She said the ministry did not sell products but helped create aware- ness for tourism companies to take up the opportunities. “On my part, I will help promote the cycling packages under our Cuti-Cuti 1Malaysia and Malaysia Truly Asia promotions,” she said.
Later, when opening a Tarian Cuti-Cuti 1Malaysia event at the Kulim public field, Dr Ng urged local community organisations to form their own tourism committees to organise similar dance events. “Dances, especially cultural ones, attract people, including tourists. “So, if local communities come together to learn some of Malaysia's popular cultural dances, they could then present them to tourists as part of the attractions in their respective areas,” she said.
-thestar online.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Casa del Rio Hotel has a fusion of history and modernity

MALACCA: Casa del Rio Hotel in Malacca, the newest addition to boutique collection of HPL Hotels and Resorts product portfolio officially opened its doors on April 20. The grandeur opening ceremony was filled with much pomp where dignitaries and guests had the opportunity to witness events and the inspiring details given by the creative team responsible for the development of the unique hotel. 


The opening ceremony was graced Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah ibni Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Al-Haj witnessed by Governor of Malacca, Tun Mohd Khalil Yaakob and Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam. In his speech, managing-director of Casa de Rio, Tan Sri Syed Yusof said the hotel had received several accolades since its soft-opening on May 6, 2011. He said among the coveted acknowledgements received was the “Best Weekend Break” by Expat Lifestyle magazine on October 2011 while the hotel was ranked No 1 among 115 hotels in Malacca by On-Trip advisor on Jan 1, 2012. 


Casa del Rio which in Spanish means “home by the river” is mansion of opulence where “classic elegance meets contemporary design”. Every effort has been made to ensure that the 66-room hotel is a haven of calm and luxury. It is sitting majestically on the riverbank of the historic Malacca river. With prime position, the hotel is located within a precinct of heritage buildings which gives a sense of tranquillity whilst guests could still relish the pulse and nightlife of the Historic city. The hotel’s location allows easy access to the shops, restaurants, harbour and other popular attractions. 


The luxurious and sophisticated theme is present in all rooms, each of which is individually designed with a lot of attention to detail. Most of the suites offer panoramic views of Malacca river and the city while the rooms have luxury fittings and bathrooms with sliding screens. Other in-room amenities include free high-speed internet access, a 42-inch flat screen TV, DVD/CD player, iPod docking station and more.


Designed by Abdul Harris Othman, the hotel features Mediterranean and Peranakan-inspired style with wrought iron railings and ornamental lighting. Though it blends well with its historical surroundings, the hotel still caters to its guests’ 21st-century needs with facilities such as a gymnasium, ballroom, seven meeting rooms, swimming pool, rooftop garden and three food and beverage outlets. Other facilities at Casa de Rio includes concierge, fine dining at riveside outlets such as Bar Rio, River Café and Rive grill. With elegance and modern amenities, the hotel also caters to the different needs of guests. 


The hotel is also situated closely to the list of heritage sites namely, Admiral Cheng Ho Cultural museum, A. Famosa, St. Paul’s hill, Stadthuys and St. Peter’s Cathedral. Hotel Manager, Andrew Drummond described his role at Casa de Rio as the pinnacle of 25-year service in the service industry. “Malacca is a community based city where ones feels at home and frankly I am enjoying my job here. “Case del Rio, will, without compromising on the efficiencies of modern demands, will provide guests with sublime pleasure of home comfort,” he added.
-thestar online.
www.casadelrio-melaka.com

Art at its best

Creative thought: Kamal (left) and Azizan looking at an art piece at the newly launched Henry Butcher Art Auction 2012.


Henry Butcher Art Auction 2012 is set to offer a unique selection of 86 exceptional works by established Malaysian artists on May 6. The auction, going into its third year, will be held at the White Box, MAP@Publika in Kuala Lumpur.

It will include reknowned names such as Latiff Mohidin, Datuk Syed Ahmad Jamal, Datuk Chuah Thean Teng, Datuk Mohd Hoessein Enas, Yusof Ghani, Lim Kai Hai, Chia Yu Chian, Chang Fee Ming and Ahmad Zakii Anwar. There is also a list of never-before featured artists such as Datuk Tay Hooi Keat, Patrick Ng, Raphael Scott Ahbeng, Kok Yew Puah, Eng Tay, Ivan Lam and Yau Bee Ling. Photography and sculpture will also make their debut in the art auction with works by Ismail Hashim and Umibaizurah Mahir, while for the first time, the auction will feature a Chinese ink section.

