Thursday, 31 January 2013

CNY Countdown Dinner Buffet @ Seri Pacific Hotel

Borneo Jazz 2013

Borneo Jazz 2013, organised by Sarawak Tourism Board, aims to be the leading tourism-driven music festival in the region. By assembling regionally and internationally recognised, jazz musicians, the musical event aims to draw visitors to Miri and the Northern Region of Sarawak for a fun-filled and entertaining experience and at the same time showcasing Miri as a city of cosmopolitanism and relaxing lifestyle.

An eclectic line-up of 8 international bands playing a diverse range of jazz genres, the festival is featuring 4 different acts per night over 2 nights.
Craft Bazaar
The Craft Bazaar is held at the same time, in the same place as the Borneo Jazz Festival, which will attract up to 9,000 visitors from all over the world! Come to Borneo Jazz, come to the Craft Bazaar as it is happening side-by-side at no charge. The Craft Bazaar will have emphasis on craftwork demonstrations, with local craftsmen and artisans displaying the local handicrafts and arts to audience of fanciers, collectors and buyers.  Please do visit the Craft Bazaar from 2.00 p.m. onwards to see exciting craft products from Sarawak, and a good opportunity to buy presents…for yourself or for friends!

Food & Village MartThe Food & Village Mart is filled with souvenir items and international food and drinks. More than 20 stalls with an array of crafts, souvenirs and food and beverage within the region. 

Borneo Jazz Store
The Borneo Jazz store is filled with Borneo Jazz merchandize. Grab yourself a souvenir t-shirt or your favourite artist CD – you can even get it signed if you want by them at the CD signings that are scheduled.

Impiana Year of the Snake Package

Malaysia's knights brings shine to MICE business

Ten more individuals have joined Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau's (MyCEB) successful Kesatria 1Malaysia ambassador programme to help bring the country closer to its long-term target of growing business tourism arrivals from the current five per cent to eight per cent by 2020.

Launched in 2012, the programme started off with 17 kesatrias or knights in the Malay language. Since then, it garnered some 22 conference leads, translating to at least 46,000 delegate arrivals and RM552 million (US$177.7 million) in economic benefits for the country.

The newly knighted appointees come from various key economic sectors, including science and medicine, research and innovation, education and law.

Mary Easaw, new to Kesatria 1Malaysia, is the chief dietician, dietetic & food services at the National Heart Institute and country representative of the American Overseas Dietetic Association. 

She said: “With MyCEB’s support, we hope to bid for the Asia Congress of Dietetics 2016 or 2017 to be held in Malaysia. It will be so affordable and convenient for local nutritionists and dieticians to attend, gain knowledge and present their findings. It will be a great avenue to nurture personal and professional development, skills and competencies.”

Zilfalil Alwi, a kesatria for the past one year and head of the Malaysia Node of Human Variome Project, said: “With experience (gained from) the successful bid for the Human Genome Meeting 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, I shared pointers with other associations on how they can get support from MyCEB to bid for international meetings and conferences.

“I am also encouraging them to appoint a professional conference organiser. From my past experience, (manage the conference myself) can be very stressful and taxing.”
-TTG Asia.

More AirAsia flights on selected routes

PETALING JAYA: Low-cost carrier AirAsia is offering additional flights on selected routes from Johor Baru, Kuala Lumpur and Penang in conjuction with Chinese New Year.

The flights are from JB to Penang, Kuching, Miri and Sibu; and from Kuala Lumpur to Sibu, Kuching, Tawau, Bintulu and Penang. Extra flights from Penang to Kuching are also available.
“With only two-and-a-half weeks left before Chinese New Year, I am sure many people are making plans to return home to their loved ones, or simply enjoy the long weekend by flying off to a holiday destination.
“Avoid the crawling traffic on highways by flying with AirAsia and enjoy a hassle-free journey home,” AirAsia Berhad chief executive officer Aireen Omar said in a statement yesterday.
Other domestic routes with all-in fares from RM39 one way are also open for booking until Feb 3, along with international routes from RM52 one way, for travel until May 22.
Those seeking to go a little further for Chinese New Year can hop on to AirAsia’s additional flights from Kota Kinabalu to Taipei and Hong Kong with fares from RM199 one way, open for booking until Feb 3 for travel until May 22.
Kota Kinabalu-Taipei flights are now available daily while Kota Kinabalu-Hong Kong flights are twice daily.
For more information, log on to
-thestar online.

Malaysia Airlines All Set to Join oneworld

29 January 2013 : Malaysia Airlines has started the final countdown towards joining the oneworld® global airline alliance on Friday, 1 February.

