Thursday, November 30, 2006

AirAsia sells 1,000 seats to Mulu in 24 hours

SEPANG – AirAsia and Fly Asian Xpress’’s (FAX) code-sharing to Mulu was a hit with 1,000 seats sold within 24 hours.

The initiative for this route was part of a joint effort by AirAsia and FAX to support the Visit Malaysia Year 2007 (VMY2007) campaign.

Both carriers will officially fly this code share route on December 1, 2006.

Dato’ Tony Fernandes, group CEO, AirAsia said, “We reiterate that the East Malaysia market is very important to us as it poses great potential, and with both of our hubs in Kota Kinabalu and Kuching, we believe we can deliver more passengers into the states.”

“In addition to the positive response for this route, we are also introducing another code sharing route with FAX to Lahad Datu via Kota Kinabalu, Sabah commencing December 1, 2006 with fares starting from RM49.99*,” added Dato’ Tony.

Source : TravelWeekly
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Malaysia achieves 1 Million Tourists a month

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia is achieving its target of one million tourist arrivals a year, with a record of 1.5 million visitors just for the month of August, a 2.6 percent increase from the same month last year.

A Tourism Malaysia's official said this continued "the positive trend of registering more than one million visitors per month.

"Total arrivals for January to August 2006 stood at 11.52 million, an increase of 5.9 percent from last year's 10.88 million.

Top five markets for the first eight months of this year were Singapore (6.32 million), Thailand (1.31 million), Indonesia (803,701), Brunei (447,245) and China (244,255).


Source : TravelWeekly

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1,000 hotel rooms booked for Sarawak Rainforest Music Festival

Resorts Fully Booked for Music Fest
By STEPHEN THEN
stephenthen@thestar.com.my

MIRI: More than 1,000 hotel rooms and chalets at four beach and country resorts near the pristine shores of Santubong in the southern tip of the state have been snapped up for the annual Sarawak Rainforest Music Festival – nine months before the start of the music extravaganza.

In what is a testimony to the drawing power of this world music showpiece, the four resorts – the Damai Resort, the Damai Lagoon Resort, the Santubong Resort and the Permai Jungle Resort – have been booked solid.

Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) chief executive officer Gracie Geikie said there was no more accommodation available at the site of the three-day event, which starts on July 13.

“The response from overseas is overwhelming. All forms of accommodation, from rooms to chalets, at the four resorts located in Santubong, have been booked way in advance before the event,” she said in an interview yesterday.

“The only accommodation available for the festival now is in Kuching city (about 40km away). Tourists wanting to go to the festival ground will have to use the shuttle service.

“We expect all five-star hotels, tourist-class hotels and motels in Kuching to also be snapped up soon,” said Geikie.

“Our target of getting at least 24,000 tourists to come to the event looks reachable.”
The Sarawak Rainforest Music Festival started 10 years ago and has since become a renowned international ethnic music showpiece, drawing visitors from all over Asia, New Zealand, Australia, South America, North America, the Pacific region and Africa.

Encouraged by the huge response to the world music fest, STB hopes to turn the International Jazz Festival – scheduled to be held in Miri on May 12 and 13 – into another musical showpiece that can attract world attention.

“Sarawak is so big and so diverse that there are many musical events that can be turned into world-famous festivals,” said Geikie, a former beauty queen.

Hailing from Miri, she is the first non-government official to head the state’s most important tourism promotion body.

Source : STAR
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A Special Affair at Hotel Maya

HOTEL Maya celebrated its first birthday recently with 32 other individuals named Maya recently.

Singer and actress Maya Karin was also part of the group.

The hotel ran a two-week-long campaign searching for individuals with the name Maya throughout Malaysia.

Those registered in the search by the hotel stood a chance to win the ultimate prize of a lifetime stay at the hotel.

Melvin (centre) cutting the birthday cake with Maya Karin and all the participants named Maya.“After a RM45mil refurbishment exercise, Hotel Maya has won numerous awards locally and internationally for its unique architecture and tasteful interior design,” said Hotel Maya general manager I.Z Melvin.

Among those shortlisted for the birthday party was male participant Mayakumaran Subramaniam.

Mayakumaran, 30, said he was often mistaken for a female due to his name.
Maya Shalfawani Mohd Sakih was the lucky winner and she took home the grand prize of the lifetime hotel stay.

“I was only told about the campaign last weekend by my sister-in-law,” said Maya Shalfawani, who is the only girl in the family of five boys.

She plans to celebrate her win with her mother, who is celebrating her 53rd birthday this month.

After the cake-cutting ceremony, guests took the opportunity to take photographs with Maya Karin.

Melvin said the hotel will continue to set the benchmark as a trendsetter and innovator.


Source : STAR

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Sarawak to draw 2,500 delegates for 11 Major Conventions

Sarawak bids to capture bigger share of convention business

KUCHING: Sarawak expects to draw some 2,500 delegates for the 11 major conventions it will host during Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2007.
State Tourism and Urban Development Minister Datuk Wong Soon Koh said these conventions included a regional conference on biodiversity in tropical planted forests.


“The 2,500 delegates are expected to generate an estimated 10,000 room nights and spend about RM6.8mil,” he added when replying to points raised by members during debate on the 2007 state Budget.

Wong said the newly set up Sarawak Convention Bureau, the first of its kind in the country, was going all out to capture a bigger market share of the global convention and meeting business.

TOURISM PROMO: (From right) Hamden, VMY 2007 head of secretariat Hashimah Nik Jaafar, Sarawak Tourism Federation president Wee Hong Seng, Tourism Malaysia state director Idris Osman and Sarawak Tourism Board corporate affairs manager Mohd Tuah Jais at the launch of the car sticker contest in Kuching yesterday.“The bureau is working with local and international organisations to bid for new conventions to attract more business delegates to Sarawak.

“Its free services for meeting planners are currently being promoted as part of an RM260,000 local media and public relations campaign to encourage more Malaysian organisations to consider bidding to host national or international meetings in Sarawak.”

He said there were some 14,000 different international association meetings organised around the world every year, 49% of which rotated worldwide, with 9% in the Asia-Pacific region.
He said that more than 8,000 international meetings could be held in Malaysia, but the country only hosted 52 or less than 1% last year.

Wong said with the multi-million ringgit Sarawak Convention and Exhibition Centre due to open here in three years’ time, the state would be better positioned to compete for target meetings.
He said the Sarawak Tourism Board had lined up 60 key events for VMY 2007, and that the World Rainforest Music Festival, Gawai and Sarawak Regatta had been listed in the country’s main tourism calendar.

State Assistant Minister for Tourism Hamden Ahmad yesterday launched the VMY 2007 “Spot the car sticker contest” campaign at Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg here.


Source : STAR

60% of Foreign Tourists entered through Johor

Stop the Jabber and get the Tourists

JOHOR BARU: The state government should be taking pro-active steps to attract tourists instead of wasting time discussing meaningless issues, the state assembly was told.

Datuk Tee Siew Kiong (BN-Pulai Sebatang) said while Singapore (Tourism Board) provided free transport from City Square here to the republic, the state was not taking such action to bring in tourists.

“There is no need to bring up sensitive issues which do not benefit any party,'' he said.
Tee said economic development should not depend solely on local investments or the people’s spending power but should include foreign investments and tourists.

He said 60% of foreign tourists entered Malaysia through Johor.

With the Federal Government’s aim of attracting 20 million tourists next year, this meant that 12 million would be entering via Johor.

“Visit Malaysia Year 2007 is just a few days away. Have we come up with any plan to ensure a continuous flow of tourists throughout the year?” he asked.

Datuk Samsol Bari Jamali (BN-Semarang) said more signboards should be placed to promote interesting destinations.

“I have yet to see a signboard for tourist destinations such as the Desaru beach or Kota Tinggi waterfalls,” he said.

On another matter, Samsol Bari said a connecting road to the new Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex must be built as the complex should not become a white elephant.

“We do not want this to happen just because of the inefficiency in the planning stage of certain parties.”

Source : STAR
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RM460mil Budget for Penang

CHIEF Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon has tabled a budget of RM461.86mil for next year, an increase of RM71.56mil (18.33%) from the 2006 Budget.

The management budget saw an increase of RM4.27mil (1.44%) to RM300.76mil while the development budget went up by RM65.34mil (48.13%) to RM201.1mil.
Dr Koh described the budget as realistic and pragmatic.

“It is in line with the state’s consistent commitment to generate high economic growth, ensure the rakyat’s progress and enhance their quality of living,” he said when tabling the Supplies and Development Bill 2007.

Dr Koh said emolument expenses to pay out salary raises and allowances for 3,471 government employees increased about RM4.24mil to RM84.61mil.

Allocation was also sought for the restructuring of Syariah Judicial Department, the creation of new posts and grades and bonuses for civil servants, he added.

Dr Koh said the state anticipated a nett revenue of RM262.2mil for next year, an increase of RM14.81mil (5.98%) from this year.

“To collect arrears owing to us, we are undertaking several strict actions. They include confiscating the land of defaulters who owe quit rent amounting more than RM10,000,” he said.
On tourism products, he said the Penang National Park would be opened in June next year, where a turtle sanctuary would be among its main attractions.

He also said the reptile farm project in Teluk Bahang would also be completed in June next year.

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Tourism Funds may open to more Banks

KUALA LUMPUR: The Tourism Ministry is considering allowing more banks to participate in the Tourism Special Fund and Tourism Infrastructure Fund following feedback of slow approvals by SME Bank, which processes applications for the funds.

Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Donald Lim said the ministry had received feedback that it took between six months to a year for applicants to hear from SME Bank.

Lim said the ministry had also submitted a proposal to the Treasury to increase the allocation from RM1.2bil to RM3bil for each fund.

“We hope more money can be given to (the tourism sector especially in view of Visit Malaysia Year 2007),” he said.

Source : STAR

Malaysian Taxis Smelly

TAXI drivers in the country should observe personal hygiene and place air fresheners in their vehicles.

Nanyang Siang Pau quoted Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor as saying that he had received a complaint from a foreign investor that taxis in Malaysia were “very smelly”.

He added that the investor, who sounded European, had called him personally to demand that the Government look into the condition of taxis here.

Apart from the “weird” smell of taxis, the man also complained that the cushions were very old.
Tengku Adnan said he did not believe that all taxi drivers had a problem with hygiene but there was still a small group who could give a negative impression to the tourists.

“Therefore, I hope all taxi drivers observe personal hygiene and I also suggest that they put air fresheners in their taxis,” he added.

Source : STAR
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Penang to Review Existing Tourism Packages

IT’S “high time” that Penang reviewed its existing tourism packages to see whether they were attractive enough or needed improvement.

State Tourism Committee chairman Teng Chang Yeow said the call made by the newly-launched Association of Tourism Attractions Penang (ATAP) chairman Eddy Low was timely as Penang could not continue relying on its existing packages.

Low, in his opening speech at the launch in Island Plaza, said there was an urgent need to re-look the packages promoting Penang.

He said the state’s tourism was suffering from the bell curve syndrome with the same tourism products and packages, some of which were getting old.

Low urged the Penang Tourism Action Council and the state to combine efforts to aggressively market the packages.

Teng said although it was the private sector’s role to introduce, repair and restructure tourism packages, the state had always helped market tourist destinations.

“Tour guides and inbound agents must change their mindset by including tourist spots which charge entrance fees in their tourism packages.

“They should not concentrate on places which offer free entrance to enjoy commissions based on sale of goods,” he added.

Teng said everyone should work together to address the issue instead of just lamenting that there was lack of tourism products and packages.

ATAP, which has been in existence since 2003, currently has 31 members, which include Cheah Kongsi, Craft Batik Sdn Bhd, CKC Food In-dustries Sdn Bhd, Sentral Technology Institute, Tropical Spice Garden and Penang Butterfly Farm.

The organisation was formed to create an active network of private and government-run tourism attractions and improve the image of Penang among travellers.

Source : STAR
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First Fully Smoke-Free Hotel in Singapore

Singapore (dpa) - The Royal Plaza will become Singapore's first fully smoke-free hotel when it reopens in January following a multi- million-dollar renovation, management said Wednesday.

The smoking ban will apply to both guests and staff, said general manager Patrick Fiat.

While many other hotels in the city-state have reduced the number of smoking floors and guest rooms, none has imposed a total ban.

''We wanted to do this for years, and since we closed for a major renovation last year, we decided to go ahead with it,'' The Straits Times quoted Fiat as saying.

Royal Plaza management has arranged talks on the harmful effects of smoking to help staff at the 32-year-old hotel, which has 511 rooms. It is also handing out nicotine patches and gum.

Other hotels noted demand by Chinese tourists for smoking rooms to explain why they have no plans for a total ban. China is Singapore's second largest source of visitors, following Indonesia.

Smoking is currently banned in 30 categories of public areas, including shopping complexes, underground pedestrian walkways and eating establishments.

By July 2007, the ban will extend to 900 bars and clubs.



Source : News
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Throwing TV's in Hotel's Pools

Throwing TV's in hotel's pools was more important to Moon than attending gigs


Washington, Nov 28(ANI): Rock legend Keith Moon was so determined to keep up his wild man reputation intact, that he once missed a flight so that he could return to his hotel room and hurl a TV into the swimming pool. is 'The Who' band mate Pete Townshend recollects sitting in the car with Moon, on the way to catch an aeroplane when the drummer insisted on returning to the hotel room, where he'd spent the previous night.
"We were late for the plane and Keith was like, 'Oh my God, I've got to go back to my hotel room.' We thought he'd left drugs in his room or something. We turned around, we know we're gonna miss the plane and we might be late for the gig. We rush back to the hotel and he rushes in, comes out with the TV set and throws it into the swimming pool, gets back in the car and goes, 'Phew, I nearly forgot!,'" Contactmusic quoted him as saying.

The guitarist says that he did not did not scream at the drummer because he knew how important it was for Moon to throw TV sets into the pool.

"Throwing television sets out of hotel rooms is very, very, very important. F**king hell, it's very important that somebody does it and does it often. The people that do it should be regarded as being very special."

The drummer often threw furniture out of high windows and destroyed the plumbing with firecrackers.These acts were often fuelled by drugs or alcohol, but most of the time; Moon was simply living out his larger-than-life persona.

One of the most famous stories about him was when he had an argument with his wife, Kim, and claimed he was going to commit suicide. Moon then drove his Rolls-Royce into their home pond, only to come out swimming from under the water, apparently laughing.

Moon's penchant for the wild life eventually proved detrimental to both his drumming ability and his reliability as a band member. (ANI)


Source : News
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Penang Pesta Dragon Boat Race 2006

Rowing in the tourists

ENTRIES are open for the canoe, optimist and laser radial events of the Penang Pesta Dragon Boat Race 2006 which will be held on Dec 16 and Dec 17.

State Youth and Sports Committee chairman Datuk Jahara Hamid said those interested have until Dec 15 to register.

She said the annual event was expected to draw about 3,000 tourists and participants from all over the country and Singapore.

“So far, the response from participants and sponsors has been overwhelming.

“This is an important event for the state because it promotes sports tourism. We are very pleased that the private sector has been so supportive in sending their employees to participate in the races and sponsoring the event,” she said recently during the sponsorship presentation ceremony in Komtar, Penang.

The sponsors were CP Landmark, Copthorne Orchid Hotel, All Excel Trading and Indocafe. Among those present were Penang International Dragon Boat Festival (PIDBF) chairman Lai Chew Hock and Penang Island Municipal Council secretary Ooi Chin Loo.

The Penang Pesta Dragon Boat Race 2006 will be held from 8am to 6pm on both days at the Penang Water Sports Recreation Centre (PWSRC) in Tanjung Bunga. It is organised by the Penang State Sports Council with the cooperation of the PIDBF, Penang Dragon Boat Association, Penang Canoe Association and the PWSRC.

For details, call Girlie Tan at 04-8909373/012-4991141 or e-mail: girlie_tan@hotmail.com” girlie_tan@hotmail.com.

Source : STAR
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Le Meridien Showcase the Traditions of Christmas

International Xmas offering in pipeline
By BAVANI MPhotos by SAM THAM

Chef Rodriguez said the hotel is planning a party that will showcase the traditions of Christmas around the world.

Le Meridien Hotel - Level 5
Kuala Lumpur
2 Jalan Stesen Sentral
KL Sentral Tel: 03-22637434

One On One: Christmas Eve Buffet Dinner- RM138++(adult) & RM68++ (Child), Christmas Day Brunch-RM128++(adult) & RM68++(child), New Year's Eve Buffet Dinner-RM208++(adult) & RM88++(child), New Year's Day Buffet Brunch-RM128++(adult) & RM68++(child).

Prime: Christmas Eve 5 Course Dinner-RM498++ per person, & Christmas Day Six Course Lunch-RM368++ per person, New Year's Eve 6 Course Dinner-RM618++ per person, New Year's Day Six Course Lunch-RM368++ per person.

AL Nafourah: Christmas Eve Set Dinner-RM168 per person or RM368++ per person (min 2 person) in a private Arabian tent or RM268++ per person (min 8 person) in the private dining room, Christmas Day 4-course Set Lunch-RM118++ per person, New Year's Eve BBQ Buffet Dinner-RM318++ (adult) & RM158 (Child), New Year's Day Set Lunch-RM118++ per person.
Christmas traditions are about decor, gifts and food! But importantly, Christmas is also about family and friends coming together to share the yuletide season.

Realising the significance of this special occasion, Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur's award-winning chefs are working their magic and putting on their creative hats to ensure that customers have a Christmas and New Year celebration that will be remembered for a long time.

Executive chef Antoine Rodriguez said the hotel is planning a Traditional Christmas Galore party that will showcase the traditions of Christmas from around the world.

“In Europe for instance, people enjoy all types of seafood dishes for Christmas.

“In other parts, cakes and pastries such as Mince Pie, Christmas Pudding and Gingerbread Parfait are popular during this time so each outlet will be featuring its Christmas speciality,” said Rodriguez.

The One on One Restaurant will be offering a traditional Christmas Eve buffet dinner and Christmas Day brunch featuring an international spread of Christmas delights, while posh steak restaurant Prime will be offering a specially prepared Christmas meal.

Al Nafourah’s Arabian-inspired setting.At the Nafourah, which serves Arabian delights, Christmas will be something to remember as the outlet is preparing something adventurous.
Chef Ibrahim promises an Arabian Night experience, complete with tents, veiled beauties, armed guards with sabres, and more.

The media was recently treated to a sneak preview of what is in store for Christmas.
The sampling was hosted in the lavish setting of Prime and lunch took off with an assorted platter of starters.

There were homemade smoked salmon with sour cream, onion rings, capers, and a selection of seafood featuring Canadian oysters, prawns, slipper lobster, crab and caviar.

A selection of sushi, negiri and maki are some of the seafood offering from One On One.This, said chef Rodriguez, was a sample of what One On One has to offer.

Next was a selection of Lebanese appetisers served with three types of sauce from Al Nafourah.
For main course, Prime offered Grilled Australian grain beef striploin served with roasted Idaho potatoes, Portobello mushroom and green asparagus.

“The meat is of prime stock as the beef is grain fed hence it is tender and succulent,” said Rodriguez.

To end the meal, all restaurants served five types of festive desserts, which included Chestnut crème brulee, chocolate ganache yule log, Christmas pudding with Vanilla sauce and gingerbread parfait.

Source : STAR

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Spa Trends for 2007: Is the reign of pamper-centred spas over?

A leading hotel and spa specialist predicts that the reign of the pamper-centred spa is over.

Ms Anne Biging, managing director of Healing Hotels of the World, outlined her predictions for spa trends in 2007.

‘Today’s spa-savvy clients are interested in more than the latest wrap. A growing band of spa aficionados are recognising that beauty isn’t skin deep and they are leading the trend in seeking ‘health for life’ spas.

‘For the past few years, we have witnessed the pioneering of the medical spa. This trend will grow but will also encompass spas for mind, body and spirit.’ Ms Biging predicted.

‘The really leading-edge spas are focusing on providing clients with wisdom as well as luxury. It’s the wisdom of understanding yourself on many levels, then learning how to maintain this understanding,’ she said.

‘Spas will provide centres for developing spiritual, emotional and physical health where clients will learn to take responsibility for their well-being.’

So is pampering over?

‘No,’ Ms Biging said, ‘it will be an enjoyable extra. We will see more focus on the person rather than a problem. People will see spas as places to develop healthful lifestyle habits—and learn these as part of a playful and joyful experience.’

Other trends?

Ms Biging also predicted more men attending spas, more residential spas and an even greater role for online to access to a growing diversity of spas.

Healing Hotels of the World is a marketing/PR peak body of elite hotels, resorts and spas on five continents that brings a true holistic health and transformational approach to their businesses. Members include the Ananda in the Himalayas of India, Como Shambhala in Bali, Moonlight Head in Australia, Sante Winelands in South Africa and the Lanserhof in Austria.

‘Our standards are very different from those of the average spa today. We want to help guests’ educate themselves. Our philosophy is that a heart-to-heart connection is where healing really begins,’ she said.

‘Healing Hotels of the World has three platforms to assist hotels,’ she said. ‘We offer a consultancy and training of excellence programme to hotels wanting to develop an individual, state-of-the-art approach to holistic health as well as comprehensive marketing solutions for members. Thirdly, we offer a series of Retreats and Master Programs conducted by world-leaders in their fields.’

Healing Hotels of the World, based in Germany, has members in Europe, Australia, India and South Africa.

Anne Biging has more than 20 years experience in international tourism destination marketing and also heads the German-based Tourism Marketing Group International. Interested hotels can contact her at Anne.Biging@Healing-Hotels.com

About Healing Hotels of the World

Healing Hotels of the World (HHW), based in Bergisch Gladbach, near Cologne, provides hotels throughout the world the recognition of being an elite health and wellbeing hotel, spa or resort. To join, hotels must meet a strict set of guidelines. HHW also runs a consultancy and a training of excellence programme which helps hotels meet HHW’s strict criteria. HHW membership gives the fast-growing number of consumers interested in such centres a consistent and recognizable rating system.

HHW managing director, Anne Biging, is recognised throughout the world for her expertise and has a successful track record in international tourism destination marketing, public relations and hotel consulting.

For more information, see www.Healinghotelsoftheworld.com .




News Source : EHotelier

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I Wanted to Scratch an Itch, says Japanese Chef

KUALA LUMPUR: A Japanese restaurant chef who was charged with masturbating in public claimed he had a skin disorder that caused him to remove his pants to “scratch” his private parts.

Joenaidey Ramis, through his lawyer Jagdish Kaur, told a magistrate's court here that he was suffering from tinea, an infection of the skin caused by fungi.

The 25-year-old chef however admitted to committing the offence on Feb 2 last year around 10.30am at the level 5 parking lot of Berjaya Times Square in front of a 24-year-old shampoo girl.

According to the facts of the case, Joenaidey had followed the complainant on the day of the offence and masturbated beside her car at the same parking lot.

The court heard how scared the complainant felt a few days after the incident, on Feb 6 when the accused stared at her at the parking lot.

Jagdish Kaur, in mitigation, told the court that her client was remorseful over the incident and had apologised to the complainant, her boyfriend and the security guard immediately after that.
According to the lawyer, Joenaidey was embarrassed that he even wanted to quit his job but his employer stopped him from doing so.

She also asked for the offence not to be recorded as her client was planning to work in Singapore as a chef.

Prosecuting officer C/Insp D.R. Ghanthi Nathan asked for a fitting sentence, saying the case involved public interest and the complainant was greatly affected by the incident.
Magistrate Nor Aziati Jaafar fined Joenaidey RM1,500 in default two months' jail.

The chef paid the fine.

News Source : STAR

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Baby Deserted in Hotel Lift Corridor

28 Nov 2006
Lee Shi-Ian

KUALA LUMPUR: A hotel supervisor was on her rounds when she noticed a black bundle on the floor. She was shocked when the bundle moved. Alarmed, she called her colleague and on opening the bundle, they found an infant wrapped in a jacket.

The incident occurred on the first floor of the Katari Hotel in Jalan Pudu on Sunday evening. The baby boy, weighing 2.5kg, is believed to be two days old. It is learnt that police are now studying the tapes from the hotel’s closed- circuit television cameras on the ground floor to ascertain the identity of the person who abandoned the baby.

A source said that about 8pm, a woman in her early 20s was seen rushing into the hotel carrying a big black bag. Several minutes later, the same person was seen leaving in a hurry.

Hotel staff also told police that the woman’s behaviour was suspicious. She seemed agitated and nervous when she came into the hotel. It is believed that she may have been carrying the baby in the bag. The baby was found between the lift and the staircase on the first floor.

Images lifted from the CCTV showed the woman wearing a black head scarf, T-shirt and jeans.It is learnt police are now putting together a photo-fit of the woman.

The baby was sent to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital’s maternity ward for medical checks. It is learnt that the baby will be handed to the Social Welfare Department today.

Dang Wangi police chief ACP Mohamad Zulkarnain Abdul Rahman confirmed the incident and said efforts were under way to locate the girl.Those with information on the woman can contact Inspector Zamilah Mamat at 03 20702222.

News Source : NST
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Monday, November 27, 2006

MAS launches E-TimeTable

Corinne Wan

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia Airlines has launched its new e-timetable to replace the print version effective its northern winter schedule at end October.Designed to help MAS' customers in their travel planning, the timetable is available in PDF format, through MAS website, mobile phones, web browsers and wireless devices.

MAS' senior general manager for network and revenue management, Bernard Francis, said the e-timetable would also allow the airline to reach more customers as the flight schedules are now distributed on a wider scale. In a related development, MAS said it would have special packages and "tactical fares" as part of its efforts to promote Visit Malaysia Year 2007.


MAS E-TimeTable


News Source : Travel Weekly

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Bukit Bintang not Patpong

KOTA BARU: Malaysians and not foreigners are confused as to how Malaysia is being promoted overseas, said Tourism Minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.

“Our marketing and promotion campaigns overseas depict Malaysia as a family-orientated tourism destination.

“However, we do offer clean and moderate forms of entertainment such as karaokes or nightclubs,” he said after attending the annual tourism industry awards night here.

He said that most foreigners knew what to expect and explore in Malaysia, but Malaysians were the ones who were confused.

Tengku Adnan was commenting on a statement by Jasin MP Datuk Mohd Said Yusof who likened Bukit Bintang to sex areas such as Patpong in Bangkok.

Mohd Said was quoted as saying that the Middle-Eastern friends he met recently told him that the sex activities made Malaysia “better than Thailand.”

Tengku Adnan said Malaysians must understand the country’s tourism and not misinterpret activities regarded as clean entertainment.

He said that along Bukit Bintang there were massage parlours, eateries, nightclubs, restaurants and foot reflexology services, all of which were clean and legal.

Nevertheless, he noted that vice activities did exist in isolated areas, but it was the job of the local authorities and police to combat such social ills.

He said the ministry’s main role was to promote and generate growth in tourism.
He also said that retailing was a strong component of the tourism industry and it was unfair to brand Bukit Bintang as another “Patpong.”

He said it was important Malaysians understand the need to support clean entertainment for tourists to enjoy their evenings during the Visit Malaysia Year 2007 campaign.

“We cannot go around branding everything which resemble entertainment as sinful or illicit. Many Arab tourists also want to find a place to relax and chat. We need to provide such facilities for them.”

Tengku Adnan also announced that a premier astronaut exhibition would be held at the Subang airport next year.

Source : STAR
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Low-Cost Terminal Draws Flak

Low-cost terminal draws flak
By GEETHA KRISHNAN
Photos by SAM THAM

A traveller glancing through flight information written on a whiteboard at the LCCT arrival hall.A sense of deja vu prevails at the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT-KLIA) in Sepang. Scenes at the LCCT are only too familiar for those who have visited the old Terminal 3 in Subang. There is room for improvement but things should get moving in view of Visit Malaysia Year 2007.

Most passengers met at the RM108mil terminal, catering to budget airlines like AirAsia, Thai AirAsia and PT Indonesia AirAsia, felt “low-cost” was not a reason for compromise.

A good example is the whiteboard scribbled with flight information at the arrival lounge, in place of an electronic display terminal. Parking bays are insufficient, too, within the uncovered parking area.

Nearly five million passengers have passed through the LCCT since March and the figure is expected to reach six million by year-end. Yet seats at the departure lounge are limited, forcing passengers to utilise trolleys and floor bars as seats.