The main attraction at the exhibition is a 1984 piece by Datuk Ibrahim Hussein — Red, Orange and Core, which is a pictorial masterpiece that represents the artist at his best. Bidding for the piece, measuring 1.9m high and 2.7m wide, will start at RM800,000 and is expected to break world auction records for the artist, as well as for any Malaysian work of art to-date at the auction. A smaller piece by Ibrahim that is also expected to attract intense bidding is a 1979 acrylic on canvas titled Monorobos 1, which will start at RM150,000. 

This lot, which is presented in a unique horizontal format spanning five-feet, is a superlative result of Ibrahim’s earlier abstraction of figure and expressionism of lines that embodies his mastery and innovation in colours, forms and composition balance. Acquired directly from the artist and having remained in the private collection for more than 30 years, this piece will now resurface on the secondary market. Ibrahim’s highest priced work to-date is The Dream (1969) which fetched RM500,500 at the 2010 Henry Butcher Art Auction. The record was broken last year when Latiff Mohidin’s iconic Pago-Pago Forms (1968) sold for RM572,000. 

A special tribute will also be dedicated to Datuk Syed Ahmad Jamal. A unique assembly of four rare and early works on paper, along with a painting of a nightscape titled Malam Marang (2001), estimated at between RM120,000 and RM160,000, will be dedicated solely to the National Art Laureate. There will also be a video on the late artist, featuring tribute messages and interviews.

Henry Butcher Malaysia group chairman Tan Sri Kamal Hashim said the company was moving closer to establishing an open and transparent platform for the trading of Malaysian artworks in the existing local market. “There is still much to be done to promote appreciation and collection of Malaysian art. “Besides auctions, we will carry on the effort of organising public art programmes to educate people on Malaysian art and supporting other worthwhile art promotion initiatives,” he said during the launch of Art Auction Malaysia on April 23. Also present were Tourism Malaysia acting director-general Datuk Azizan Noordin, Henry Butcher Art Auctioneers directors Vincent Sim and Long Tian Chek and Henry Butcher Malaysia director Lim Eng Chong. 

The viewing of the works is open to the public from now till May 5 at White Box, MAP@Publika in Solaris Dutamas. It is open from 11am to 7pm. Admission is free. Registration of bidders will start at 11am on May 6 and the auction begins at 1pm. For enquiries or to register as a bidder, call 012-2275325 or 016-2980852 or email leoni@hbart.com.my or visit www.hbart.com.my
-thestar online.

New date for TPO forum

The opening date of the three-day Fifth Tourism Promotion Organisation (TPO) Forum for Asia Pacific has been changed to Sept 18 this year. 


Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) president Patahiyah Ismail said the date was changed so that delegates from Vietnam and South Korea could attend the bi-annual forum. “The forum was originally scheduled to be held from Sept 5 to Sept 7 at the Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa in Batu Ferringhi. “We are trying our best to allow more representatives to come over,” she said, adding that a total of 68 city mayors and 32 industry players are expected to attend the forum. Patahiyah said the forum was aimed at reaching out to the industry players so that a tourism partnership could be formed among the member cities.


“Among the programmes lined up included discussions on heritage tour on trishaws and the establishment of the Friendship Park in Farquhar Street,” she told a press conference on Thursday. Also present were state Local Government and Traffic Management Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow and state Youth and Sports, Women, Family and Community Development Committee chairman Lydia Ong Kok Fooi. TPO was established in 2002 to create an inter-city network besides boosting the tourism industry in all member cities in the Asia Pacific region with its secretariat based in Busan, Korea.


The member cities are Dalian, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Hong Kong, Qingdoa, Sanya, Shanghai, Shenyang, Urumqi, Weihai and Xian in China; Fukuoka, Kagoshima, Kitakyushu, Kumamoto, Miyazaki, Nagasaki, Naha, Oita, Osaka, Saga, Sasebo and Shimmonoseki in Japan; and Andong, Busan, Daegu, Daejeon, Gwangju, Gyeongju, Jeonju, Ulsan in South Korea.