Final preparations are being put to a massive communications programme to highlight the development, which is a key element of the Malaysian national flag carrier’s turnaround strategy and comes as it marks 40 years of delivering its unique Malaysian Hospitality to its guests since it first took to the skies as Malaysia Airlines.

The airline will be staging two days of celebrations to mark its addition to the world’s premier airline alliance.

Senior executives from the existing partners of the award-winning global alliance will be flying into Kuala Lumpur to welcome Malaysia Airlines as the newest member of their airline family.

On Friday, 1 February, its first day as part of the alliance, representatives from all oneworld member airlines will join Malaysia Airlines’ Group CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya and his top team at KL International Airport to welcome passengers on the airline’s first departures offering oneworld services and benefits.

Becoming part of oneworld represents the latest key step by the Malaysian flag carrier and multi award winner in its repositioning programme. It will fly alongside some of the biggest and best known brands in the world airline industry – airberlin, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, Qantas, Royal Jordanian and Russia’s S7 Airlines.

In the 15 years since global airline alliances first emerged, oneworld and the other two have grown to such an extent that their member airlines now account for some two-thirds of total global airline capacity.

Malaysia Airlines’ addition to oneworld will expand the alliance’s global coverage to more than 840 destinations in 155 countries, served by some 9,000 departures a day operated by a combined fleet of some 2,500 aircraft, carrying nearly 340 million passengers a year, with annual revenues of US$ 110 billion.

Group CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said: “oneworld enables its member airlines to deliver more services and benefits to their customers – particularly frequent flyers – than any airline can on its own. For Malaysia Airlines, joining the alliance will strengthen its competitiveness, enabling it to offer customers an unrivalled alliance global network served by the highest quality partners from each of the world’s key regions.”

When it becomes part of oneworld, Malaysia Airlines’ Enrich frequent flyer members will have their privileges extended to whenever they fly with any oneworld member airline worldwide – including the ability to earn and redeem Enrich reward points throughout the alliance’s global network.

Enrich Platinum and Gold members will be able to use the 550 airport lounges worldwide offered by oneworld member airlines whenever they fly with any of the alliance’s carriers.
-Malaysia Airlines.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

High-profile district to include Harrods Hotel

Vast area: (From left) Raja Nong Chik, Dr Hussain, Abdul Aziz and chief secretary to the government Datuk Seri Dr Ali Hamsa looking at the scaled model of the premier shopping district at the Harrods Hotel groundbreaking ceremony.Vast area: (From left) Raja Nong Chik, Dr Hussain, Abdul Aziz and chief secretary to the government Datuk Seri Dr Ali Hamsa looking at the scaled model of the premier shopping district at the Harrods Hotel groundbreaking ceremony.
The Government aims to designate a premier shopping district for the country in its quest to become a high-income nation by the year 2020, said Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin.
“The district is none other than Bukit Bintang and KLCC (BB-KLCC) and where Harrods Hotel will be located,” he said, adding that this was in line with the nation’s Tourism National Key Economic Area (NKEA).
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for Harrods Hotel held at the Seri Melayu Restaurant in Jalan Conlay yesterday, Nong Chik said with Kuala Lumpur ranked the fourth best shopping destination in the world and second in Asia-Pacific, there was no doubt that the country would continue to attract huge investors like Qatar Holding to the country.
“Generating RM58mil in tourism-related receipts through 24.7 million visitors, Malaysia offers a fruitful and growing investment opportunity.
“The emergence of Qatar Holding acts as a catalyst for future investments and this is a good sign. This shows that our initiatives to make Kuala Lumpur an international class city under the Greater Kuala Lumpur-Klang Valley NKEA have been worthwhile,” said Nong Chik, adding that the ministry would fasttrack large-scale developments in the city provided they met the requirements of Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).
He said with such global recognition, the country’s tourism sector would see even more foreign investments, generating revenue that would in turn spur economic growth.
Also present at the groundbreaking ceremony were Qatar Holding vice-chairman Dr Hussain Ali Al-Abdulla, Jerantas Sdn Bhd corporate representative Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Ismail and Tradewinds Corporation Bhd group chief executive officer Shaharul Farez Hassan.
In his opening speech, Dr Hussain praised the stability of the Malaysian Government and its pragmatic policies that had created a conducive investment environment for institutions such as Qatar Holding.
“Malaysia is an attractive tourist destination and this convinced us that Kuala Lumpur is ideal for a Harrods Hotel,” he said, adding that the abundance of skilled and highly-trained workforce as well as the country’s rich agricultural commodities were also part of the reasons for their investment.
The integrated development of Harrods Hotel spans 5.48 acres and will comprise two residential towers, an office building and a retail podium, with direct connectivity to the award-winning Pavilion Kuala Lumpur.
The hotel will be strategically located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur’s Golden Triangle — at the intersection of Jalan Raja Chulan and Jalan Conlay.
-thestar online.

