Saturday, August 31, 2013

Menikmati cahaya kunang-kunang


Pelancong akan dibawa menyelusuri Sungai Johor sejauh lima kilometer yang mengambil masa kira-kira 45 minit bagi melihat kunang-kunang di sepanjang laluan itu.

Menyusuri Sungai Johor di Kota Tinggi, Johor pastinya akan memberikan satu pengalaman yang cukup menarik terutama kepada mereka yang ingin mencari kedamaian pada waktu malam.

Pengalaman itu adalah bertemankan limpahan cahaya yang dikeluarkan oleh sejenis serangga yang menjadi penghuni tetap di sungai berkenaan.
Suasana gelap-gelita di sungai ini yang disinari dengan cahaya kunang-kunang pasti akan meninggalkan nostalgia yang sukar dilupakan.

Kelibat serangga bercahaya ini boleh dilihat berterbangan di dahan-dahan pokok berembang yang tumbuh di sepanjang sungai berkenaan sepanjang malam sehinggalah waktu dinihari. Ribuan kunang-kunang lebih mudah didapati di kawasan tersebut terutama pada malam yang gelap tanpa cahaya bulan atau selepas hujan lebat memandangkan pada waktu itulah kunang-kunang aktif.

Lebih menarik apabila kunang-kunang jantan bergerak-gerak untuk menarik perhatian kunang-kunang betina, pokok-pokok pastinya akan kelihatan bercahaya ibarat lampu neon, dan pastinya ia menjadi perjalanan yang cukup romantik.

Keindahan fauna dan flora yang terdapat di sungai tersebut bukan sahaja dinikmati oleh penduduk tempatan, malah turut menarik perhatian pelancong dari luar negara antaranya dari Singapura, Taiwan dan China. Kebiasaannya, orang ramai yang ingin menikmati keindahan kunang-kunang di sungai ini akan menggunakan perkhidmatan bot yang disediakan oleh pengusaha pelancongan yang beroperasi di sungai berkenaan termasuklah Kota Tinggi Firefly Park.

Pengurus Kota Tinggi Firefly Park, Marco Lee, 32, berkata, sambutan orang ramai untuk melihat kunang-kunang di Sungai Johor bukanlah perkara baharu, malah ia semakin popular sejak beberapa tahun kebelakangan ini.

Katanya, pihaknya turut menjalinkan kerjasama dengan agensi-agensi pelancongan bagi memudahkan pelancong luar dan dalam negara menikmati keindahan fauna dan flora di sungai tersebut.

''Sejak dahulu lagi, Sungai Johor ini telah menjadi habitat kunang-kunang dan ia menjadi salah satu tarikan kepada orang ramai dan pelancong luar ke daerah Kota Tinggi. ''Perniagaan keluarga saya ini juga telah beroperasi sejak 12 tahun lalu dan sambutannya semakin bertambah sejak tiga tahun kebelakangan ini," katanya.

Menurut Marco, kebiasaannya bot milik syarikatnya yang boleh menampung antara 30 hingga 60 penumpang dalam satu masa akan menyelusuri sungai berkenaan sejauh lima kilometer atau kira-kira 45 minit.

Katanya, bayaran yang dikenakan kepada orang dewasa adalah RM18 seorang manakala kanak-kanak pula RM12 seorang, dan setiap penumpang akan disediakan jaket keselamatan. Orang ramai yang ingin mendapatkan perkhidmatan daripada Kota Tinggi Firefly Park boleh menghubungi talian 017-4607775.
-utusan online.

The National Open House - Aidilfitri Raya Merdeka 2013

MELAKA, 30 AUGUST 2013 – The National Open House – Aidilfitri Raya  Merdeka 2013,  was greeted with a variety of vibrant and colourful performances of the country’s rich traditions, heritage, culture and arts  at  the Stadium Hang Tuah here this evening.

The National Open House, organised by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and  the Melaka State Government, not only feted guests with a variety of local and traditional delicacies but also showcased to foreign tourists the resplendent traditions,  heritage, arts and culture of the Malays especially during the Hari Raya celebrations  besides displaying the strong harmonious spirit and national pride enjoyed by Malaysians throughout the  Merdeka celebrations.

