Sunday, 30 September 2012

2013 opening for Sungei Lembing tunnel

KUANTAN: Visitors to Sungei Lembing will be able to experience tin mining activities of yesteryears with the completion of the refurbishment of a 580m-long tunnel next month.
However, Kuantan Municipal Council president Datuk Zulkifli Yaacob said the tunnel would only be opened to the public by early next year after several trial runs. He said all safety aspects would be scrutinised to ensure no untoward incidents or major glitches so that visitors could enjoy the site visit thoroughly.
Site visit: Zulkifli (left) and Ng (right) visiting the tunnel site to check on the work progress.Site visit: Zulkifli (left) and Ng (right) visiting the tunnel site to check on the work progress.
“We have yet to decide on the price of the entrance fees but locals would definitely pay a lower amount compared to foreign tourists. ”The whole visit is expected to take about one hour including a train ride with proper lightings and audio,” he said during a site visit recently. Also present was Paya Besar MCA division chief Datuk Ng Fook Heng.
Zulkifli said the RM8mil allocation for the refurbishment was provided for by the Federal Government and work had started since last year. He said visitors would also be able to witness 12 replica of tin mining workers in various stages of work inside the tunnel.
“Besides, they would get an opportunity to take a short walk along the path used by former mine workers. “It is like a time tunnel in which visitors are transported back to the olden days,” he said, adding that those interested could also try their hand in panning for tin with a dulang.
Zulkifli said he was confident the site would be able to attract more visitors to Sungei Lembing during weekends, school and public holidays. He said many people were already flocking to the former mining town to visit the rainbow waterfall, museum, hanging bridge among others, every year.
”Once completed, we would carry out aggressive promotions and publicise the site in addition to offering special prizes for the 100,000th or 500,000th visitor,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ng said the site would be able boost economic activities for the locals and promote Sungei Lembing as a must visit attraction. ”I am sure visitors to Kuantan will not miss the opportunity to visit Sungei Lembing and hope all travel agencies would help in promotional efforts,” he said.
-thestar online.