The four cities from Malaysia are Ipoh, George Town, Kota Kinabalu and Malacca while others are Brisbane (Australia), Jakarta (Indonesia), Auckland (New Zealand), Manila (Philippines), Vladivostok (Russia), Bangkok (Thailand), Honolulu (United States) and Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam).
-thestar online.
www.aptpo.org

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Firefly opens up Kota Bharu – Johor Bahru connections

Johor Bahru – Firefly made history today by being the first airline to provide direct air linkages connecting the south and the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia.


Passengers who boarded flight FY2231 at 8.30am from Sultan Ismail Petra Airport, Kota Bahru were given a warm welcome reception by way of a traditional welcome performance upon their arrival at Senai International Airport at 10.10 am today.

Johor Tourism Department Director, Md Za’nal Hj Misran and Director Ministry of Tourism Malaysia Johor, Mohammad Isa Abdul Halim were at the airport, greeting and presenting passengers from the inaugural flight with goodie bags. On-board this flight were representatives from Malaysia Airports Holdings, the Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia, two members from the Kelantan Executive Council and the local media from Kelantan. The passenger load on this inaugural flight was 95 per cent.

Firefly’s CEO, Ignatius M.C. Ong, said in a statement: “Our direct, thrice weekly services with a travel time of approximately 1 hour 40 minutes provides tremendous convenience to travellers. We are providing an alternative to existing public land transportation servicing this route such as coach and rail services. We offer the best solution for leisure and business travellers who need to arrive at their destination quickly and safely.

Ong added, “Our web check-in facility is also a boon to travellers as it allows them to check-in at their convenience from their home or office and print out their boarding passes. Time saved at the airport by skipping the check-in queue allows passengers to spend more time at their destination.

“Passengers will find our flight times ideal for both business and leisure travel alike. The first flight departs Kota Bharu at 8.30am and arrives in Johor Bahru at 10.10am, providing passengers plenty of time at their destination. Similarly flights out of Johor Bahru arrive in Kota Bharu at 12.10pm, which is ideal for hotel check-in. Besides domestic travellers, we’re also targeting Singaporeans keen on visiting Kota Bharu and other parts of the East Coast," he said.

On its return flight today, FY2232 departed from Senai International Airport at 10.30am and landed at Sultan Ismail Petra airport in Kota Bharu at 12.10pm. Passengers were given a warm reception and presented with goodie bags by Kelantan Deputy Secretary of State (Management), Dato’ Haji Ismail Bin Samah, Tourism Malaysia Kelantan Director, Zurina Abdul Samad and Assistant Chief Secretary, Tourism & Culture Kelantan, Nik Mohd Hasanuddin Nik Hussain. The load factor on this flight was 80 per cent.

To further promote this route and others on Firefly’s network, the airline is currently running an online promotion for bookings made up to 6 May 2012 for travel from 7 May to 30 June 2012. Airfares are: From RM75 one way all- in, for the following domestic routes: Kota Bharu – Johor Bahru; Penang-Langkawi; Penang-Kota Bharu; Penang-Kuantan; Subang-Penang; Subang-Kota Bharu; Subang-Langkawi, Subang-Kuala Terengganu; Subang-Johor Bahru and Subang-Alor Setar. Airfares to regional destinations are from RM175, one way, all in, between Subang-Banda Aceh and Subang-Singapore.

To promote Firefly’s latest route between Kota Bharu-Johor Bahru, the airline will be participating at Matta Fair in Kota Bharu Mall from tomorrow until 29 April 2012. This is an excellent opportunity for walk-in customers to take advantage of the online promotional fares which will also be offered to customers who visit the Firefly booth during the fair.
-Firefly.
http://www.fireflyz.com/

A pleasant overview of Kuala Lumpur — in small sizes

KL delight: Tourists can experience the night view of the KL heritage enclave (Dataran Merdeka and Chinatown) at the KL City Gallery when they see the miniature replica of the enclave, which is fitted with LED lighting to mimic the areas at night. — AZHAR MAHFOF / The Star


KUALA LUMPUR: German tourists Sandra Harms and Annett Oeding ducked into the Kuala Lumpur City Gallery (KLCG) to escape a short drizzle and ran into a very pleasant surprise. “We didn't expect to find this nice overview of the city,” said Oeding, 36, when met at the KLCG. “We saw the big I Love KL structure and decided to head here to get out of the rain. “It is great because we were planning to visit some traditional places in the city,” she added.
 
