Thursday, 28 February 2013

Young Coquard Storms Tanah Merah

TANAH MERAH, Thursday - Earlier failures despite coming close to winning a stage were put to rest by Team Europcar's Bryan Coquard won a bunch sprint to bag victory in Stage 8 of Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) from Kuala Terengganu to Tanah Merah today.

Coquard, 20, beat Omega Pharma-Quickstep's Andrew Fenn and Stage 4 winner Francesco Chicchi to continue his hot streak with Team Europcar in his debut season as a professional after winning two stages in the Etoile de Besseges before coming to LTdL.

In the flat stage which was expected to finish in a bunch sprint, Coquard, who finished second in Stage 1 in Kulim and fourth in Kuala Kangsar (Stage 2), used the right strategy to sprint from the right and complete the stage in 3 hours 36 minutes and 47 seconds.

Born in Saint Nazaire, France, Coquard who won the silver medal in the omnium track event at the Olympic Games in London 2012, also overcame the disappointment of finishing eighth in Stage 7 in Dungun after a mistake saw him finish 8th.

"Yesterday I wasn't able to sprint well at the final moment but today I worked hard and was lucky to win this stage. My performance is at a good level and I was ready to take another chance today," said Coquard. "In the final kilometre I was in a good position, in 10th or 11th and I took the chance in the final 200 metres to start my sprint from the right and overtake the riders at the front," said Coquard.

"I'm happy to win here because the field here is so strong. This victory is also important for the beginning of my career. I have achieved my target today and I can ride in the final two stages without the pressure of needing to register a victory."

Earlier, the peloton was driven at a very high pace before two riders - Low Ji Wen (OCBC Singapore) and Liu Jianpeng (Hengxiang) managed an escape after 25km and distanced themselves with a gap of almost 12 minutes before the peloton led by Astana, Vini Fantini and Team Nippo-De Rosa began to chase them down.

The yellow jersey holder Julian Arredondo of Team Nippo-De Rosa also retained his overall lead, along with Wang Meiyin of Hengxiang who leads the mountains classification and Asian riders' classification and Andrea Guardini of Astana, who leads the points classification. South African team MTN Qhubeka also look set to hold on to their overall teams classification lead with two flat stages remaining.

The LTdL 2013, which carries the slogan "The Heat is On", will officially begin in Kangar on February 21 and the race comprises 10 stages, covering 1469.7 kilometres. The race is sanctioned by the International Cycling Union (UCI) as a 2.HC (hors category) race on the UCI Asia Tour calendar, organised by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, via the National Sports Council (NSC) in association with the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF).

Karnival Kempen Promosi "Visit Malaysia Year 2014" (2~3 Mac 2013)

Aktiviti-aktiviti menarik yang akan dilaksanakan sepanjang Karnival ini adalah:

(a) Tourism Fair dengan penglibatan lebih daripada 30 pengusaha pelancongan yang terdiri daripada syarikat penerbangan seperti Firefly, agensi pelancongan, hotel dan pemilik-pemilik tarikan pelancongan serta taman tema dengan sokongan daripada Malaysia Association of Hotels (MAH), Malaysia Budget Hotel Association (MBHA), MATTA dan lain-lain.

(b) Pameran Program dan Acara Visit Malaysia Year 2014

(c) Pameran Pembangunan Industri Pelancongan seperti Program Homestay, 1Malaysia Green and Clean, Voluntourism, Spa/Caddy, Institut Latihan Pelancongan, Centre of Excellence untuk Program Spa, Projek-Projek Pembangunan Pelancongan di Pulau Pinang.

(d) Gerai-gerai Fabulous Food 1Malaysia

(e) Persembahan daripada artis-artis tempatan dan artis jemputan istimewa iaitu Jimmy Palikat yang sangat popular dengan lagu Anak Kampung.

(f)  Persembahan kebudayaan

(g)Perkhidmatan sosial seperti pemeriksaan kesihatan dan kempen tabung derma darah.

