Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Legoland Malaysia - Grand Opening On 15 September 2012

TicketReg. price
1-Day Ticket Adult (12-59)
RM 140
1-Day Ticket Child (3-11)
RM 110
1-Day Ticket Senior (60+)
RM 110

*Promotional day ticket and annual pass can now be purchased at the following venues:

Travel Carnival, Hall 5A Singapore Expo: 4th August 2012 - 5th August 2012, 10.00am - 10.00pm.

AEON Tebrau City, Johor Bahru: 24th July 2012 - 29th July 2012, 10am -9pm

Iskandar Malaysia Information Centre (IMIC), Danga Bay*: Every Saturday and Sunday from 2pm - 7pm (starting 28th April 2012 onwards).

*Same bulding as Kong Inn Seafood Restaurant and close to Lazio Italian Restaurant.

Puteri Harbour theme park set for year-end launch

Situated within the Puteri Harbour waterfront development that is scheduled to launch next January, the four-storey indoor theme park will house LAT’s Place, a restaurant that will bring the Malaysian cartoonist’s famed village boy character to life, and the first-ever Hello Kitty theme park outside of Japan.

Themed Attractions & Resorts (TAR), a subsidiary of the Malaysian government's investment arm Khazanah Nasional, has poured in over RM100 million (US$32 million) to develop the new theme park.

TAR managing director & CEO, Ahmad Burhanuddin, told TTG Asia that he sees the Puteri Harbour Family Theme Park complementing, rather than competing with Legoland Malaysia, which is due to open in Nusajaya in mid-September. 

“Both theme parks combined will give tourists a reason to spend more than a day in Nusajaya,” he said. “Families will have more things to do at the destination, so they (will) have more reasons to stay longer and spend more in Malaysia.”

TAR is targeting 500,000 visitors in the theme park’s first year of operations. Marketing efforts will be conducted together with Tourism Malaysia in key markets such as India, China and the Middle East.
-TTG Asia.

Taiping Lake Gardens was an abandoned tin mine

TAIPING: The Taiping Lake Gardens was formerly an abandoned tin mine. Twenty-one years after it was abandoned by Hai San clan leader Kapitan Chung Keng Kwee, work to develop the park started in 1884.
It was officially opened to the public by then Perak British Resident Frank Swettenham on Nov 17, 1893. According to the Selangor Journal dated Jan 12, 1894, Swettenham's wife, Constance Sydney Holmes, got the help of a mining inspector, William Scott, to turn the area into a scenic place and subsequently a park.
The concept behind the creation of the lake gardens is attributed to the nostalgia brought by the Lake District of England and the Highland of Scotland. The park's proximity to the foot of Bukit Larut (formerly Maxwell Hill) makes it look more majestic and its beauty was an inspiration to artists, writers and singers.
It is divided into several components, namely the green belt; Silver Jubilee Memorial Jetty; Taiping Jubilee Memorial Pavilion; Fountain; Red Bridges and other bridges; Bougainvillea Point; Sevens Sister Point; Bamboo Point; Lotus Point; Turtle Bay; Jungle Lake; West Lake; Almanda Pond; Oblong Pond; Central Jungle; Turtle Point; and The Raintrees.
The original size of the park was 61.93ha but after additional acquisition by the Perak Government, is now located on a 96.44ha site. It is fully administered by the Taiping Municipal Council, which also runs the Taiping Zoo located within the park.
To date, the council has officially tagged 113 raintrees at the park and also maintains over 1,300 other types of trees with help from arborists and experts from the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia.
-thestar online.

New ferry service between M’sia and S’pore by end 2013, says Kong

KOTA TINGGI: A new ferry service between Malaysia and Singapore will be introduced by end 2013 linking Tanjung Belungkur and Changi, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha on Tuesday.
The Roll-On Roll-Off (RORO) service for vehicles and passengers would make travel between both countries, he said adding that the distance between the two ferry terminals was quite short. This would be the first modern RORO service between the two countries, he said.
"The RORO service is similar to the one in Penang. Johor is being developed, with many mega projects, especially in southern Johor such as in Pengerang or in Mersing," he said.
-thestar online.

AirAsia X’s year-end promotions are back

PETALING JAYA: AirAsia X's much-awaited year-end promotions are back with attractive deals to Australia, China, Taiwan, Nepal, Japan and Korea.

Ticket prices start from RM299 from Kuala Lumpur to Japan (Osaka, Tokyo) , RM348 to China (Beijing, Hangzhou, Chengdu), RM369 to Australia (Perth, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Sydney), RM389 to Taiwan (Taipei), RM399 to Nepal (Kathmandu) and RM439 to South Korea (Seoul). Tickets must be booked between July 30 and Aug 12 for travel between Sept 18 to Dec 16.

AirAsia X CEO Azran Osman-Rani said that with the airline's increased frequencies to Tokyo, Taipei, Perth and Beijing this year, guests would be able to plan trips more conveniently.

Premium flatbeds that feature universal power sockets, adjustable headrests and built-in utilities, such as tray table, drink holder, reading light and privacy screen, are also available for guests who prefer to travel with extra comfort.

Also on promotion is AirAsia X's long-haul fly-thru service, which allows passengers to purchase two flight sectors from various destinations with a transit at Kuala Lumpur. For more details, visit www.airasia.com.
-thestar online.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Malaysian riders retain Endurance Road Race title at Suzuka

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian riders have done it again! Mohd Emir Firdaus Hasan and Mohd Zaqhwan Zaidi grabbed the top honours in the 4-hour category of the Suzuka 8-hour Endurance Road Race at the Suzuka Circuit yesterday.