Gracing the national-level occasion  were the Malaysian Prime Minister, YAB Datuk Seri Utama Mohd Najib Tun Haji Abdul Razak and his wife, YABhg Datin Seri Utama Rosmah Mansor; the Yang di-Pertua of Melaka, TYT Tun Datuk Seri Utama Mohd Khalil Yaakob and his wife, YABhg Toh Puan Datuk Zurina Kassim; the Chief Minister of Melaka, YAB Datuk Wira Ir. Hj. Idris bin Hj Haron and his wife, YABhg Datin Wira Hjh Fadilah Abdullah; and the Minister of Tourism and Culture, YB Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Tan Sri Abdul Aziz.

A total of 180 MegaFam participants from 14 countries namely, the United States of America, Australia, Mexico Italy, Germany, Turkey, UAE, Hong Kong, China, Bangladesh, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia and Thailand were present at The National Open House – Aidilfitri Raya Merdeka 2013.

Apart from the delicious spread of traditional delicacies and food in over 20 stalls, guests also had the opportunity to witness demonstration of traditional cooking of local delicacies including  dodol, rendang tok, ketupat as well display and sale of traditional cakes and cookies. Guests were also feted to several multi-cultural dances and performances especially native to Melaka including marhaban, rebana keras, buluh centung and jamung elektrik.

Among the popular celebrities and artistes who kept the crowds entertained were Ning Baizura, Jamal Abdillah, David Arumugam, Azlan and the Typewriter, Datuk Jalaluddin Hasan, Mia Sara and Anuar Zain. A live telecast of the National Open House was beamed nationwide by RTM from 9.15pm onwards.

The hosting of the National Open House is in line with the Prime Minister’s call to all Malaysians to make Visit Malaysia Year 2014 a national mission and a resounding success by helping ensure achievement of the targeted arrival of 28 million foreign visitors to the country.
-Tourism Malaysia.

Malindo to ply 2 new routes


PETALING JAYA: Malindo Air, after six months in operation and with nearly a dozen routes on its network, will begin plying the Jakarta and Bali routes next month.
It will be its maiden entry into Indonesia and will give Malaysians more connectivity to Jakarta and Bali, while Indonesians will get a new gateway into KL International Airport (KLIA) and the rest of the world.
This was also the plan when the hybrid airline, which offers premium amenities at budget prices, was set up, i.e., to give Indonesians a new transit hub via KLIA to the world. Lion Air now also has a new option of ferrying its passengers from all over Indonesia to KLIA and beyond via Malindo.
Malindo is 49% owned by PT Lion Grup, which owns Indonesia’s biggest domestic carrier, Lion Air. The balance 51% of Malindo is held by a Malaysian investor.
Malindo said it would fly daily from Kuala Lumpur to Jakarta beginning Sept 23 and from KL to Bali from Sept 26. The all-inclusive fares for the routes will start from RM159 to Jakarta and RM199 to Bali.
“Their entry into the KL-Jakarta and KL-Bali routes would put pressure on other airlines to dump fares, but bodes well for travellers. We are already seeing fares falling on some of the routes that Malindo is currently plying,” an expert said.
“Fares have dropped on the KL-Kota Kinabalu and KL-Kuching routes and also the KL-Dhaka route, and all this is because of competition,” the expert said.
Malindo chief executive officer Chandran Rama Muthy said in a statement that the flights were the latest addition to Malindo’s long-term plan to convert KLIA into a regional gateway, as the services between KL-Jakarta and KL-Bali would allow convenient connectivity for passengers on the Dhaka-KL service.
Malindo’s new Jakarta and Bali services further reinforce Kuala Lumpur’s position as an important Asian gateway. The airline will use the Boeing 737-900ER aircraft for the connectivity. Malindo currently plies 11 destinations via two hubs, KLIA and Subang Skypark. It plans to fly to 20 destinations by the year-end.
-thestar online.