(h)Tarian Cuti-Cuti 1Malaysia yang merupakan senamrobik berasaskan kepelbagaian kebudayaan masyarakat Malaysia.

(i)   Pameran produk tempatan seperti Jeruk Buah Pala, Kopi, Biskut Tambun daripada beberapa jenama tempatan yang terkenal.

-Tourism Malaysia pejabat Pulau Pinang.

Travel and tourism beats global economy in growth

For the first time in history, travel and tourism now supports one in 11 of all jobs in the world, with more than 10 per cent of all new jobs created last year coming from the industry.

According to 2012 statistics by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the industry outperformed the global economy, increasing its total contribution to global GDP by three per cent and number of jobs to 260 million, up five million.

The trade’s economic contribution ­– taking into account its direct, indirect and induced impacts – was US$6.6 trillion in GDP, US$765 billion in investments and US$1.2 trillion in exports, at 2012 prices.

These figures represent nine per cent of total GDP, five per cent of total investment and five per cent of world exports.

Among the 20 largest global economies, South Korea (10 per cent), China (seven per cent), South Africa (seven per cent) and Indonesia (six per cent) performed best, offsetting abysmal growth of less than one and two per cent in Europe and the US respectively.

WTTC predicts that the industry will up its total contribution to GDP to 3.2 per cent this year, faster than the 2.4 per cent estimated for global economic growth. The industry is expected to support nearly 266 million jobs in 2013.

The tourism body also anticipated that China would overtake the US to be the world’s biggest travel economy by 2023.

David Scowsill, president and CEO, WTTC, said: “(This last year) demonstrated again just how resilient the travel and tourism industry is.

“Our industry is responsible for creating jobs, lifting people out of poverty, and broadening horizons. But we need international institutions and governments to recognise its strength, to remove restrictive visa and tax regimes and to work with the private sector to stimulate that growth.”
-TTG Asia.

Malaysia Airlines Continues Uptrend in Growth

Thursday, 28 February 2013, Subang - Malaysia Airlines today announced a Net Income After Tax (NIAT) of RM51 million for the fourth quarter ended 31 December 2012 against a Net Loss of RM1.3 billion in the previous corresponding quarter.