The Boon Siew Honda Racing Malaysia boys defended the title they won last year by completing 100 laps at the Suzuka track in 4’01:33.002 – just 8.655s ahead of Iwata Racing Family (Shotaro Ogura and Seiji Tarumi) who clocked 4’01:41.657. Club Plus One riders Koichi Endo and Yuki Mimino (4’02:12.789) were third.

“Words can’t express how happy we are to have won the 4-hour title again,” said Emir, who combined with Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman en route to victory last year. “We knew, at the start of the race, that it was going to be tough. In fact, we initially aimed for a top-five finish.”

Debutant Zaqhwan, who has only had a year’s experience in the 600cc class thus far, said the Suzuka win has boosted his confidence to perform better when the next round of the Petronas Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) is held at the Zhuhai International Circuit in China next weekend. “I hope to keep up the momentum in Zhuhai next weekend for the third leg of the ARRC,” said the 17-year-old.

A slow take-off resulted in Zaqhwan dropping from second on the starting grid to 13th in Suzuka yesterday but he displayed great determination to move up and trail leader Taiki Sato (Link Well Racing) in the seventh lap.Sato crashed out in the 77th lap, handing Zaqhwan the lead. But the long hours on the bike began to take its toll on the youngster and he ran wide, leaving Ogura to grab the lead.

A crucial final pit-in saw Emir get back on the bike to power his way past Ogura’s team-mate Tarumi in the 85th lap before sealing victory.
-thestar online.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Tourism Malaysia to woo wealthy from key cities

KUALA LUMPUR: Tourism Malaysia is targeting affluent travellers from key cities as part of its international marketing strategy. 
Its international marketing division director for South Asia, West Asia and Africa, Zulkifly Md Said, said countries with large populations would be looked at. “Indonesia, China and India are highly populated. So we can capture a larger market base.
“Through this strategy, we hope to get more tourist arrivals and hopefully increase the length of stay and tourist receipts,” he said during his presentation at the Malaysia Master Training Pro-gramme for South and West India Travel Agents held here yester-day.
Zulkifly described India as an important market as it was ranked sixth in Malaysia's top 10 markets in 2010 and 2011. “We had 690,849 tourist arrivals from India in 2010 and 693,056 arrivals in 2011,” he said. From January to May this year, there were 299,478 arrivals from India compared to 277,791over the same period last year, which was a 7.8% increase.
Zulkifly said Tourism Malaysia had set up three overseas offices in India which reflected its seriousness in capturing the Indian market. On the training programme, he said it was an initiative to bring in travel agents to explore the country's tourism products and promote Malaysia as a must-visit destination among Indians.
“For the off-peak months of August to October, we are also working with MAS in a joint promotion called “Showcase Malaysia” whereby tourists in India who buy economy or business tickets will get a free night's stay in Malaysia,” he said.
-thestar online.

MAS offers great deals for international routes

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines is offering all-inclusive advance purchase for international travel to over 41 destinations in Asean, India, China, North Asia, South Asia, Australia and Europe. The offer starts Monday until Aug 12 for travel from Aug 1 until Nov 7.
Regional senior vice-president for Malaysia and Asean, Muzammil Mohamad, said travellers would be able to enjoy MAS' five-star hospitality both on ground and inflight during their non-stop journeys. "The fares, subject to terms and conditions, are available through all our main distribution channels so that customers are not restricted to normal business hours for purchase," he said in a statement.
For Asean destinations, Economy Class round trip fares offered for travel from Kuala Lumpur are RM409 to Medan, RM529 to Jakarta, RM569 to Ho Chi Minh City, RM609 to Bangkok and RM909 to Manila. Business Class round trip start from as low as RM1,117 to Medan, RM1,409 to Singapore, RM1,619 to Bangkok, RM1,679 to Hanoi and RM1,959 to Phnom Penh. For other selected destinations, Economy Class return travels are offered at RM899 to Hong Kong, RM1,199 to Beijing, RM1,439 to Chennai and RM1,499 to Perth.
Travellers can also travel in Business Class to Guangzhou, Xiamen, Kunming and Hong Kong at RM2,999, RM3,019 to Hyderabad and Bangalore, RM4,599 to Seoul, Tokyo and Osaka and RM6,479 to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide.
These deals are offered through all Malaysia Airlines distribution channels like www.malaysiaairlines.com, Malaysia Airlines ticketing offices, Malaysia Airlines' Facebook account, 24-hour toll-free Call Centre at 1-300-88-3000 and all appointed travel agents in Malaysia.
-thestar online.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

World's Largest Congress Of Concierge To Descent In Malaysia In 2014

Kuala Lumpur, 27 July 2012 – Over 800 of the world’s best concierge are expected to converge in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the 61st Les Clefs d’Or UIHC International Congress in January 2014. Kuala Lumpur was chosen as the preferred destination by the International Board of Directors of the Union Internationale Des Concierges D’Hotels “Les Clefs d’Or”, headquartered in Paris, following a competitive bid presentation by the Malaysian team in Toronto, Canada.

The successful bid was initiated by Society of the Golden Keys Malaysia and supported by the Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), Kuala Lumpur City Hall and its hotel partners. The win further reinforces Malaysia’s standing as the preferred meeting destination for global associations wanting to connect with Asia and to experience Malaysia’s myriad of exciting attractions.