Popular Lot 10 Hutong goes to China


Joyous moment: (From second left) Dr Ng, Chua, Michelle Yeoh, Francis Yeoh, Choo and Yan celebrating after the grand opening of Lot 10 Hutong in Guangzhou.
Joyous moment: (From second left) Dr Ng, Chua, Michelle Yeoh, Francis Yeoh, Choo and Yan celebrating after the grand opening of Lot 10 Hutong in Guangzhou.
GUANGZHOU: Some of Malaysia’s best-loved hawker food is now available in this southern city of China with the opening of Lot 10 Hutong by the YTL Group.
Located at the Tsai Lan City of Fusion Foods, within the Fuli Yingxin building, Lot 10 Hutong is the first international extension of the similarly-named hawker centre at the Lot 10 shopping centre in Kuala Lumpur.
The brainchild of YTL Group managing director Tan Sri Francis Yeoh, the outlet was launched on Thursday to much fanfare with Malaysian actress Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh and international shoe designer Datuk Jimmy Choo in attendance.
Also present were Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen, renowned Asian food writer and critic Chua Lam, celebrity chef and television host Martin Yan and city officials.
The outlet boasts of 19 types of hawker fare like Pin Qian Klang Bak Kut Teh, Imbi Road Original Pork Noodle, Soong Kee Beef Noodle, Hon Kee Porridge, Kim Lian Kee Hokkien Mee and Campbell Mini Popiah. They are among the 30 stalls that have been operating at the Lot 10 Hutong in Kuala Lumpur.
Francis Yeoh said Lot 10 Hutong represented a full circle in the historical and cultural ties between the communities in China and Malaysia.
“Many of our grandparents came from southern China, where they settled in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, or what we know as Nanyang.
“We were brought up on these comfort food, like my grandfather and father, when we were poor and struggling in Nanyang,” he said. “So, this food represents to me the Chinese culture of fortitude and perseverance,” Francis Yeoh said.
“Many of the stall owners now have three to five generations. With this simple fare, they fed millions of struggling Chinese in Nanyang for decades,” he said. For that reason, he described the humble food stall owners as “unsung heroes”.
He added that he hoped to bring the outlet to Chengdu where YTL owned the Renhe Spring Zongbei Department Store before venturing into Beijing, Tokyo, Paris and London.
-thestar online.

Malaysia's JAN-JUNE 2013 Tourist Arrivals Grow 7.9%


PUTRAJAYA, 30 August 2013: Tourist arrivals to Malaysia for the first half of 2013 continued to soar, registering a hike of 7.9%. The country received 12.6 million (12,552,731) tourists from January to June compared to 11.6 million (11,632,478) tourists for the same period last year. 

Correspondingly, tourist receipts rose by 16.3%, contributing RM31.18 billion to the country’s revenue against RM26.80 billion from January to June 2012.

The top 10 tourist generating markets to Malaysia from January to June 2013 were Singapore (6,295,567), Indonesia (1,242,055), China (943,756), Brunei (593,536), Thailand (581,683), India (348,309), the Philippines (277,378), Japan (250,293), Australia (250,123), and the United Kingdom (211,286).

The ASEAN region continued to be the largest contributor of tourist arrivals with 73.3% share (9.2 million) of the total arrivals. Cambodia registered the highest growth of 42.3%, followed by Myanmar (+19.9%), the Philippines (+16.5%), Indonesia (+12.1%), Vietnam (+10.3%), Singapore (+7.9%) and Brunei (+0.9%).

The establishment of new tourism products in Johor and the increase of flight frequencies from the ASEAN region played a major role in the growth of tourist arrivals from these markets.

Nevertheless, Thailand and Laos recorded a negative growth of 8.9% and 5.3% respectively. The drop in arrivals from Thailand was possibly due to the effect of unrest in the southern region and the competitive offers by airlines to other destinations like China, South Korea and Singapore, which were more appealing to the Thais.

The medium-haul markets contributed 19.6% or 2.5 million tourists to Malaysia’s total arrivals. China registered a double-digit growth of 24.5% and so did Taiwan (+22.5%), Japan (+15.9%), and Sri Lanka (+13%) while tourist arrivals from Australia increased by 3.1%. The upsurge of arrivals from China was due to the increase of AirAsia X and MAS flights from China and Hong Kong, as well as aggressive promotions by both wholesalers and airlines.

Nevertheless, a few markets recorded a decline in tourist arrivals namely Iran (-44.2%), New Zealand (-8.1%), India (-4.6%), UAE (-4%), South Korea (-3.6%) and Saudi Arabia (-2.7%).

The drop from the Middle East market was due to the shift in school holidays and the fasting month, as well as the competition from European destinations, which attracted many Middle Eastern travellers. However, the decline of arrivals from India was due to the depreciation of Indian Rupee compared to US Dollar in the last three months.

Tourist arrivals from the long-haul markets reached 890,000 in the first half of 2013, constituting 7.1% of the total arrivals to Malaysia.

The country’s success in attracting more tourists from the long-haul markets was due to the long winter season in Europe and better connectivity offered by a few airlines namely Turkish Airlines (Stockholm-Kuala Lumpur via Istanbul; 3 times weekly; beginning 25 Apr 2013), MAS (Kuala Lumpur-Paris by A380; starting 1 March 2013), and Air France/KLM (Paris-Kuala Lumpur; 3 times weekly; effective 23 March 2013).