For the full year of 2012, Malaysia Airlines reported a Net Loss of Tax of RM433 million compared to a Net Loss of RM2.52 billion registered for the 12 months ended 31 December 2011.
Without the one-off provisions amounting to RM1.09 billion recorded in Quarter 4, 2011, NIAT for the fourth quarter 2012 registered an improvement of RM233 million. For the full year 2012, there was an improvement in the results of RM1.0 billion.
This is the second consecutive quarter of profit for the national airline following 6 consecutive quarters of losses. This is also the best result since the launch of the airline’s Business Plan at the end of 2011.
“The massive swing from a RM1.3 billion loss in the fourth quarter of 2011 to a profit of RM51 million achieved in the similar quarter of 2012 shows that our Business Plan is working. We continue to gain traction in multiple initiatives that focus on increasing revenue and managing costs. The results are very encouraging for our team who has worked hard throughout the year”, said Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, Malaysia Airlines Group CEO.
The operating profit of RM44 million and NIAT of RM51 million for the fourth quarter of 2012 compared favourably against an operating loss of RM1.32 billion and a Net Loss After Tax of RM1.28 billion y-o-y in 2011.
A key contributor to the continued positive trend in yearly financial performance at the operating level was the Route Rationalisation Programme which saw an overall 6% reduction in ASK (Available Seat Kilometre) over 2012. This was matched by a marginal 2% reduction in revenue to RM13.76 billion in 2012 and Seat Factor holding at 75 ppts. The reduced ASK also helped Malaysia Airlines register a corresponding 13% decrease in expenditure.
Fuel spending, which accounted for 38% of expenditure, fell 9% equivalent to RM518 million, to RM5.33 billion for the twelve months of 2012. The average price of fuel over the period continued to remain high at an average USD134 per barrel.
With fuel prices remaining high, Malaysia Airlines’ current fleet renewal programme becomes even more significant for operations. Over the course of 2012, Malaysia Airlines took delivery of 18 new fuel efficient aircraft (7 B738s, 7 A333s, 4 A380s). The fleet renewal programme began in 2010 and will see progressive deliveries until 2017.  
For the twelve months ended 31 December 2012, the Group was able to make savings of RM1.8 billion on aircraft fleet-related expenses of maintenance, fuel costs, depreciation expenses and leasing costs.
Commenting on the recent quarter’s performance, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said, “The 4th quarter of 2012 is really a milestone for our team. There were signs of solid revenue recovery as seen in the improvement in Seat Factor and RASK (Revenue per ASK) - the highest registered in 8 quarters to-date. Yields were also maintained at a high level.”
The national airline had much to celebrate in 2012 – from its award wins at Skytrax for recognition as a 5-star airline, World’s Best Cabin Crew and Best Signature Airline Dish, to the arrival of the A380 super jumbo into its fleet starting from July, to improving productivity through ensuring the right mix of fleet for its network, amongst a long list of initiatives. 
On Time Performance (OTP) for 2012 averaged 87.3%, up from 84.6% in 2011.
“When we began the year 2012 by announcing our Business Plan, many were sceptical on our team’s ability to make a change and succeed especially in a highly competitive market, with high operating costs, particularly fuel spending. The business environment continues to be very dynamic and challenging. Going forward, we will need to work even harder to ensure we keep up this strong momentum to deliver sustainable profitability”, said Ahmad Jauhari.
2013 Prospects
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) projected the outlook for 2013 to be moderately better than 2012. Economic growth and world trade growth is expected to increase at a slightly faster pace in 2013. Air traffic volume in Asia Pacific is expected to see strong growth in 2013 as cargo recovers.
Whilst Malaysia Airlines is located at the centre of aviation’s future growth hub, the airline remains cautiously optimistic of a challenging operating environment in the future. Although increased demand will be driven by emerging markets, a host of low cost carriers (LCCs) now offer value-for-money travel and increased competition, thereby putting pressure on yields of all airline players. In addition, rising fuel costs, demand shocks and seat over-capacity continue to bring challenges. 
Malaysia Airlines will however continue to improve its products and services for the growing premium customer markets globally.

On 1 February 2013, Malaysia Airlines becomes part of oneworld®, adding one of Asia’s leading airlines to the global airline alliance that aims to be the first choice for frequent international travellers the world over.  For Malaysia Airlines, joining oneworld completes yet another successful phase of its Business Plan.
Becoming part of the world’s premier global airline alliance strengthens the Malaysian national air carrier’s competitiveness, enabling it to offer customers an unrivalled alliance global network served by partners including some of the best and biggest airlines in the world.
More significantly, this membership strengthened Malaysia Airlines’ connectivity between many key business cities in Asia and other parts of the world providing increased opportunities for improved loads and yields on its services.

Better Value Proposition Our Guests – Increased Free Checked Baggage Allowance
Effective 14 February this year, Malaysia Airlines introduced an additional 10 kilograms free checked baggage allowance and reduced excess baggage charges for travel in all classes.
The revised checked baggage policy improves the airline’s product proposition in the ever-changing competitive landscape of the commercial aviation industry and also simplifies the excess baggage rates to introduce a consistent policy for its passengers, providing significant savings while they enjoy the airline’s premium service hospitality.