A new star in Damansara

Since its opening in July this year, the 150-room Royale Bintang Damansara hotelhas been enjoying high occupancy rates.
OPENING a new hotel just two doors away from another from the same chain seems to be making good business sense for Boustead Hotels & Resorts Sdn Bhd. The Royale Bintang Damansara has been seeing good occupancy rates since it started operations in July.
Vibrant setting: The Royale Bintang Damansara (above) is sited in a strategic location in the heart of Mutiara DamansaraVibrant setting: The Royale Bintang Damansara (above) is sited in a strategic location in the heart of Mutiara Damansara
Built on a two acre site, the Royale Bintang Damansara is the latest addition to Boustead’s chain of hotels. The hotel is nestled in the Mutiara Damansara area and is surrounded by malls such as The Curve and Ikano Power Centre. The new four-star business hotel is tastefully designed with a distinct old- English flavour featuring white walls, narrow corridors and leather furniture.
“The Royale Bintang at The Curve is already 100% occupied. Granted it is a small hotel with only 150 rooms, but we saw a need here and we decided to build another hotel. This time we wanted the whole English ambience,” Boustead Hotels & Resorts director of operations Datuk Mokhtar Khir said.
The Royale Bintang Damansara has its own unique features including an indoor ice skating rink and duplex rooms. Mokhtar was inspired to have a skating rink after a visit to a mall in the Philippines. He said he had initially asked for the skating rink to be opened at The Curve but due to space constraints, the idea was shelved.
Opulent: Mokhtar in one of the duplex rooms at The Royale Bintang Damansara.Opulent: Mokhtar in one of the duplex rooms at The Royale Bintang Damansara.
“So when we started building this new hotel, we thought why not have our skating rink here. It has never been done before with other hotels in Malaysia and it’s our chance to be a first,” he said laughing.
The skating rink has proven to be a big hit, particularly on weekends. “The skating rink is doing well. It was a good decision to build a skating rink here. Our only regret is that we didn’t build it bigger,” he said, adding that he even contemplated the idea of expanding the rink, but structural pillars stood in his way.
According to Mokhtar, the ice skating rink draws more than 300 visitors a day on weekends. With an entrance fee of RM25 per person, this could mean sales of at least RM7,500 a day for the weekend. But Mokhtar contends that there are a lot less people on a weekday and the cost of running the skating rink is high.
There are about 380 rooms available at Royale Bintang Damansara, with the main draw being the duplex rooms with two floors, a kitchen, hall and dining area.
Growing the hotel operations
Boustead Hotels & Resorts is a wholly owned subsidiary of government-linked conglomerate, Boustead Holdings Bhd. The group’s venture into the hotel and resort line has proven fruitful. Last year, the hotel operations generated revenue of RM109mil, making up 24% of Boustead’s property division revenue of RM449mil.
Boustead, which has businesses in plantation, marine, property development and finance, first entered the hospitality sector in 2003 when the group’s managing director Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin took over the Novotel Hotel in Bukit Bintang from the Lion Group. “We got the hotel at a very good price,” Mokhtar said with a hearty laugh, though he declined to reveal the figures.
Boustead decided to start its own hotel chain and went about acquiring the right people and skills to kick-start the new business. Mokhtar was brought in to head the hotel operations in 2003.
He has been in the industry for 40 years, starting out as a front office manager in 1970 in Genting Hotel. Prior to joining Boustead, he climbed up the ranks in various hotel chains including the Faber Merlin Group hotels and Landmarks Bhd, where he helped set up The Andaman Resort and The Datai in Pulau Langkawi as well as oversaw the operation of Carcosa Seri Negara.
Although he is past retirement age, Mokhtar is still a ball of energy as he chatters away enthusiastically about the hotel business. Boustead refurbished its hotel in Bukit Bintang and started on The Royale Bintang The Curve located in the Boustead group’s development project in Mutiara Damansara.
The group then expanded into the resort and spa business in Seremban. Mokhtar is proud to point out that the Royale Bintang Resort and Spa Seremban is running profitably. The Royale Bintang chain currently has five hotels in its stable, including the Royale Bintang Chulan Kuala Lumpur.
“All our hotels have very good occupancy rates. The Curve sometimes sees 100% occupancy and the Damansara and Chulan hotels are at 80% occupancy,” Mokhtar said, noting that on average, occupancy for all its hotels is about 70%. What is important for a hotel is the location and of course its facilities. So being accessible and surrounded by malls certainly helps with business,” Mokhtar said the chain’s success.
Boustead is also in the midst of completing its hotel in Penang, which is expected to open by the middle of next year, and its luxury holiday villas in Cherating, which will be ready in two years time.
Moving forward, Mokhtar said Boustead hopes to move more into managing smaller hotels. Apart from its own hotels, the company is currently managing The Royale Aryani Resort in Terengganu.
“We have received a lot of enquiries from other hotels for us to come in and manage the place for them. But we are thinking more of creating a new segment for ourselves where we manage three-star inns. We can call them the Royale Inns,” he says. “I think we will do well with that as long as we have good ambience, food, service and it is clean. Ideally, we would like to have a unit in every state,” Mokhtar added.
Working around the industry’s quirks
Mokhtar describes the local hotel industry as strange. He said competition is stiff. With more hotels coming into the market, room rates have seen a big drop.
He explained that an average five-star hotel room in another country can easily costf US$300 (RM900) a night. However, in Malaysia, the average room rate for a five-star hotel is US$100 (RM300) per night. Nonetheless, he noted that there is no over-supply of hotel rooms in Malaysia.
“So it is very strange. Occupancy rates are usually good because we have different tourist seasons and conventions going on that will bring in the visitors. And yet, room rates are so low. It is quite a puzzling market,” he said. But low room rates have not stopped hotel developers from pursuing their business plans even though that would mean taking a longer time to recoup their heavy investment.
On average, Mokhtar estimates that it takes about 15 years for hotel developers to make back their money. While returns on their investments can take a while, hotel developers often gain from capital appreciation as their asset’s value, being property based, can see enjoy good growth. “For us, The Royale Bintang chain is doing very well. It is a profitable chain and we have seen good asset value growth. The Bukit Bintang hotel is now worth RM350mil,” Mokhtar said.
-thestar online.