The KLCG, which opened at the end of last year, is a one-stop centre for foreign and local travellers to find out more about Kuala Lumpur's past, present and future. The gallery, housed in the former KL Memorial Library beside Dataran Merdeka, is the brainchild of Andrew Lee, the CEO and founder of ARCH Collection Sdn Bhd, a company that specialises in art pieces and architectural model design and manufacturing. The company has inked a seven-year contract with City Hall to set up and run the KLCG. It is currently being opened to the public in stages. Besides an information centre, the KLCG features a walk-through gallery of the city's history in print, pictures and film as well as intricate miniatures of its historical buildings.
 
Exhibits that are not to be missed are the world's largest KL Skyline wood-veneer mural and the largest miniature replica of its heritage enclave in Dataran Merdeka and Chinatown, which mimic the areas at night. Admission is free and travellers are welcome to peruse the tour maps available as well as go on a guided tour around the gallery from 8am to 6pm daily.
 
“We are also going to have a Greater KL model by the end of May,” said ARCH Collection design director Carol Khan. “This is where we will replicate the Klang Valley in miniature models and continue to update it with the latest developments,” she said. Khan said with the gallery, tourists, who used to find themselves standing on Dataran Merdeka wondering about its significance, need not wonder anymore. “This is a place where we can promote Kuala Lumpur and it is more meaningful as it is located just beside one of the most historical landmarks in the city,” she added.
-thestar online.
http://www.klcitygallery.com/

LEGOLAND® MALAYSIA Announces Opening Date

• Park begins countdown to 15 September official opening date

• First-of-its-kind theme park in Asia begins sale of discounted day tickets

• Over 35,000 annual passes sold to date

JOHOR, 25 April 2012 – To the delight of youngsters everywhere, LEGOLAND® Malaysia, today revealed its official opening date: Saturday, September 15, 2012. Inspired by Asia’s growing love affair with all things LEGO®, the new 76-acre theme park will cater to kids ages 2 to 12 with more than 40 “pink-knuckle” rides – from roller coasters to race cars as well as family focused interactive shows and attractions.
Siegfried Boerst General Manager of LEGOLAND Malaysia disclosed the date at a briefing and site tour held today in Nusajaya. “Our official opening date has been a closely guarded secret since the park broke ground in December 2009. We hope with today’s news families and tour operators can begin planning their trips to visit us and we look forward to giving you an experience like no other in Asia.”
Muhammad Zainal Ashikin b. Muhammad Rejab, Chief Executive Officer IDR Resorts said, “The Park is now approximately 75% finished with most of the rides and park infrastructure already installed. Last month our contractors began the work on the theming of the Park and the installing of millions of LEGO bricks and the attractions.”

Sale of Single-day Tickets at Special Prices for a Limited Period Only!
Mr Boerst also announced the official park single-day tickets going on sale. These can be bought from today at a special introductory offer of RM96 for adults and RM70 for kids. The 30% discount will only be for a limited period only and tickets can be purchased at http://www.legoland.com.my/.
-Legoland Malaysia.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pesta Laut PANGKOR LUMUT 2012

Kerajaan Negeri Perak dan Majlis Perbandaran Manjung (MPM) menganjurkan Pesta Laut Pangkor Lumut 2012 pada 24 hingga 29 April 2012.

Program ini diadakan bagi mempromosikan Negeri Perak sempena Tahun Melawat Perak 2012, meningkatkan kunjungan pelancong dari dalam dan luar negara ke Daerah Manjung, sebagai salah satu cara mempromosi produk-produk pelancongan di Daerah Manjung serta menggalakkan pertumbuhan ekonomi penduduk setempat.

Pelbagai aktiviti diadakan sepanjang tempoh berlangsungnya program ini seperti gerai pameran dan jualan, menaiki Kapal Layar Cruise, Persembahan Seni Ukiran Ais, Pertandingan Sukan Pantai, Pertandingan Sukan Rakyat, Pertandingan Perahu Layar, Lumba Perahu dan Kayak, Demo Search and Rescue oleh Agensi Penguatkuasaan Maritim Malaysia (APMM), Pertandingan Karaoke ‘Tourism Idol’ dan persembahan artis.