Fleet Renewal Continues with More Deliveries
The national carrier is currently continuing its fleet renewal plan, essential to maintaining relevance in the competitive premium service market. This started in 2010 for 35 new B737-800 and in 2011 for 15 A330, in addition to the six A380s ordered earlier.
The more technologically efficient aircraft reduce the fuel bill (current Malaysia Airlines fuel spending is equivalent to 38% of monthly operating costs) and enable Malaysia Airlines to offer a heightened level of products and services to guests at better yields.
This year alone, the company is taking about one B737-800 every month, and that is 12 deliveries with the remaining 9 of the 35 to be received by next year. In addition, it will receive a total of 4 new A330s in 2013 with the last one by early next year to complete the 15 firm order. Last week the fifth A380 joined its fleet and the sixth one will be added by end of March this year, completing the A380 programme.

The first A380 aircraft entered service in July 2012 marking the start of the airline’s change. Customer response in all 3 classes (First, Business and Economy) to the 5-star product and service onboard the A380 service on the Kuala Lumpur-London route has been very encouraging. Average passenger load from July to October was 88%, with passengers commenting positively on the wider seats, quieter aircraft interior and overall more comfortable and enjoyable travel experience. 
Effective tomorrow (1 March 2013) the national carrier commences daily A380 services on the Kuala Lumpur-Paris route. Despite daily capacity increase of around 75% with the introduction of this aircraft, the flights for the first week are fully booked in each direction and booked load is averaging above 85% for March this year.

Customers can look forward to this Pride of Malaysia continuing its delivery of the unique Malaysia Hospitality to more travellers in a refreshed travel environment with greater benefits.
-Malaysia Airlines.

MATTA Fair to be held in mid-March

KUALA LUMPUR: Travel bugs can start planning their holidays as the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Fair 2013 will be held from March 15 to 17.
Organising chairman Jeffri Sulaiman said the fair would be bigger this time, with a total of five halls and exhibition areas at Putra World Trade Centre for exhibitors to exhibit and consumers to shop and get value-for-money deals.
“It will be held at Hall 1, 1M, 2, 3 and Linkway, and we are even looking at expanding into Legar Putra Hall,” he said at Menara Standard Chartered yesterday. He said there would be over 1,100 booths providing special deals for travel and tour packages, hotel accommodation and airlines. “We are expecting over 90,000 visitors with a sales turnover of over RM90mil,” he said.
He said they were expecting a slightly lower sales turnover, compared to the sales turnover of RM106mil for the fair last March, due to the coming general election. Jeffri said they had introduced the online entrance ticket purchase for the first time on
Pretty faces: Etihad Airways staff showing the MATTA mobile app.Pretty faces: Etihad Airways staff showing the MATTA mobile app.
“We have already sold more than 500 tickets online and we are expecting more to be sold as the event nears,” he said. He added that there would be a dedicated lane at PWTC for people to collect their tickets from 2pm to 6pm on March 14 and from 10am to 9pm on March 15 and 16.
Jeffri said a MATTA mobile app had been introduced for both Android and iPhone users to get information on the fair and other travel-related updates.
Also for the first time, they have introduced a Favourite Destination Partner to give prominence to a particular country. “We have chosen Japan for this fair.”
Jeffri added that the entry forms for the fair's Buyers Contest would be available online this time around. “Customers who have purchased packages during the fair can log in and enter their details at the 40 computers available or they can do it at home,” he said.
Etihad Airways country manager Jeffrey Lim said that as the official airline for the fair, there would be attractive deals up for grabs.
-thestar online.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

The Datai Langkawi Launches New Resident Rates For Malaysia And Singapore

The Datai - Aerial View
KUALA LUMPUR (27th February 2013)—The Datai, Langkawi island’s iconic and landmark resort, introduces its new ‘Jungle Rendezvous’ package, with rates and value-added amenities created exclusively for residents of Malaysia and Singapore.

The package offers deluxe rooms from RM1,200 while Superior Villas start at RM1,600, and  includes welcome drink and towel upon arrival, daily Champagne buffet breakfast, fruit basket, complimentary Wi-Fi, complimentary guided nature walk and complimentary use of non-motorized sporting equipment.