A bigger Visit Malaysia Year

RAUB: The Tourism Ministry will bring international and world-class attractions into the country to draw visitors during Visit Malaysia Year 2013/2014.
Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen declared: “We are not going to focus solely on tourism products. We aim to also make Malaysia the venue of choice for conventions, seminars and meetings.” Declining to elaborate, she said: “Whatever we are doing now, we are going to do it bigger.” Dr Ng was speaking to reporters after opening the 1Malaysia Contemporary Art Tourism Festival (1MCAT) here yesterday.
Art fan: Dr Ng admiring an artwork after launching 1MCAT in Raub. With her is Gabungan Persatuan Pelukis SeMalaysia president Mohd Shaimy Hashim (right). — BernamaArt fan: Dr Ng admiring an artwork after launching 1MCAT in Raub. With her is Gabungan Persatuan Pelukis SeMalaysia president Mohd Shaimy Hashim (right). — Bernama
On the 100% tax exemption for eligible tour operators under Budget 2013, she explained that this applied only to licensed operators. “Resorts that organise tours for guests are not included. Tourists can go to licensed tour operators and then stay at the resorts,” she said.
In unveiling Budget 2013, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razakannounced that tour operators bringing in at least 750 foreign tourists or handling a minimum of 1,500 local tourists annually would enjoy a three-year income tax exemption.
Dr Ng, who is the Raub MP, urged tour operators to optimise this incentive and be creative in selling their packages throughout Visit Malaysia Year.
On the 1MCAT programme, she was confident that the RM16mil in sales of art pieces last year could be increased in this year's edition. “1MCAT not only promotes art appreciation but has an added value as tourists who come to view the exhibitions will want to seek out food to try and hotels to stay,” she said.
-thestar online.

Pesta Tanglung Raub 2012

Tarikh: 30 September 2012 (Ahad)
Masa: 7.00 malam
Tempat: Stadium Bola Keranjang MCA Raub
Semua dijemput hadir.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Raub Celebrates 1Malaysia Contemporary Art Tourism Festival

RAUB, PAHANG, 29 SEPTEMBER 2012: Raub will be a hive of creative activity this weekend with the state-level celebration of the 1Malaysia Contemporary Art Tourism Festival launched by the Minister of Tourism, YB Dato’ Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen, at the Stadium Bola Keranjang MCA, Raub today. It is organised by Gabungan Persatuan Pelukis SeMalaysia (GAP’s) and Tourism Malaysia with the support of Jabatan Pelajaran Pahang.

The two-day event sees a total of 300 students from primary and secondary schools in Raub getting first-hand tips on art as they are mentored by 20 of Malaysia’s talented artists, from the Gabungan Persatuan Pelukis SeMalaysia (GAP’s) during an art competition.

The artists’ mentorship is expected to provide the students with useful advice and tips to improve the quality of their submissions as well enhance their knowledge and appreciation of art in the long term.

The weekend’s activities in Raub continue with an “action painting” session where a group of four artists (Suzlee Ibrahim, Mohd Faizal Md Suhif, Jamil Zakaria and Mohd Khairudin Zainudin) attempt to complete several paintings within an hour based on the theme Ceria/Festival, enabling the public to witness the artists’ creative process live. The second day will have an art competition open to the public.

The “I Love Raub” graffiti art will also be demonstrated by a group of 20 artists on a wall outside the stadium. Meanwhile, members of Gabungan Persatuan Pelukis SeMalaysia (GAPS) will share their experiences as artists and explain about Malaysian art in a special presentation.


Held for the third consecutive year, the 1Malaysia Contemporary Art Tourism (1MCAT) Festival was initiated in 2010 to diversify Malaysia’s tourism product offerings and establish Malaysia as a reputable destination for art aficionados in the region to enjoy and acquire contemporary art, with museum-quality pieces in line with the theme “Malaysia, Your New Art Tourism Destination.”

The event, with a series of nationwide art-related events organized from July to September, serves as a platform to promote Malaysian artists and artworks to a global audience as well as groom and launch the careers of young Malaysian artists.

The first 1Malaysia Contemporary Art Tourism Festival in 2010 recorded 42,000 visitors and about RM14 million in art sales throughout the three-month festival from July to September. One of the most significant turn of events during the festival was the success of the Henry Butcher Art Auction, a first in Malaysia, which recorded sales of RM1.7 million in a single afternoon with 90% of the works sold.

The following year, the Henry Butcher Art Auction registered total sales of over RM3 million, while in 2012, total sales was RM4.1 million, proving that apart from a growing interest in collecting Malaysian artworks, the secondary art market for Malaysian artworks is well and truly on the rise as well.

This year’s festival saw art events being held in Langkawi, Pahang, Penang, Melaka, Sabah and Sarawak. A landmark event at this year’s festival was the official launch of the Ministry of Tourism Art Gallery located at Precinct 5, Putrajaya, by Deputy Prime Minister YAB Tan Sri Dato’ Muhyiddin Haji Mohd Yassin on 13 September.
-Tourism Malaysia.

Tourism sector set to fly high

The tourism ind­ustry will scale greater heights with the increase in allocations in Budget 2013, said Tou­rism Mi­n­is­ter Da­tuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.