Program ini dijadualkan akan dirasmikan oleh Y.A.B. Dato’ Seri Diraja Dr. Zambry bin Abd. Kadir, Menteri Besar Perak pada 27 April 2012 (Jumaat), jam 8.30 malam di Lumut. Manakala Majlis Perasmian Penutup akan disempurnakan oleh Tuan Zamri bin Man, Yang Dipertua MPM pada 29 April 2012 (Ahad), jam 9.00 malam.


http://www.facebook.com/PestaLautPangkorLumut
http://www.mpm.gov.my/
-Majlis Perbandaran Manjung.

Kenny G Haeart & Soul @ RW Genting

Date: 19 May 2012 (Saturday)
Time: 8.00 pm
Venue: Arena of Stars, Resort World Genting, Malaysia
-http://www.rwgenting.com/

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Green taxes not the way to push for sustainable tourism: Malaysia minister

Yet another prominent industry leader has hit out against the imposing of taxes on travel to protect the environment, citing viable alternatives such as the use of positive incentives.


Malaysia’s tourism minister Ng Yen Yen called the tax approach “simplistic” when she was speaking at last weekend’s PATA Annual Conference themed Building the Business Beyond Profits. “If they should do that in the West, the East can do that…(but) I think it would be very unhealthy competition,” she said, referring to taxes such as the European Union Emissions Trading System. She added that Malaysia’s stand was to incentivise instead of disincentivise, which could mean, for example, an operator pays less tax for promoting cycling tours.


The country’s ecotourism policy that stipulates no more than 50 per cent of land can be developed has also helped to preserve the destination’s “pristine floating jungle”, Ng said. This has resulted in the NTO turning to other man-made products such as art and shoes (and in turn launching festivals around that) to draw tourists instead.


She listed more examples of Malaysia’s sustainable tourism initiatives such as its Plant a Tree project, which has seen over 10,000 trees planted by tourists. Organised for guests who participate in homestays, the partnership with villages for accommodation is also one way the country supports rural communities. “Profit cannot be the answer for the future,” Ng said, urging industry stakeholders to focus instead on “sustainable tourism and social responsibility”, topics that were also given an airing during PATA’s two-day conference.
 Closing session speaker Bruce Poon Tip, founder of Canada-based tour operator G Adventures, pointed out that travel business owners had the opportunity to extend a helping hand to communities in need, while this was also one way they could engage customers beyond products. “All of you have brochures that talk about the hotels and services you supply…Customers have long gone past that. (They) want to identify with your brand and what you stand for,” he said.


His company, which has a non-profit arm called Planeterra, has hired street children in India as tour guides and restored vision to the blind in Cambodia, among other initiatives. Said Poon Tip: “We create stories about our brand that transcend our product and (talk about) how we change people’s lives by creating happiness in the community.”
-TTG Asia.
Photo: Pelancongankini.

New attractions for i-City lined up

Big ideas for i-City: Dr Ng and executive chairman of i-Berhad Tan Sri Lim Kim Hong (left) taking a tour of the Snowalk at i-City in Shah Alam yesterday.

SHAH ALAM: There are plans to develop a 93,000sq m shopping mall and Clarke Quay@i-City riverfront leisure area by i-Berhad Group. The i-City developers unveiled the “integrated leisure destination” development plans for the tech-concept commercial and recreation area in the presence of Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen and members of the press yesterday.

Dr Ng lauded the company for having foresight, saying it would benefit the tourism industry in the long run. “i-City has provided new reasons for tourists to visit Malaysia. Such vision and foresight, which continuously bring in new products, will move the country forward,” she said at the event at i-City’s i-Gallery showroom yesterday.

i-Berhad chief executive officer Datuk Eu Hong Chew said the development, which would be carried out in stages, was targeted to be completed by 2015 and would include a theme park, amphitheatre and 24-hour lifestyle-concept outlets. He said the RM50mil Clark Quay@i-City was the result of an agreement with the state government and the Shah Alam Municipal Council over development rights in the Sungai Rasau area.