The ‘Jungle Rendevzous’ package is available with immediate effect up until the 19th December 2013, requires a two night minimum stay and does not include group bookings. There is a brief blackout period from the 20th March until the 31st March to oversee the LIMA event.

Further enquiries should be directed to the reservations department at the resort: Cheryl Pooh, Reservations Manager
+604 9500 500

The Datai - Superior Villa

The Datai, Langkawi
Opened in October 1993, The Datai Langkawi set a new standard of luxury and Asian-inspired design, and quickly became one of the world’s most sought-after and award-winning hideaway resorts. Located on the north western tip of the lush tropical island of Langkawi off the coast of West Malaysia, the resort is an oasis of relaxation and tranquility surrounded by centuries-old virgin rainforest with a private footpath leading to an idyllic white sand beach, swimming pool and spa, and nearby golf course. 

Langkawi is a mystical island of jungle-covered mountains, lakes, caves and waterfalls, swathed with legends of romance and mystery. Just 30 minutes’ drive from Langkawi International Airport, The Datai offers the weary urbanite an idyllic retreat to nature.

Designed by world renowned Australian architect Kerry Hill of Kerry Hill Architects in collaboration with interior architect Didier Lefort of Didier Lefort Architects, The Datai was elegantly built to blend with its tropical forest surrounding along with Malaysian architecture in mind. Award-winning Indonesian interior designer Jaya Ibrahim of Jaya & Associates has also been involved in a recent refurbishment project of The Datai.

The Datai’s 54 villas, 16 suites and 54 rooms are all set within the rainforest with their own private veranda and stunning views of the lush tropical landscape and breathtaking Andaman Sea beyond. All guestrooms are spacious ranging from the elegant 62.5 sqm Deluxe room to the lavish and luxurious two-bedroom Datai Suite of 258 sqm. The popular Superior Villas and Pool Villas, located in the heart of the tropical rainforest, are connected to public facilities by a series of pathways. Corner Suite and End Suites comprise a spacious bedroom with en suite bath, a living area with dining table and a spacious balcony. We also offer Pool Suites consisting of two free-standing bedroom villas connected to a spacious living and dining area with large sunning terrace and shared swimming pool. With two large bedrooms, The Datai Suite also presents an expansive living and dining area, plus a fully equipped kitchen and a sandstone balcony with a panoramic view of the environs from every conceivable angle.

While guests can enjoy LCD flat screen, Bose CD sound system, private bar, iPod dock and tea/coffee making facilities in the room, they can also avail themselves to our complimentary WIFI internet connection in the rooms and common areas. All rooms have individually-controlled air conditioning, humidity control, ceiling fans, satellite TV, DVD player, hairdryers, international direct dial telephones and personal safes.

The latest addition to the property features 13 one bedroom Beach Villas and a single two bedroom Beach Villa. Boasting spacious luxury resort living areas, the Beach Villas offer private access to the white sand beach of the Datai bay. Contemporarily chic and luxurious, the Beach Villas offer an enviable experience to even the most discerning traveller.

The Datai Langkawi nestles in the heart of a pristine centuries-old rainforest, offering discerning travellers a peaceful haven with all their creature comforts. After a relaxing and enjoyable holiday, our guests leave feeling rejuvenated for home.

Pesta Laut PANGKOR LUMUT 2013 (28 Feb ~ 3 Mac 2013)


Zulfahmi Khairuddin pens name in The Malaysia Book of Records

Malaysia’s Moto 3 rider Muhammad Zulfahmi Khairuddin has his name now penned in Malaysia Book of Records in recognition of his feat last year in the MotoGP World Championship saw him scoring the country’s first pole position and podium wins.

“I would like to thank SIC, AirAsia, KTM and all my sponsors for making my childhood dream to compete in the MotoGP World Championship possible. It has indeed been a fantastic journey for me,” said Zulfahmi.