Describing the budget announ­ced by the Prime Minister yesterday as “responsible and very implementable”, Ng said the incentives would motivate industry players to work harder towards making Malaysia a leading tourist destination. “I am very pleased with the budget as the extra allocation for Visit Malaysia Year will definitely boost the industry,” she said, adding that the ministry had targeted 26.8 million tourist arrivals in the coming year.

The tourism industry was allocated RM358mil under Budget 2013 in conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year 2013/2014, which is a 42% increase from last year’s allocation of RM250mil.

Tour operators who bring in at least 750 foreign tourists or handle a minimum of 1,500 local tourists per year will also receive 100% income tax exemption for three years.

Ng said the tax exemption incentive would encourage tour operators to be more innovative and creative in coming up with new tourism products to attract more visitors.
-thestar online.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Tornado arriving in Shah Alam

Malaysians can look forward to a zero-gravity experience on The Tornado Ride at i-City’s fourth leisure component, WaterWorld @i-City soon.

i-City’s developer, I-Berhad, unveiled the park’s latest attraction recently. The Tornado Ride is 70% to 80% completed and the 4.05ha (10-acre) theme park is scheduled to be opened to the public this November.

Nearly ready: Work on the WaterWorld @i-City is 70% to 80% complete.

I-Berhad director Monica Ong said WaterWorld @i-City was the fourth leisure component in i-City after the completion of the popular digital lightscape, outdoor park rides as well as the Snowalk.

“The theme park will also provide visitors, especially families, a wholesome experience,” she said. “The Tornado will be the flagship ride of the theme park and it will offer visitors an exhilarating ‘weightless’ experience,” she said. The first Tornado was introduced in Canada in 2003.

To-date, there are more than 100 Tornado rides in the world and WaterWorld will be the first in the Asean region to feature such a ride. The Tornado is a 28-second thrill ride where riders in groups of four will be sliding down on a tube raft through a steep 160-foot water tunnel. The tunnel is connected to a seven-storey high funnel inclined at 45 degrees.

Riders will experience four to six oscillations in the funnel with a 60-foot diameter opening that reduces gradually to a 10-foot diameter at the bottom before splashing onto the 1,350 sq ft landing pool.

Exciting new attraction: Ong (right) sharing details about the Tornado Ride with i-Berhad executive director Puan Sri Tey Siew Thuan during a site visit.

It is at the peak of each oscillation that riders can feel the zero-gravity effect.
The funnel and tunnel are made of fibre glass and the ride can take an average of 480 riders per hour. Around 16,000 litres of water are pumped into the funnel to reduce friction between the raft and the funnel.

Visitors can also check out the gigantic wave pool with a stage and LCD screen for concerts and special events. There is also a river adventure through the Rockery Cave that is illuminated by LED lights.

Children can indulge in the Rainbow slide and enjoy a splashdown at the Children Adventure pool. Ong said the company had invested RM25mil in the whole project and expected to break even in two to three years.

i-City currently attracts 90,000 visitors weekly and expected a 30% increase in the number of visitors once the project is completed.
-thestar online.

Crafting tourism with art

KUALA LUMPUR: The drive to promote local arts to woo more visitors to Malaysia is paying off with an increase in sales and the mushrooming of art galleries, said Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.

“Last year, 20 new art galleries opened. There is also an increase in the sale of art through auctions. There were three art auctions this year as opposed to only one three years ago. Most buyers are from the Asean region,” she said after opening the Art Expo Malaysia 2012 here yesterday. Currently, Malaysia has about 100 art galleries and more than 500 artists nationwide.

Dr Ng said she started to promote art tourism when she was appointed to her ministerial portfolio in 2009. “I was looking at new tourism products to introduce Malaysia to the world, one which can attract returning tourists. Malaysian art was one of them,” she said. As a result of the ministry’s promotion, she said artists were getting recognition for their work as well as support from the private sector.

The ministry, added Dr Ng, helped created awareness of Malaysian art by encouraging tour operators to bring their groups to visit art galleries and exhibitions. “We provide support in terms of materials such as brochures so operators can package their tours accordingly,” she said.

The three-day Art Malaysia Expo, which ends on Sunday, has over 60 galleries from 23 countries showcasing paintings, sculptures and drawings. Admission is free at the expo, which is being held at the Matrade Exhibition and Convention Centre.

In PUTRAJAYA earlier, Dr Ng said the ministry had for the first time launched four sets of personalised corporate postage stamps in conjunction with World Tourism Day.

The four designs are Taman Negara – to represent the country’s eco-tourism efforts, Redang Island – to highlight the islands and beaches, Malaysian food and the Malaysia Tourism Centre in Kuala Lumpur (MaTic). “MaTic was also the first Parliament (venue) for Malaysia so it represents our appreciation for our country’s heritage,” said Dr Ng.