The concierge, means ‘caretaker’ or literally, ‘keeper of the keys’ in French, has been the hallmark of European hotels for centuries and is now fast becoming established in many well-known hotels in Asia. The first such association saw the light of day on 6th October 1929 when eleven concierges from the grand hotels of Paris joined forces to form an association. In Malaysia, the first known concierges started back in the 1980s in Penang and Kuala Lumpur. The unique profession has grown in Malaysia with the development of many international hotels in the country and the hosting of this conference in Malaysia will further grow the reputation of the famed Les Clefs d’Or in this region.

According to Mr. Ragu Kumarasamy, President, Society of the Golden Keys Malaysia, “Malaysia’s intention to bid was presented at the International Board of Directors Meeting in Dubai in October 2010. Even at the preliminary stages, they were very impressed with the preparation made by the Malaysian team and last year in 2011, we were officially awarded the right to host the conference after United Kingdom (2012) and New Zealand (2013).“

“Malaysia was chosen due to its positioning as an emerging economy especially in the hotel and tourism industry. It is also a country that offers an array of purpose-built and modern infrastructure for meetings and is easily accessible from neighbouring countries’ airports. The local organising team has already been busy evaluating potential venues for the conference as well as hotels to support the accommodation of the delegates from 44 member countries,” continued Mr. Ragu.

Society of Golden Keys Malaysia acts as an association of professional concierges of hotels and resort hotels in Malaysia, and as an affiliate of the Union Internationale Des Concierges d’Hotels “Les Clefs d’Or”. Its objectives are to establish and promote high professional and ethical standards among concierges of hotels in Malaysia.

According to Mr Zulkefli Hj Sharif, Chief Executive Officer, MyCEB, “At MyCEB, we are very supportive of local associations and we encourage collaborations to attract more business events into the country. Through our Industry Partner Programme (IPP), members of which include trade partners such as hotels and meeting venues, MyCEB has been providing co-operative sales and marketing opportunities, sales lead distribution, industry education and training and networking opportunities. This win will be the best opportunity for hotels in the country to showcase its level of service and professionalism, for both business and leisure tourism”.

For more information about the Society of Golden Keys Malaysia, please visit http://www.uichlesclefsdor.org/article-6322746.html

New members at helm

The Bukit Bintang KLCC (BBKLCC) Tourism Association has appointed several new committee members after its recent annual general meeting (AGM).
Joyce Yap of Pavilion KL was appointed chairman for a second-term while other elected members included Eric Eoon of YTL as vice-chairman, Fartini Zaharuddin of Suria KLCC as vice-chairman II, Alicia Yuen of Sungei Wang Plaza as secretary and Suzianna Wong-Svrcula of Piccolo Mondo Gastro as treasurer. Committee members inlcude Datin Mina Foong of Body Shop, Kung Suan Ai of Fahrenheit 88 and Chen Tien Yue of Royal Selangor.
M Krishna of Melium and Dianne Tye of Piccolo Hotel were also appointed to two new positions — auditors I and II, respectively. The association’s aim is to act as a collective body promoting shopping and entertainment within Kuala Lumpurs main shopping district.
Ready to serve: (From left) Chen, Tye, Kung, Yuen, Yap, Svrcula, Fartini, Foong and M Krishna.
Members would work together to initiate a number of exciting activities and events to further entice shoppers and tourists alike. Currently, the catchment of BBKLCC is home to more than 3,000 specialty retail stores as well as hotels, restaurants and a medical centre.
“We have successfully held a number of events and look forward to putting into action all the plans that have been drawn up by the new exco and committee members. “Shoppers and tourists should look out for a special event we will be organising in conjunction with Hari Raya. “This event will include the entire Bukit Bintang and KLCC areas and there will be a spectacle of lights,” said Yap.
As part of the Mega Sale launch recently, the association introduced the Tourist Privilege card. This card is to be redeemed at participating malls within BBKLCC area and offers tourists further discounts and other specials when shopping at member malls.
Currently, the member malls include Pavilion KL, Fahrenheit 88, Suria KLCC, Plaza Low Yat, Berjaya Times Square, Lot 10, Starhill Gallery, Sungei Wang Plaza and BB Plaza.
-thestar online.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Visit Malaysia Year 2013/1014 Logo Design & Slogan Competition

PUTRAJAYA, 26 JULY 2012 : In conjunction with the upcoming Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2013/2014 campaign, Tourism Malaysia is organising a logo design and slogan competition beginning today until 6 August 2012.
The competition, open to all Malaysian citizens and residents of Malaysia, offers a RM50,000 Grand Prize and 10 consolation prizes worth RM2,000 each. The winning design will be featured in the upcoming VMY campaign.

The VMY 2013/2014 aims to celebrate the golden jubilee of the joining of Sabah and Sarawak with the Federation of Malaya to form Malaysia in 1963. Since then, all the states have enjoyed rapid tourism development and growth. The first VMY was held in 1990 with the theme “Fascinating Malaysia”. The theme for the second VMY in 1994 was “Fascinating Malaysia – Naturally More” while the third VMY in 2007 was “Celebrating 50 Years of Nationhood”.

The celebration of VMY is one of the country’s efforts to promote Malaysia as a popular tourism destination. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Malaysia is the 9th most visited country in the world for three consecutive years since 2009. Last year, Malaysia recorded 24.7 million tourist arrivals, with tourist receipts totalling RM58.3 billion.

This is in line with the Malaysia Tourism Transformation Plan 2020 where the country has set a target of 36 million tourist arrivals by the year 2020 with a revenue of RM168 billion.