The ceremony was also attended by among others, SIC Chief Executive Officer Dato’ Razlan Razali, Malaysia Book of Records Managing Director Datuk Danny Ooi, representatives of AirAsia and Ministry of Youth and Sports Malaysia.

Zulfahmi, who races for World Champion team Red Bull Racing KTM this season, has been recorded in the Malaysia Book of Records as the first Moto3 Malaysian rider to qualify in pole position at the FIM World Motorcycle Championship and the first Moto3 Malaysian rider to score two podium finishes in the World Championship.

Born and raised in Banting, Selangor, Zulfahmi scored his first pole position at the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix on the day he celebrated his 21st birthday on October 21, 2012. Then competing for AirAsia SIC Ajo Racing, the young Malaysian clocked 2 minutes 13.885 seconds to seal a first ever pole position by a Malaysian rider.

He went on to win his first podium on the following day after finishing a close second behind Sandro Cortese; losing the lead to the World Champion on the final turn of the race. His second podium came in Valencia at the final race of the season at the Valencia Grand Prix when he finished third.

“We are very proud of Zulfahmi and hoping for the best performance of him for his new season with the new team. We will keep supporting this very talented rider and it is a great opportunity to have him at the World Championship,” explained Encik Azman Maarof, the representative from Ministry of Youth and Sports Malaysia.

Zulfahmi, who was recently honoured by Sportswriters Association of Malaysia for his amazing feat and bestowed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak with the prestigious 1Malaysia Ambassador award, finished seventh overall with an impressive haul of 128 world championship points for the season.

A product of SIC’s GP Wildcard Programme in 2009 and competing in his first international race at the 2009 Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix as a wildcard rider, Zulfahmi, who competed in a full season of the GP125cc in the following year, beat the odds to prove that Malaysians can match their more established rivals.

This Malaysian riders had struggled in the past even to earn wildcard rides; but Zulfahmi has proved that it is not impossible for a local to make it at the world stage.

Flying the Jalur Gemilang with pride, Zulfahmi moved into the new Moto3 class last year following the end of the 125cc class and immediately displayed his credentials as a top world class rider that included a fourth place finish as early as Round 2 at Estoril in Portugal.
By then, his races were already closely followed by his fast growing Malaysian fans and more young riders looked up at Zulfahmi as their idol and all wanting to follow his footsteps to compete on the world stage.

The new season opens with Qatar Grand Prix at Losail Circuit on April 7. Malaysia hosts Round 15 at Sepang International Circuit from October 11 to October 13.
-Sepang International Circuit.

Guardini Ends Wait For Victory In Dungun

DUNGUN, Wednesday - Star sprinter Andrea Guardini finally ended the wait for his first win for his new team Astana in Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) 2013 when he won a bunch sprint to bag Stage 7 from Kuantan to Dungun today.

This win brought Guardini's record of wins in LTdL to 12 and was also Astana's first victory of the year. It came after the disappointment of losing out in the final sprint to Theo Bos (Blanco Pro Cycling) and Francesco Chicchi (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) in stages before this. Wearing the sprints classification blue jersey which he took in Stage 4, the victory in Dungun is also the 22nd in 24-year old Guardini's career and also improved his chances of a repeat points classification victory.

Guardini beat Stage 4 winner Francesco Chicchi of his former team Vini Fantini-Selle Italia, which was known as Farnese Vini when he recorded his first 11 LTdL victories in 2011 and last year. Orica-GreenEdge's Aidis Kroupis finished third.

"It is difficult if I don't win something early in the season. But this year I had to familiarise myself with a new team and new teammates at Astana. I had entered the Tour Down Under and Tour of Qatar without the condition to challenge for wins, but here it was perfect," said Guardini.

"I'm relieved. The challenge is not that easy with so many strong sprinters here. But today, my teammates Assan Bazayev and Ruslan Tleubayev worked hard and rode very fast to find the space and position for me. "In the final 500 metres, Tleubayev put me on the wheel of Aidis Kroupis and Allan Davis and I made a sprint from the left to overtake them.

