Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Grand Lexis gets five-star rating

The team at the hotel gearing up to deliver their best.

PORT DICKSON: The Grand Lexis Hotel, here, recently received a five-star rating by the Ministry of Tourism, Malaysia.

Grand Lexis Hotel general manager, Chan Hon Ming, said he was grateful to lead such an amazing team. "They are so committed and are working towards achieving the hotel's vision of becoming the preferred five-star resort in Malaysia.
"This rating is a testimony of our continued commitment to provide guests with excellent service," said Chan. He also said that the employees were positive that they would be able to maintain the standard of service required of a five-star hotel.
"Moreover, we are dedicated to providing services that exceed the expectations of all our guests. "This five-star accolade given by the ministry will definitely motivate our staff in providing our guests with the best," he added.
The Grand Lexis Port Dickson is designed with poolside patios, several public walkways, outdoor gardens and sun lounges. Soak in the luxury of a private pool and be mesmerised with its indoor garden and a spatial open air shower.
The hotel features 317 Balinese-inspired villas linked by spacious boardwalks. The villas also feature a large LCD television screen with a DVD player, deluxe coffee and tea-making facilities, mini bar, microwave oven, cutlery and crockery.
There are also four restaurants serving a wide range of delicacies, both local and international. Duyung Restaurant features all-day dining serving a wide range of local and international cuisine.
At night, there is the Lanun Bar to look forward to where one can enjoy a live band. For a taste of something oriental, try the Genn Japanese Restaurant, a Japanese eatery which serves favourites from the land of the rising sun. For some rest and relaxation check out the Sompoton Spa.
-nst online.


Malaysia Airlines Awarded Silver at Putra Brand Awards

Malaysia Airlines’ Group Chief Executive Officer, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya together with Malaysia Airlines cabin crew and Mr. Khoo Kar Khoon, President, Malaysian Advertisers Association (far left) and Mr. Ranganathan Somanathan, President, Media Specialists Association (far right)

Subang, 30 April 2013: Malaysia Airlines clinched Silver for the Transportation, Travel & Tourism category at the Putra Brand Awards 2013. Malaysia Airlines’ Group Chief Executive Officer, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya received the recognitions at the award presentation gala dinner which was graced by YBhg Datuk Dr. Wong Lai Sum, Chief Executive Officer of Matrade.
In describing the win, Ahmad Jauhari said, “The Malaysia Airlines brand has been developed for over 40 years. Times have changed, and so too has our brand. In 2012, Malaysia Airlines brand was refreshed to give our guests an improved level of products and service delivery.”
“Let Malaysia Airlines of today be the people’s choice amongst many; the preferred choice for premium air travel. We believe journeys are made by the people you travel with. May Malaysia Airlines fulfill that aspiration to make our guests’ journeys special”, added Ahmad Jauhari.
“It is also important to mention the efforts put in by the employees of Malaysia Airlines for their consistent and exemplary service delivery to uphold Malaysia Airlines’ brand promise to customers. The top management is humbled by the dedication and sincerity of each and every employee of Malaysia Airlines. We are committed to continue creating a fun and comfortable work-place for them”, he added.
Ahmad Jauhari also said, “Malaysia Airlines is one of Malaysia's biggest employers. The national carrier has managed to garner a group of employees who are not only excellent in what they do but are also dedicated to their jobs and the company. It is not difficult to find employees who started and retired with Malaysia Airlines. Such dedication is rare”, he further added.
The annual Putra Brand Awards, organized by The Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Malaysia (4As), is a brand valuation recognition measured by consumer preference. It serves as a yardstick for acknowledging top-tier Malaysian brands across multiple categories.
Winners are decided based on results from a rigorous research methodology, through an online poll survey of approximately 6,000 consumers nationwide, to determine Malaysia’s favourite brands in 18 categories. The most preferred brands in each category are awarded a Gold, Silver or Bronze.
The Putra Brand Awards are the largest consumer-based sampling of its kind in Malaysia, measuring brands through four key attributes: growth, relevance, confidence and differentiation where Malaysian consumers themselves are the judges.
-Malaysia Airlines.

Monday, 29 April 2013

KLIA edges out Tokyo Haneda to take top spot

PETALING JAYA (April 29, 2013)The KL International Airport in Sepang (KLIA) edged out Tokyo International Airport (Haneda) to take the World's Best Airport Immigration Service in this year's Skytrax World Airport Award, held in conjunction with Passenger Terminal EXPO in Geneva recently.
This is the second time KLIA has won the award. It first clinched the title in 2011, but then fell into second place last year after loss to Tokyo Haneda. KLIA took home the Best Airport Staff Asia Award in 2012.
"KLIA has been consistently voted the best for the staff service excellence since 2010, and this is the second win for KLIA in the World's Best Airport Immigration Service (category)," said Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) senior general manager of operations services, Datuk Azmi Murad in a statement today. MAHB manages and operates 39 airports in the country, including KLIA.
Azmi attributed the achievement to the Immigration Department for helping to further enhanced KLIA's reputation.
Skytrax CEO Edward Plaisted, meanwhile, guaranteed that the Skytrax World Airport Awards are totally free of any commercial influence or bias, and no airport in the study can exert any influence on the results.
"Airports do not pay to be included in this global study, and the awards are respected and recognised as the most prestigious accolades for the world airport industry," he said in the same statement.
The results were based on 12 million passenger surveys completed in a 10-month survey period, covering over 388 airports. The survey evaluates the total passenger experience across 39 airport service and product features, from arrival at an airport, through transit and departure processes to the boarding gate.
The World Airport Awards are the global benchmark of airport excellence, known as the Passenger's Choice Awards.
The World Airport Survey is the world's largest, annual airport passenger satisfaction survey. It analyses the airport experience for departure, arrival and transit, including terminal facilities, comfort and cleanliness, security and immigration services, signage and directions, shopping and dining standards, staff service quality and much more. The survey is held in highest esteem for its impartiality and independence, and is regarded as the global benchmark of airport excellence and quality ranking.

Oneworld factor lifts MAS passenger load 3.5% in Q1

MAS group CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya with the oneworld alliance logo.MAS group CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya with the oneworld alliance logo.
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airlines' (MAS) entry into the oneworld alliance, among other factors, has lifted loads, although not drastically. The airline saw a 3.5% rise in passenger loads for the first three months of 2013 to 76.6% from the 73% recorded a year ago.
It also saw a 16.5% rise in revenue passenger km (RPK) over the said quarter as opposed to the same period last year. RPK is the average amount an airline makes for flying a paying passenger over a distance of one km.
For the same quarter, it carried a total of 3.6 million passengers, compared to 3.1 million in the same period a year ago, although lower than the 3.7 million it carried in the fourth quarter of 2012. Traditionally, the first quarter is not as strong as the fourth quarter.
“We are glad that our passenger growth in terms of RPK in the first quarter of this year is 16.5% higher than last year, and (attributed) by a combination of factors, and not necessarily a direct result of MAS' oneworld entry,” the airline said in a reply to StarBiz's queries.
MAS became a member of oneworld in February, giving it access to its member network and making it easier for its travellers to fly to parts of the world where it does not serve directly. Its passenger loads in January 2013 was 73.9% , 76.9% in February, followed by 78.9% in March. Having crunched MAS' operating statistics, RHB Research said operating statistics had improved significantly, with the overall load factor increasing to 74.0% from the 70.9% recorded in the first quarter of 2012.
“We maintain our stance that MAS' turnaround could materialise on the back of strong passenger feeds from the oneworld alliance that may eventually improve its yield and load factor. The rationalisation of routes is showing positive results and the effective cost control may eventually improve MAS' profit margin,” the research house said.
It added that it was maintaining its “buy” call on the stock, with a target price of RM1.
Out of the 13 research houses tracking the stock as per Bloombergdata, four have a “buy” call, two a “hold” call and seven a “sell” call on the stock. MAS' shares closed unchanged at 70 sen on Friday.
MAS said there had been an increase in interline and code-share traffic upon joining oneworld, and that it had also seen a significant number of oneworld frequent flyer programme members using its network. It is leveraging on its partner networks to have greater access to Europe, China and North America.
MAS said it expected “a substantial increase in revenue from more strategic partnerships that would increase passenger flow and interline cost savings. By leveraging on partner networks, MAS would have greater access to Europe, China and North America.”
With such numbers, it is no surprise then if it was looking to expand its list of code-share partners. The airline is in talks at present with British Airways (BA), Latam Airlines, Qatar Airways and Sri Lankan Air.
Even Air France, which arrived in Malaysia last Tuesday, is looking to co-operate with it to expand into Asia. Last week, Air France chairman and chief executive officer Alexandre de Juniac met up with the MAS top management to explore co-operation with the airline, since both the carriers now ply the KL-Paris route. MAS has deployed its A380 aircraft for its daily flights to Paris, while Air France is using its B777 for its thrice-weekly flights.
When asked what came out of the meeting with De Juniac, MAS groupCEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said “the meeting was cordial. We discussed several areas of co-operation. Details are still being worked out”. “They are already helping us in the A380 component support area and are now looking at possible code-share opportunities,” he revealed, declining to elaborate.
Whether the code-share is for the KL-Paris route is unclear, but what Air France also needs is connectivity to Australia, since it no longer has a code-share with Qantas from Singapore to the Australian cities.
MAS stands a good chance of hammering out a deal that could include domestic travel, Asia and also Australian cities. If that happens, experts feel MAS would be carrying more traffic in the future. Both BA and Air France had code-share arrangements with Qantas in the past but all that came to an end after the Australian carrier entered into a partnership with Emirates. MAS is already talking to BA for a possible code-share.
Airline alliances help create a global network that can be used by airlines and air travellers alike. It helps airlines save cost in the areas of operations, maintenance, investments and purchases, while travellers have an option in departure times, availability of flights to a greater number of destinations, reduced travel time and various special offers.
A code-share, meanwhile, is where two or more airlines share the same flight to save cost. Under code-share arrangements, airlines can sell the seats, as they are operating the same route. Such arrangements allow greater access to cities through partner networks without having to offer extra flights. Among oneworld members are Qantas, BA, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, airberlin, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, Royal Jordanian and S7 Airlines.
-thestar online.

Malindo Air eyes network growth in India, China

Malindo Air will roll out more destinations in India following the launch of its first international route between Kuala Lumpur and New Delhi in June.

CEO, Chandran Ramamuthy, told TTG Asia that the airline would commence flights between Kuala Lumpur and Bengaluru, Chennai and Kolkata in the second half of 2013, subject to regulatory approval. He added: “We see India is a big and growing market. In terms of tourism arrivals, it is the second largest medium-haul market after China.”

Besides ramping up seat capacity, Malindo Air’s new Indian services might pave the way for lower airfares and new outbound destinations for Indian tourists, said Grandlotus Travel Agencies managing director, K Thangavelu.

“With Malindo Air’s new services and its affiliations with Lion Air, we can also look at twinning Malaysia with Indonesia. Indonesia is a new destination for the Indian market, but I think (products) with Hindu and Buddhist influences such as Bali and the Borobudur will appeal to them.”

After India, China will be the next country on Malindo’s expansion radar, with Beijing and Shanghai targeted as the first two points, according to Chandran. Malindo Air and sister carrier Lion Air will move their bases to KLIA2 once the new airport becomes operational, including baggage check-through services, he revealed.
-TTG Asia.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

PATA joins hands with academia to unveil APAC's visitor outlook

PATA has come together with Hong Kong Polytechnic University's (PolyU) School of Hotel and Tourism Management (SHTM) to release a joint publication, Asia Pacific Visitor Forecasts 2013-2017, which, according to the collaborators, will help tourism practitioners anticipate future trends of the visitor economy.

Published annually with a quarterly breakdown, the Asia Pacific Visitor Forecasts 2013-2017 will offer information on visitor arrivals from key source markets to 41 destinations in Asia-Pacific, as well as visitor expenditures and departures of these PATA member economies.

Covering a five-year horizon (up from three), the forecasts also include price elasticity variables for a majority of the destinations.

According to Kaye Chon, dean of SHTM at PolyU, the forecasts will help tourism planners and operators strategise their long-term decision and policy making by predicting arrivals, tourism receipts and departures according to country/region of origins.

Added Haiyen Song, associate dean (research) and chair professor, SHTM, PolyU, who is heading the forecast unit: “Airlines, for example, can use these forecasts to predict traffic flows from different source markets, which plus their own data, can provide a general trend (of the industry). Travel (consultants) can use these data to look out for potential markets.”

PATA CEO, Martin Craigs, said: “The scope and quality of the forecasts will add value to our many different members across 17 time zones and many different functional groups.”

Song also presented forecast highlights at the PATA media briefing yesterday. He pointed out that visitor arrivals to Asia-Pacific will continue to grow with an average annual growth rate of 4.1 per cent from 2013-2017 and reach 581 million by 2017. North-east Asia will maintain a dominant position in the region’s inbound market, with its market share expected to reach 53.5 per cent by 2017.

China is predicted to remain the top inbound destination in Asia-Pacific, peaking at 147.4 million visitors in 2017, while its outbound traffic to the region will exceed 100 million by 2015.

The Asia Pacific Visitor Forecasts 2013-2017 will be available to government members and premier partners of PATA through the PATAmPower insights tool. Other members may purchase the forecasts, while customised versions are available upon request for an additional fee.
-TTG Asia.

Around The World Concert with Mizz Nina Malaysian pop singer hits the stage with Jay Park, Teh Tarik Crew and Noh Salleh

Kuala Lumpur, April 2013 - Mizz Nina once again reserves her rightful place in the lofty echelons of Malaysia’s pop music universe as she settles into a familiar role-one she loves doing and is exceptionally good at: performing onstage. After close to three years since her debut into mainstream pop in 2010, Mizz Nina is giving back to her fans and long-time supporters with a concert showcasing her past and present repertoire.

Fresh from recording and shooting the video for her new single ‘Around The World’-an explosive collaboration with K-pop phenom Jay Park-one of Malaysia’s most hardworking pop stars has finally set the date for her first-ever major concert. Held at KL Live on 18 May, the one-hour show promises to be a sensational affair for fans of pop, R&B, hip hop and dance music, complemented with a top-notch live band. Besides appearances with special guests Jay Park and husband Noh Salleh (of indie band Hujan), Mizz Nina will be sharing the stage with the original members of Teh Tarik Crew, the group that saw her break into the Malaysian music scene in 1999 as a rapper. It’s a nostalgic return to form for Mizz Nina as well as members Altimet, Fiquetional and DJ Fuzz, who have come a long way since, and going by TTC’s comeback performance at the Raising The Bar Festival in January, it will be nothing short of evocative.

Contributing to the production of this live music spectacular is the concert’s creative director Raja Malek, music director Genervie Kam and head choreographer Marcus Tucker. Raja Malek has served as production designer for such musicals as Puteri Gunung Ledang and The Secret Life of Nora, and currently assumes the role of creative director for many of Sheila Majid’s projects. Genervie Kam is a multi-award winner and one of KL’s most coveted music directors. She is also an internationally established violinist, pianist, arranger and composer, and has been involved in numerous projects that include the Anugerah Juara Lagu and working with artists like Faizal Tahir. New Jersey-born choreographer Marcus Tucker has been the man behind those slick dance moves performed by Mizz Nina and her Z Team. He was a member of the UK’s #1 b-boy and freestyle dance crew Funkstylerz UK and has worked with huge stars like Nas, Nick Cannon and Pixie Lott. He’s also delved into theatre as a director, choreographer and performer; and is often invited to judge dance competitions around the world, including Malaysia’s So You Think You Can Dance andAstro Battleground.

“I’m very excited about the team that I’m working with,” says Mizz Nina, who felt it was the right time to hold her own concert now that she had two albums’ worth of material. “They have all been chosen for their production and creative abilities, and I really can’t wait to see everything that we’ve been planning come to life.”

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Malaysia Airlines, Firefly and MASwings Contribute RM638,555 to Tabung Wira Lahad Datu Media Prima

Petaling Jaya, 24 April 2013 : Malaysia Airlines and its wholly owned subsidiaries Firefly and MASwings today announced a total contribution of RM638,555 towards the Tabung Wira Lahad Datu Media Prima established to commemorate the services of security personnel who were injured and perished in line of duty defending the sovereignty of Malaysia.
At the cheque presentation ceremony today, Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Head of Strategic Communications Dato’ Najmuddin Abdullah expressed the company’s appreciation to the security forces who had sacrificed their lives in protecting the nation’s sovereignty. “The whole of Malaysia was affected and deeply saddened by the militant intrusion in Lahad Datu. As a responsible corporate citizen, Malaysia Airlines felt compelled to contribute towards this fund which will be directed to families of the fallen heroes as well as injured security personnel. This also symbolises our overall commitment in supporting the government’s efforts in maintaining safety across our borders.”
The East Sabah region has some of the world’s best eco-tourist attractions that are very popular amongst foreigners. There are also many support industries vital for both foreign tourist arrivals and improving the livelihood of our locals. Like all Malaysians, we are relieved that the battle with the intruders has come to an end and the affected areas have been declared safe,” added Dato’ Najmuddin.
The national airline serves the East Sabah region with direct B737 flights between Kuala Lumpur and the cities of Sandakan and Tawau, while its subsidiary MASwings’ ATR-72 flights link the Sabah caiptal of Kota Kinabalu with Lahad Datu, Sandakan and Tawau.
Besides that, Malaysia Airlines also flies to Kota Kinabalu from Kuala Lumpur, 89 times weekly and from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching, 77 times weekly.
-Malaysia Airlines.

Mother's Day High Tea @ Seri Pacific Kuala Lumpur


Air France to expand in Asia, returns to Malaysia after 25 years

Air France’s B777 touching down in KLIA on Tuesday for the first time after 20 years to a wet welcome.Air France’s B777 touching down in KLIA on Tuesday for the first time after 20 years to a wet welcome.
It is no secret that the action in the airline industry is taking place in Asia. By just looking at passenger growth rates in Asia, it is clear that Asian airlines are doing relatively better than their global peers.
Population growth in Asia is the highest and so is economic growth. Furthermore, businesses in Asia are booming and hence the attraction for global airlines to get a slice of that action. It is therefore no coincidence that Air France decided to take a bite at the pie when it landed on Malaysian soil on Tuesday after a 20-year absence.
For a start, Air France will begin with three weekly flights into Malaysia and may increase them should the demand rise. It may even change from the B777 that it now operates to a A380, which is what Malaysia Airlines (MAS) deploys on the KL-Paris route.
“There is big potential for us here. We are targeting Malaysian tourists and businessmen to use our aircraft and we are pretty optimistic about that, otherwise we would not have opened the route, considering that we also have daily flights to Bangkok and Singapore,” Air France chairman and chief executive officer Alexandre de Juniac tells StarBizWeek.
He is looking at loads of over 80% for his three weekly flights and that is what MAS is enjoying with its A380. That load is also shared by Air France's sister airline KLM on its KL-Amsterdam flights. Air France is not alone in returning to Malaysia. Just two days ago, Turkish Airlines returned after a decade's absence. Turkish Airlines will fly three times weekly between Istanbul and Kuala Lumpur. And in a week's time, Philippine Airlines too will return after a decade's absence.
The move by Philippine Airlines indicates that they too want to partake in the vibrancy of Asia and the sentiment is not lost on British Airways which is rumoured to be returning to KL International Airport before 2015. “Nowadays the Asean area with Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore represent a major opportunity for businesses, so we need to cover more,'' he says.
The rising affluence
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says demand for air travel continues to rise on economic optimism and improved business confidence. Much of the growth is concentrated in emerging markets especially in Asia. Europe continues to be a laggard.
Air France chairman and chief executive officer Alexandre de Juniac.Air France chairman and chief executive officer Alexandre de Juniac.
IATA estimates that by 2014, Asia Pacific will account for 30% of all passengers, followed by North America at 23%. Of the 800 million new passengers who will fly by then, 360 million of them, or almost half, will be in Asia Pacific. China alone will account for 214 million passengers.
Asia is now the unchallenged leader in aviation, with 787 million journeys last year and if the present rate of increase continues, the one-billion passenger figure will be overtaken in 2015, said another report.
That explains why Europe's biggest airlines are reassessing their long-haul alliances, particularly in Asia as a growing number of emerging-market carriers are fighting hard to take a bigger share of Europe-Asia traffic. De Juniac was candid when he said: “We are here for the margins and traffic.”
But it is not just Asia, even the Asia Pacific region offers plenty of opportunities, especially for low-cost carriers and Asian airlines. Route connectivity is not as dense as Europe as there are many points in Asia and Australia which are not covered.
Demand for flights even drove Singapore Airlines (SIA) to increase its stake in Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd this week and Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airway bought into India's Jet Airways. The deal by SIA will intensify its challenge in the Australian market against dominant carrier Qantas Airways, whose new partner is Emirates, said a report.
Pricing pressure
With Air France and Turkish Airlines coming to Malaysia, the number of seats in the European sector will shoot up. Though the number of travellers will increase, so will competition.
MAS is already flying to five points in Europe London, Amsterdam, Paris, Istanbul and Frankfurt. Four European carriers, namely Air France, KLM, Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa offer connections into multiple cities in Europe from Asia.
Besides that, the Middle-East carriers are aggressively marketing European routes via a Middle East stop. Emirates is hugely popular in Australia as many like the 30kg baggage offer even though it means sitting in Dubai airport for up to four hours to catch a connecting flight into Heathrow in UK.
As at 2011, KL, Singapore and Bangkok offered 15 million seats to Europe and back, and last year the numbers fell to 14.2 million, and they are lower at 14 million this year. In contrast the seats offered by the Middle Eastern carriers to Europe is on the rise, from 8 million in 2011 to 9.5 million in 2013. Lesser seats are offered by carriers out of Singapore and Bangkok to Europe but the seats offered from KL have increased from 1.8 million in 2011 to 1.9 million in 2013.
CAPA Centre for Aviation analyst Brendan Sobie believes the arrival of Air France is good for KLIA. It boosts competition to Europe, which is positive after AirAsia X dropped Europe including Paris last year. But that also means more competition for MAS. Competition will intensify for the airlines as they vie for the customers even though the pie is getting bigger as more Asians take to the skies.
Competition is already intensifying when it comes to ticket prices. A return all inclusive airfare to London is between RM3,000 and RM4,000 but some airlines offer tickets at RM2,800 depending on the season. Air France is offering an all-in fare of RM3,626 for a standard economy round-trip from KL to Paris and RM11,333 for business class. It also offers premium economy seats (the in-between business and economy) at RM5,777.
An air hostess at the first class seat.An air hostess at the first class seat.
With competition comes pricing pressure and being full service carriers, the airlines need to meet the high expectation of travellers. That is despite Visa's latest Global Travel Intentions Study 2013 that showed global cross-border tourism is thriving and people are more willing to increase their budgets for their next trip by an average of 5%.
European carriers have been facing tough times back home and margins are thinning because of the eurozone crisis and they are jockeying for positions to grab a bigger share of the fast-growing Asian market.
Given that competition can get fierce in Asia with pricing pressure, can these European carriers sustain the momentum? De Juniac is taking a page from KLM's success story of being able to sustain in Asia for several decades now. He believes Air France is a “high class” product where quality matters and it will be able to attract travellers both from Europe and Asia.
“We will open additional Asian destinations and the reasons why we are targeting this part of the world is because of the strong growth here compared with the eurozone which is slow and lagging. It could recover but for the long haul we have to target the fast-growing areas,” De Juniac says.
KLM flies to KL and also flies to Indonesia because of its historical ties and Air France will use the KLM's KL-Jakarta connectivity as it penetrates Asia. CAPA's Sobie believes “the connections to Indonesia will be key in making the route (KL-Paris) work for Air France.”
For players like Air France to make it big in Asia, they need partners. De Juniac is thinking of working with partners in Asia, and China, including MAS. During his visit, he met up with the top brass at MAS for exploratory talks on cooperation.
Alliances are important for long haul carriers. A major shift occurred in the industry when Australia's Qantas partnered Emirates. That ended Qantas' relationship with Air France and BA.
Both now need to find new partners to connect to Australia because Qantas cannot do that any more from Singapore. BA has found Cathay Pacific but experts believes a viable proposition is via Singapore or Malaysia. Hence the talks between MAS and Air France. What will come out of it is unclear as both are members of different alliances. MAS is with oneworld and Air France SkyTeam. But De Juniac believes there can be a way.
Air France’s economy class seatingAir France’s economy class seating
“Of course, the difficulty at this stage is that it (MAS) belongs to oneworld and we belong to SkyTeam, which are competing alliances. But it is not impossible that we could envisage something. It could be possible if MAS asks its other oneworld members and any arrangement could be limited to a particular route, destination or traffic,'' De Juniac says.
Perhaps the cooperation could be beyond the KL-Paris route to include Australian and the Asian connections. Even BA needs that connection into Australia and greater Asia, experts believe. MAS is in talks with BA for a code share.
The big brands
One major beneficiary from new flights coming into KL is the tourism sector. According to Tourism Malaysia director (international marketing division Americas, Europe, Oceania) Datin Normasila Musa, tourist arrivals from Paris alone totalled 136,172 last year and the target is over 140,000 French tourists this year.
That means there are more arrivals at KLIA, and one immediate beneficiary will be Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB). Hopefully with Air France. Turkish Airlines and Philippine Airlines returning, other big airlines will also be attracted to KLIA.
More than a decade ago BA, Qantas and Lufthansa left because of the economic crisis. The latter returned some years ago and MAHB has been in talks with BA. BA may return, some say, but is there a compelling reason for its return or can it just make do with the code share with MAS?
Passenger arrivals will help boost tourist receipts and the airport. A decade ago, it was hard to justify KLIA as a hub in Asia. That is changing with the return of more big brands.
Last year, KLIA was the 27th busiest airport globally, recording 39 million passenger arrivals, according to Airport Council International (ACI) data. Experts believe it should go up a few notches over the next two years and should be in the top 20 by 2020. But it would be hard to beat the growth Soekarno Hatta records as last year, 57 million passengers passed through the airport in Jakarta, beating Changi which chalked up 51 million and Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi 53 million. A decade ago, both Jakarta and KLIA was not even on the ACI charts.
All this indicates the growth is in KLIA and Soekarno Hatta and Malaysia's vibrant economy led by the economic transformation programme is also seeing a lot more foreign investors coming and setting shop in the country.
With more investments, the expatriate community will also increase and it also induces tourism activities. Just this week Germany's BASF andPetronas Chemicals Bhd say they will invest US$500mil (RM1.5bil) to expand their operations at Gebeng, Kuantan to manufacture products for the global flavour and fragrance industry.
All this bodes well for Malaysia, which is moving in the right direction. If the European carriers want a slice of this market, they need to be in Asia and Malaysia stands to benefit from that.
-thestar online.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Malaysia Wins Several Accolades At The Travel + Leisure South Asia’s India’s Best Awards 2012