“When we were informed that the state government planned to upgrade Sungai Rasau as part of its flood mitigation programme, we decided to incorporate this into our plans to create a unique F&B and entertainment hub,” he said.
-thestar online.

‘X-clusive’ deals for air travel

PETALING JAYA: AirAsia X is offering exclusive deals to China, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and Australia during the upcoming school holidays.


These “X-clusive” deals are available online until April 29, with the travel period from June 1 to Aug 10. The offer includes fares from as low as RM 349 one way all-in to Taiwan (Taipei) and RM389 one way all-in to China (Tianjin, Chengdu and Hangzhou) from Kuala Lumpur.


Other destinations from Kuala Lumpur include South Korea (Seoul) from fares as low as RM439 one way all-in and Japan (Tokyo and Osaka) from as low as RM519 one way all-in. Also available are trips to Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Gold Coast) from as low as RM459 one way all-in. For more details, log on to http://www.airasia.com/.
-thestar online.

RM1mil for work of art

KUALA LUMPUR: The late Datuk Ibrahim Hussein's 2m by 2.7m painting titled Red, Orange and Core created in 1984 is set to to be sold for over RM1mil at this year's Henry Butcher Art Auction 2012.
“Breaking the RM1mil mark is a record for the renowned artist, and for any Malaysian work of art so far,” said Tourism Malaysia acting director-general Datuk Azizan Noordin. Azizan, who launched a display of artworks on behalf of Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen at Publika, Solaris Dutamas, here, said artists like Ibrahim had helped elevate the status and value of Malaysian art locally and abroad.

He said there should be more exposure on local works, besides efforts such as the Henry Butcher Art Auction and the 1Malaysia Contemporary Art Tourism Festival, to make Malaysia a reputable destination for art enthusiasts. “The ministry hopes to position Malaysia among the top 10 countries in global tourism exchange earnings by 2015.

“Our commitment is clear under the Malaysian Tourism Transformation Plan which targets 36 million tourists and an income of RM168bil by 2020,” he said. He lauded Henry Butcher Art Auctioneers for its dedication in educating the public on local works.

This year's auction on May 6 would showcase 86 works by prominent local artists including, for the first time, photography, sculpture and Chinese ink. “This is Henry Butcher's third consecutive auction, a Malaysian-bred initiative. We are moving closer to establishing a transparent platform for the trading of Malaysian art,” said Henry Butcher Asset Auctioneers chairman Tan Sri Kamal Hashim.

The auction will be held at White Box, MAP@Publika at 1pm. The 86 works have been open to public since Saturday and would be on display until May 5 from 11am to 7pm. Potential bidders are encouraged to view the works prior to the auction and register by 11am. For more information, call 012-227 5325 / 016-298 0852, e-mail leoni@hbart.com.my or log on to www.hbart.com.my.
-thestar online.

Monday, April 23, 2012

PATA fleshes out Next Gen initiatives

Dusting off its old days of declining relevance, PATA’s Next Gen strategy to add value to members has been described as a three-legged stool comprising aligned advocacy, innovative events and the newly launched travel data platform PATAmPOWER.


Speaking at the PATA Annual Conference held in Malaysia over the weekend, PATA CEO, Martin Craigs, said PATAmPOWER aimed to be the single, authoritative source of travel data for the industry. Created in HTML5 and available on mobile devices, information such as tourist expenditure, hotel occupancy and passenger flows can be summoned up with a few clicks. Content partners include NTOs, STR Global, IATA, ComScore and Sinotech. “We want to empower (members) in their business…so we’ve combined a massive 20-course banquet and given them all the vitamins in one pill,” he explained.


For advocacy, PATA will team up with global organisations such as the World Travel & Tourism Council to lobby policy makers with one voice. Hot-button issues such as the UK Air Passenger Duty and the European Union Emissions Trading System are currently priorities. “We’re here to stop hindrances to travel. We’re here to name and shame people who are the weakest links and who are often hypocrites,” said Craigs.


To that end, PATA has also appointed a communications global advisor, former BBC news anchor Keshini Navaratnam. Based in London, she has already helped to secure a speaking slot for PATA in the UK House of Commons in November.


Craigs added that PATA’s line-up of new Hub City Forums in a number of Asian destinations this year, as well as existing initiatives such as the PATA Travel Mart and the Adventure Travel and Responsible Tourism Conference and Mart were also part of the strategy in connecting members through events.