For details of the VMY 2013/2014 logo design and slogan competition, visit our website at: http://www.tourismmalaysia.gov.my/
-Tourism Malaysia.

Tourism Ministry launches carnival with fanfare in shopping mall

Hundreds of shoppers thronged Queensbay Mall for the launch of the northern region’s 1Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival 2012, which is on until Sept 2.

Themed ‘It’s All About Italy’, the event saw shoppers greeted by a life-size Colosseum at the main atrium of the mall in Penang. Guests were also mesmerised by the dazzling performance of the Venice Masquerade dancers on stage.

Shutterbugs were also kept busy when ‘Gladiators’ and ‘Roman Goddesses’ made their special appearances in eye-catching attires. The mall’s centre manager Selina Ng said that a series of contests, events and redemptions have been lined up for the carnival. “The main highlight is the grand prize of a 10-day trip for two to Italy,” she said.

Tourism Ministry deputy director- general Datuk Azizan Noordin, who launched the event recently, lauded the mall’s effort in promoting retail shopping and the tourism industry in the region. “Some 30% of the tourism revenue comes from shopping almost each year and we hope this carnival could satisfy shoppers,” he said.

After the launching, visitors were entertained with cultural dances and fashion shows with the models showcasing the latest collection of Italian-designed jewellery. Retail outlets at the mall will be offering discounts of between 10% and 70% during the sale.
-thestar online.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Sarawak aims for longhaul business events

Sarawak Convention Bureau (SCB) and Borneo Convention Centre Kuching are looking to grow their business beyond Asia-Pacific, and have their sights trained on business events from the US and Europe.

To achieve this objective, both organisations will partner the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau in attending the upcoming IMEX America in Las Vegas this October.

SCB managing director, Mike Cannon, said: “International businesses provide export income, new education and research forums for the people in Sarawak, as well as new trade opportunities for the state. The bureau is also looking to work with the overseas offices of the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation to attract more international business events.”

Cannon added that regional and local business events would still be the bureau’s “main focus”. While debt woes in Europe and the US continue to cast long shadows, Cannon feels that markets in these catchment areas are on the mend, adding that "the idea is to target businesses with a long-term vision and those that can afford to travel longhaul.”

Although international direct flights to Sarawak are currently limited to Singapore and Pontianak in Indonesia, Cannon dismissed connectivity as an obstacle to Sarawak’s aim to lure business events from the US and Europe.

Instead, Cannon said he was confident of improved longhaul connections to Sarawak evolving from Routes Asia 2014, a prominent airline industry event which will be held in Kuching.
-TTG Asia.

Suria KLCC spreads the spirit of Raya with its kampung theme

With the fasting month upon us, the excitement of celebrating Hari Raya can already be felt by shoppers visiting Suria KLCC, which is already bedecked with Hari Raya decorations.

Sticking to the kampung theme from last year, Suria KLCC returns with a life-sized kampung house placed right in the middle of their centre court. The kampung house features an inviting verandah, traditionally called serambi, dining area, colourful ornaments, lanterns, curtains, furniture and even real plants.

Life-sized : KLCC’s kampung house features all the features found in a real example.

Besides providing a warm and calming atmosphere, the mini kampung also gives both local and foreign visitors a chance to experience what a typical Malay celebration would feel like. Suria KLCC public relations and communications manager Fartini Zaharuddin said the concept was decided on based on feedback received from shoppers.

“The first thing that comes to mind when we talk about Raya is the excitement of going back to our hometowns. “We want to make our shoppers feel like they are back in their own hometowns when they visit our mall even though we are situated right in the middle of the city,” she explained.

Beginning this week, at certain hours, visitors can take a walk through the tropical garden all the way to the kampung house. Besides the centre court, festive decorations have also been placed at several kiosks, the ceilings and the malls’ three main entrances.

Realistic: The house faithfully recreates a traditional Malay kampung house to make visitors feel like they are back home.

The centre court also houses a total of eight booths selling items such as shawls, scarves, baju kurung, baju melayu, Raya cookies, hampers as well as fragrances specially imported from Saudi Arabia. With an average of 100,000 shopers per day, Fartini expects the number to increase during the last two weeks of Ramadan.

“As we get closer to Raya, there will be more shoppers who want to complete their Raya shopping,” she said, adding that 80% of their customers are from Kuala Lumpur and Selangor while 20% are from foreign countries like China, India, Australia, Europe and the Middle East. Suria KLCC will also hold several performances from July 28 until August 20. The performances will include Malay traditional dances and music such as Gamelan and Caklempong.

Shoppers who spend RM150 in a single receipt will receive exclusive Suria KLCC Raya packets. Those who spend RM500 and above in a maximum of two receipts will receive an exclusive serving tray. The first 30 weekend shoppers who spend RM3,000 and above in a maximum of two receipts will receive a gift set from Melvita.

Visa credit card holders who spend RM500 and above daily in two accumulated receipts will receive a pair of movie tickets while those who spend RM3,000 and above on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are entitled to receive a two-piece boat-shaped porcelain plate set, while stocks last. For details, go to http://www.suriaklcc.com.my/.
-thestar online.

AirAsia plans to buy Indonesia's Batavia Air

JAKARTA: Low cost carrier AirAsia Bhd is set to buy Indonesian low cost carrier Batavia Air as it aims to expand in Southeast Asia's biggest economy, an executive at its Indonesian unit said on Thursday.