World Tourism Day is celebrated annually on Sept 27 under the endorsement of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation. The commemorative stamps are not for sale. Those who wish to get their hands on the stamps can send their request to
-thestar online.

Perak Tourism Fair 2012 @ AEON Seberang Prai

Tarikh : 28 hingga 30 September 2012

Masa : 10.00 pagi – 10.00 malam

Tempat : AEON Seberang Perai, Pulau Pinang
-Tourism Malaysia, Perak office.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Promoting Langkawi through coffee art

Amanda, 42, was selected by Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) to take part in a live demonstration of coffee painting at WTM, which would be held at the Excel Exhibition Centre in London from Nov 5 to 8.
The WTM, which is the second biggest exhibition in the world, would also see the participation of representatives from Tourism Malaysia, tour agencies, hotels and other players of the hospitality industry based in Langkawi.
Amanda, who has a degree in Business and Banking Studies, said she was overwhelmed at being chosen by LADA and that she would be taking more than 50 pieces of her work for display at the exhibition.
"I'm trying to bring as many coffee paintings in three different sizes for the exhibition and for sale. " So far, I have 38 pieces ready," she said adding that she was in the midst of doing at least 20 more in time for the show. She leaves for London on Nov 2 and will be back in Langkawi on Nov 11.
Born in Taiping but grew up in Kuala Lumpur, Amanda decided to settle down in Langkawi where she operates her cafe, Amanda Coffee at Pekan Rabu in Kuah. It was at this cafe where Amanda was inspired to promote her coffee painting drawn using the leftover coffee residues.
Her love affair with art started during her childhood when she entered numerous painting competitions.
In 1983 and 1984, she sent her painting to Tokyo for the Unesco children painting competition and managed to win a consolation prize. "I never stopped painting since. I have never been to art school and am guided purely by my interest and love for the art. "It's just a hobby and I simply love to paint," she said.
Amanda said she had sold 200 pieces of coffee paintings since she started two years ago. "Basically, most of my buyers are collectors and tourists from all over the world who visit Langkawi for holiday," she added.
Amanda's work caught the eye of Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen who bought two pieces during 1Malaysia Contemporary Art Tourism (MCAT) exhibition during LIMA 2011. "My objective of going to London is to promote Langkawi as a holiday destination as well as an art haven for artists."
Tracing the history of coffee painting, Amanda said this art medium using coffee had been in existence since 1920. "In Malaysia, this medium is still relatively new and that is why I'm trying my best to promote coffee painting," she said
Amanda, who is also a member of the Langkawi Visual Arts Association (LAVAA), said she was lured by the beauty of Langkawi where her paintings were mostly inspired by the water buffaloes, padi fields and beautiful beaches. "I hope one day Langkawi would be an art destination for artists and painters from around the world to gather here for workshops and to share their works and experiences," she said.
-nst online.

World Tourism Day 2012 @ Ministry of Tourism, Malaysia

Visit of the Hon. Minister of Tourism, Malaysia to the World Tourism Day Gallery

VVIP's atttending the World Tourism Day at the Ministry of Tourism, Malaysia

Speech by the Hon. Minister of Tourism, Malaysia

Signing of "World Tourism Day 2012" Plaque

Unveiling of "Malaysia's World Tourism Day Stamps"

Press Conference

World Tourism Day Gallery

World Tourism Day Gallery

World Tourism Day Gallery
photos: PelanconganKini

Malaysia eyes Indonesia's rapidly growing market for high-end travel

Malaysia wants to tap the Indonesian luxury travel market to the peninsula as arrivals to the country grow rapidly.

Speaking to Indonesian outbound tour operators and the city’s socialites in Jakarta on Tuesday, Malaysia Tourism Minister, Dato’ Sri Dr Ng Yen Yen introduced Malaysia’s new tourism campaign Luxury Malaysia, which targets the high-end market. She said: “Travellers today still look at destinations in Europe like Paris for luxury travel. Our new tourism direction is to make Malaysia a luxury destination.”

January-June arrivals from Indonesia to Malaysia grew 20 per cent over the same period last year to 1,108,361. Last year, Indonesia recorded 2,134,381 total arrivals. “Apart from the fact that there is increased seat capacity from Garuda Indonesia, AirAsia and Sriwijaya Air, there is a rising number of outbound travel from Indonesia, which shows the economy is growing,” she said.