Tourist arrivals from Sweden and Russia recorded a double-digit growth of 21.9% and 20.2% respectively, followed by France (+9.7%), Italy (+7.8%), United Kingdom (+7.4%), Germany (+6.5%), Canada (+6.5%), USA (+6.4%), Kazakhstan (+5.3%), and the Netherlands (+0.5%).

Only South Africa recorded a drop of 9.3%. The continuous decline of arrivals from South Africa was due to the decrease of the Rand exchange rate compared to the US Dollar.
-Tourism Malaysia.

‘MAKE IT MALAYSIA 2013’ Set To Boost Arrivals From South Asia Market


PUTRAJAYA, 30 AUGUST 2013 – A group of 70 travel agents from various parts of India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh have arrived in the country for the “Make It Malaysia 2013” programme organised by Tourism Malaysia.

The 6-day programme, beginning 29 August, is a platform to highlight the latest development on Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2014. In line with VMY 2014, the programme encourages more tour operators in South Asia markets to promote the special events planned for the celebration.

The programme showcases new tourism products and encourages travel agents to diversify Malaysia tourism products by combining the new and existing tour packages to Malaysia. It aims to position Malaysia as a top-of-mind tourist destination for the South Asia countries.

“Make It Malaysia 2013” is comprised of tours and product updates, a product presentation, and a travel mart. 

The participants, from Bangalore, Bombay, Delhi, Hyderabad, Madras, Colombo, Kathmandu and Dhaka, are scheduled to visit various tourist spots in Melaka and Johor such as Mini Malaysia, Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum, Johor Premium Outlets, Legoland and Puteri Harbour Family Theme Park.

The participants will attend a product presentation and travel mart on 2 September at Puteri Pacific Johor Bahru Hotel. They will get to know more about VMY 2014 through a presentation by the VMY secretariat. In addition, they will also listen to a few presentations by Johor Tourism, Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) and Puteri Pacific Hotel. It will be followed by a travel mart and business networking session between South Asia travel agents and Malaysian travel trade members.

On 30 August the participants will attend the National Open House – Aidilfitri Raya Merdeka 2013 at Stadium Hang Tuah, jointly organised by Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia and the Melaka State Government.

“Make It Malaysia 2013” South Asia Travel Mart is supported by Malaysia Airlines, Tourism Malaysia Melaka, Johor Tourism, Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA), Holiday Inn Hotel, Puteri Pacific Hotel, Lotus Desaru Beach Resort, Legoland, Puteri Harbour Family Theme Park and Kidzania Kuala Lumpur.

South Asia region is a very important market to Malaysia with huge potential that has yet to be explored. It contributed a significant number of tourist arrivals to Malaysia since 2008. In 2012, India was one of the top ten tourist generating markets to Malaysia, registering 691,271 tourists.

Nepal and Sri Lanka are emerging markets that have shown significant increase in tourist arrivals. Last year, a total of 123,173 Nepalese tourists came to Malaysia while tourist arrivals for Sri Lanka are 62,821. This year, Malaysia aims to attract 1,030,000 tourists from South Asia markets while the target for next year is 1,060,000.
-Tourism Malaysia.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Google Street View comes to Malaysia … finally


L-R: Tourism Malaysia director general Mirza Mohammed Taiyab; MY SV Ops lead Nhazlisham Hamdan and Google Malaysia country manager Sajith Sivanandan at the launch of Google’s Street View feature in Malaysia.


GOOGLE has finally launched its much-awaited Street View feature in Malaysia, all of six years after its inception, beginning with the publication of 18 privately-owned places of interest in the capital of Kuala Lumpur.

Speaking to the media yesterday (Aug 28), Sajith Sivanandan, country manager of Google Malaysia, said some examples of the 18 iconic sites include Taman Tasik Titiwangsa, Batu Caves Sri Subramaniam Temple, Masjid Sultan Sallahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah and the Penang War Musuem.

He said that with the launch of Street View in Malaysia, Google will also begin collecting 360-degree panoramic street-level and road imagery taken from public spaces, starting with Kuala Lumpur.

Google Street View allows people to virtually explore and navigate a neighbourhood on Google Maps by giving them the ability to view an all-round panoramic street-level snapshot of surrounding areas within Google Maps.