The move will likely lead to heightened competition among low cost carriers in Indonesia, including the nation's biggest, Lion Air, Mandala Air, controlled by private equity firm Saratoga Capital, and Citilink, a unit of flag carrier Garuda .

Communication Manager Indonesia AirAsia Audrey Progastama Petriny said the signing ceremony and press conference for the plan would be held later on Thursday in Jakarta. Petriny declined to give any details about the plan, including the deal value and the structure. "We shall announce the details later today," he said.

Batavia Air confirmed the plan but declined to comment about details.
- Reuters/thestar.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Malaysia Airlines eyes US$100m interlining passenger revenue

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is eyeing an additional US$100mil interlining passengers' revenue a year through the induction of the national carrier into the oneworld alliance early next year.
MAS senior vice-president (international affairs) Germal Singh Khera said the full-fledged premium carrier currently registers RM750mil annual interlining passenger revenue. "We are foreseeing the additional revenue to roll-in as early as next year, with MAS completing all commercial agreements with all other members of the oneworld alliance.
"We are currently at the last lap of our project to synchronise our system to accommodate the oneworld alliance members to give our customers a better and holistic network coverage," he told a media briefing.
Germal said MAS expects to conclude all work and officially join the alliance in the first quarter of next year. "By September, we'll be able to finalise the official date for the joining. September is our cut-out date," he added.

AirAsia carried 8.258m passengers in April-June

KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia Bhd group carried 8.285 million passengers in the April to June quarter, which was a 13% increase from the 7.347 million passengers a year ago.
The low-cost carrier said on Wednesday the capacity increased by 13% to 10.46 million seats from 9.22 million seats a year ago. Load factor was 79% compared with 80% while the number of aircraft increased to 100 planes from 93 planes a year ago.
On the Malaysian operations, the airline strengthened its leading position in the domestic and international market by increasing frequencies on Kuala Lumpur-Terengganu, KL-Langkawi, KL-Vientiane, Langkawi-Singapore, KL-Saigon utilising one new aircraft that was delivered end-May 2012.
The number of passengers carried increased by 10% to 4.90 million from 4.47 million. The load factor was 80% compared with 81% a year ago. As for Thai AirAsia, it posted a load factor of 79%, up 1.0 percentage point on-year, while it carried carrying a 20% year-on-year increase on passengers of 1.9 million for the quarter.
The increase was underpinned by an expanded capacity of 19% with new Chiang Mai - Macau route and additional frequency for the new route Bangkok - Trang for the quarter. Indonesia AirAsia recorded a load factor of 78%, up 2.0 percentage points on-year due to capacity expansion and strong passenger demand. Passengers carried increased by 15% whereas capacity increased by 12% year-on-year.
In 2Q12, it strengthened its hub with Bandung-Penang, Bandung-Pekanbaru and Denpasar-Yogyakarta. It also increased the frequency for Bandung-KL and Denpasar-Surabaya.
-thestar online.

Destination Resorts rolls out tourism projects in Johor and Langkawi

Destination Resorts and Hotels (DRH) is targeting more international travellers to Malaysia with the development of key tourism projects in Johor and Langkawi.

In Johor, the waterfront development of Puteri Harbour, Nusajaya is scheduled to open in January 2013. It will house a Traders Hotel – Nusajaya’s first international hotel – a family entertainment centre and a family-themed restaurant by renowned Malaysian cartoonist, Lat.

Elsewhere in Johor, DRH is also developing the 1,580-hectare Desaru Coast, which will be “a complete leisure and business destination”, according to managing director, Nadziruddin Basri. Due to complete in mid-2015, the integrated luxury destination will comprise four hotels, two designer golf courses, water theme parks, a mall and a convention centre. 

DRH’s Langkawi portfolio includes The Golf Club, Datai Bay, an existing golf course built in 1992. Currently undergoing an upgrade to become an international tournament standard 18-hole golf course by designer Ernie Els, it is scheduled for completion next year.

Meanwhile, DRH also plans to build luxury hotels and villas in Datai Bay.
-TTG Asia.

M’sia seafood curry laksa one of 10 foods ‘to try before you die’

NEW YORK: Your average American might never have heard of it, but Malaysia's seafood curry laksa ranks among one of the 'top 10 foods to try, before you die,' according to the U.S. based newspaper Huffington Post. This list of the world's most mouth-watering dishes was recently released by the newspaper.

Though the seafood curry laksa is still a rarity in many Asian restaurants, barring those that specialise in serving Malaysian or Singaporean cuisine, the newspaper seems to have done a thorough job investigating the finer attributes of a dish that remains a hot favourite, at least, amongst Asian food-lovers frequenting Malaysian restaurants on the east coast. Whether the list will help popularise the Malaysian seafood curry laksa amongst local food connoisseurs, however still remains to be seen.

Still the dish will certainly complement and strengthen efforts made by the New York office of the Malaysian External Trade Development Corp (Matrade), which had recently launched the Malaysian Kitchen Programme in its third consecutive year. The event was earlier flanked by a Malaysian Restaurant Week whose objective was to popularise Malaysian cuisine by promoting exports of Malaysian ingredients, spices and food products to the United States.

Interestingly, the list compiled by the Huffington Post also contains nine other equally mouth-watering international foods.


Masala Dosa, the popular Indian crepe-like pancake with a filling made of potatoes, lentils and spices is also widely available in many restaurants in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. This dish has been amongst the favourites for both vegetarian and non-vegetarian consumers of the United States.