A couple of familiarisation trips organised by Tourism Malaysia Jakarta office had shown that with awareness campaigns and promotions, Malaysia has the potential to attract Indonesian high-end travellers.

“Many people are not aware yet that Malaysia is a duty free country. Apart from the five categories of products (car, glass and pyrex, cigarettes, alcohol and chocolates) all other products are tax exempted in Malaysia. Shoppers from all over the world can seek bargain buys from luxurious brands in Malaysia,” the minister said. Other areas that could potentially draw high-end travellers were the country’s culinary and cycling tours.

Dr Ng Yen Yen also said Malaysia had just launched a helicopter tour, cruise, Johor Premium Outlets, Legoland, KidZania as part of a lineup of luxury products. “We are also offering the Fly and Cycling Tour for the high-end market. To travel agents who have a group of 30 people, we (the government) will organise a police escort, mechanics, and an ambulance,” she said. The Fly and Cycling Tour has tourists fly into Malaysia for cycling tours.

Quizzed on their target segment, Dr Ng Yen Yen said: “We are aiming for the top-notch ‘Hermes’ travellers and the next layer of ‘Mango’-brand travellers.”
-TTG Asia.

Indians lose fascination for Malaysia on high airfares, few attractions

New attraction in Johor. photo: PelanconganKini

High airfares, limited seat capacity on flights linking the major cities of New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai to Kuala Lumpur during the peak summer season, and the dearth of new attractions in Malaysia has made the country less sellable to Indian traveller.

According to Kuala Lumpur-based Tina Travel managing director, Adam Kamal, Malaysia Airlines’ (MAS) airfares on these routes cost some Rs10,000 (US$187) more than those to Bangkok and Singapore.

The higher airfares are also a result of the service tax imposed by the Indian government on every outbound traveller since July and the depreciation of the Indian rupee against the Malaysian ringgit by some 16 per cent since January.

MAS now has a monopoly on routes connecting Kuala Lumpur to New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai since AirAsia X and Jet Airways exited these destinations earlier this year. Kamal said his incentive business had dipped by 20 per cent year-on-year from the three cities due to the reduction in air seats, and that the Indian market had fallen by 10 per cent overall.

A buyer from New Delhi, Guldeep Singh Sahni, managing director of Weldon Tours & Travels, also saw a 25 per cent and 30 per cent year-on-year drop in leisure travel and outbound MICE respectively. He warned: “If airfares to Kuala Lumpur remain high and companies move their dealer incentive programmes to another destination, it will be difficult to get them back as many companies have a policy (of repeating) destinations.”

Sahni, who is also the president of the Outbound Tour Operators Association of India, added: “Tourism Malaysia seems to be working with a few top (consultants) in India instead of a lot of (consultants) like before. (It) should not forget the smaller (ones).” “Tourism Malaysia and the airlines should also work together to promote new destinations apart from traditional destinations, such as Kuala Lumpur, Genting, Penang and Langkawi,” he suggested.

Another buyer, Rajat Sawhney, Rave Tours & Travels New Delhi’s managing director, said: “Our biggest problem selling Malaysia as a leisure destination to repeat visitors is the lack of new attractions. There is nothing new coming up in Kuala Lumpur, Genting, Penang and Langkawi.

“Sabah, Sarawak and Taman Negara are new destinations with a lot to offer to the Indian traveller and should be given a push in a bigger manner. Sabah and Sarawak will involve additional domestic airfares from Kuala Lumpur but Indians are willing to travel if the destination is nice.”

An outbound leisure and MICE travel expert from Mumbai, Classis Travel & Tour director, Rajendra Dhumma, agreed that new destinations in Malaysia have to be given more attention. He also called on the NTO to organise more fam trips beyond Kuala Lumpur and Genting.

“There are new attractions that are opening in Johor, such as Legoland Malaysia and some theme parks, but there are insufficient promotions to Indian agents. We see the sellers here at PATA Travel Mart, but they should also be promoting at Indian travel marts,” said Dhumma.
-TTG Asia.

AOS to extend reach with Cambodia, Singapore offices

Malaysia's leading inbound tour operator Asian Overland Services (AOS) Tours & Travel has unveiled plans to expand regionally to provide customer support for its online B2B portal,, which has been recording double-digit growth since its 2009 launch.

Two overseas offices will be established in Cambodia and Singapore, and will be known as Asian Overland Travel Cambodia and Asian Overland Travel Singapore respectively. Reporting to the main office in Kuala Lumpur, both offices will continue to work with existing local partners to provide ground handling services.