Images are collected using a variety of ways, including the Street View Car, a specialised car mounted with cameras (pic above); the Street View tricycle, a bicycle mounted with cameras; the Street View Trolley, a pushcart camera system; and the Street View Trekker (pic below), a backpack-mounted camera system used by a person to capture pedestrian images.

Sajith said that the Street View system captures GPS (Global Positioning Satellite), speed and direction information aside from image data.
 
Once these pictures are taken, Google will stitch the pictures together, apply image-processing algorithms to smoothen them and to create a complete picture of the views captured before uploading onto Google Maps for viewing, he added.

The feature first appeared in the Google’s online mapping software in the United States in 2007. Since then, Street View has been made available in more than 50 countries and in more than 60 languages, according to the search giant.

Queried as to why it took more than six years for Street View to finally be available in Malaysia, given that neighbouring Singapore has had this feature since 2009 and Thailand last year, Sajith did not reply directly, noting only this was “a glass-half empty view to take.”

“I like to look at it this way: In six years, it’s incredible that we covered 50 countries and counting,” he said. “There is a lot of computational work that goes into Street View and we’ve literally driven millions of miles to be able to do this.

“You could also argue that we’ve gotten better and better at it since we’ve started -- so frankly, when we come to Malaysia in 2013, we’re getting the best learning we’ve collected over the last six years.”

Pressed further as to whether there is a rollout plan to which Google adheres, Sajith acknowledged there was, but declined to elaborate, noting only that for Google, “it’s really about being able to do this wherever it can and as quickly as possible.”

“Our mission is to organise the world’s information and to make it universally accessible and useful,” he said. “So from our perspective, we want to do this wherever it’s possible and wherever it’s allowed.”

On when the capturing of street-level images will be completed for Malaysia, Sajith said there is no fixed timetable for Google to complete this, as this exercise will be an ongoing process.

He also declined to state how many teams were on ground to capture images or what is the manpower needed to fulfil such a labour-intensive task.

“We have a few cars at the moment and it’s hard for us to tell if we can complete this by such and such a time,” he said. “It takes us a few months to be able to take the pictures, process them and make them available on Google Maps, but what I can say is that they [images captured] will be continuously refreshed.”

Asked what other countries Google planned to introduce Street View to, Sajith said data collection has begun in Indonesia and Cambodia, with other Asean countries to follow.

Privacy issues addressed

One of the challenges that has dogged Google Street View centres on privacy and security issues. In its early days of deployment in 2007, Google was accused of collecting images of people, and places, without their knowledge.

In a USA Today article, Kevin Bankston, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said that he was surprised to see his face on Google Street View, and that the system has the ability to allow users viewing San Francisco to zoom in close enough to read street signs and even see inside front windows.
 
But according to Sajith (pic), Google has learnt a lot from its past mistakes and assured that these issues are no longer present. He also added that the search giant takes privacy very seriously.

“Back in 2010, we had issues like unintentionally collecting data over WiFi, practices that we’ve since stopped,” he said.

“Since then, we have put in place a lot of measures to ensure that these things will not happen again and we’re following all these processes when collecting data here in Malaysia.”

Sajith also claimed that Google now has in place some stringent security practices to ensure that the privacy of citizens will be protected at all times.

“We take Street View images only in public areas and not private ones, and these images are not taken in real-time,” he said. 
“We also have technology that effectively blurs human faces, licence plates or any other personal identifiable information that can be seen. “Also, we are extremely responsive to any request received from users to further blur any images that feature them by submitting a request via the ‘report a problem’ tool available on the bottom right corner of Google Maps,” he added.

Meanwhile, Tourism Malaysia director general Mirza Mohammad Taiyab, who was at the launch, said that Google’s mapping technology will offer various benefits and help his organisation create a new experience of Malaysia online.

“We have always embraced technology [in Tourism Malaysia],” he said in his keynote address before officiating the launch. “Through this partnership with Google, we hope to engage more people in discovering and rediscovering the unique heritage of our country.”