'KK City Day Sunset Sea Parade' Sempena Ulangtahun Ke-13 Bandaraya Kota Kinabalu

KOTA KINABALU: Orang ramai dijemput hadir memeriahkan acara ‘KK City Day Sunset Sea Parade’ yang diadakan buat julung-julung kalinya sempena Ulang Tahun Ke-13 Bandaraya Kota Kinabalu pada 2 Februari 2013 bermula pukul 3.00 petang hingga 9.00 malam di Jesselton Point, Kota Kinabalu.
Antara acara menarik yang akan diadakan adalah pertunjukan 14 kapal laut dan 7 bot marin yang akan bersauh di hadapan marina Jesselton Point untuk tatapan pengunjung. Antara agensi yang turut serta dalam acara ini ialah Tentera Laut DiRaja Malaysia (TLDM), Agensi Penguatkuasaan Maritim Malaysia Kota Kinabalu, Jabatan Laut Malaysia Wilayah Sabah, Pasukan Polis Marin Sabah, Jabatan Bomba dan Penyelamat Negeri Sabah, Jabatan Kastam dan Eksais Diraja Malaysia Cawangan Sabah, Jabatan Pelabuhan dan Dermaga Wilayah Labuan, Sutera Harbour Resort, Taman-Taman Sabah dan sebagainya.
Orang ramai turut dijemput hadir bagi menyaksikan demonstrasi maritim yang akan diadakan pada pukul 3.00 hingga 4.00 petang, sebelum Majlis Perasmian pada pukul 5.00 petang. Berlatarbelakangkan pemandangan matahari terbenam di Laut China Selatan, orang awam turut berpeluang untuk menikmati kemerduan persembahan brass band, keunikan persembahan kebudayaan etnik Sabah, pameran serta pertunjukan ‘strip lights’, ‘foghorn’ dan ‘rocket flares’ yang akan menyaksikan semua kapal dan bot memasang lampu secara serentak pada pukul 6.15 petang dan membunyikan hon kapal secara serentak pada pukul 7.15 malam.
-Dewan Bandaraya Kota Kinabalu.

Zheng He ‘returns’ to Malacca

Epic voyage: A replica of the vessel helmed by Zheng He in Jonker Walk, Malacca.Epic voyage: A replica of the vessel helmed by Zheng He in Jonker Walk, Malacca.
MALACCA: Legend has it that Admiral Zheng He and his armada left his home port of Nanjing in China for their epic voyage to India in the Year of the Snake in the 1400s. Along the way they stopped at Malacca.
To mark the auspicious year of his voyage, the Chinese community will display a huge replica of the ship used by the admiral in the city's world-famous Jonker Street, touted as the pulse of the community here.
Measuring 30m in length and 23m-high, it weighs close to two tonnes and resembles the original Chinese junk used by Zheng He in his sea travels. Two cranes hoisted the replica to its above-ground berth on Friday night.
State MCA chief Datuk Gan Tian Loo said the replica, assembled by local craftsmen, would be displayed on two pillars that support the artificial junk, the names of the countries the admiral had sailed to. Zheng He had reputedly sailed to 30 nations across Asia and Africa.
Gan said the craftsmen had incorporated intricate designs from the original vessel into the replica. “It will be the icon of this historic city during the celebrations,” he said, adding thousands of visitors are expected to view the boat during the festive season.
“The city is ready to welcome the Year of the Snake in style, with carnivals and shows to mark the auspicious event,” he said, adding that Zheng He's boat will complement the 1Malaysia dragons that adorn Jonker Street to mark the outgoing Year of the Dragon.
One of the dragons, dubbed the Prosperity Dragon, measures 121m-long, and is the longest outdoor dragon effigy in Malaysia. The Harmony Dragon comes a close second at 91m.
Meanwhile, Temple Street , also known as Harmony Street in the old section of Malacca city, was lit with hundreds of red lanterns and coloured lights on Saturday. Several arches and billboards with festive greetings and messages already festoon Jonker Street.
Hundreds jammed the streets in the historical hub as Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam led a team of community leaders that included MCA vice-president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Jonker Walk committee adviser Datuk Wira Gan Boon Leong to light the lanterns to usher in the new year.
Earlier, several lion dance troupes, musicians, dancers, performers and entertainers, showcased their talents in various performances to entertain the public and foreign tourists.
-thestar online.

Pinewood Studios targets RM3.8bil projects

JOHOR BARU: The world-famous Pinewood Studios is set to make Johor an international film-making hub for the Asia-Pacific region in May.
With its state-of-the-art facilities, the new Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios (PIMS) in Nusajaya is targeting production projects worth RM3.8bil between now and 2020, said PIMS chief executive officer Michael Lake.
The budget includes spending on about 9,500 full-time and freelance workers, use of studio space, film production equipment, logistics, food and beverages, lodging and purchase of construction and office supplies. Lake said RM1.9bil of the RM3.8bil budget would be spent in the local economy.
He was briefing the media on the latest developments in the project at a joint press conference with Iskandar Regional Development Authoritychief executive officer Datuk Ismail Ibrahim at the studios yesterday. PIMS is the product of a strategic agreement between British-based Pinewood Shepperton plc and Khazanah Nasional Bhd.
The 20ha PIMS complex includes 9,300sq m of film stages. The biggest stage at 2,800sq m will have a water tank for production that requires work on or under water. There are also two TV studios, each at 1,100sq m.
Pinewood Studios is a major British film studio situated in Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire, about 32km west of central London. It has played host to many film and television productions over the years and is well known as the home of the Carry On , Superman and James Bond film series.
-thestar online.

Longhaul markets develop fancy for Sabah and Sarawak

Longhaul travel consultants at the recently concluded ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) in Vientiane have seen growing interest in Sabah and Sarawak, with competitive airfares and hotel rates pushing up demand.

Norway-based Asia Spesialisten’s director of sales and marketing, Oddvar Sivertsen, said: “Low-cost carriers have opened air access to the more remote parts of Sabah and Sarawak, and this too is causing demand for tailor-made, off-the-beaten-track tours.”

Cheaper airfares and hotel rates had driven demand for FIT travel, especially among the 30-50 year-old group, he observed. Tours to these states typically combine a beach experience, a soft adventure component and cultural tours that incorporate educational elements and novel experiences.

Air France’s new thrice-weekly direct flights between Charles de Gaulle Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport beginning April 22 has also interested at least one DMC from France.

Abako general manager, Jose Henrique Goncalves, said: “We’re in the middle of preparing a concept paper on Borneo as an incentive destination and once ready, we will promote it to our clients in the automobile, construction, health and finance sectors.

“With direct flights, we don’t have to stop in Singapore for a night, which is expensive. Malaysia’s hotel rates are competitive and one can negotiate with them. The French have a good image of Malaysia as a destination that is modern yet retains an old-world charm.”

Germany-based Kornelius Reisen’s owner, Johannes Harle, said Sabah and Sarawak also appealed to niche travellers keen on nature, culture and adventure.
-TTG Asia.

SIC target 130,000 fans for this year’s F1 race

KUALA LUMPUR: The Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix is now 15 years but still going strong.

And the Sepang International Circuit (SIC), the organisers, are hoping the promotional activities in place this year will help them attract an even bigger crowd to the Sepang Circuit come March 22-24.

SIC chairman Datuk Mokhzani Tun Mahathir, speaking at the official launching of the Malaysian F1 Grand Prix by Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek last night, said they are hopeful of enticing 90,000 fans on race day itself.

“We recorded an attendance of 120,000 spectators for three days last year, but we hope to bring in more than 130,000 over three days this time. “I am hoping that more fans will come on race day. We are expecting to have at least 40% foreigners and 60% local spectators. “Over the years, the local spectators have continued to give good support to this event and we hope they continue to do so.

“To achieve this, SIC will be working closely with Petronas (the title sponsors) and all our key partners like Tourism Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur City Hall, Majlis Perbandaran Sepang, BBKLCC Tourism Association and the Ministry of Information, Commu-nications and Culture as well as the various government agencies and NGOs in making this year the best-ever F1 event,” said Mokhzani, adding that all 14 Petronas F1 cars from 1999 to 2012 will be presented to the public nationwide until the race weekend.

“We also encourage fans to purchase tickets early because seat selection will not be allowed during the ticket purchase process during the racing weekend (March 22-24) in the interest of serving the larger crowd of patrons present at the circuit grounds.”

A special One Ticket Unlimited (1TU) package will also be introduced this year to provide fans with a host of privileges to enjoy the event in March. Apart from being a passport for additional discounts at the 1Malaysian GP Sale 2013 in March, 1TU will also provide the ticket-holders a host of other privileges like shopping and dining.

With the ITU, all the grandstand ticket-holders will have access to the F1 after race concert featuring the legendary Guns N Roses on March 24 for free. Those with the hillstand tickets will have to add a minimum of RM120 to catch the legendary rock performance.

