Monday, 30 April 2018

MOTAC offers incentives to spur homestay industry - Mas Ermieyati

ALOR GAJAH, April 29 (Bernama) -- The Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MOTAC) is offering incentives in the form of infrastructure development in a bid to boost the homestay industry, says Deputy Minister Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin.

She said this includes the construction of a community hall aimed at providing better and convenient infrastructure for homestay operators to carry out activities to attract visitors or tourists to their premises.

However, she said the hall would be built only if the village or the area had at least 10 homestay units or operators.

"This incentive is seen not only to provide comfort to visitors but it will indirectly help in the development of better infrastructure for the homestay industry.

"Hence, we urge more homestay entrepreneurs to register under the MOTAC to enable them to enjoy the benefits in the efforts to spur the industry as well as to generate lucrative income," she told reporters after officiating the ground breaking ceremony of the Kampung Paraya Homestay Community Hall at Masjid Tanah here, today.

lso present was MOTAC secretary-general Datuk Rashidi Hasbullah and State Tourism and Culture director Jeffri Munir.

Elaborating, Mas Ermieyati said entrepreneurs registered under the MOTAC would also be given skills training and tourism-related knowledge to manage the homestay business more systematically.

She said the entrepreneurs involved would also be given assistance to set up their websites and other social media platforms, to introduce their homestays to the public as well as to reach out to the wider market.

Meanwhile, she said as of now, a total 206 homestay clusters, involving 3,994 entrepreneurs and 5,604 rooms were registered under the Malaysia Homestay Experience programme and it had generated RM30.1 million in revenue last year, compared to RM27.7 million in 2016.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

HYPE Motorsports Hotels now @ Kuala Lumpur, Nilai and Penang

-Hype Motorsports Hotels.

Good Vibes Festival 2018 @ The Ranch, Genting Highlands ( 21 ~ 22 July 2018 )

Toyota presents Good Vibes Festival heads to the highlands of The Ranch with its best and biggest lineup yet.

For its fifth edition, Malaysian-made music festival #GVF2018 returns to its verdant venue of The Ranch for a weekend getaway of good vibes and good times.

The much-loved Malaysian music festival Toyota presents Good Vibes Festival once again celebrates its homecoming to the rolling greenery of The Ranch at Gohtong Jaya in Genting Highlands by championing international chart-toppers and cutting-edge local acts. Now in its fifth edition, #GoodVibesFest returns this year on 21st and 22nd July 2018.

Toyota, known for its commitment to quality and constant innovation for the future of people, cars and communities, joins Good Vibes Festival this year as a title sponsor.

Today, the two-day getaway festival announces its buoyant bill for 2018 which includes New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde ("Royals", "Green Light"), whose latest album walks a tightrope between art pop and melodrama for the mainstream; arena-fillers English alt-prog trio alt-J ("Breezeblocks", "3WW"), on singular form fresh off the success of third full-length release 'RELAXER'; and American act The Neighbourhood ("Sweater Weather", "Scary Love"), whose signature moody, slinky sound will prove fitting against the backdrop of the highlands at The Ranch.

Also on the #GoodVibesFest bill is Australian pop phenomenon Nick Murphy fka Chet Faker ("No Diggity", "Stop Me"), whose recent artistic metamorphosis towards a more radical, neo-soul r'n'b sound is reflected in his decision to retire his former moniker Chet Faker; as well as Seattle-based electronic duo on the rapid rise ODESZA ("Sun Models" featuring Madelyn Grant, "Line of Sight" featuring Mansionair and WYNNE), known for carving out an identity in a crowded electronic pop landscape with their envelope-pushing ethereal, expansive anthems.

Bringing his batch of emotive, electronic club bangers to #GoodVibesFest is the Prodigal producer SG Lewis ("Aura", "No Less"). HONNE ("Someone That Loves You", "Warm On A Cold Night"), oozing sensual synths, slick basslines, and swooninducing choruses, will soundtrack the sun setting on the misty greenery of The Ranch. Still in his teens, the precocious French prodigy Petit Biscuit ("Memories", "Sunset Lover") will make his presence known at the festival with atmospheric, melodic nostalgia-inducing masterpieces.

American DJ-producer pair Louis The Child ("It's Strange", "Weekend") also front the festival with electronic dance bangers, seductive scores and tropical house vibes. Finally, rounding up the international bill for now, Toronto duo Majid Jordan takes the stage by straddling the sweet intersection of bright, pulsing pop songs and melancholic, moody r'n'b cuts.

On the local lineup, acts announced include Altimet ("Amboi", "Kalau Aku Kaya"), one of Malaysia's most prolific rappers who will be performing with The Kawan Band on the day; Noh Salleh ("Angin Kencang", "Bunga Di Telinga"), the awardwinning solo artiste and frontman of indie rock stalwarts Hujan; five-piece rock'n'rollers Kyoto Protocol ("Jelita" feat. Liyana Fizi, "Tiada Lagi Kidungmu"); electro duo darlings Pastel Lite ("Assassin", "Damsel"); fast-rising feisty rapper Zamaera ("Helly Kelly", "Wanita"); Malaysian indie-pop artiste Froya ("Sunny Side Down", "Uncomprehended Child"); songstress-songwriter Bil Musa ("No More Excuses", "Owe It All To You"); Malaysia-based Indonesian producer Emir Hermono ("3AM In Jakarta", "Fake Friends"); and singer-songwriter and YouTuber LUNADIRA ("Forever's Not Our Thing").

SaturdaySelects, the beatmaker and selector collective made up of members the likes of Lionel Rizki, Reddi Rocket, and Roshan, will hold it down at the Electric Fields stage on the first day, before making way for r'n'b powerhouse Raising The Bar presents A-Kid, Senna, Dan $hiv (live), and many more on the festival's final day. Plus, party it up with premier DJ duo Naufal & I-Sky; as well as Dangerdisko (live), Kuala Lumpur's purveyors of fine dirty disco and new wave. Expect more international and local acts to be added to the #GoodVibesFest bill in the weeks to come.

Good Vibes Festival is supported by U Mobile as the official telco, UOB Yolo as the official credit card and Resorts World Genting as the official venue. Other partners include Klook [official travel partner], Monster Energy [official energy drink], and Nestle Sjora [official juice drink].

For more information, visit  

GISELLE - A Full-length Ballet @ Istana Budaya, Kuala Lumpur ( 30 June & 1 July 2018 )

Giselle is the classic ballet of the Romantic era. It transformed the dance world when it was first performed in Paris in 1841 and remains at the centre of the classical repertory.

The peasant girl Giselle discovers the true identity of her lover Albrecht – and that he is promised to another. Giselle dies of a broken heart. The Wilis, a group of supernatural women who dance men to death, summon Giselle from her grave. They target her lover but Giselle's great love frees him from their quest.
-AirAsia RedTix.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Second consecutive podium for Miguel Oliveira

04/22/2018 - Circuit Of The Americas, Austin, USA
Miguel Oliveira was able to place on the podium at the Circuit Of The Americas, one of the few tracks on the calendar where he had not been on the rostrum before, on Sunday. Coming through from the fourth row of the grid, the Portuguese worked his way up the order lap after lap, to finally finish in a magnificent third position. Brad Binder gained ten places to match his best result of the season so far: Sixth place.

Starting from the fourth and sixth rows, Oliveira and Binder did not have an easy task ahead. However, both got off the line well, completing the first lap in eighth and ninth place, respectively. From there, the Portuguese began to push and gain places as the laps went by. A key moment in his race came with 8 laps remaining, when he was able to get into third place and start a final charge. Despite escaping and cutting the gap to the rider in second place, he would finish just over 1 second behind, in third.

Binder followed his teammate, until getting stuck in the fight for fourth place with four other riders. The South African would only lose out on fifth position after being passed on the final sector.
After the first three races of the season, the Moto2 World Championship now heads to Europe. Miguel Oliveira will come into the Red Bull Spanish GP at Jerez -on May 6th- in fourth place overall with 43 points, while Brad Binder is eighth with 20 points.

Aki Ajo - Team Manager
"We should be very happy with the results of the Moto2 race in Austin today, and even more so after the qualifying session yesterday –which didn’t go as expected after a good Friday of Free Practice sessions. Racing is like that sometimes, so of course we need to analyse what happened on Saturday in depth. Today I am very proud of the team and our riders. I thank them for the work done throughout the entire weekend."

Results (Race)
1. Francesco Bagnaia (Kalex) 39:30.016
2. Alex Marquez (Kalex) +2.464
3. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) +3.704
4. Joan Mir (Kalex) +5.376
5. Iker Lecuona (KTM) +6.867
6. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) +6.876

Moto2 World Championship Standing 2018
1. Francesco Bagnaia (Kalex) 57 points
2. Mattia Pasini (Kalex) 47 points
3. Alex Marquez (Kalex) 47 points
4. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 43 points
5. Lorenzo Baldassarri (Kalex) 39 points
8. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 20 points
 -Red Bull KTM Ajo Motortsport.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Tourism Malaysia drives marketing deeper into Indonesia

A representative office in Surabaya (pictured) on the horizon for Tourism Malaysia

Tourism Malaysia is intensifying its marketing in second- and third-tier markets in Indonesia in a bid to boost arrivals from the country by 20 per cent to 3.4 million arrivals this year.

Among the markets coming into greater focus are Banyuwangi and Malang in East Java; Makassar, Gorontalo and Palu in Sulawesi; Balikpapan, Samarinda and Pontianak in Kalimantan.

Roslan Othman, director, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board, observed: “There is a growing middle class and people are starting to embrace travel as a lifestyle choice in secondary cities in Indonesia like Banyuwangi and Malang in East Java for example.”

Tourism Malaysia is planning to open a representative office in Surabaya, which will serve as a hub to penetrate secondary cities in East Java.

Stressing the particular importance of travel agents when targeting secondary source markets in Indonesia, Roslan said: “Tourists from Jakarta are more independent. Most of them booked a ticket direct on website or using OTA. The people in secondary cities, however, are still dependent on travel companies to buy their holiday packages.

“We will go out more to meet with the travel agents, do more business sessions, coaching them on how to create and sell Malaysian products, (as well as) conduct fam trips to new attractions this year,” Roslan added.

To brings sales missions to Indonesia, The NTO works closely with the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) for sales missions to Indonesia.
One area of focus for such missions is to raise awareness of Malaysia’s new attractions, such as Desaru Coast and Asia Pacific Master Games Masters.

Desaru Coast, for example, participated in a recentsales mission to Surabaya and Jakarta. Muhammad Zainal Ashikin, CEO, Desaru Development, shared: “We have a pretty big target, which is 600,000 visitors in the first year, and Indonesia will be an important market. However, not many (people in Indonesia) know Desaru Coast just yet.”

Indonesia remains the country’s second top visitor source market, numbering nearly 2.8 million, after Singapore, according to Malaysian ambassador to Indonesia, Zahrain Mohamed Hashim.

As at press time, there are eight airlines serving the two countries, including Garuda Indonesia, Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Lion Air, Batik Air, Malindo Air, Citilink, and KLM.

Further facilitating travel between the two countries, Zahrain pointed out that Citilink has opened direct flights to Penang, while Malindo Air launched flights from Jakarta to Kota Kinabalu.

“There are about 600 flights serving Indonesia-Malaysia per week. We are still working to add more flight so that tourists are more comfortable travelling to Malaysia,” Zahrain remarked.

To incentivise more airlines to fly to Malaysia, the government is offering discounted parking fees to Indonesian aircraft flying to the destination, and considering giving subsidies to airlines linking Malaysia with small towns in Indonesia.
-TTG Asia.

Tourism Malaysia Leads Delegation To Promote Malaysia In Arabian Travel Market 2018

DUBAI, 22 APRIL 2018: The Director General of Tourism Malaysia, Datuk Seri Mirza Mohammad Taiyab is leading a delegation of 106 Malaysian sellers from 68 organisation to participate in this year’s 25th edition of Arabian Travel Market (ATM). This leading annual travel and tourism trade exhibition in the Middle East will once again be held in Dubai, from 22 to 25 April 2018. 
Tourism Malaysia returns to ATM with the country’s tourism trade players to promote some of the country’s latest attractions and destinations for shopping, family fun, eco adventure, honeymoon, and luxury holidays.

The Malaysian delegation is comprised of a good mix of hotels and resorts, travel agents, tourism product owners, airlines and representatives from tourism authorities as well as state tourism boards. During the 4-day event, they will be highlighting their respective tourism products and services that cater specially for the Middle Eastern market.

Datuk Seri Mirza officially launched the Malaysia Pavilion today at the Dubai World Trade Centre and met the media later at a press conference. 

He said, “The tourism industry in Malaysia continues to grow from strength to strength. These next two years are a crucial period for our country’s tourism – they are the lead up to the much-anticipated Visit Malaysia 2020. By then, we expect to welcome some 36 million tourists to our shores with tourist receipts reaching RM168 billion.”

He highlighted that Tourism Malaysia has planned to collaborate with a few Middle Eastern airlines such as Qatar Airways, Emirates, and Etihad Airways, to boost arrivals from this market. 

Another initiative taken by Tourism Malaysia to boost arrivals from this region is a joint promotion campaign to Malaysia for 2018 with Dnata Travel. The campaign runs from April to October 2018 promoting “Summer Getaway” packages to Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Melaka, Penang and Pahang. The packages promote Malaysia’s family-friendly attractions, beach resorts, and adventure and wildlife experiences.

Other initiatives that Malaysia introduced to the market was the Muslim travel guide to Penang by Halal Penang and a Malaysia Destination brochure by Explore the Wonders. Besides that, Tourism Selangor also launched a special Arabic Tourist Handy Book.

On 23 April, Datuk Seri Mirza will be hosting a gala dinner at Grand Hyatt Dubai to thank the tourism fraternity in Dubai and the local media for their support and assistance in promoting Malaysia. On the next day, he will present a talk on “Malaysian Experience in Achieving Quality & Sustainable Development in the Tourism sector” at the 1st International Conference of the University of Sharjah. 

Last year, Malaysia was named the Best Muslim Travel Destination 2017 by Mastercard & CrescentRating’s 2017 Global Muslim Travel Index. Malaysia was also listed as the country with the Best Healthcare in the World 2017 by

Through its participation in ATM, Tourism Malaysia seeks to attract more West Asian tourists to its shores to achieve its tourism target for 2018. Last year, Malaysia received 251,937 tourists from West Asia, signifying a drop of 4.3% compared to 287,398 tourists in 2016.
-Tourism Malaysia.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Tourism Malaysia Leads Delegation To Promote Malaysia In Central Asia

image: aznura

ALMATY, 18 APRIL 2018: The Director General of Tourism Malaysia, Datuk Seri Mirza Mohammad Taiyab is leading a Malaysian delegation to participate in the three-day Kazakhstan International Travel Fair (KITF), which is a leading travel and tourism trade exhibition in Central Asia.

The participation in KITF is to network and explore new areas of cooperation with industry players here, from both government and private sectors. Besides that, it also aims to promote the diversities of the tourist attractions and services in Malaysia as well as to update the local industry players on the latest tourism developments in Malaysia.

The participants of this year’s 18th edition of KITF, which will be held from 18 to 20 April 2018, comprises 10 industry players from 9 organisations. They include WSF Travel & Tours, Parlo Tours, Asia Premium Holidays, Sunflower Holidays, Fun and Sun Holidays, GM Travel House, Embassy Alliance Travel, SN-RUS Travels, Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa.

Datuk Seri Mirza highlighted that Tourism Malaysia will be focusing on classic tourism products for this year which have always been a favourite with the Central Asia and CIS countries - theme parks, beautiful islands and beaches, and shopping. Langkawi Island, Desaru Coast, Redang Island, Legoland, Sunway Lagoon Theme Park, Movie Animation Park Studios, Twentieth Century Fox Studios and Malaysia outlet’s malls were promoted.

“With Air Astana providing a total of three flights to Malaysia with a capacity of 612 passengers per week, it is the perfect gateway for travelers to explore Malaysia and the rest of this beautiful and exotic region,” he added.

Datuk Seri Mirza also highlighted the Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign, saying, “The objective is to promote Malaysia as a top-of-mind destination and we will be adopting the “Travel, Enjoy and Respect” tagline in affiliation with the World Tourism Organisation’s movement to raise awareness on how tourists can become catalysts for sustainable development and responsible tourism.”

Last year, Malaysia received a total of 25.9 million tourists from all over the world. Of this figure, 12,577 tourist arrivals were from Kazakhstan, a growth of 17.4% compared to 2016.For 2018, Malaysia targets a total of 33.1 million tourists worldwide and RM134 billion tourism receipts.
-Tourism Malaysia.

Rainforest World Music Festival 2018 @ Kuching, Sarawak ( 13 ~ 15 July 2018 )

Established in 1998 with an audience of only 300 people, the Rainforest World Music Festival is now a major annual event in the State’s music calendar, eagerly anticipated by a crowd of over 20,000 people who flock from overseas, interstate as well as locals. It is a family oriented event with afternoon sessions especially for children and tickets sold, also incorporates a family package.

The Festival consists of a richly diverse programme with performers from around the world at nightly shows on three outdoor stages, the well-known Jungle and Tree Stage as well as a new Big Tent Stage. Afternoon shows take place on an indoor stage, mini sessions spread over 3 afternoons, daily drum circles in the evenings. There is also a food and village mart selling an array of local, international and fusion food as well as festival memorabilia.

It also incorporates health and wellness programmes as part of the festival, with “parades” and surprise pop-up performances throughout the festival. 

Even when the Festival stops, the party doesn’t! This year’s RWMF features a DJ Session at Escobar in Damai Central as soon as the last concert performance wraps up.

The Festival also has a record of environmental awareness as evidenced by its attention to recycling, waste management and the use of shuttle buses to reduce carbon emission.

The objective of having the event is to create an international event in support of Sarawak Tourism Board’s objectives of promoting Sarawak as the region’s premier destination which emphasize on performing arts and the preservation of culture as well as to delivering a world-class event that will generate generous revenue and profit to the business community, sponsors and individuals in and around Kuching.
-AirAsia RedTix.  

Friday, 20 April 2018

Malaysia still a sought after destination for Indonesian travellers

The demand to visit Malaysia among Indonesian travellers continues to grow despite competition from other regional destinations, driven by what outbound agents say is a compelling combination of easy access, affordability and the variety of product offerings in the country.

This was apparent in the enthusiastic reception to the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents’ (MATTA) roadshows in Jakarta and Surabaya earlier this week, which brought together 35 sellers, comprising agents, hotels and theme parks, to promote Malaysia’s latest tourism products and offerings to Indonesian agents.

The MATTA event, jointly organised with the Association of the Airline Ticketing Companies in Indonesia (ASTINDO), received strong interest from hundreds of travel specialists from Jakarta and Bandung for the Jakarta event, and Surabaya and its surrounding areas for the Surabaya event.

Deputy secretary general of ASTINDO, Pauline Suharno, who is also managing director of Elok Tour, thinks the warm agent reception is in part due to the participation of new Malaysian sellers such as Desaru Coast and Asia-Pacific Masters Games in Penang.

“Besides tour operators selling tour packages, there are also hotels and attractions wholesale ticketing agents. This allows us to have a variety of products to sell as not all Indonesians — especially those who are familiar with Malaysia — like to buy tour packages.

“There are travellers who go to travel companies like ours to buy just air tickets, hotel rooms or entry tickets to attractions,” she elaborated.

The Indonesian outbound specialists TTG Asia spoke with also pinpointed the easy access between Indonesia and Malaysia as a key factor stoking demand for the latter. There are at least 600 flights per week connecting primary and secondary cities of both countries.

Besides, Pauline said, Malaysia is also a convenient hub for travel to a third country due to its ample direct flights, not only from Kuala Lumpur but also from other cities in the country.

Mangara Gultom, chairman ASTINDO Jakarta Chapter, opined that Malaysia’s affordability has been a strong pull factor for Indonesians.

“This many flights available makes the prices more competitive. Besides, sellers at a road show like this usually come up with new offerings, allowing us to create new or updated products and special offers,” Mangara said.

Meanwhile, Noviyanti Chandra, general manager of Happy Tour, sees traveller interest in multi-country packages like a seven-day overland tour combining Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Hat Yai in Thailand, which was created after she observed a trend of young Indonesians wanting to collect passport stamps.

“Our target is the first-time traveller abroad. But surprisingly, the repeaters also like this package, perhaps because this tour gives them more experience and experiential travel is highly sought after by Indonesians,” Noviyanti said.
-TTG Asia.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Keindahan ‘permata’ Ba'kelalan

HASRAT meneroka wilayah tanah tinggi Sarawak di Ba'kelalan, Lawas sudah lama diidamkan penulis sejak berkhidmat di Bumi Kenyalang kira-kira tiga tahun lalu.

Angan-angan itu akhirnya menjadi kenyataan apabila media dipelawa melawat Ba'kelalan bersama wakil Sarawak Tourism Board (STB), Kevin Nila Nangai.

Perjalanan yang dirancang nyaris dibatalkan ekoran cuaca buruk. Pesawat Maswings (Twin Otter) yang membawa rombongan media dari Miri terpaksa mendarat di Lapangan Terbang Lawas sebelum meneruskan penerbangan ke Ba'kelalan setelah cuaca kembali baik.

Operator pelancongan dari Heart of Borneo Tour and Travel (HOB), Rona Sultan yang menguruskan lawatan kami memaklumkan kapten pesawat akan membatalkan penerbangan jika cuaca tidak baik dalam tempoh 30 minit menunggu.

Rombongan kami bertuah kerana setelah hampir sejam menunggu, kapten pesawat, Stefanus bersedia untuk meneruskan penerbangan setelah mendapat maklumat keadaan cuaca di Ba'kelalan semakin baik dan selamat untuk terbang.

Kami tiba sekitar pukul 11 pagi. Kesegaran bayu kawasan tanah tinggi menyambut ketibaan kami.

Ba'kelalan terletak di daerah Lawas mempunyai sembilan kampung yang dihuni etnik Lun Bawang sekitar 1,000 orang.

Tanpa berlengah, kami mendaftar masuk ke inap desa (homestay) Julia Sang yang diusahakan pasangan suami isteri, Cikgu Sang dan Julia di Kampung Buduk Nur.

Makanan di sini cukup segar. Padi bukit organik bebas racun dituai menjadi beras Adan. Nasi panas yang dimakan dengan sayuran segar, hasil tanaman penduduk cukup menyelerakan, selain roti dan sup labu.

Dalam pada itu, kami dibawa mendaki ke menara tinjau Pa Sarui di ketinggian 1,090 meter. Pendakian memakan masa satu jam 30 minit.
Laluan tidak sukar dan setibanya di puncak bukit, kami terpukau melihat keindahan Ba'kelalan.

Bagi mereka yang kaki mendaki, boleh menakluk Gunung Murud di ketinggian 2,423 meter. Difahamkan treknya tidak susah dan mengambil masa tiga hari dua malam.

Selain itu, tidak sah ke Ba'kelalan jika tidak mengunjungi tempat memproses garam bukit di Buduk Bui yang terkenal dengan khasiatnya.
Perjalanan dari inap desa ke tempat pemprosesan garam bukit memakan masa satu jam.

Pengunjung boleh menginap di situ untuk merasai sendiri cara menghasilkan garam bukit. Proses awal adalah mengambil mata air di bukit, sebelum dimasukkan ke dalam tong dram dan dimasak sehingga bertukar menjadi garam.

Kami juga dibawa ke sempadan Malaysia-Indonesia yang terletak tidak jauh dari Ba'kelalan untuk mengambil gambar kenang-kenangan.

Siapa sangka, Ba'kelalan adalah syurga pemerhati burung setelah burung spesies Dulit Frogmouth (Batrachostomus harterti) yang hilang selama satu dekad lalu ditemukan Cikgu Sang pada 2014.

Selepas itu, Ba’kelalan menjadi tumpuan pemerhati burung dari seluruh dunia.

Pada pandangan penulis Ba'kelalan berpotensi tinggi menjadi destinasi percutian dengan pelbagai aktiviti boleh dilakukan seperti mendaki, memburu, memancing dan memerhati burung.

Penjelajahan kami berakhir dengan membawa seribu satu kenangan yang tidak akan dilupakan. Terima kasih kepada STB dan HOB atas pengalaman cukup bermakna itu.
-utusan online.

Oliveira and Binder head to Austin to attend to unfinished business

04/18/2018 - Circuit of The Americas, USA
For the third consecutive year, the Circuit Of The Americas in Austin will be the venue for the only Moto2 round held in the United States. It is a Grand Prix to which the Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2 riders arrive with very different dynamics: Miguel Oliveira having taken his first podium of the season and Brad Binder getting a DNF in Argentina.

There are few circuits on this year’s calendar where Miguel Oliveira has not placed on the podium, and Austin is one of them. This is a challenge that the Portuguese wants to overcome this weekend. 

The podium he achieved two weeks ago in Argentina, after fighting for the victory throughout the race, will serve as additional motivation. Last year, in his first experience of the track with the KTM, he claimed a commendable sixth place.

Brad Binder was on the rostrum at the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas in 2016, a year in which he was proclaimed Moto3 World Champion. However, the South African could not take part in last year’s event due to an injury to his left arm. This will be the first time that Binder rides with a Moto2 bike at the circuit, but he is nevertheless aiming high this weekend.

The third round of the season will be the last before a run of European events. The Moto2 race will start at 12:20am local time –7:20pm CET– on Sunday, and will consist of 18 laps.

Circuit information - Circuit of The Americas (COTA)
Length: 5.513 m / 3.426 miles
Width: 15 metres
Left corners: 11
Right corners: 9
Longest straight: 1.200 m / 0.746 miles
Constructed: 2012
"Honestly, the podium we achieved in Argentina gives us a little more peace of mind to face this third round. In any case, the Circuit Of The Americas is a very tricky circuit, with many changes of direction. We have to take advantage of all the track time we have available. Last year we didn’t have our best weekend, but even so we finished sixth, so we will at least try to improve on that result on Sunday. With the experience we have from last year, we will try to do our best."
"I can’t wait for another Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas. It will be my first time on this track with a Moto2 bike, due to my injury last year, but I'm anxious to start riding there and learning the new track lines. I have been looking at practices and races from previous years to see the way to go and be as prepared as possible before we go to the track. I hope this helps me to adapt as quickly as possible and feel comfortable. It's already the third round of the year and I'm not completely satisfied with how things have gone so far, so I want to get better results from this weekend."
 -Red Bull KTM Ajo Motorsport.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Malaysia inbound agents sweat to arrest declining Middle East arrivals

Arab tourists buying drinks along Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown

Malaysian exhibitors at the upcoming Arabian Travel Market (ATM) are strategising how they can attract Middle East tourists especially during the upcoming summer travel season (June to August).

This is in light of Malaysia’s two largest Middle Eastern markets showing a double-digit decline in 2017 over 2016. Arrivals from UAE dropped 39.5 per cent to 8,555 tourists in 2017 while the largest market, Saudi Arabia, saw a 18.8 per cent decline to 100,549 tourists during the same period.

Ally Bhoonee, executive director of World Avenues, said: “We are talking to hoteliers in key destinations such as Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Langkawi to offer the same rates as they do other markets and not have a surcharge during the Middle East season, as the market has not been doing well over the last three years.”

Ally added that there was a need to stay competitive as this year will be challenging due to competition from regional destinations, as well as destinations within a six-hour flight time from the Middle East.

“Everyone is vying for this market as the Middle East travellers are known to be good spenders,” he opined.

Another operator, Noor M Ismail, general manager, Panorama Destination Malaysia, said that the company will be promoting new destinations such as Kota Kinabalu, Port Dickson and Ipoh, instead of the usual Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Langkawi.

“For families, we will be promoting theme parks in Sunway, Ipoh and Penang,” shared Noor.

As parent company Panorama Destination Indonesia will be exhibiting at ATM, it will be passing on leads and contacts to Panorama Destination Malaysiawhich commenced operations on April 1.

In addition, Panorama Destination Malaysia will be adapting to the working hours of the Middle East market so as to respond to enquiries quickly.

Sharing his rationale, Noor said: “Requests from agents are straightforward. They want a city and beach combination. If you reply quickly, you are likely to get the business.”

Meanwhile, with Qater Airways’ new direct flightsfrom Doha to Penang, Lexis Suites Penang director of sales and marketing, Mark De Souza, said he will propose to Qatar outbound agents at ATM to create itineraries that start in Penang and end in Kuala Lumpur.

Souza is also looking at creating special all-in-one 4D/3N packages targeted at the Middle East market combining transfers, round island tours and dinners at the hotel.
-TTG Asia.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Labuan International Sea Challenge 2018 @ Labuan International Sea Sports Complex ( 21 ~ 22 & 27 ~ 29 April 2018 )

This water-splashing event is expected to attract at least 30,000 visitors to the island of Labuan this year. It features six main events with over 20 supporting games held throughout the one-week period. This year, the newly-introduced international extreme sport game of P1 Jetski Championship is one of the key attractions to the duty-free island.

If you are a water sport enthusiast, then be sure not to miss this event. You can take part in fishing, round-island kayaking, cross-channel swimming activities and more.

For visitors who wish to keep themselves dry, a variety of non-water sports games at the beach are scheduled as well such as beach tug-of-war competition, treasure hunt, beach volleyball tournament, sand castle competition, among others.
-Tourism Malaysia Sabah facebook.

Borneo Jazz Festival 2018 @ Coco Cabana, Miri, Sarawak ( 11 ~ 13 May 2018 )

Now in its 13th year, the Borneo Jazz Festival will feature an all-new format with two live stages. Curated by No Black Tie, this edition of the festival is making room for an international lineup of artists all the way from Italy, Poland, France, Switzerland, China, and Japan, all of whom will be playing alongside some of the leading jazz personalities from this region.

Set in the picturesque city of Miri with spectacular views of the South China Sea, Borneo Jazz is a one-of-a-kind festival that brings music and the rich Bornean culture together for an unforgettable experience.

Friday, 13 April 2018

TUI Group’s Fly & Cruise Programme To Malaysia This December To Grow Europe Tourist Arrivals


KUALA LUMPUR, 12 APRIL 2018: Tourism Malaysia and TUI Group, the world’s leading tourism group, together announced a new Fly & Cruise programme that is expected to increase European tourist arrivals to Malaysia and boost the country’s cruise tourism. 

The announcement was made during TUI Group’s courtesy visit today to the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, represented by Director General of Tourism Malaysia, YBhg. Datuk Seri Mirza Mohammad Taiyab.

The Fly & Cruise programme will begin from 20 December 2018 until 29 March 2019 with TUI Group offering direct flights to Langkawi and thereafter regional cruises for its European customers from the Isle of Legends. Passengers will be delivered on three fortnightly flights on the 787 Dreamliner from three UK airports (Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham) to Langkawi. 

With TUI Group’s cruise ship homeporting in Langkawi, all passengers will spend at least one night in Langkawi before embarking on a 14-day cruise itinerary which will also include destinations such as Penang, Port Klang and Melaka in Malaysia, as well as Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.

The total potential capacity is expected to be about 7,200 passengers in the first year of operation.

Datuk Seri Mirza welcomed the decision of TUI Group to strengthen its presence in Malaysia, saying “We are very happy about TUI’s decision to offer flights and cruises from Langkawi. As the leading European tourism business, this initiative by TUI Group will strongly boost the visibility of Malaysia across all European source markets. At the same time, our position as an international transportation hub will increase and add value to our economy.” 

He added, “This programme will see a new chapter of collaboration with Europe’s biggest agents especially TUI Group - the newly crowned Best Foreign Tour Operator during the Malaysia Tourism Awards 2016/17 - and will firmly put Malaysia on the cruise tourism map.”

He said, “This initiative also supports the Visit Malaysia 2020 (VM2020) campaign that is projected to welcome 36 million tourists to Malaysia and register RM168 billion in tourist receipts for the country.”

Frank Vahldiek, Director International Partnerships of TUI Group said, “Our strategic priority is to drive growth in all-year destinations – and Asia is one of the key growth regions. Our European customers show an ever growing interest to visit countries such as Malaysia.” 

He added, “Malaysia is both a beautiful truly Asian destination – and an exciting market for our touristic products at the same time. Hence we are now developing exciting programmes for Malaysian and Asian customers who are increasingly looking to book Western-style holidays in regional destinations.”

He continued, “We are determined to grow our presence in Malaysia further. This will continue to strengthen the Malaysian tourism sector with its positive knock-on effects in other sectors of the economy.”

Currently, all three cruise companies of TUI Group – TUI Cruises, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises as well as UK-based Marella Cruises – have now included Malaysia in their programs. With three Malaysian ports of call – including one homeport (Langkawi, Port Klang and Penang), TUI Group’s cruise companies is expected to help drive growth for Malaysia’s cruise tourism sector.

Background on TUI Group:

TUI Group is the world’s leading tourism group operating in around 180 destinations worldwide. The company is domiciled in Germany. The TUI Group’s share is listed in the FTSE 100 index, the leading index of the London Stock Exchange, and in the German open market. In financial year 2017, TUI Group recorded turnover of €18.5bn and an operating result of €1.102bn. The Group employs 67,000 people in more than 100 countries. TUI offers its more than 20 million customers comprehensive services from a single source. It covers the entire tourism value chain under one roof. This comprises around 330 Group-owned hotels and resorts with premium brands such as RIU and Robinson as well as 15 cruise ships ranging from the MS Europa and MS Europa 2 luxury class vessels to the Mein Schiff fleet of TUI Cruises and the vessels of Marella Cruises in the UK. The Group also includes leading international tour operator brands, 1,600 travel agencies in Europe and five European tour operator airlines with around 150 modern medium- and long-haul aircraft. Global responsibility for sustainable economic, ecological and social activity is a key feature of our corporate culture. TUI Care Foundation promotes the positive effects of tourism. It initiates projects that create new opportunities for the next generation and contributes to a positive development of the holiday destinations. Further information is available at
-Tourism Malaysia.

Malaysia’s charm offensive in the Middle East

Whether it’s the launch of a new campaign, hiring dedicated market representative or investment in better systems to attract last-minute bookings, it’s clear that Malaysia’s all out to win over Middle Easterntravellers.

The attention given to the Middle Eastern market is deemed critical, as key markets from the region to Malaysia had tumbled in 2017.

Arrivals from Saudi Arabia declined 16.6 per cent to 92,789 tourists in the first 10 months of 2017, whereas arrivals from the UAE dropped 38.9 per cent to 7,255 visitors during the same period.

Malaysia’s Ministry of Tourism and Culture and its promotional arm, Tourism Malaysia, are understandably concerned as Middle Eastern travellers are top spenders in Malaysia and stay between seven to 10 nights in the country.

The average daily expenditure of visitors from the Middle East, which varies from RM1,185 (US$303) for Kuwait to RM1,046 for the UAE and RM943 for Saudi Arabia, is notably higher than RM720 for Singaporeans, who contribute close to half of total arrivals to Malaysia and stay an average of four nights.

The decline was in part due to Tourism Malaysia’s reduced promotional budgets in 2016 and 2017, which resulted in a lack of presence in the UAE, TTG Asiaunderstands.

A source at Tourism Malaysia said: “There is also increased competition from other countries to attract the Middle Eastern traveller. Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan have become ‘hot’ destinations for Middle Eastern travellers due to affordable airfares from LCCs and short flight time of between three to four hours.

“Also, the decline in tourist arrivals from Saudi Arabia was partly due to the austerity measures taken by the Saudi Arabian government to save money after tumbling oil prices.”

This included cutting minister’ salaries by 20 per cent and scaling back perks for public sector employees from September 2016 until March 2017. The uncertainty in the economy led some travellers to hold back on their longhaul holiday plans,” the source noted.

From this year, Tourism Malaysia is ramping up international promotions to all major markets, including the GCC countries as a lead-up to Visit Malaysia Year 2020, where it hopes to attract some 36 million tourists and RM168 billion in tourist receipts. At the annual Arabian Travel Mart this year, Tourism Malaysia will be promoting its Visit Malaysia Year 2020campaign.

Malaysia’s mid-year mega sales period has been specially timed to coincide with the summer holidays, which is also the peak arrival period for Middle Eastern travellers to Malaysia. Carnival Mega Sale will run from June 15 to August 31 as part of the government’s efforts to promote Malaysia as a shopping paradise to the Middle East market.

As well, the Malaysian government is working on improving the arrival experience for foreign visitors flying into the country. According to Malaysia Airports Holdings’ managing director Badlisham Ghazali, Kuala Lumpur International Airport has been working closely with the Immigration Department since early 2017 to open more counters during peak periods to reduce queueing time.

Improving the airport experience is especially timely and necessary amid fierce competition from South-east Asian destinations, remarked Ally Bhoonee, executive director, World Avenues.

He said: “The arrival experience is the first impression tourists get of Malaysia and if it is not pleasant, it could deter repeat visits to Malaysia. Tourists may opt to go elsewhere.

“Europe and Turkey are also aggressively wooing Middle Eastern visitors. Political instability in the Middle East has also resulted in more demand for short- and medium-haul holidays. Malaysia has to put in much more effort today to compete.”

According to Ally, his company had seen a decline of 30 per cent from the Middle East last year, the bulk of which is from Saudi Arabia. To arrest the decline, the company had employed a full-time Arabic-speaking marketing manager from Egypt to be based in its Kuala Lumpur office to be in regular communication with outbound agents from the Middle East and support the efforts of the company’s sales offices in Qatar, Kuwait and Egypt, which generates business leads and provides marketing support to agents on the ground.

To compete with OTAs, the company leverages its Arabic-speaking personnel to provide assistance and itineraries in Arabic.

Meanwhile, Within Earth Holidays has recently invested in a B2B system that allowed dynamic packaging with instant confirmation and the flexibility to make changes in hotel room categories and duration of stay, an initiative executive director Saini Vermeulen believes will give the inbound agency an edge to obtain last-minute bookings from the Middle East.

This year, the company also plans to work with partner hotels in Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi and Penang to invite several social media influencers from the Middle East on a fam trip to Malaysia so that they can share their experiences and attract more tourists to Malaysia.

Jai Kishan, general manager, New World Petaling Jaya Hotel, said the newly opened property will be exhibiting at the upcoming Arabian Travel Mart, and has also established connections with the Middle East market through sister properties, Rosewood Jeddah and Rosewood Abu Dhabi.

He added: “We have also identified social media channels, influencers, bloggers and socialites that resonate well with the Middle Eastern travellers and we will invite them on fam trips to stay in our property.”
-TTG Asia.