He told TTG Asia e-Daily that the goal was to restore the association’s reserves to 2009 levels – around US$2 million – by 2016. The figure is now closer to US$1 million. “We want to rebuild PATA step by step. We’re not going to have a V-shape recovery, but a U-shape one,” he said.


Said incoming PATA chairman, João Manuel Costa Antunes: “We want to develop the concept of PATA being the voice of Asia-Pacific…we want existing members to feel the value of participating in this association.”
-TTG Asia.

Malaysia to achieve another breakthrough year in medical tourism: Yen Yen


SERI KEMBANGAN: Malaysia is on track to achieve another breakthrough year in medical tourism this year, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said Sunday. She said the Malaysia Healthcare and Travel Council announced that medical tourism in Malaysia struck record levels last year and was on track to achieve another breakthrough year.
She said receipts from foreign patients spending on medical treatment in Malaysia totalled RM509.77mil, based on 578,403 patients. "These figures were well above the initial projection of RM431 million, clearly demonstrating that Malaysia has an enormous potential in health tourism," she said at the launch of Mines Wellness Hotel here. Her text of speech was read by the ministry's deputy secretary-general,Dr Junaida Lee Abdullah.
Country Heights Holdings Berhad launched its newly-positioned Mines Wellness Hotel, following a RM1.3mil refurbishment which refocuses its position as a wellness resort.
Dr Ng said the ministry would continue to aggressively promote the country as a luxury destination towards attracting high yield tourists to Malaysia, in line with the Malaysia Tourism Transformation Plan 2020 to achieve 36 million tourist arrivals and RM168bil receipts by 2020. She congratulated Mines Wellness Hotel for its environmental efforts and contribution in helping brand Malaysia on a regional level.
-Bernama.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

July date launch for Tune Hotel Kings Cross

Following the successful launch of its £9 (RM44) room sale at Tune Hotel Paddington, the pioneering budget hotel chain will launch its fourth London hotel, Tune Hotel Kings Cross, with the same offer. The Tune Hotel Kings Cross will open on July 9, comprising 217 en-suite bedrooms across twin, double and accessible formats.


The fantastic offer will be launched at 8pm on April 18 when over 1,000 £9 rooms will be released to savvy travellers booking to stay on a range of dates between July 2012 and February 2013.


Tune Hotel Kings Cross is ideally located on Gray’s Inn Road, just 500m from Kings Cross and St Pancras train stations. Formally Swinton House, the building will feature 217 bedrooms including twin, double and accessible rooms, with and without windows. Guests will also be able to enjoy the large reception area where light refreshments will be served.


Latest addition: Tune Hotel Kings Cross.


Tune Hotel Kings Cross brings the hotel group’s London portfolio to four with the current Westminster and Liverpool Street hotels, and Paddington due to open on June 25. Guests staying at any of the properties will be able to experience bedrooms at exceptionally low prices, focusing on high-quality basics — five-star Hypnos beds, power showers, air conditioned rooms, central locations, a clean environment and 24-hour security. Through the successful pay-as-you-use concept, Tune guests pay only for their room allowing them the ultimate flexibility to pay extra for the services and facilities that are important to them. Bedrooms at Tune Hotel Kings Cross will normally start from just £35 a night.


Tune Hotels is part of the lifestyle business conglomerate Tune Group that was founded by Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and Datuk Kamarudin Meranun. Tune Group seeks to innovate and revolutionise the way services are made available and has employed efficient web-based technologies to reach and engage its customers, presenting a unique lifestyle offering ranging from value hotel stays, personal finance solutions and affordable prepaid mobile services.


Tune Group of Companies are Tune Air, Tune Hotels, Tune Money, Tune Talk, Tune Box, Tune Studios and the Queens Park Rangers Football Club (QPR).


Since Tune Hotels was first launched in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2007, over three million guests have stayed in its properties spread across Malaysia, Indonesia and the United Kingdom.


It now has 19 hotels located in Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, KLIA-LCCT Airport, Penang, Johor Baru, Kota Damansara, Bintulu, Kota Baru and Kulim in Malaysia; Kuta and Legian in Bali, Indonesia; Westminster and Liverpool Street in London, England; Hat Yai and Pattaya in Thailand; and Angeles City, Cebu and Ermita, Manila in the Philippines.