Malaysia will host the second round of this season’s 20-leg F1 World Championship. The new season will open with the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne from March 15-17.
-thestar online.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Legoland Malaysia - Opening Hours 2013

LEGOLAND® Malaysia is open most of the day in 2013 from 10 am until 6 pm. Longer opening hours apply on weekends, during school and public holidays. Attraction queue lines will close at posted park closing time.

LEGOLAND Express, Dino Island, and Pharoah’s Revenge will close at sunset due to safety (darkness).  Please plan your day accordingly to enjoy all of our attractions. Restaurant and shop hours may vary due to visitor appearance.

Four Seasons to open in KL

PETALING JAYA: The Kuala Lumpur City Centre’s (KLCC) collection of superlatives is growing with the launch of the Four Seasons Place tomorrow. Sited on just slightly more than 1 hectare, the new addition to that area is set to change the city’s skyline. The iconic brand, synonymous with luxury and prestige, will launch its Malaysian chapter tomorrow.
Located beside the Petronas Twin Towers and fronting Jalan Ampang, the hotel, serviced residence and retail concept will occupy 1.4 million sq ft of space, of which about 238,000 sq ft, or 20%, is expected to be allocated for luxurious retail, a source said.
The 65-storey Four Season Place will be the second highest building in the KLCC vicinity after the 88-storey high Petronas Twin Towers. Menara Maxis, which is adjacent to it, is 49 storeys high. The serviced residences, marketed by property portals at between RM2,500 and RM2,800 per sq ft, will also be among the highest on a per sq ft basis in the Klang Valley.
The new design will be launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. It will be the first Four Seasons Place in South-East Asia, and the third in the world.
It is being built by Venus Assets Sdn Bhd, a firm controlled by Ipoh-borntycoon Ong Beng SengTan Sri Syed Yusof Tun Syed Nasir and Selangor’s Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah.
Ong currently owns Four Seasons resorts in Bali, Singapore and the Maldives, via his controlling stake in Singapore-based Hotel Properties Ltd while Syed Yusof, or JoJo as he is fondly known, has carved his name and fortune via his ventures in property and the entertainment industry.
He has brought in international artistes such as Michael Jackson, Kenny G, Ricky Martin and Linkin Park to Malaysia via his company Jojo Entertainment. He is also a close confidant of the Selangor Sultan and handles the business interest of the royalty. Both of them own six hotels in the country under the Concorde Hotels & Resorts and Casa Del Mar banner (in Langkawi). Also under their wings are the Hard Rock Café and Planet Hollywood chain of restaurants.
The Four Seasons Place was first approved in 2007, but the development was shelved when worsening economic conditions triggered a global meltdown in the financial world, coupled with the project going back to the drawing board.
It was reported that the gross development value of the project may exceed RM2.5bil.
-thestar online.

DRH joins 1,600 delegates at tourism forum in Laos to draw foreign interest to the country