"I also knew that Anuar Manan (Synergy-Baku Cycling Project) was getting closer to me in the points classification after he collected points at the intermediate sprints but I focused on the stage win only. "I'm very happy with the victory and it goes well with the blue jersey," said Guardini, who captured the attention of the world when he won Stage 18 of the Giro d'Italia last year.

The yellow jersey remained with Team Nippo-De Rosa's Julian Arredondo (25 hours 55 minutes 05 seconds), who's team worked hard to prevent any major threat to his lead, particularly Orica-GreenEdge's Pieter Weening, who is one minute and 15 seconds adrift in the general classification.

Henxiang Cycling Team's Wang Meiyin remained the leader of the mountains classification wit 48 points, three more than Arredondo, who did not try to attack at the two king of the mountains hot spots at Kijal and Bukit Anak Dara today. Meiyin also remained the leader of the Asian riders' classification.

The LTdL 2013, which carries the slogan "The Heat is On", will officially begin in Kangar on February 21 and the race comprises 10 stages, covering 1469.7 kilometres. The race is sanctioned by the International Cycling Union (UCI) as a 2.HC (hors category) race on the UCI Asia Tour calendar, organised by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, via the National Sports Council (NSC) in association with the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF).

Terengganu expects four million visitors

Trying it out: Muhamed (second from left) applying wax to a batik cloth while other guests look on.Trying it out: Muhamed (second from left) applying wax to a batik cloth while other guests look on.
JOHOR BARU: Terengganu expects to receive about four million local and foreign tourists in conjunction with the Visit Terengganu Year 2013.
The Terengganu rural development, entrepreneurs and cooperative chairman Datuk Muhamed Awang Tera said the figure would be double from the two million tourists the state received yearly. He said the state had already recorded about 300,000 tourist arrivals as of this year and anticipated some 500,000 visitors would have visited the state by end of March.
“They are so many attractions in Terengganu that will be of interest to local and foreign tourists,” Muhamed said when met at the launch of “Teganu Kite 2013” carnival at Angsana Johor Baru Mall. Some 40 small and medium-sized entrepreneurs took part in the four-day event offering a wide range of items such as batik, songket, ready-made apparel, food products, leather goods, jewellery and tourism-related information.
Many choices: Customers choosing batik at one of the booths.Many choices: Customers choosing batik at one of the booths.
He said Singaporeans were the main foreign visitors to Terengganu followed by tourists from European countries, Japan and China. Muhamed said on the average the domestic and foreign visitors spent four days and three nights visiting the state and high on their list were the islands off Terengganu waters such as Pulau Redang and Pulau Perhentian.
“Lake Kenyir is also becoming popular among them as well as home stay programmes,” he said adding that among the popular homestays were in Teluk Ketapang, Setiu and Kuala Berang.
Separately, Muhamed said Terengganu’s famous keropok lekor would be made available in Malaysian restaurants in London this April following the success of free sampling of the food held last year. He said 12 tonnes of frozen keropok lekor would be exported to London monthly adding it was an achievement as the food had passed the stringent requirements imposed by the British Government.
Muhamed said the “Teganu Kite 2013” would be held in Miri, Sarawak next month and in Alor Setar, Kedah, and the date to be determined later. “The carnival is a good way to promote products by our entrepreneurs and promoting tourism attractions in our state,” he said.
-thestar online.

Borneo International Bird Race to take flight

The inaugural Borneo International Bird Race is due to take place in May and June across Brunei, Sabah and Sarawak, and has already confirmed participation from international bird enthusiasts.

Organised by Sandakan Borneo Bird Club with support from the respective tourism boards, the event will be launched on May 31 at Ulu Temburong National Park, Brunei.