MUMBAI, 26 APRIL 2013 – Malaysia has once again proven itself as a leading tourist destination in the region by winning several accolades at Travel + Leisure India and South Asia’s India’s Best Awards 2012. The Felicitation and Awards ceremony took place at the Taj Lands End in Mumbai on 23 April 2013.

Malaysia won the award for Best Green Destination (World) while Langkawi was awarded the Best Honeymoon Destination (World). The Kuala Lumpur International Airport received the award for Best Airport (World), Runner-Up. Other categories in the awards include best emerging destination, best cruise, best business hotel, best airport, best luxury train, and best spa and honeymoon destination.

Travel + Leisure is a premier travel and lifestyle magazine based in New York, with a readership totalling to 4.8 million. It has been conducting the iconic World’s Best Awards for over 12 years, and after five successful years in the South Asian region, Travel + Leisure India & South Asia launched the first India’s Best Awards in 2011, and again in 2012.

The awards come as a proud addition to a string of other accolades that Malaysia garnered recently. Last year, Kuala Lumpur was ranked the second best shopping destination in Asia Pacific by Globe Shopper Index, while CNN listed it as the 4th best shopping city in the world.

Earlier this year, a survey carried out by Crescentrating, a Singapore-based Muslim travel consultancy, placed Malaysia as the top Muslim-friendly holiday destination, ahead of Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.

This is a good indicator of Malaysia’s booming tourism industry, which has seen a steady growth in terms of tourist arrivals and receipts over the last decade. Last year, its tourist arrivals rose to 25 million, registering a growth of 1.3%, while its tourist receipts climbed to RM60.6 billion, which was an increase of 3.8%.

MALAYSIA TOURISM PROMOTION BOARD OR TOURISM MALAYSIA is an agency under the Ministry of Tourism, Malaysia. While the Ministry of Tourism implements tourism policies, conducts studies and offers incentives for industry players, Tourism Malaysia focuses on the specific task of promoting Malaysia at the domestic and international level. Driven by its aspiration to promote Malaysia as a destination of excellence in this region, Tourism Malaysia has grown by leaps and bounds since its inception and has emerged as a major player in the nation’s socio-economic landscape. In 2012, Malaysia registered 25 million tourist arrivals and RM60.6 billion in tourist receipts.

In 2014, Malaysia will celebrate its fourth VISIT MALAYSIA YEAR (VMY) with the theme “Celebrating 1Malaysia Truly Asia”. The VMY 2014 promotional campaign has started this year with a series of year-long special events and activities leading to VMY 2014. It will contribute to the Government’s target to receive 36 million tourist arrivals and RM168 billion in receipts by 2020, as outlined in the Malaysia Tourism Transformation Plan (MTTP) 2020.

-Tourism Malaysia.