-www.digitalnewsasia.com

Malaysia Airlines RM56 ‘Merdeka Offer’ Nationwide


Subang, 29 August 2013: 56 years of independence, RM56 all-inclusive one-way fares to all domestic destinations, only for 56 hours! That’s Malaysia Airlines’ way of celebrating Malaysia’s upcoming 56th Hari Merdeka.
This fun and fantastic offer begins at 12.01am on 30 August 2013 and will run for 56 hours, ending at 800am on 1 September 2013. Tickets booked during this promotion are valid for travel till 31 December 2013. The all-inclusive one way fare ‘Merdeka Offer’ to all domestic includes travels to East Malaysia.
According to Malaysia Airlines Regional Senior Vice President Malaysia, Muzammil Mohamad, “We’re celebrating our Nation’s Hari Merdeka big time! For those who did not get to travel and be with their families during the recent Hari Raya Aidil Fitri holidays can now get this fantastic RM56 one-way offer to take a break this weekend or plan for a holiday later in the year. We are blessed to live in a country with many beautiful places and so much to discover. Malaysia Airlines ‘Merdeka Offer’ is a great opportunity to travel within Malaysia!”
 
Enrich, the frequent flyer programme of Malaysia Airlines, is also running a contest for members to accumulate up to 56,000 Enrich miles quickly.
To qualify, just fly with Malaysia Airlines to any domestic destination within Malaysia from now till 30 September 2013. To win, send a photo plus caption of something that they love about Malaysia to Instagram with the hashtag #MH56 @malaysiaairlines with their respective Enrich numbers. Simple steps for Enrich members to win 56,000 Enrich miles.
 

These offers are available to customers at all distribution channels - www.malaysiaairlines.com, Malaysia Airlines 24 hours number 1 300 88 3000, MHmobile, Malaysia Airlines ticket offices and appointed agents throughout Malaysia.
-Malaysia Airlines.

International Travel Agents & Media To Attend The National Open House Aidilfitri – Raya Merdeka 2013

PUTRAJAYA, 29 AUGUST, 2013 A total of 180 international travel agents and media are visiting Malaysia to attend the National Open House Aidilfitri – Raya Merdeka 2013 on 30 August at Stadium Hang Tuah in Melaka. The event is organised by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture together with the Melaka State Government.

These Tourism Malaysia Mega Familiarisation Programme participants from 15 countries, namely Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, China (including Hong Kong), Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and United States of America are here to report and publicise the event and, in the case of travel agents, to help promote Malaysian holiday packages to their clients. 

The participants attended a tourism seminar at Putrajaya Marriot Hotel, IOI Resort City near here today, where they were welcomed by the Director General of Tourism Malaysia, YBhg Dato’ Mirza Mohammed Taiyab before presented with a certificate of participation. 

During the seminar, the participants were briefed by Tourism Malaysia’s Director of West Asia/Middle East & Africa Division, Mr. Zulkifli Md. Said on tourism destinations and Visit Malaysia Year 2014 followed by a presentation by the Melaka Historic City Tourist Guide Association representative, Mr. Desmond Lau. The Putrajaya Corporation’s Assistant Deputy Director, Mr. Azmi Alang Ahmad also delivered a presentation to highlight Putrajaya’s latest tourist attractions and developments. There was also a video presentation on Luxury Malaysia and Visit Malaysia Year 2014.

Tomorrow, the group will have the opportunity to take part in the Melaka Heritage Walk, tour Melaka on bicycle, visit Homestay Bukit Punggor, attend a Baba Nyonya culinary class, visit Melaka tropical fruit farm and taking the Melaka river cruise.

Later that night, they will be attending the launch of the National Open House Aidilfitri – Raya Merdeka 2013 at Stadium Hang Tuah.

The following day, the Mega Fam participants will proceed to their post tours to selected tourism products and destinations around the country.

For more information on National Open House Aidilfitri – Raya Merdeka 2013, please contact Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia at 03-8891 7000 or email info@motour.gov.my or go to http://www.facebook.com/mymotour.

-Tourism Malaysia.

Corporate Travel Bazaar 4 @ Eastin Hotel Penang ( 8~9 October 2013 )


-Tourism Malaysia.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Malaysia's KIP Group moves into hotels

Local developer Kepong Industrial Park (KIP) Group is expanding into the hospitality space, with the Group's first hotel KIP Hotel scheduled for completion in mid-2015.  
Valerie Ong, director of KIP Group of Companies, said the property would be located in the commercial district of Sri Utara in Kuala Lumpur and operated by The Lexis Hotel Group, whose management portfolio includes Grand Lexis Port Dickson and Lexis Port Dickson.
 
Said Ong: “KIP Hotel will boast 199 rooms and will be positioned as a premier three-star hotel with four-star service. The ARR is RM180++ (US$55) per night.” Hotel amenities will include a rooftop bar, show kitchen cafĂ©, business centre, banquet hall, infinity pool, fitness centre and conference facilities.
 