"The plate-covering, paper-thin pancake is made from rice and lentils, cooked to lacy perfection on a hot griddle. What creates the more-ish flavor is a spiced concoction of mashed cooked potatoes and fried onions, served with a liberal dose of garlicky chutney," is how the website was reported to have described the masala dosa.

Malaysian food exporters could emulate the trend set by other countries such as Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia, which have identified a growing propensity towards vegetarianism in the United States. Such a trend, according to many experts, could possibly affect meat consumption in the United States over the long run. There seems to be a certain stigma attached to meat consumption in the United States, particularly in big cities such as New York.

Some Americans even get offended at the notion of killing an animal to satisfy their hunger. "I feel guilty looking at a cooked, dead animal or bird served to me with salads and bread on a plate. I have asked myself why a poor animal or bird has to die to satisfy my hunger," June Kupferschmidt, a recent vegetarian-convert told Bernama. She added her perception about food changed after visiting India.

Malaysian food suppliers, who export a variety of vegetarian food products to the United States, ought to take a cue from such comments.


Each market has its own idiosyncrasies. Halal food products, which were pioneered by Malaysia from the very beginning, could be an instant hit in markets of the Middle East with their large Muslim populations. But such products can be sold only in specific ethnic supermarkets in the United States as opposed to being sold in mainstream American supermarkets. Malaysian food exporters would do well to sensitise themselves on such nuances of demand.

Other food products on the Huffington Post's list include the Peking duck from China, BBQ ribs from the United States and teppanyaki from Japan. The list also includes France's escargots, which are actually snails served in shells and cooked in a delicious melange of garlicky parsley butter, before being served as appetisers.


Moussaka which finds a mention on the list is described as the Greek answer to the Italian lasagne. "The dish is made by smothering layers of ingredients in a cheese bechamel sauce, and baking until creamily melted and golden," the website describes. Other foods on the list are Zucchini flowers from Italy, Thai dish Som tam or green papaya salad and Pavlova from Australia-New Zealand.

The Huffington Post describes food as a good way to make friends with strangers in the country. "Sampling the local cuisine can help you make friends, understand the history, politics or religion of the place you're visiting, and provide a lasting memory of your trip. Food and travel go hand in hand, and there's no better way to delve deep into a destination than to try its most famous dishes," said the Huffington Post.

Browse through deals with KL MATTA Fair’s new app

KUALA LUMPUR: The KL MATTA Fair 2012 will be back in September – this time with a digital edge.

The fair, to be held from Sept 7 to 9 at PWTC here, will have a smartphone application called eSales. The application was launched earlier this month. The app will enable shoppers to browse through deals offered before heading to the fair.

Organising chairman Jeffri Sulaiman said this year’s fair would be held on a slightly smaller scale, compared to the one in March due to the European economic crisis and coming general election. “We’re not expecting as many visitors because we predict fewer people will want to travel,” he said at the exhibitors’ briefing and booth selection meeting at the PWTC yesterday.

He added that representatives from Iran would be promoting travel packages to the country for the first time at the September fair. Jeffri said this fair was targeting 1,002 booths, with 80,000 visitors and RM80mil in revenue. The KL MATTA Fair in March raked in over RM90mil and had 1,016 booths, making it the largest in the fair’s history.
-thestar online.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

M'sia seeks greater cooperation to empower tourism as tool for world peace

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia has called on Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) members to play their role for greater cooperation to empower tourism as a tool for world peace and prosperity.
Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said travellers required a safe and stable world affordable, and efficient, more secure and less stressful travel where there was no violence or terrorism. "We can, together, make this planet a better, borderless world to visit, protect Mother Nature, promote national prosperity, create new wealth and employment opportunities and reduce the urban-rural economic divide.
"There is need for greater international and regional cooperation to empower tourism. Apec can play this role effectively," she said when addressing the three-day, seventh Apec Tourism Ministerial Meeting in Khabarovsk, Russia, whic began Monday.
Dr Ng said G-20's recognition of the importance of tourism globally, with an adoption of the tourism paragraph in the declaration of the G-20 Leaders' Summit on June 18 and 19, was a significant breakthrough for global tourism development. She also shared Malaysia's view on tourism at the meeting, saying that tourism was a synergistic and collaborative economy. "Malaysia does not view tourism as a competitive industry. We all have our individual, national niche, uniqueness and attractions. Tourists want to see and experience the world," she said.
Meanwhile, on issues pertaining to European Union (EU) Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), Dr Ng proposed that Apec take position in its objection to the inclusion of international aviation in the EU ETS. She said the unilateral and mandatory extension of the EU-ETS to include non-EU carriers operating to and from EU aerodromes, without the consent of the Government, was inconsistent with the Convention of Civil Aviation and an impediment to global tourism.
"If every state or region were to impose similar measures unilaterally, without consultation with other states or regions, the airlines may be taxed multiple times for each flight, resulting in severe negative consequences for the airlines and the economy. "We strongly suggest that the EU consider revoking the implementation of EU-ETS," she said, adding that countries that voiced their opposition to the EU-ETS included the People's Republic of China, Mexico, Australia and Thailand.

Airport passenger traffic continues to grow

PUTRAJAYA: Passenger traffic recorded at airports nationwide in the first six months of the year grew by 4% to 33,183,608 passengers, compared with 31,909,775 passengers in the same period last year.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said of the passengers recorded from January to June, 17,349,176 were domestic passengers compared with 16,820,281 for the same period last year. "There was also a 3.14% increase for international passengers, which increased to 15,834,432 compared with 15,089,494 in same period in 2011," he said in a statement here Tuesday.
He said the increase was due to higher demand for air travel, increase in flight frequencies and the resumption of operations by local and foreign aviation companies.
Therefore, noted Kong, the construction of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) 2 which was still in progress, would help ease passenger flow as the new airport could accommodate another 4.5 million passengers. "The Government is also upgrading several city airports such as in Penang, Ipoh and Sibu," he said.

Malaysia First Asian Host For Toastmasters International World Convention 2014

Kuala Lumpur, 24 July 2012 – After an extensive selection process, Toastmasters International has decided to hold its World Convention 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia which marks the first time that such event will be held outside North America.

With more than 30 percent of its global members now residing outside North America, and with the strongest membership growth in Southeast Asia, the selection of Kuala Lumpur as the host truly reflects the global nature of the organisation as well as its evolving membership.

The convention, supported by the Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), is scheduled to be held from 20th – 23rd August 2014 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (the Centre). It is expected to bring together 2,000 delegates and RM32.5 million in economic impact to the country.

In a statement released on 25 June 2012, Toastmasters International Executive Director, Daniel Rex, said, “Kuala Lumpur is high on the list of international travel destinations. Known for its dazzling high-rises and rich cultural sense, the city is a prime international convention site for many reasons. It is centrally located to a broad membership population which would potentially boost convention attendance higher than it’s ever been. We’re excited to host our convention in this wonderful city”.

Malaysia is increasingly being selected as the choice destination for international meetings which is firmly supported by its positioning as the gateway for global associations to connect with the world’s largest region. Global association meetings held in Malaysia has been known to score record-breaking attendance such as the 18th World Congress of Information Technology 2008 (3,300 delegates), 18th World Congress of Accountants 2010 (5,050 delegates) and 70th Institute of Internal Auditors International Conference 2011 (3,300 delegates – largest attendance for conference outside America).

Representing the many cultures of Asia in a safe and politically stable environment, Malaysia is seen as a role model amongst emerging economies. Another strong point of Malaysia is its excellent value for money proposition. Facilities like accommodation, transportation and food are affordable and competitively priced. According to World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitive Index 2011, Malaysia is ranked third as the world’s most price competitive country. All this factors contributed to the string of successes achieved by conferences held in Malaysia in attracting delegates.

Dr. John Lau Pang Heng, a member of the Kuching Connections Toastmasters Club, Kuching Mandarin Toastmasters Clu and Oracle Advanced Toastmasters Club in Penang said, “For many of us, members of Toastmasters in Asia, this announcement is indeed a welcoming one. Malaysia is a multiracial country where English, Bahasa Malaysia and various other languages are widely spoken. In a way, the decision to bring the conference to Malaysia is a wise one considering that Toastmasters champions spoken words. I look forward to welcoming the delegates to Kuala Lumpur for the 2014 conference and we promise you that we will do everything that we can to ensure its success”.

MyCEB will provide Toastmasters with assistance under its industry partners’ subvention programme. Launched in November 2010, the programme refers to financial and non-financial incentives to support bids for targeted international business events that offers high economic value to the country. Since its launching, MyCEB have approved subvention support for more than RM20.5 million to international association meetings.

Dr. John Lau shall be installed as International President of Toastmasters International on 18 August 2012 at the Orlando International convention in USA. He is the first Malaysian to hold the highest elected post in Toastmasters International. Dr John Lau is also one of MyCEB’s appointed ‘Kesatria’ under the ‘Kesatria 1Malaysia’ programme. It is a programme introduced by MyCEB whereby leaders of key industry sectors voluntarily assist in identifying and encouraging other potential local hosts to bid for and stage international conventions.

Toastmasters International World Convention 2012 will be held in Orlando Florida while the 2013 convention will take place in Cincinnati, Southwest Ohio. Since it was founded back in 1924, Toastmasters has groomed more than four million people in oral communication which include politicians, administrators, educators, lawyers, engineers and other professionals. For more information on Toastmasters International, kindly visit http://www.toastmasters.org/

Monday, 23 July 2012

ASEAN hungry for South India outbound

ASEAN NTOs and tour operators are busy courting outbound leisure and MICE clients from South India at the ongoing India International Travel Mart in Chennai.

Hung Tran, managing director of Viking Travel Ho Chi Minh City, said: “So far this year, we have handled three incentive groups from Chennai on an eight-night itinerary. I am (at the mart) to make my presence felt in the market, as I see tourists from this region increasing manifold to Vietnam in the near future.”

Yaoza K. Shimray, information officer, Tourism Authority of Thailand Mumbai office, said: “The whole of India is an important market for us. We are making special promotional efforts in Chennai in order to connect with the trade.”

Malan Salma of Tourism Malaysia said: “We are seeing double-digit growth from Chennai to Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi and Penang, mostly for leisure travel.”

Sarinya Tiyaphorn, assistant managing director, Pimalai Resort & Spa, Krabi said: “Krabi is becoming very popular with Indian travellers, so it is judicious to establish our presence in this market.”

Shreyash Shah, deputy director of sales, Royal Cliff Beach Hotel, Pattaya, said: “Chennai is a metro city and is connected to Bangkok, which ensures a steady flow of tourist traffic. We are here to make a quantum leap and increase numbers.”
-TTG Asia.

Arsenal boss expects a tough time against Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger reckons that their friendly against the Malaysian XI is crucial to building team spirit ahead of the new English Premier League season.

The EPL giants will take on Malaysia XI at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil tomorrow as part of their tour of Asia, where they will also play against Manchester City in the inaugural China Cup in Beijing on Friday and Kitchee FC in Hong Kong on Sunday. The Frenchman said the pre-season tour is also aimed at bringing their club closer to their fans worldwide.

Smile: Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain posing with fans after signing his autograph at a media conference in Subang Sunday.

“We are here firstly to share with you the way we see and play football, secondly to prepare for the new season and thirdly to test the Malaysian XI, who have promised us a hard time,” said Wenger in a press conference at the Saujana Golf and Country Club here yesterday. “When the season starts, we live in a bubble and just focus on the next game. So pre-season tour such as this helps create a solidarity within the club and the team.

“It was a tough playing against Malaysia last year because we usually lack sharpness at the start of our pre-season. It’s the same this year and our opponents will be out to show that they have improved from last year.”

This will be the Gunners’ second consecutive trip to Malaysia after a 12-year hiatus. They defeated a Malaysian XI 4-0 at the National Stadium last July. The Gunners had beaten Malaysia 2-0 in 1999, having lost by the same scoreline back in 1975.

National team coach Datuk K. Rajagopal is eyeing a better performance from his team. “It’s not easy to play against one of the best teams in the EPL. We should know because we didn’t do well against them last year,” said Rajagopal. “We will take this opportunity to show everyone what we can do. Football fans can expect an exciting match on Tuesday night.”

The Gunners have named a strong 24-man squad, including rising star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. However, want-away striker Robin Van Persie and new signings – Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud – have been left behind.
-thestar online.

The Taaras Beach & Spa Resort - Redang Island, Malaysia

‘The Taaras’ is a bespoke Private Beach Residence, tucked away and hidden from the outside world on a small Island found just off the unspoilt East Coast of tropical Malaysia.

Considered to be one of the most beautiful Island locations in the South China Sea, the Isle of Redang is home to our natural, yet stylish resort found on one of the most spectacular bays surrounded by one of the bluest oceans on earth.

The resorts ethos is to provide a contemporary, barefoot luxury experience with warm Asian hospitality, remembered with a smile long into the future. The name of the property is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘TAARA’, meaning ‘Star or Apple of my eye’ as well as ‘Goddess of the Sea’ which are all represented and epitomised by our mermaid figurehead. The resort is managed by The Taaras Luxury Group, and was formerly known as Berjaya Redang Resort managed by Berjaya Hotels and Resorts.

One hundred and ninety one stylish suites and rooms, as well as a stunning five bedroom Private Villa perched high up on the cliff overlooking the ocean and resort below. The resort boasts commissioned furniture and bespoke photography of Redang Island and the landscapes of Malaysia. Each suite or room contains oversized beds and hand-picked linens and fabrics for your comfort. Most rooms and all suites have larger washrooms containing both bath tub and separate rain or monsoon shower (some with spa bathtubs looking out over the rainforest or the bay). Most residences have an outdoor balcony or verandah and our suites at the top of the cliff summit have spectacular views over the beach and ocean below. For clients who prefer or require further privacy ‘The Cliff Private Villa Bay & Sea View’, our private five bedroom residence perched high up on the cliff more than meets the requirements; private access, a Villa Host at your ‘beck and call’ as well as twenty four hour security; should it be a necessary requirement. The residence also enjoys a sixteen meter Infinity swimming pool, personal fitness room and both interior and exterior lounge decks.

The resort should be seen as a ‘home away from home’, where a full complement of dedicated and interesting staff will do their best to assist you in a ‘personally professional’ way… a team who already know how important that ‘few days’ vacation is whether you have travelled from near or far. Imagine for one moment walking along the white talc like beach, under the warm azure sky, surrounded bytropical plants and coconut palms with only like-minded people within your view, all of whom are appreciative of the importance of those quiet moments. A space that is simple… yet elegant, where you can dress up or dress down and life is barefoot luxury inspired.

A Resort Host or Leisure Concierge to organise your day…breakfast on your balcony overlooking the ocean, a quick snorkel at the coral reef before boarding the launch to do a spot of Island hopping or turtle watching. Then perhaps a true Robinson Crusoe moment; a castaway picnic on a deserted spot of the island or to learn to dive with an energetic dive Instructor who will even ‘find Nemo’ if that’s your desire. Back on land; a massage and rejuvenating treatment to soothe the soul and calm the mind before a dinner where your table and chair may even be made out of sand and where the music played is “song of the surf”.

The Malaysians call their Island ‘Pulau Redang’ which is thought to be because of the Redang tree that once grew here as well as it’s literal meaning as ‘a stop-over place’; perhaps long ago to take refuge from pirates on the trade routes between India and China. Redang is located 45km off the coast of Kuala Terengganu and is the largest (6km by 7km) among a group of Islands dotting the north east cost of Malaysia and surrounded by the South China Sea. The Island is blessed with crystal clear waters housing numerous dive sites, and some amazing as well as abundant marine life. The coral collection is generally excellent all year but can be influenced from time to time by weather and sea conditions. As part of the surrounding waters there are designated conservation sites as well as a protected Marine Park (including turtle sanctuary) actively protected by the Malaysian Government.

The Island enjoys daily direct access flights with Berjaya Air to Redang Island Airport from both Kula Lumpur (Subang Terminal) and Singapore (Changi Budget Terminal) Airports. In less than sixty minutes from Kuala Lumpur and seventy five minutes from Singapore you can swap ‘City Chic’ for ‘Beach Chic’ Private transfers are also available from the Mainland of Malaysia through our Reservations Office either by private yacht charter or third party helicopter charter (please note this service is subject to availability).