<b>Off with a bang:</b> A file picture showing the opening ceremony of a previous edition of the Asean Tourism Forum.Off with a bang: A file picture showing the opening ceremony of a previous edition of the Asean Tourism Forum.
From Jan 21 to 24, a team from Destination Resorts and Hotels (DRH) joined more than 1,600 delegates at the 32nd Asean Tourism Forum (ATF), one of the biggest travel trade events within the region.
DRH also set up a booth in the Tourism Malaysia pavilion at the Lao International Trade Exhibition and Convention Centre in Vientiane, Laos, during ATF.
DRH was extablished by Khazanah Nasional Bhd, an investment arm of the Malaysian government, as part of Malaysia’s initiatives to boost the leisure and meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions (MICE) industry in Malaysia and South-East Asia.
DRH was set up as a master planner, investor and developer of destination resorts that will be a game-changer in the country’s travel industry. DRH’s current key portfolio focuses on investments in Johor as well as Langkawi.
On the eastern coast of Johor, DRH is developing the region’s first integrated luxury destination, Desaru CoastDesaru Coast is easily accessible by land, sea or air via the Senai International Airport in Johor or the Changi International Airport in Singapore. It encompasses 1,578.27ha along a 17km beachfront and will be developed in three phases, with Phase 1 set to open in 2015.
Upon completion, this multi-billion ringgit destination resort will showcase a collection of award-winning brand names in the hospitality industry such as The Riverwalk — a landscaped lifestyle retail and F&B village; two experiential water theme parks — Ocean Quest and Ocean Splash; two championship golf courses by world champions Ernie Els and Vijay Singh complemented by golf residences; a hospitality, tourism and culinary institution; as well as a state-of-the-art convention centre — all in one location.
Built as a multi-purpose convention venue, the Desaru Convention Centre will be fully equipped to cater to corporate functions, meetings, exhibitions and entertainment events. With an exhibition space and banquet area built to accommodate up to 1,000 people, the convention centre provides a range of facilities and features such as pre-function areas, VIP lounges and meeting rooms within a landscaped courtyard.
With an experienced and dedicated MICE servicing team at the helm, a complete experience awaits travel trade professionals and event organisers at Desaru Coast.
“For more than 30 years, ATF has played a pivotal role in South-East Asia’s tourism development. “This year’s theme ‘Asean: Hand In Hand, Conquering Our Future’ resonates with DRH’s role to develop world-class integrated destination resorts that will not only sustain but also elevate South-East Asia’s leisure and MICE industry.
“As an investor, master planner, and developer, we believe it is vital to offer a complete suite of tourism products and services that will provide the perfect setting for both work and play,” said DRH managing director Nadziruddin Basri.
DRH’s other investments include the premier eco-tourism destination, Teluk Datai in Langkawi.
Situated amidst centuries-old lush natural rainforest, Teluk Datai’s masterplan includes the development of luxury resorts and cliff-top villas, including its existing award-winning The Datai Langkawi.
Recently awarded the Enduring Excellence award at the Tatler Travel Awards 2013 and the Best Luxury Island Resort at the 2012 World Luxury Hotel Awards, The Datai Langkawi promises subtle elegance with first-rate service and best-in-class amenities, plus its own peaceful stretch of white sandy beach overlooking the Andaman Sea.
The adjacent 18-hole golf course at The Golf Club Datai Bay is currently being upgraded into a world-class course designed by Ernie Els, the British Open 2012 champion. Once completed in 2013, it will be the first Ernie Els Design golf course in South-East Asia, which will further boost Malaysia’s appeal as a leading island golf destination.
DRH is also involved in the development of Puteri Harbour and Legoland Hotel in Nusajaya, Johor.
At the luxurious waterfront of Puteri Harbour, DRH has developed a family entertainment and retail complex, Little Red Cube, which houses The Traders Hotel; an indoor family theme park; and Malaysia’s first animated restaurant, Lat’s Place.
Since its opening in October 2012, the main attractions at the Puteri Harbour Family Theme Park — Sanrio Hello Kitty Town and Little Big Club that features lovable characters such as Barney and Friends, Bob the Builder, Angelina Ballerina and Pingu — have attracted more than 50,000 visitors to this integrated development.
The Legoland Hotel is strategically located next to the Legoland Theme Park, promising a unique experience with imaginative theming and a host of child-friendly features from low counters in the restaurant to treasure chests full of Lego in the themed bedrooms — Pirate, Kingdom or Adventure.
Once it opens its doors in 2014, it will be the first Lego-themed hotel in Asia and the fourth to open worldwide.
-thestar online.

MATTA builds interest for Muslim tours in Japan

Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) and Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) will sign a MoU in Yokohama tomorrow to promote cooperation and exchange of tourism ideas between the two countries.

The signing of the MoU is held in conjunction with MATTA’s technical visit to Japan, which is hosted by JNTO from January 29 to February 3. The delegation of 30, including media members, will visit Tokyo, Yokohama and Sendai.

Mohd Khalid Harun, president of MATTA and leader of the Malaysian delegation, will be addressing more than 100 Japanese suppliers on tourism trends in Malaysia and the growing interest of Malaysian travellers to Japan during B2B meetings in Yokohama and Sendai.

“Muslim travel has huge potential, and it is good to know that JNTO is seriously looking into it,” said Khalid, who added that a major focus of the visit is to build up interest on Muslim travel and tours to Japan.

Adachi Motonari, JNTO Singapore executive director, said: “Having this opportunity to collaborate with MATTA through this technical visit to Japan is very timely as 2013 marks the 40th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation. With the signing of MoU between JNTO and MATTA, we hope to increase the number of visitors from Malaysia as Japan expects to receive one million tourists from ASEAN countries in 2013.”

Japan has recorded steady growth in Malaysian visitor arrivals, especially with the implementation of the multiple-entry visa for Malaysians in September last year. Visitor arrivals from Malaysia to Japan set a new record high of 130,300 in 2012, a 13.8 per cent jump from 2010 when arrivals totalled 114,519.
-TTG Asia.

Monday, 28 January 2013

AirAsia charts five-year strategy, shifts focus outside of Malaysia

AirAsia has unveiled its strategic five-year business review with an eye to further grow its dominance in the Asian region.

As Malaysia has become “a cash machine”, the management will turn its focus to other core markets in Thailand and Indonesia, which are expected to generate similar profits to Malaysia in the future, according to group CEO Tony Fernandes.

“The other focus is to develop our new entities in Philippines and Japan whereby in terms of LCC penetration, they are still at their infancy and there is utmost growth potential,” he said.

“India is an exciting market, and I have been overwhelmed with the developments of the country recently in terms of promoting air travel. We will continue to explore opportunities there but I believe this market offers the most growth potential in terms of travel.”

Whilst other Asian countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Brunei, Myanmar and South Korea seem attractive, AirAsia will focus on the group’s existing operations that offer bigger domestic alternatives and with larger populations. AirAsia will not proceed with any venture in Singapore in the foreseeable future too, Fernandes revealed, citing excess capacity out of the city-state.

AirAsia recorded a strong performance during the fourth quarter and 2013 is expected to be better in load factors and yields, he reported. The group will announce its full-year results in February.

The company has also placed an order of 475 aircraft, of which 114 have been delivered.
-TTG Asia.

Sabah records RM5.2bil in tourism receipts

KOTA KINABALU: Tourism remains one of Sabah’s major income earners with the industry generating about RM5.2bil last year.

The revenue was derived from the 2.9 million tourists who came last year, representing a 1.1% increase from 2011, state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said.
He said international arrivals recorded an increase of 11% with notable growth in visitors from China and Hong Kong (44%) as well as South Korea (26%)Masidi said the state also re­­corded a 40% rise in the number of visitors from Britain and Ire­­­land, apart from other European nations.
“This is an indication of confidence towards long-haul travel and a strong focus on nature-based tourism, which is Sabah’s forte,” he noted.
He said domestic tourists re­­mained the main contributor as they constituted 67% of total arrivals to Sabah last year. However, this was a decrease of 3.2% compared with 2011 – mainly due to a reduction in domestic seat capacity from Sarawak and the peninsula.
“For the first time in 14 years, domestic arrivals were affected due to less competitive air fares offered to the domestic outbound market as well as opening of new routes by low-cost carriers to ot­­her regional destinations,” Masidi said.
-thestar online.

Foreigners amazed and inspired by kavadi carriers

BATU CAVES: Twenty years ago, Peter and Anita Schieder visited Batu Caves during Thaipusam and were so fascinated by the experience that they vowed to return someday.
Now retired and with their children all grown up, the couple from Germany has made another trip to Malaysia to experience Thaipusam again.
“We were just so captivated by the sights, sounds and smells that we experienced the last time we were here, we just had to come again,” said Anita, 71, a retired secretary, when met at the Sri Maha­mariamman temple yesterday.
Her husband Peter, 65, said he planned to bring their children and friends for a visit to Malaysia around this time next year so that they too could experience the event.
Similarly awed, Vanine Najaryam, 23, said that she was overwhelmed by the devotion shown by those carrying the kavadi up the temple steps. “I came expecting to take some good pictures and go back, but was really touched by what I saw.
“I have never seen anything like this. The way the devotees endure the scorching heat while carrying the heavy kavadis, and their friends who help them and spur them on all the way up the steps, is just so amazing,” said the interior designer from Armenia who is in Malaysia for her internship.
German lawyer Helmut Krueger, 52, who has been working here for five years, said that even though it was not his first Thaipusam, the experience had not lost its appeal for him. “I have been here a few times and have even climbed up the steps of the cave, though not on Thaipusam.
“But seeing the kavadi carriers with their piercings and in a trance still shocks me,” he said, adding that he would like to try carrying a kavadiduring Thaipusam someday.
-thestar online.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Why Tourism?

Tourism – an Economic and Social Phenomenon
Over the decades, tourism has experienced continued growth and deepening ‎diversification to become one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world. ‎Modern tourism is closely linked to development and encompasses a growing number ‎of new destinations. These dynamics have turned tourism into a key driver for socio-‎economic progress.‎
Today, the business volume of tourism equals or even surpasses that of oil exports, ‎food products or automobiles. Tourism has become one of the major players in ‎international commerce, and represents at the same time one of the main income ‎sources for many developing countries. This growth goes hand in hand with an ‎increasing diversification and competition among destinations.‎
This global spread of tourism in industrialised and developed states has produced ‎economic and employment benefits in many related sectors - from construction to ‎agriculture or telecommunications.‎
The contribution of tourism to economic well-being depends on the quality and the ‎revenues of the tourism offer. UNWTO assists destinations in their sustainable ‎positioning in ever more complex national and international markets. As the UN agency ‎dedicated to tourism, UNWTO points out that particularly developing countries stand to ‎benefit from sustainable tourism and acts to help make this a reality.‎
Key numbers

Current developments and forecasts
  • International tourist arrivals grew by nearly 4% in 2011 to 983 million;
  • International tourism generated in 2011 US$ 1,032 billion (€ 741 billion) in export earnings;
  • UNWTO forecasts a growth in international tourist arrivals of between 3% and 4% in 2012.


Percutian indah pinggir Laut Andaman

Bilik yang menghadap laut membolehkan tetamu hotel menikmati panorama laut dari katil masing-masing.

Sebagaimana keindahan Pulau Langkawi yang sudah termasyhur di seantero dunia, kemudahan penginapan yang terdapat di pulau legenda itu turut menjadi sebutan dan popular dalam kalangan pelancong.

Terdapat banyak jenis penginapan yang ditawarkan di pulau itu, daripada hotel bajet serendah RM80 semalam sehinggalah penginapan mewah.

Bagi mereka yang inginkan percutian eksklusif dan jauh dari suasana hingar-bingar maka Ombak Villa di Kuala Melaka adalah jawapan sesuai untuk memenuhi kehendak anda.

Ombak Villa merupakan sebuah hotel baharu yang dibangunkan oleh Tema Teladan Sdn. Bhd. dan Pujaan Pasific Sdn. Bhd, di kawasan seluas empat hektar dengan nilai pelaburan sebanyak RM48 juta. Seandainya menginap di bilik Ombak Villa, sebaik sahaja anda menyelak langsir jendela, mata anda akan disajikan dengan pemandangan indah lautan luas yang membiru.

Pemandangan indah Laut Andaman yang menyejukkan mata itu juga boleh disaksikan di atas katil yang sengaja diletakkan menghadap tingkap dan ini merupakan salah satu kelainan yang ditonjolkan di Ombak Villa.

Pemangku Pengarah Bahagian Pemasaran dan Jualan MK Land, Khairul Azda Abu Bakar berkata, Ombak Villa yang menawarkan 79 unit hotel mewah bercirikan seni bina tradisional Melayu itu, bakal menjadikan percutian pengunjung di Pulau Langkawi lebih bermakna.

Menurutnya, Ombak Villa dibina dalam dua fasa dengan 36 unit fasa pertama sedia menerima tempahan pada penghujung Mac ini, manakala selebihnya akan mula dibuka pada akhir September ini. Khairul Azda memberitahu Ombak Villa menawarkan 76 suite premier, selain dua unit suite bulan madu serta satu unit premier villa.

Menurutnya, Ombak Villa juga dilengkapi dengan ciri-ciri green feature yang mana kesemua unit penginapan menghadap Laut Andaman yang membiru, selain pantai persendirian untuk tetamu yang menginap di sini. "Jika kita lihat, Ombak Villa ini dipenuhi dengan ciri-ciri rumah tradisional Melayu di mana setiap unit dihiasi dengan kerawang bermotifkan hiasan Melayu.

"Pihak pengurusan memilih untuk menghiasi keseluruhan unit Ombak Villa ini dengan ciri-ciri rumah tradisional Melayu kerana mahu pelancong asing yang menginap di sini melihat sendiri keunikan hiasan Melayu," katanya.

Jelasnya, antara kemudahan lain yang disediakan di Ombak Villa adalah kolam renang, restoran, lobi dan laman dalam. "Hiasan dalaman bercirikan tradisional Melayu di Ombak Villa mendapat sentuhan daripada pereka fesyen dan hiasan dalaman terkemuka tanah air, Rizalman Ibrahim. "Songket yang merupakan antara kain tenun bermutu tinggi diketengahkan sebagai hiasan utama di setiap unit di Ombak Villa ini," jelasnya.
-utusan online.

The Ghazal Maestro " Pankaj Udhas Live In Concert " on 10th February 2013

The Ghazal Maestro " Pankaj Udhas Live In Concert " on 10th February 2013 @ the prestigious Putrajaya International Convention Centre.

After almost a decade, the maestro is back to serenade his Malaysian fans with his soulful voice & harmonious melodies.
Pankaj Udhas is an Indian singer, credited in the Indian music industry, along with other musicians like Jagjit Singh and Talat Aziz, with bringing the Ghazal style to the realm of popular music.
Udhas rose to fame for singing in the 1986 film Naam, in which his song "Chitthi Aayee Hai" became an instant hit.
Following that, he has also performed as a playback singer for numerous films. He has recorded many albums since then and tours the world as an accomplished ghazal singer. In 2006, Pankaj Udhas was awarded the Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian award.