Said managing director, Yap Sook Ling: “The office in Cambodia will be set up in end-October to provide inbound and outbound tours. Both leisure and MICE traffic from China and India will be targeted as both countries are new markets for Cambodia, and by going in early, we hope to get first-mover advantage. The Singapore office will be operational in December.”

Explaining the reasons for setting up shop in Singapore, Yap said: “Singapore has easy flight access and is a sought-after destination among Asian and European travellers. It is also an attractive destination for MICE. With this office we hope to promote dual-destination incentives, combining Malaysia and Singapore.”

She added: “This is just the beginning of our expansion plans. By 2015, we plan to have an operations office in every major Asian destination.”
-TTG Asia.

A day to celebrate tourism

PUTRAJAYA: One of the world's fastest growing economic sectors will take a break today to reflect on building a sustainable future for the industry. Tourism is a multi-billion trade, which represents one in every 12 jobs available globally.

Tourist receipts amount to almost US$3bil (RM9.2bil) daily around the world, according to the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the United Nations agency which oversees policies to promote responsible tourism. As the the ninth most frequented country in the world for three consecutive years (2009-2011), tourism in Malaysia has contributed RM58.4bil to the Gross National Income last year, through the spending of the estimated 24.7 million holidaymakers.

Given the immense amount of business interest in the industry, the UNWTO deserves praise for promoting principles to prolong the longevity of the world's beautiful places, which in turn gives consumers more attractions and wonders to enjoy for a longer time to come.

The World Tourism Day (WTD) was established in 1980 for such a purpose. Without plans for sustainability, the tourism industry would face great risks, including millions losing their sources of income and Mother Nature threatened with degeneration. Quality living can only be brought about by responsible custodianship of the earth's well being.

Recognising the importance of this, the UNWTO has set “Tourism & Sustainable Energy: Powering Sustainable Development” as the theme of this year's WTD. Malaysia, which is part of the 155-member states in the global organisation, has voiced its support for a national commemoration of the WTD, which would take place at the Tourism Ministry in Putrajaya.

“Malaysia adopts the best practices in sustainable tourism management and upholds the principle (of a) tourism (industry) that conserves, preserves and protects,” Tourism Minister Dato' Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said in a media briefing at her office recently. She cited several examples showing Malaysia's commitment to the cause, including the designation of 14.3mil (or 44%) hectares of the country's total land area as Permanent Reserve Forest, close monitoring of eco-tourism activities, and the careful preservation of the nation's status as one of the 12 mega bio-diversity countries in the world.

An effort closer to the community includes the two-year-old 1Malaysia Green, 1Malaysia Clean campaign aimed at inculcating an attitude to maintain a clean environment nationwide.

The key event of the WTD celebration will be a day-long panel discussion headed by eco-tourism experts under the theme “Tourism: Powering Sustainable Development and Wealth Creation”. The ministry will also, for the first time, give out limited edition corporate postage stamps depicting the various facets of Malaysian tourist attractions.

“The tourism industry is listed as a National Key Economic Area under the 10th Malaysia Plan (2011-2015), which has been targeted to expand by drawing 36 million tourist arrivals and tourist receipts totalling RM168bil by 2020,” said Dr Ng.
-thestar online.

PelanconganKini: Happy World Tourism Day - 27 September 2012

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Aussies Champs Of KL’s Sixth WAITGC Qualifying Round

Team Twin Creek Wild One was the champion in the gross category with a total score of 1008

KUALA LUMPUR, 26 SEPTEMBER 2012: Two Australian teams emerged winners at the close of the sixth or last qualifying round of the World Amateur Inter Team Golf Championship (WAITGC) 2012 held at two Kuala Lumpur golf clubs, Templer Park Country Club and Kota Permai Golf and Country Club, from 10 to 13 September.

Team Twin Creek Wild One was the champion in the gross category with a total score of 1008 while Team Champion Donuts won in the nett category with 425 points. The prize giving ceremony was hosted by Datuk Ahmad Phesal Talib, Mayor of Kuala Lumpur at The Royale Chulan Hotel Kuala Lumpur on 13 September. 

The top three teams from gross category and top two teams from nett category will go on to compete in the WAITGC Grand Final which will take place from November 6 to 8 at Royal Perak Golf Club.

For this sixth qualifying round, a total of 21 teams participated with Australia sending in 15 teams, followed by Thailand with two teams, while Brunei, Japan, Sweden and Malaysia were represented by one team each.

Played in Strokeplay gross for the gross category and Stableford for the nett category, WAITGC is an initiative of Tourism Malaysia to promote Malaysia as a leading golf destination. It has emerged as a well-regarded tournament as well as one of the highly anticipated golfing events on the golfer’s calendar. It has attracted more than 500 participants each year since its debut in 1994.

Well into its 19th season, the home-grown event does not only test the participants’ golfing skills but also encourages them to discover Malaysia’s culture, tradition, delectable cuisines and many more. WAITGC is also open to the media, which consequently boosts the stature of the championship and puts Malaysia on the world stage.    

The World Amateur Inter Team Golf Championship is managed by the Golf Club Managers Association of Malaysia (GCMAM) and sanctioned by the Malaysian Golf Association. For more information, please contact the WAITGC secretariat at 03-5633 2079/5634 2078 or click on
-Tourism Malaysia. 

500 penumpang pesawat sertai 'Showcase KL'

Ahmad Phesal Talib menyentuh skrin komputer riba sebagai simbolik perasmian laman sesawang rasmi 'Showcase KL Transit Tour' pada majlis pelancarannya di Kuala Lumpur, semalam.

KUALA LUMPUR 25 Sept. - Sebanyak 500 penumpang telah menyertai 'Showcase KL' sejak ia dianjurkan pada Julai 2010.

Datuk Bandar Kuala Lumpur, Datuk Ahmad Phesal Talib berkata, kira-kira 80 peratus penumpang merupakan penumpang penerbangan Malaysia Airlines, Emirates Airlines, Etihad, KLM dan Singapore Airlines. "Kebanyakan penumpang yang menyertai Showcase KL antaranya dari laluan Eropah ke Australia, India ke Australia dan Timur Tengah ke Australia. "Laluan yang sering dipilih oleh pelancong antaranya ialah dari Sydney ke Mumbai atau Abu Dhabi, Male ke Osaka/Seoul, Brisbane ke Bangalore/Paris/London dan Manila ke Sydney," katanya.

Beliau berkata demikian selepas merasmikan laman sesawang rasmi 'Showcase KL Transit Tour' iaitu www.showcasekl.comMenurutnya, sebelum ini, pembelian pakej hanya boleh didapati di kaunter 'Showcase KL' di balai ketibaan Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Kuala Lumpur (KLIA) dan bangunan terminal satelit. "Melalui pelancaran ini, pelancong boleh membeli tiket secara dalam talian tanpa perlu berkunjung ke kaunter-kaunter berkenaan," katanya.

Mengulas mengenai 'Showcase KL', Ahmad Phesal berkata, ia merupakan pakej lawatan singkat kepada pelancong-pelancong yang transit di KLIA yang mempunyai masa transit sekurang-kurangnya lima jam. Jelasnya, pelancong kemudiannya dibawa menaiki tren KLIA Express ke KL Sentral dan dibawa ke tempat-tempat menarik sekitar ibu kota menaiki bas KL Hop On Hop Off.
-utusan online.

Malaysia Airlines to Operate 5 Daily Flights on Kuala Lumpur - Bangkok Route

Subang, 25 September 2012 : Malaysia Airlines, celebrating its 40th anniversary flight operations between Kuala Lumpur and the Thai capital of Bangkok, commences its 5th daily service on this route effective 28 October 2012.

In addition to the existing 4 daily services, the new daily flight MH796 will depart Kuala Lumpur at 9.55pm to arrive Bangkok at 11.00pm while the return flight from the Thai capital departs daily at 6.20am to arrive Kuala Lumpur at 9.30am. This flight will be operated using a 160-seater B737-800 aircraft comprising 16 in Business Class and 144 in Economy Class seats.
The detailed schedule of Malaysia Airlines’ flight services on this route is as follows:
  • MH796, effective 28 Oct 12.
  • MH797, effective 28 Oct 12.
Together with the existing 4x daily flights and the new daily flight from 29 October 2012, Malaysia Airlines will offer a total weekly capacity of 5568 seats in each direction, a 25% increase from the current capacity of 4448 seats.
In addition, Malaysia Airlines will continue with its twice daily B737-800 services between Phuket and Kuala Lumpur and also its code share operations with Bangkok Air for Bangkok-Koh Samui (31 times weekly flights), Bangkok-Phuket (14 times weekly flights), Bangkok-Chiang Mai (14 times weekly flights), Koh Samui-Phuket (14 times weekly flights) and Koh Samui-Kuala Lumpur (daily flight).
Customers planning their travel on the above services can book and pay through all distribution channels mainly, Malaysia Airlines 24 hours toll free number 1 300 88 3000, Malaysia Airlines ticket offices and appointed agents throughout Malaysia.
-Malaysia Airlines.