In the meantime, two more three-star hotels are in the pipeline – the 250-key KIP Sentral in Sepang and another property to be located in Malacca that is still being planned, according to Ong.
 
Yap Boon Teck, CEO, KIP Group of Companies, revealed that KIP Sentral is aiming to open by 2016 and will be located approximately a 10-minute drive from Kuala Lumpur International Airport. KIP Group’s portfolio includes property investment and development as well as as shopping mall and hypermarket management.
 
Tourism Malaysia’s deputy director-general (planning), Azizan Noordin, said more accommodation facilities are needed around the country in line with the tourism ministry’s aim of attracting 36 million international tourists by 2020.
Presently, Malaysia has 100,000 hotel rooms across all star categories.
-TTG Asia.

Ikon baharu pelancongan Perak


Suasana dalaman Masjid Muhammadiah yang berkonsepkan reka bentuk Cina.

IPOH 26 Ogos - Masjid Muhammadiah di Taman Tasek Jaya di sini, yang merupakan masjid pertama di negara ini yang dibina dengan seni bina Cina sepenuhnya bakal menjadi mercu tanda dan ikon pelancongan baharu di negeri ini.

Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Dr. Zambry Abd. Kadir berkata, meskipun belum siap sepenuhnya masjid Cina yang sudah beroperasi sejak 4 Ogos lalu itu telah menerima kunjungan penduduk setempat dan pelancong luar kerana keunikan rekaannya.

Sehubungan itu, menurut Zambry, beliau telah mengarahkan Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh (MBI) melakukan beberapa penambahbaikan di kawasan sekitar masjid termasuk memperindahkannya dengan landskap sesuai serta mengatasi masalah pembuangan sampah yang terletak begitu hampir dengan masjid.

"Selain bakal menjadi mercu tanda kepada rakyat di Perak kerana semua pihak dapat melihat sendiri kepelbagaian seni rekanya yang menggunakan konsep senibina Cina sepenuhnya, Masjid Muhammadiah juga menjadi salah satu masjid pelancongan di negeri ini kerana keunikan yang dimiliki itu.

"Oleh itu, kita mahu kawasan ini indah dan bersih. Saya telah memaklumkan perkara ini kepada Datuk Bandar dan meminta supaya langkah-langkah tertentu dapat diambil secepat mungkin," katanya dalam sidang akhbar selepas menghadiri sambutan Hari Raya Aidilfitri di masjid berkenaan di sini semalam.
Yang turut hadir, Timbalan Pengerusi Masjid berkenaan, Datuk Dr. Fadzli Cheah Abdullah dan Pengarah Jabatan Agama Islam Perak (JAIPk) Datuk Mohd. Yusop Husin.

Dalam majlis tersebut, Zambry turut mengumumkan peruntukan tambahan sebanyak RM300,000 untuk proses penambahbaikan masjid berkenaan.
Pembinaan masjid yang menelan kos RM3.7 juta itu bermula sejak 24 November 2011 dan dijangka siap sepenuhnya bulan depan adalah hasil sumbangan Majlis Agama Islam dan Adat Melayu Perak; Kerajaan Pusat; Persatuan Cina Muslim Malaysia (Macma) Ipoh dan orang ramai.

Fasa pertama pembangunan masjid tersebut meliputi pembinaan dewan solat dan ruang aktiviti. Dewan solat wanita di bahagian atas boleh menempatkan sebanyak 200 anggota jemaah manakala ruang solat di bahagian bawah mampu memuatkan 800 orang.

Sementara itu, Fadzli Cheah yang juga Pengerusi Macma Ipoh berkata, kewujudan masjid tersebut bertujuan menampung pertambahan penduduk di situ selain memudahkan perkembangan syiar Islam di kawasan berkenaan.

Menurutnya, fasa kedua projek pembinaannya bakal dimulakan bulan depan dengan kos hampir RM3 juta untuk membangunkan pusat dakwah, pendidikan, dewan serbaguna dan perpustakaan.

"Meskipun popular dengan gelaran masjid Cina, namun masjid ini bukan hanya dikunjungi orang Cina yang beragama Islam sahaja, malah daripada bangsa-bangsa lain. "Jadi, kita merancang untuk menggunakan pelbagai bahasa perantara dalam aktiviti yang dijalankan termasuk ketika tazkirah dan ceramah untuk kemudahan pengunjung," katanya.
-utusan online.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

AirAsia X raises frequencies to Australia


Longhaul LCC AirAsia X yesterday announced it would increase the number of services from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney, Melbourne and Perth to double daily for each pair.