The race will kick off on June 1 at Ulu Temburong, continue at Borneo Highlands Resort in Sarawak on June 4, Kinabalu Park in Sabah on June 6 and the Rainforest Discovery Centre Sandakan on June 8.

Participants must take part in the entire race and aim to identify the most number of species within 24 hours for each leg.

Organisers are expecting bird clubs from 10 countries to send three representatives each. Countries that have confirmed their participation so far are India, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines and Taiwan, said Roger Rajah, manager of AsiaMemories Brunei and organiser for the Brunei chapter of the race.

According to him, bird watchers from Malaysia and Brunei are forbidden from joining the race as they would have an unfair advantage.

Rajah added: “It is a good opportunity for inbound operators in Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei to package tours as participants tend to come with their families.”
-TTG Asia.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Leezer Gives Blanco Third Win In LTDL Debut

KUANTAN, Tuesday - A solo push inside the final five kilometres from a group of 16 initial breakaway riders gave Blanco Pro Cycling's Thomas Leezer a deserved victory in Stage 6, Le Tour de Langkawi 2013's longest stage from Mentakab to Kuantan today.

Leezer, 27, who hails from The Hague in the Netherlands and joined the Blanco team previously known as Rabobank in 2008, broke away from the lead group to cross the finish line alone in 4 hours 33 minutes and 42 seconds.

He finished 27 seconds ahead of South Korea's Jung Ji Min of KSPO and 35 seconds ahead of Michal Golas (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) while another breakaway member Jackson Rodriguez (Androni Giocattoli) barely managed to stay ahead of a surging peloton to win the bunch sprint for fourth place ahead of Astana's Andrea Guardini, the holder of the blue jersey for the points classification lead.

The result of the day did not affect the overall lead of Team Nippo-De Rosa's Julian David Arredondo of Colombia, while Hengxiang's Wang Meiyin's Asian riders' classification lead also remained intact.

Meiyin however regained the Genting red jersey as the leader of the mountains classification which he lost to Arredondo by a point on Monday;s Genting Highlands stage, after he managed to win the category 4 mountains hot spot in Sungai Piul.

Leezer's victory meant the Blanco team made it three victories so far in their LTdL debut, although the day started with news that their top sprinter Theo Bos had pulled out of the race after struggling with flu te past two days.

It was the Blanco team's 10th victory this season and a sweet one for Leezer who had onbly recently returned to competetive cycling after recovering from a broken shoulder and vertibrae suffered following a crash during a bunch sprint in a race in Belgium last year.

"I think I must have tried 30 or 40 times to breakaway during this stage and thanfully the last one was a good one. It was a different kind of experience, but a happy one.

"I'm very happy with this win, especially for our team. We have been racing really well as we all need to prove ourselves as we lost our main sponsor (Rabobank) last year, so this drives the team forward," said Leezer. "I'm also relieved with this win. Actually I thought I was lucky to be here to start this race, but now I've shown that I can also be competitive."

Today's stage, of which the final 50 kilometres were run under heavy torrential rain, saw multiple breakaaway attempts right from the beginning.

Malaysia's Anuar Manan of the Synergy-Baku Cycling Project moved up to second in the points classification behind Guardini after taking first place in the first intermediate sprint of the day then finishing 10th. "Today I tried to get points in intermediate sprint zones to add to my tally even though it was really hard as the peloton was really fast. After this all the mountains are gone, it is all flat. So I know this is when I have to start making it count and deliver a stage win," said Anuar.

Stage 7 tomorrow moves into Terengganu with a 146.5 kilometre route from Kuantan to Dungun, where the sprinters are expected to take centrestage.

The LTdL 2013, which carries the slogan "The Heat is On", will officially begin in Kangar on February 21 and the race comprises 10 stages, covering 1469.7 kilometres. The race is sanctioned by the International Cycling Union (UCI) as a 2.HC (hors category) race on the UCI Asia Tour calendar, organised by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, via the National Sports Council (NSC) in association with the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF).