Monday, 30 September 2019

Gearing up to draw tourists

Liow (second from left) with Zulkifly (second from right) at the Tourism Malaysia Media Night
at R&F Sales Gallery.

JOHOR BARU: Tourism Malaysia is doubling up local and international promotion as part of its efforts to achieve Visit Malaysia 2020’s (VM2020) target of 30 million tourist arrivals and RM100bil in tourism receipts.

Tourism Malaysia deputy director-general (planning) Zulkifly Md Said said some of the initiatives were rolled out earlier this year, such as optimising the use of information and communication technology and engaging in smart partnerships with industry players.

“Optimising information and communication technology is an engaging approach in promotion, publicity and advertising efforts while social media is one of the best platforms for promoting Malaysia.

“We have initiated various smart partnerships with our industry players aside from leveraging on the presence of international hotel brands who continue to place their trust by setting up their hotels in Malaysia, ” he said in his speech at the Tourism Malaysia Media Night at R&F Sales Gallery.

Tourism Malaysia also partnered with hotels such as Amari Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotels, Westin Hotels & Resorts, Hard Rock Hotel, One & Only Resorts and Anantara Hotels & Resorts.

Zulkifly also pointed out that as of June 20, Tourism Malaysia has 3.3 million Facebook followers, 76,684 Instagram followers, 422,632 Twitter followers and 45.7 million views on YouTube.

He added that in 2018, it managed to record 25.8 million international tourist arrivals with tourist receipts amounting to RM84.1bil.

“As a comparison, Malaysia received a total of 25.9 million international tourists in 2017, with RM82.2bil in tourism receipts.

“As for 2019, in this first six months, Malaysia recorded a positive tourist arrival growth of 6.8%, registering a total of 13,354,575 tourist arrivals compared to 12,730,368 in the same period last year, ” he added.

Zulkifly said this was the result of strategic initiatives and other promotional efforts.

Meanwhile, Johor tourism, women, family and community development chairman Liow Cai Tung said the state government was gearing up and creating lots of interesting upcoming events and packages for next year’s Visit Johor 2020.

“We are trying to pump up the online content on Johor’s tourism products and tourism sector to create an even stronger online presence.

“We want more information on Johor’s attractions to be available online through search portals and social media channels, ” she said.

Liow added that it was the state government’s aim to create more content to eliminate the frustration faced by travellers who have heard of Johor but could not find much information on the state.

“The media, whether mainstream or social platforms, play an important role as partners of the tourism industry to spread awareness and publicity on tourism products and packages to the public, ” she added.
-thestar online.

Tourism Malaysia Launches Official Birding Website “”

KUCHING, SARAWAK, 29 SEPTEMBER 2019: Tourism Malaysia has launched the Bird Malaysia website ( today at the 10th Asian Bird Fair 2019 in Kuching, Sarawak.

With the cooperation of Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture Malaysia and Tourism Malaysia, Ecotourism Conservation Society of Malaysia (ECOMY) has developed and managed this wbsite since March this year. 

It is the ideal platform for local birding operators to showcase and promote their ecotourism packages, in particular “bird watching”, both in Malaysia or overseas. 
In this website, more than 25 interesting packages have been offered at attractive prices by seven local birding operators with focus on birding activities, among which are “Birding @ Tabin” in Sabah, “Birdwatching @ Mulu Sarawak”, and “Birdwatching Tour @ Taman Negara Pahang.” The packages are priced as low as RM3,500 for a 6 Days/5 Nights experience. 

The website is also a platform for birdwatchers to share experiences, photos and knowledge about different kinds of bird species in Malaysia. In Malaysia, there are more than 750 species and 50 types of endemic birds. Malaysia also has 55 locations gazetted as Important Bird Area (IBA) including Sabah and Sarawak.

Sources from ECOMY, Malaysia Nature Society (MNS) and local birding operators have estimated that the average package price per person for birding activities is RM6,500. With a total of 5,663 birdwatchers expected to visit Malaysia until the year-end, the revenue generated from birdwatching activities is expected to reach RM36.8 million.

Deputy Director General of Tourism Malaysia,Mr. Zulkifly Md. Saidsays, “The birding segment is considered very niche but has great potential in generating higher tourism revenues as the activity attracts quality tourists. The launch of the website is timely in boosting tourist arrivals to Malaysia and to support the Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign.”
-Tourism Malaysia.

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Birdwatching to become new tourism attraction in Sarawak

KUCHING, Sept 28 -- Sarawak has vast potential to become a major attraction for bird watchers.

Sarawak Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahmah Hamzah said a total of 650 bird species including Blue Banded Pitta and Black Oriole which could only be found in the island of Borneo had been recorded in the state.

"Sarawak also has the most number of Important Bird Areas in Malaysia, namely 18 in total," he said when launching the 10th Asean Bird Fair at Tebingan Kuching here today.

Aimed at promoting the protection of bird species as well as bird watching activities and eco-tourism, the five-day event organised by the Ecotourism & Conservation Society of Malaysia managed to attract participation of over 100 delegations from 19 countries.

Among the activities lined up for the event are an exhibition, bird watching activities, public talks and international forum.

Malaysia Airlines Wins Platinum at the 2019 Putra Brand Awards

KLIA, 28 September 2019: Malaysia Airlines, yesterday, was once again recognised as one of themost trusted brands in the region when it received the Platinum Award at the 2019 Putra Brand Awards in the Transportation, Travel & Tourism category held at the Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur. Representing Malaysia Airlines at the event was its Group Chief Marketing and Customer Experience Officer, Lau Yin May.

The Platinum Award, which was introduced this year marked the fourth consecutive time Malaysia Airlines has received a Putra Brand Award, having previously won the award in 2016, 2017 & 2018.

Its Group Chief Executive Officer, Captain Izham Ismail said, “Malaysia Airlines is humbled to receive the prestigious Putra Brand Award, which was voted by the consumers. This is a significant win for us as it demonstrates our customers’ trust and confidence in our brand and endorses our hard work in delivering our brand promise of Malaysian Hospitality. This achievement does not happen overnight. Everyone in Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG) has played a significant role in striving to elevate our brand.”

“We have been putting in immense efforts to creating, providing, and adding value to our customers’ experience by introducing more direct benefit to the entire travelling ecosystem, including the introduction of a new app, MHassistant, a brand new ticketing store in NU Sentral Kuala Lumpur and the launch of MHholidays, the latest travel marketplace that allows travellers to tailor-make their holidays with the combination of flights and hotels,” he added.

In addition to its win at the 2019 Putra Brand Awards, Malaysia Airlines has received other recognitions this year including Gold for Best Performance Campaign and Bronze for Best Use of Data at Malaysian Digital Association (MDA) d-Awards, Best Airline in Asia at PATWA International Travel Awards and one of the World’s Most Improved Airlines at SKYTRAX World Airline Award.

The Putra Brand Awards is an annual premier brand awards event in Malaysia that was launched in 2010 by the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Malaysia (4As) in association with the Malaysia’s Most Valuable Brands (MMVB). It recognises brand building as an integral business investment, measured by consumer preference. In determining its winners, the Putra Brand Awards utilises a robust consumer research method in which 6,000 consumers vote for their favourite brands within multiple categories, therefore establishing Malaysian consumers themselves as the judges and award-givers of this distinguished event.
-Malaysia Airlines.

MOTAC identifies four satellite tourism investment growth destinations

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 27 -- The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) has identified four satellite tourism investment growth destinations to promote the country's cultural ecosystem over the next ten years.

Its deputy minister Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik said the four destinations were Putrajaya as the satellite tourism capital for Malaysia, Port Dickson as an international beach destination, Tuaran Kota Belud (Kinabalu gold coast) and Langkawi (premier island tourism).

"The four satellite tourism investment growth is actually part of National Tourism Policy planning for the next 10 years (2020-2030)," he told reporters after officiating the World Tourism Day 2019, here today.

The World Tourism Day, initiated by the World Tourism Organisation is commemorated around the world each year on Sept 27 to foster awareness among the international community on the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value and the contribution of this sector in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Meanwhile, he refuted claims made by the Malaysia Inbound Chinese Association (MICA) that about 2,000 to 3,000 tourists under 100 tour groups from China, Hong Kong, and Macau had cancelled their trips to Malaysia in September and October due to the haze situation in the country.

"It's false.. I've checked with the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) that there have been no cancellations due to the haze as the haze was only temporary,” he said.

Earlier, in his speech, Muhammad Bakhtiar said despite the fact that the travel and tourism industry generated 10 per cent of the world’s jobs, new policies were needed to maximise tourism potential to create more and better jobs, especially for women and youths, while new policies were needed to reflect and incorporate on-going advances in technology.

“Malaysia is currently taking efforts to embrace the increasingly apparent trend of digital technology usage in tourist travels… this means higher tourism income, more job opportunities, new businesses and improved infrastructure that contribute to overall economic development.

“Therefore, we must promote decent works in tourism, entrepreneurship, gender equality and youth employment, and strengthen the links between tourism and technology,” he said.

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Tourism Malaysia Organises A Media Trip To The Federal Territory Of Labuan In Conjunction With VM2020 Campaign

LABUAN, 27 SEPTEMBER 2019 –A total of 11 media representatives from Peninsular Malaysia and 4 media representatives from Sabah have been invited to participate in a media trip organised by Tourism Malaysia to the Federal Territory of Labuan for the celebration of the Borneo Arts Festival 2019 which will be held from 27 to 29 September 2019. The festival is an annual event that features competitions and performances covering various art forms that are popular in Borneo such as MukunTarian Kreatif Borneo and Catan Batik.

The trip which is a collaboration between Tourism Malaysia, Labuan Corporation, Malaysia Airlines and MASwings is a part of an initiative to introduce tourism products and servicesavailable in the region in a bid to promote local tourist spots in line with the Visit Malaysia 2020 Campaign (VM2020). The trip also provides a platform for the media and both the government and private sectors to engage in networking to facilitate a positive exchange of ideas to improve the tourism industry in Malaysia.

Aside from attending the Borneo Arts Festival, the media will also be visiting Labuan’s water village homestay known as KampungAir Patau-Patau 2, the historical Peace Park and Labuan Museumas well as the popular beaches of Pancur HitamBatu Manikar andLayang-layanganwhose pristine beaches have merited the COBSEA clean beach award from UNESCO in 2008.

The media participants will also visit Labuan Marina and ride a boat to Pulau Rusukan Besar, dubbed as one of the “Untouched Wonderlands” owing to its beautiful and clean beach, where they will have the chance to snorkel and enjoy the uninhabited island up close. The programme also includes a trip to the historical site of Gedung Ubat where it was believed to be utilised by the Japanese army during World War II as an artillery storage area and the Labuan Bird Park which houses the hornbills amongst other Bornean birds.

The programme highlights include Community Based Tourism (CBT) where the participants will be given the exposure to local enterprises by visiting the supplier of anchovies, Salinang MajuEnterprise in Kg. Bebuloh and Pomosuon Piasau Enterprise in Bukit Kuda which produces virgin coconut oil.

Through this programme, Tourism Malaysia hopes that the media will disseminate information on Labuan’s enchanting beauty and share their experiences exploring the island via their respective media platforms with the hopes that it will give travel ideas to future visitors.

To enable more users to seamlessly access the stories on social media, hashtags such as #VM2020#VisitMalaysia2020, #TourismMalaysia, #MalaysiaTrulyAsia#CutiCutiMalaysia#MalaysianHospitality#MalaysiaAirlines#BorneoArtsFestival#MyLabuanStory#LabuanTourism and #MASwingsmates will be used throughout the programme to gain more traction for the publicity.
-Tourism Malaysia.

Malaysian traditional dance performance in Korea gets thunderous applause

SEOUL, Sept 27 -- The Malaysian traditional dance performance at the official opening of the Cheonnan World Dance Festival Competition here last night, received thunderous applause from the audience.

They were captivated by the beauty and elegance of the 'Lenggang Layang Sayang' and 'Joget Layang Layang', performed by the Malaysian team of 26 students from the Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI).

Those on the floor were not only in awe but had so many questions to ask about the dance, said Dr Colleen Wong, the lecturer who accompanied the team. She is also head of the varsity’s Department of Performing Arts.

"They did not know that Malaysia has such a wonderful treasure and they want more such performances held in South Korea," she told Bernama here on Friday.

She said the competition was unique and the concept was interesting as teams from the 17 participating countries were required to perform in public as well as on stage to popularise the art of dance.

The Malaysian team performed at the Cheonnan Heuntaryeong Museum for 10 minutes and also at Seong Hwan Ehwa Market.

"We were fortunate that both locations were popular with the people and they enjoyed our performance," Dr Wong said.

This morning, the Malaysian team came up with five types of dances specially for the semi-finals of the International Dance Competition at Samgeori Park in Cheonnan.

The team will also take part in the Cheonnan Street Dance competition tonight.

Dr Wong said her team was counting on the traditional Sarawak Bidayuh dance 'Sigar Nyikuh Jojak' to clinch the title.

If selected, the 10-minute dance which was presented at the semi-finals this afternoon will be performed again at the finals on Sunday.

For the international dance community and students involved, the Cheonnan World Dance Arts Festival is one of the world’s top 10 dance festivals and a platform for performers across the globe to show their diversity, culture and uniqueness through arts and cultural performances.

It is an event hosted by the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, involving over 5,500 domestic and international participants.

Promoting Malaysia As Wedding Destination In New Delhi

New Delhi, 26 September 2019 – Tourism Malaysia and Wedding Affair have jointly organised MALAYSIA WEDDING CONCLAVE in New Delhi today. The event aims at highlighting the unparalleled potential of Malaysia on the wedding destination map. Among the attendees were High Commissioner of Malaysia to India, H.E. Dato’ Hidayat Abdul Hamid, Tourism Malaysia New Delhi Director, Sulaiman Bin Suip and Editor-In-Chief Wedding Affair Rajnish Rathi.

The exclusive event was attended by the leading wedding planners from North India. A B2B session was organised for the wedding planners to interact with selected representatives from Malaysian hotels, resorts and airlines. The soiree witnessed an enthralling performance by a 20-member cultural troupe from Malaysia. The troupe was sponsored by the Sarawak Tourism, Arts & Culture Ministry to showcase enticing Malaysian dance forms and traditional musical instruments.

“There is no other culture that celebrates weddings like the Indians do! There are millions of wedding events take place in this market annually. This sector has experienced a tremendous growth as almost everyone desires to elevate the scale of their special celebration. Here, Malaysia offers a huge potential as a wedding destination. As the tagline rightly states, “Love in India, Marry in Malaysia”, the wedding conclave showcases Malaysia as a perfect wedding destination with many magnificent hotels and resorts. Being in the heart of ASEAN brings many advantages to Malaysia. It is a melting pot of cultures brought in from the colonial era. These foreign cultures have been accepted and adopted by the local people. Elements from these rich cultures can be incorporated in an Indian wedding in Malaysia to make the celebration even more exciting,” said H.E. Dato’ Hidayat Abdul Hamid.

He added, “Malaysia is a value-for-money destination. For example, the Langkawi Island – a duty-free island, offers cheaper rates of beverages compared with the mainland. At the same time, the room rates are quite affordable in the island. Besides, there are plenty of beautiful venues with state-of-the-art facilities that can make the wedding a memorable experience. Gorgeous beaches, cities, highland and million-year-old rainforests can lend a perfect backdrop to your big-day. Being a multi-ethnic society, a couple can even get married in traditional costumes of the Kadazan, Iban, Malays, etc.”

“This indeed gives us immense pleasure and honour to work with Tourism Malaysia in organising this event and to promote Malaysia as the perfect wedding destination. This country indeed offers all the ingredients we vie for in a Big Fat Indian Wedding. Laced with scenic beauty, the airfares, travel time, visa charges waiver, competitive prices of hotels and resorts, all these factors position Malaysia as the desirable wedding destination. We hope that this initiative will definitely increase the number of Indian weddings in Malaysia,” said Rajnish Rathi.

Currently, a total of 237 flights connect 14 cities directly in India, offering approximately 45,000 seats per week to Malaysia. The number will be even higher if it does include indirect flights. Ease of connectivity is the key for both countries. Being less than five-hour away from New Delhi, the time and cost involved will not be an issue given that the government has eased the visa facility for Indian travellers with the introduction of eNTRI and eVISA.
-Tourism Malaysia.

Friday, 27 September 2019

Kelantan gov't signs MoU with private firms to promote 'Visit Kelantan Year 2020'

KOTA BHARU, Sept 26 -- The Kelantan government today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with strategic media advertising consulting firm Laduni Services Sdn Bhd and low-cost airline AirAsia to intensify promotions in conjunction with the Visit Kelantan Year 2020 (TMK2020) tourism campaign.

State Unity, Culture, Heritage and Tourism Committee chairman Major (Rtd) Datuk Md Anizam Abdul Rahman said through the joint-venture, Laduni Services and AirAsia would make Kelantan known to the world through liveries featured on aircraft.

"The Kelantan livery project will be completed by the end of December this year, and the campaign will last for two years, bringing the 'Kelantan In The Sky' brand across all major destinations within six aviation sectors a day.

"Laduni Services, in conjunction with AirAsia will promote Kelantan around the world with the taglines 'I Love Kelantan' and 'Kelantan Di Hati' throughout the period," he said.

He was speaking to reporters after the signing of the MoU among the three parties at the Kota Darul Naim Complex here, today.


Tourism sector remains competitive, provides jobs

KUANTAN, Sept 26 -- The tourism sector remains competitive, providing jobs for the locals, especially with the coming Visit Malaysia Year 2020 (VM2020).

Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik said according to statistics, last year, the tourism sector generated 3.4 million jobs, making up 23.4 per cent of the total number of jobs in the country.

“The tourism sector has a big potential to generate jobs, especially with the increase in tourist arrivals from all over the world to Malaysia, especially in VM2020, and job seekers should take advantage of this,” he said.

Muhammad Bakhtiar was speaking in a press conference held in conjunction with the launch of the VM2020 campaign, Pahang level, here today.

He added that in the first six months of this year, there were 13.35 million foreign tourist arrivals in Malaysia, which was a 4.9 per cent increase over the same period last year.

"We hope to achieve our target of 28.1 million foreign tourists this year,” he said.

Muhammad Bakhtiar also assured that joint efforts will be made with the Pahang government to promote tourism products in the state which is known for its eco-tourism destinations.

“I am told that there are 42 tourism events planned in Pahang next year and these will attract the tourists,” he said.

Commenting on a fire on Aug 31 in Sungai Lembing, a National Heritage Site, Muhammad Bakhtiar said the incident did not affect the location’s status.

Sarawak wants to tap potential of digital tourism

KUCHING, Sept 26 -- The Sarawak government is determined to tap into digital tourism as part of efforts to boost tourist arrivals in the state.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the state government is aware that digitalisation is a strong driver of globalisation and brings great potential for revenue growth.

“The state tourism industry especially will greatly benefit from such an initiative (digitalisation). We are all looking into various strategies in order to boost the tourism industry and one of them is to invest in digital tourism.

“We want to promote Sarawak as a must-visit destination, offering a memorable experience for a multitude of different types of visitors and encourage return visits. In short digital tourism is all about enhancing and improving traveller's experience and securing their interest,” he said in his speech at the International Conference on Archaeology 2019 here today.

His speech was read out by state Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

Abang Johari said digital tourism would also create opportunities for entrepreneurs to promote their goods and services to a broader audience and increase their business prospects.

While promoting tourism and upgrading some of the tourist destinations in the state are important, he stressed that the protection of world heritage sites in Sarawak is equally imperative to the state government.

“The state government has acknowledged that the Niah Caves and other identified archaeological sites across Sarawak are of great importance.

“This invaluable historical heritage tells us about past human activities and thus also reflects a nation's civilisation. Therefore, the protection and preservation of these heritage assets are a priority and Sarawak is committed to this,” he added.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Visit Malaysia 2020 roadshow in South India attracts 400 travel agents

NEW DELHI, Sept 26 -- A Malaysian tourism promotion campaign in southern India attracted hundreds of travel agents as Tourism Malaysia grows its focus on top source markets.

Twenty-eight Malaysian tourism industry participants comprising travel agents, product owners, the Seri Pacific Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Malindo Air and Sarawak Tourism Board joined hands to support the Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign in India.

Promotional events were held in Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore and Kochi this week and attracted more than 400 local travel agents for business networking sessions, according to Tourism Malaysia.

"The Visit Malaysia 2020 roadshow puts emphasis on India as one of the main markets for the country," said K. Saravanan, consul general of Malaysia in Chennai.

Malaysia aims to increase tourist arrivals from India significantly by reaching out to free independent travellers, business visitors, family tourists and honeymooners.

"Our events in south India received an amazing response from tour operators and potential visitors. Malaysia as a destination is well-established in India's south and we see tremendous potential for future growth," Logi Dhasan Thanaraj, deputy director of Tourism Malaysia for South India and Sri Lanka, told Bernama.

"From Borneo's wonderful natural landscapes to modern theme parks in Johor, Malaysia offers unmatched choices to foreign visitors," he said.

Malaysia received 354,486 tourists from India until June this year, ranking it the sixth top source of international arrivals after Singapore, Indonesia, China, Thailand and Brunei.

ASEAN's share was 70 per cent in the six-month tourist arrivals of 13.3 million.

Mohamad Taib Ibrahim, senior director of Tourism Malaysia, said the Malaysian government has made it easy for Indian tourists to travel to Malaysia by introducing eNTRI and eVISa services online.

As Malaysia aims to attract 30 million tourists next year, digital promotion is getting more attention from the travel industry.

"Apart from the traditional areas of growth, MATTA continues to focus on digital by encouraging more of its members to move into the e-commerce space and offer digital alternatives when buying and selling tourism products and services," said Gopalan Mariappan, chairman of the Selangor chapter of the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA).

World´s longest water slide in Penang to open next month

GEORGE TOWN, Sept 25 -- The world’s longest inner tube water slide in a theme park in Teluk Bahang here is expected to open to the public by the second half of next month.

Penang Escape theme park founder and chief executive officer Sim Choo Kheng today said the 1,111 metre-long water slide will be opened upon completion of Phase 3 of the theme park’s development.

Sim said the third phase, which focuses on gravity-play rides, includes the water slide, ski lift, hill rider and tubby racer.

“The total investment for this development phase is RM12 million and the water slide alone is RM5 million,” he told reporters here.

Earlier, Sim received the Guinness World Records (GWR) certificate from GWR adjudicator Pete Fairbairn in recognition of the world’s longest water slide, which is three times longer than the previous record holder in Germany (356 metres). GWR verified the record for the water slide on Sept 6.

Sim said the record-breaking attempt was “completely unintentional” and the development was solely focused on creating longer and enjoyable theme park rides.

“The main focus when coming up with the concept was to preserve the natural environment around and have the visitors to enjoy and love nature while having fun,” he said.

He added that the physical installation of the water slide took eight months with only basic equipment such as chain hoists and scaffolding to keep damage of the forest to a bare minimum.

The water slide, with the highest point at 70 metres above ground, is composed of 488 sections and 326 side guards, and was joined together with 10,248 sets of nuts and bolts as well as a total length of 1.2 km steel poles weighing at 66 tonnes.

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Tourism industry practitioners should cooperate for success of visit malaysia 2020

JOHOR BAHRU, Sept 24 -- Seventy tourism industry practitioners today join the Tourism Malaysia Travel Mart @ JB programme in the effort to build a cooperation network for Visit Malaysia 2020.

According to Tourism Malaysia deputy director-general Zulkifly Md Said, tourism industry practitioners should be united and not to be short-sighted in sharing promotion and services on tourists coming to the country.

He said the shortcomings implementing VM2020 could be overcome with greater openness as the tourism industry thrives with a strong industry network of all players.

“All should cooperate if there were demand from tourists,” he told reporters after opening Tourism Malaysia Travel Mart @ JB and a caring session with tourism industry practitioners here today.

Also present was State Tourism, Women, Family and Community Development Committee chairman Liow Cai Tung.

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Tourism Malaysia-MATTA Travel Exchange (MTEX) South India Roadshow

CHENNAI, 22 September 2019 – Datuk Tan Kok Liang, President of MATTA & Mr Muhammad Taib Ibrahim, Senior Director Tourism Malaysia Director, gracefully launched the roadshow in Ramada Plaza Hotel, Chennai which welcomes the biggest tourism event in Malaysia, starting next year.

Tourism Malaysia and MATTA jointly organised the roadshow which will cover four main cities of India, namely Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore & Cochin from 23rd to 26th September 2019. A total number of 26 participants from Malaysia, comprising a combination of 21-travel agents, 3 product owners, Seri Pacific Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Malindo Air and Sarawak Tourism Board will come together to share the latest development of Malaysian tourism, and to promote the Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign aggressively.

The aim is to provide a platform for Malaysian sellers to meet potential buyers besides enhancing strategic networking with travel agencies, online travel agencies, tourism associations and the media.

The VM2020 roadshow puts emphasis on India as one of the main potential market for the country. In 2018, 600,311 (+8.6%) Indian tourists visited Malaysia and spent almost RM 2.7 billion. Statistic from January until June 2019 show that a total of 354,486 with the growth of 15.2% Indian visited Malaysia compared to same period last year. For the record, Malaysia is aiming a target of 728,000 Indian tourists to visit Malaysia, assisted by three Tourism Malaysia offices in Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai.

“Tourism in Malaysia is doing well with steady arrivals and tourism development”, stated Mr Muhammad Taib Ibrahim. International tourist arrivals from January to June showed a +4.9% positive growth from 12,730,368 (2018) to 13,354,575. 

Top ten international tourist arrivals for the first half of 2019 were from Singapore (5,381,566), Indonesia (1,857,864), China (1,558,782), Thailand (990,565), Brunei (627,112), India (354,486), South Korea (323,952), Philippines (210,974), Vietnam (200,314) and Japan (196,561).

ASEAN arrivals continued to dominate the share of tourist arrivals to Malaysia with a 70% contribution. The medium-haul market and long-haul market occupied a 21% share and a 9% share respectively.

Overall, the performance of the short-haul, medium-haul and long-haul markets registered positive increase with 4.7%7.1% and 1.8% growth respectively compared to the first half of 2018.

“In terms of visa, the Malaysian government always facilitates Indian tourists’ entry with ease, since the introduction of eNTRI and eVISa,” he added.

Mr Muhammad Taib Ibrahim reiterated that Malaysia is going full-force in reaching out to the world using the help of the web. “The campaign’s focus is on digital marketing through a dedicated VM2020 website, the use of hashtags for VisitMalaysia2020, VM2020and MalaysiaTrulyAsia,” he added. 

International tourism fairs’ participation as well as Mega Familiarisation programmes are already in place, as Malaysia hopes to reach Indian solo or business travelers, families, honeymooners, or film makers to choose Malaysia as a preferred destination.

For VM2020, Malaysia targets 30 million international tourist arrivals and RM 100 billion in receipts.
-Tourism Malaysia.

Bum Bum Island will be the first dedicated macro dive site in Malaysia-Sabah Motac

SEMPORNA, Sept 23 (Bernama) -- Sabah introduced Bum Bum island as its first dedicated macro dive site destination in Malaysia through its first edition of 2019 Sabah Underwater Photography Festival (Macro edition) which ended yesterday.

Sabah Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry (Motac) director Ag Ahmad Zaki Abu Bakar said the four-day festival was also a preparation for Sabah to usher the 2020 Visit Malaysia Year campaign.

“This festival is a continuation from the exploratory activities previously done by the state’s Motac in an effort to identify the uniqueness of the Bum Bum Island as a potential destination for macro dive site to be introduced to the world community.

“The area along the passage of the island houses many small size macro species including endemic species,” he said during the prize presentation ceremony of the competition here last night.

A total of 15 photographers from Sabah and Kuala Lumpur took part in the competition.

According to him, the pictures shot by the winner will be used as the promotional materials to introduce the waters of Bum Bum island as a macro muck diving destination.

“We will be using the social media platform too to promote this macro photography by encouraging participants to use the hashtag #VM2020. The pictures will also be displayed in every programme organised by the Motac,” Ahmad Zaki said.

He explained that the competition involved professional judges in the field of underwater photography, in particular macro photography, who were professional instructors from Diving Instructor World Association (DIWA) namely Patrick Ong See Hoong from Kuala Lumpur and Zulkarnain Ng Abdullah and Nicholas Teh from Singapore.

Save More for More Shopping with MHholidays Flash Sales

KLIA, 23 September 2019: For a limited time only, Malaysia Airlines is offering travellers up to 50% off flight + hotel on its MHholidays Flash Sales from today until 30 September 2019 for travels from 24 September 2019 to 30 April 2020.

Customers can enjoy all-in return Economy Class fares + hotel to Langkawi from as low as RM219, Johor Bahru from RM259, Penang from RM319, Kuching from RM489 and Kota Kinabalu from as low as RM689.

Irresistible deals to international routes are also up for grabs with all-in return Economy Class fares + hotel from as low as RM509 to Jakarta, from RM539 to Bangkok, from RM596 to Ho Chi Minh, from RM599 to Singapore and from RM709 to Manila.

Also on offer are all-in return Economy Class fares + hotel to Phuket from MYR509, Yangon from as low as RM529, Phnom Penh from RM559, Bali from RM759 and Perth from as low as RM1,009.

These fares include checked-in baggage allowance of 20kg for Economy Class travels to international destinations and complimentary meals and superior in-flight entertainment, for flights departing from Kuala Lumpur.

Wait no more and log on to for more info and to start planning for that great holiday now.
-Malaysia Airlines.

Monday, 23 September 2019

Haze or shine, the lines get cast at PD surfcasting event

PORT DICKSON, Sept 22 (Bernama) -- A total of 1,827 participants, including Singaporeans, took part in the seventh leg of the Tourism Malaysia Surfcasting Tour 2019, held at Pantai Cahaya Negeri here today.

Despite the poor air quality caused by the ongoing haze, the event attracted over 5,000 visitors to watch the fishing competition, aimed at promoting Malaysia as a sport-fishing tourist destination.

Speaking to reporters after the closing ceremony, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts, and Culture Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik said such events will boost the economy.

“It will also be a positive boost for hotels and homestay business,” he said. Present at the event were Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Aminuddin Harun and Tourism Malaysia deputy director-general (planning) Zulkifly Md Said.

Meanwhile, Aminuddin said the state government plans to make the fishing competition as an annual event to attract tourists to Negeri Sembilan.

Mohammad Almuhamin Mustafa, 27 from Muara was announced as the grand prize winner and walked away with cash RM70, 000.

Caexpo 2019 opened doors for VMY 2020 campaign - MOTAC Sec-Gen

NANNING (China), Sept 22 (Bernama) -- The uniqueness and speciality of Malaysian products that impressed visitors at the 16th China Asean Expo (Caexpo) 2019 in Nanning, Guangxi, China has also indirectly played a huge role in promoting Visit Malaysia Year 2020, Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry secretary-general Datuk Isham Ishak said.

He said local visitors from China and from the ASEAN community had also been captivated with Malaysian cultural performances during the five-day event. 

“CAEXPO 2019 is a platform that has given the opportunity to attract tourists, especially from China, to Malaysia. It has given us a boost in our efforts to promote Visit Malaysia Year 2020,” he told reporters after visiting the Malaysia Pavillion at the Expo here today.

Isham said the government's move to relax Visa On Arrival (VOA) requirements for tourists from China at six additional entry points from July 15 also helped the government's VMY 2020 efforts to attract more visitors to the country.

The entry points are Langkawi International Airport and Bukit Kayu Hitam ICQS in Kedah, Miri International Airport and Sungai Tujoh ICQS in Sarawak, Labuan Ferry Terminal and Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah International Airport (Skypark Subang).

The duration of stay in Malaysia for travel purposes had also been extended to 15 days compared to the previous seven days, while the VOA fee had been reduced from RM330 to RM200.

Sesat Saja beats 73 other teams in public category to bag first prize

Team Sesat Saja celebrating their win. Team captain Hasbullah Nordin (second from right) attributed their victory to solidarity, fitness and experience.

THEY ran non-stop. If a team member lagged behind, he or she was urged to hurry up.

Heated arguments were the norm before the group came to a unanimous decision.

That was how the Sesat Saja team from the public category walked away with the first prize of RM4,000 in cash and RM3,000 in Boost app credits at the Miss Shophia Shopping Hunt.