The news comes after a revision of a bilateral agreement between the Australian and Malaysian governments.

The airline’s current 12 weekly Sydney and Melbourne flights will be increased to 14 flights a week from October 1, while the Perth service will see the number of flights rise from nine weekly to 14 times a week beginning November 25.

Azran Osman-Rani, CEO, AirAsia X, said in a media release: “Overall, the airline has carried over 3.4 million passengers to and from its Australian routes since it began operations in Australia in 2007. Australia contributes over 40 per cent of the airline’s total revenue, with an average of 83 per cent passenger load in the first half of 2013.”

He added that the new double-daily services would help to meet “increasing demand” on these routes as well as “provide guests with a greater choice of travel times and enable us to offer improved flight connections across our network”.

AirAsia X has rolled out a “Buy 1, Fly 2” promotion in conjunction with the new frequencies, available for booking until September 1. The deal is applicable for departures from Kuala Lumpur between October 1, 2013 and August 5, 2014, and departures from Perth and Sydney between November 25, 2013 and August 5, 2014.

Under the deal, two travellers can fly from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney, Melbourne or Perth from RM599 (US$180), one-way.
-TTG Asia.

MyCEB Backs National Associations

Kuala Lumpur, 26 August 2013The Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) recently launched its Association Development Programme (ADP). ADP aims to support the development of the nation’s associations and their potential for hosting international conventions in Malaysia. 

Under the ADP, members are entitled to a wide range of strategic initiatives put together by the Bureau. These efforts include Association Management Seminars, Conference Planning Seminars, bid support (financial and non-financial) and international engagements. Consisting of a series of educational platforms, these sessions offer training on a wide perspective for associations, from association management to bidding for international conferences. Prominent speakers from both local and international organisations are invited to provide insights Into association best practices. 

Speaking at the launch, Zulkefli Hj Sharif, CEO of MyCEB said, “We are constantly reaching out to local associations and keeping them informed of the importance and benefits of bringing an international conference to Malaysia. ADP is one of our latest initiatives and the response has been overwhelming with representation from Malaysia’s national associations.”

After the launch, the 2nd Association Dialogue Session followed, attended by 63 associationsand facilitated by John Peacock from Association Forum Australia.  . Speakers featured during the session included; Dato’ Abdul Rahman Othman of the Registry of Societies Malaysia Home Ministry; Ravinderjit Savinder Singh, Unit Head Investigation Division of Companies Commission of Malaysia; Lim Hong Eng of the Tax Treatment of Trade Association and Jeremiah R. Gurusamy of Arianti Dipendra Jeremiah. 

With a wide range of topics including setting up associations in Malaysia to Governance and Legal Frame Work, the session also included Open Forums for active interaction between participants. 

As Zulkefli comments on the session, “Last year, we had a preliminary session which was our first Association Dialogue Session. Due to our industry partners’ continuous support, we are able to conduct the second, which is a clear indication of us being on the right path to substantiate and strengthen the business events industry in Malaysia,” He continued, “With comprehensive and more compelling topics, the learning process and knowledge sharing sessions are definitely elevated as compared to the first time around.

According to first time speaker Ravinder Savinder Singh of the Companies Commissions of Malaysia, “This is an excellent forum for both the industry and regulators to exchange information. Prior to this, there was no platform as such for the industry to engage. The audience was very responsive and this is the perfect way to engage the associations.”

Sunny Chee, General Manager of the National Heart Association of Malaysia who attended the session last year commented, “This is a good follow up session to last year’s, particularly the topics. MyCEB is on the right track in terms of reaching out to associations as we require guidance as well as a platform for networking opportunities.”

Dato’ Dr Zaliha Omar of the Malaysian Association of Rehabilitation and Physicians (MARP), first time attending the session noted, “There’s a lot information and insight that we all need to know. Many of us in our associations are volunteers and we may be caught up with our jobs, hence it is nothing like attending sessions like these to gain first hand insights. One-day sessions like these are compact and perfect for us.”

MyCEB’s Association Dialogue has enabled Malaysia’s national associations to further be involved in strengthening the international engagement and professionalism of associations. For more information on ADP, contact MyCEB at +603 20902034 or email sales@myceb.com.my 

-MyCEB.