All Tune Hotels feature space-efficient, streamlined rooms focusing on high-quality basics: five-star bed, powerful hot showers and energy-saving fans. The strategically located hotels provide housekeeping services, electronic keycard access into rooms, CCTV surveillance, and prohibits access into the main lobby without a keycard past midnight. Through Tune Hotels’ pay-as-you-use system of add-on WiFi, TV, laundered towels and other energy-consuming facilities and amenities, Tune Hotels aims to help guests conserve both their funds as well as the earth’s resources.


Tune Hotels is a part of Tune Group, the principal partner of the Premier League’s Professional Games Match Officials (PGMO) & the BIG Global Loyalty Programme.


For real-time updates and promotion alerts, guests can stay connected with Tune Hotels via Facebook at www.facebook.com/tunehotels and on Twitter via www.twitter.com/tunehotels. For booking and further information, visit www.tunehotels.com.
-thestar online.

Malaysia Tourism Minister Receives PATA Honorary Life Member Award 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, 21 April 2012: The Tourism Minister of Malaysia, the Hon. Dato' Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen, received the PATA Honorary Life Member Award today for her outstanding achievements and contributions to the tourism industry.

The award was presented to her by PATA Chairman, Hiran Cooray, witnessed by the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, the Hon. Tan Sri Dato' Hj. Muhyiddin Mohd. Yassin, during the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 PATA Annual Conference at the Royale Chulan Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.

Indeed, Dato' Sri Dr. Ng is no stranger to the tourism industry. Her entrance into tourism began as the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Malaysia, from 1999 to 2003, and later as the Minister of Tourism from 2009 until today.

Throughout her combined seven years of leadership in tourism, she has led the industry with great passion and commitment, injecting innovative ideas and creativity as well as her own brand of infectious enthusiasm to gain the partnership of members to drive the industry forward.

During her stewardship as Tourism Minister, Malaysia’s tourism performance reached great heights. It saw an increase of tourist arrivals from 23.6 million tourists in 2009 to 24.7 million in 2011, and correspondingly, receipts surged from RM53.4 billion (USD17.8 billion) in 2009 to RM58.3 billion (USD19.4 billion).

It was also during her time at the tourism helm that Malaysia secured the 9th spot as most visited country in the world by UNWTO for three years in a row, from 2009 to 2011, an achievement that was made even more significant due to the challenges plaguing the global tourism industry during those years.

A medical officer by profession, her determination, affable character and boundless energy have resulted in many significant milestones in tourism. She initiated the "1Malaysia Green, 1Malaysia Clean" campaign to promote conservation awareness; advocated for the abolishment of import duties to brand Malaysia as a duty free destination; re-invigorated the homestay programme to encourage tourism participation and bring benefit to rural communities; encouraged the creation and development of luxury tourism; explored new geographical tourism markets and niche tourism products.

She was instrumental in leveraging Malaysia as a luxury tourism destination, which included a focus on parks and gardens tourism, an initiative that saw Malaysia receiving the gold awards for its garden concept at the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London for two years in a row (2010 and 2011).

Much respected among her peers in the tourism industry, both locally and internationally, Dato’ Sri Dr. Ng feels that her best work is yet to come. Through the Malaysian Tourism Transformation Plan she created, she has much grand plans for Malaysia’s tourism industry, that is to achieve 36 million tourists and RM168 billion (USD56 billion) in receipts by 2020.

For her great achievements and accomplishments in tourism, today and the future, the Hon. Dato’ Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen truly deserves to receive this year's PATA Honorary Life Member Award.

At the 2012 PATA Annual Conference, Malaysia also received three PATA Gold Awards, which is a recognition of excellence, innovation, and the best tourism standards in Asia Pacific’s travel and tourism industry.

Two of the awards were won by Tourism Malaysia in the categories of Marketing – Primary Government Destination for its ‘A Million Experiences to Share’ campaign, and Marketing Media – Travel Poster for its posters depicting the Orang Utan, Diving, Mount Kinabalu, Homestay and Siti Khadijah Market.

The third award was won by the Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa in the category ‘Environment – Educational Programme’ for the management of its waste water system.
-Tourism Malaysia.