“At Puduraya, our e-hailing ride got stuck in traffic so we got out of the car and ran 950 metres all the way to Central Market, ” said team captain Hasbullah Nordin.

For beating 73 other teams in their category and covering all 10 malls as stipulated by the hunt, Hasbullah attributed their victory to solidarity, fitness and experience.

“We took part in the first two editions of this hunt so we knew what to expect. 

We are also treasure hunt participants. The night before this event, we were at the Putrajaya Treasure Hunt in Precinct 3. We have also taken part in museum and food hunts, ” said Hasbullah.

Camaraderie also played a part as the team members are colleagues in the same pharmaceutical company.
Team Receh from Indonesia clinched first prize in the international category. Team captain Megan Faustine (right) said keeping the group no longer than 45 minutes at every mall
helped them win.

Team Receh from Indonesia, who clinched first prize in the international category, said keeping the group no longer than 45 minutes at every mall had helped them win the RM3,000 cash prize from Tourism Malaysia, a voucher from One World Hotel and RM4,000 worth of merchandise from 1 Utama Shopping Centre.

“To look for the things in the hunt, we split up and communicated by phone, ” said team captain Megan Faustine.

100 teams comprising of 400 participants took part in this year’s hunt. Flagging off at the KL Craft Complex in Kuala Lumpur and ending at 1 Utama Shopping Centre in Petaling Jaya, the hunt saw participants from Indonesia, Brunei, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

Organised by Tourism Malaysia, the event aims to promote the year’s end sale campaign from October 1 till December 31, Visit Malaysia Year 2020 and promote the use of public transport to get to the participating malls.

In his speech, the agency’s director-general Datuk Musa Yusof said during this period shoppers will enjoy discounts of up to 70% for goods and services.

For an idea how important shopping is to tourism, he revealed for the past four years, shopping held the biggest share of tourist expenditure. Last year, it took up 33.4% of total tourist receipts, amounting to RM28.1bil, a 4.6% increase compared to 2017.

This year’s performance is especially remarkable as from January to June this year, tourist arrivals of 13.35 million has already brought in a revenue of RM41.69bil.

The favourable exchange rate, product quality and diverse choices have been named as some of the reasons why Malaysia has become a popular shopping destination.

Promising participants that the shopping hunt will be returning next year, Musa said that the fourth edition will feature elements of artificial intelligence and augmented reality as an added challenge.

Hinting that they may be doing away with physical forms, he said the next hunt would require participants to look for and scan hidden codes for questions and instructions.
-thestar online.

Malaysia organises food and cultural festival in Delhi

NEW DELHI, Sept 22 (Bernama) -- Malaysia organised a food and cultural festival in New Delhi as part of its Visit Malaysia 2020 tourism promotion campaign.

Malaysian High Commissioner to India Datuk Hidayat Abdul Hamid said increased awareness of Malaysian attractions and the ease of obtaining visa would encourage more Indian travellers to opt for Malaysia as their holiday destination.

"Apart from the easy visa facilities, accessibility between the two countries is also gradually increasing. We have 237 weekly flights from India to Malaysia covering 14 Indian cities," he said at the launching of the six-day "Taste of Malaysia" festival at the ITC Maurya Hotel here today.

Malaysia aims to significantly increase tourist arrivals from India as it hopes to attract 30 million international visitors in 2020 and achieve RM100 billion in annual tourism revenue.

In the first six months of this year, 354,486 Indian tourists visited Malaysia, representing an increase of more than 15 per cent over the same period last year, while Tourism Malaysia's target from the country for 2019 is 730,000.

Malaysia earlier used to concentrate on a few major Indian cities to attract tourists but has expanded its promotion activities to tier-2 and tier-3 cities due to greater interest in Malaysia among potential travellers.

"These positive developments have boosted the confidence of airlines to add frequencies and new cities to their network," Hidayat said.

Recently, Malindo Air started flying to Varanasi in the state of Uttar Pradesh and IndiGo launched its double daily Chennai-Kuala Lumpur services.

Meanwhile, director of Tourism Malaysia in New Delhi Sulaiman Suip said Malaysian and Indian carriers are planning to start new services to cater to growing traffic.

"Malindo is interested in starting a Delhi-Langkawi direct service and is looking for a suitable slot," he said.

Tourism Malaysia's promotional activities are geared to expose Indian travellers to more choices of attractions and locations such as Sarawak, Sabah, Johor and Ipoh apart from the established tourism hubs of Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Langkawi.

The food and cultural show in Delhi features daily performances by a group of artistes from Sarawak.

Chefs Mohd Hailme Abdul Khamis and Hafiz Adrus from Malaysia will present a variety of authentic delectable flavours to Delhi's diners.

ITC Maurya general manager Benita Sharma said the event, held in association with the High Commission of Malaysia, provides a good platform for India-Malaysia cultural exchanges through culinary experiences.