Frequent traveller Rudolf Steiger said he was shooed away for sitting in a restaurant and not ordering anything while waiting for his flight to Vietnam. He had no alternative because the lounge was full.

Malaysian Kong Saw Kuen who has caught a few flights from the LCCT said the international departure hall was small and only had one washroom and a cafe.

F&B outlets include McDonald’s, Asian Kitchen and The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. A plate of nasi lemak or noodles with a drink costs RM9 but eating like this on a daily basis takes its toll on staff like P. Gunaseelan.

“Sometimes, I go for the packed meals sold to staff but the service isn’t regular. To save some money, I am now bringing meals from home,” said the sales clerk, who is also forced to park elsewhere daily.

French traveller Sandrine Marty, who was on her way to Sabah, said KLIA was impressive but the LCCT was hot and stuffy.

“Commuting between the two is difficult when you’re lugging several bags. I was quoted RM38 for a budget taxi but the Lonely Planet guide prompted me to opt for the bus service,” she shared.

A 15-minute ride on board the Aerobus plying between KLIA and the LCCT costs RM1.50 one-way. Skybus, operated by AirAsia, offers rides to KL Sentral for RM9 one-way at 30-minute intervals.

Service is regular but the condition of some buses leaves much to be desired. There were also complaints that the buses stop at Sentral at the lower ground floor, which is a long way from the taxi stand to the city.

Motorists driving to the LCCT cover a 20km-distance from the KLIA but buses and taxis take a shorter route through the Bunga Raya Complex. If everything goes well, a 13.4km railway track will be built to cut travelling time.

The LCCT taxi service is divided into budget, premier and family, with fares to Kuala Lumpur at RM56.60, RM92.40 and RM138 each. One traveller said a tout at KLIA wanted RM170 for the ride to the LCCT!

Some might argue that the LCCT has only been given a few months to prove itself. It garnered the CAPA Low-Cost Airport of the Year at the CAPA Aviation Awards for Excellence 2006.
By virtue of its association with KLIA, the nation’s pride, the LCCT should also deliver.




Source : STAR
[tags : ]

Looking for ways to paint a better picture of the city

KUALA Lumpur City Hall may have to come up with a better way to encourage owners of buildings facing main roads to repaint their old premises.

Mayor Datuk Ruslin Hasan said City Hall’s “help them repaint and bill them later” approach had been futile.

“Only a small number of owners responded (paid back City Hall),” he said at a press conference before chairing a KL Tourism Action Council's advisory board meeting at Renaissance Hotel Kuala Lumpur last Thursday.

He said City Hall would need to look into other ways such as including the charge for the repainting work in the errant building owners’ assessment rates bill.

Ruslin said City Hall had issued letters to building owners instructing them to repaint their properties facing main roads in the city to help create a better impression of the city during Visit Malaysia Year 2007.

He added that City Hall had built six tourist information kiosks or better known as Klik in Bukit Bintang, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Petaling Street, Central Market, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and Brickfields.

“An additional 20 public toilets will be built at tourist spots and these facilities include several automatic toilets that have been built in the Bukit Bintang area but have yet to be opened to the public.

“Special maps and directional signs are being put up in areas frequented by tourists,” he said, adding that 5,000 litter bins would also be rolled out soon.

News Source : STAR
[tags : ]

KL Hop On-Hop Off Buses

Taking in KL the easy way

By CHOW HOW BAN
hbchow@thestar.com.my


BY the middle of next month, tourists will be able to go sightseeing in Kuala Lumpur by taking the KL Hop On-Hop Off buses, the latest product introduced to boost tourism in the city.

KL mayor Datuk Ruslin Hasan introduced the double-decker bus to the media on Thursday prior to a KL Tourism Action Council's advisory board meeting at Renaissance Hotel Kuala Lumpur.

The bus was developed by Elang Wah Sdn Bhd and will be operated by the company.
Elang Wah Sdn Bhd managing director Syed Azhar Syed Nadzir said four buses would be rolled out for a three-week test run and tourists would be able to use them in the middle or at the end of next month.

(From left) Ruslin, Syed Azhar and City Hall advisory board members Ooi Saw Choo and Datuk Dr M. Thambirajah taking a closer look at the double-decker KL Hop On-Hop Off bus during the unveiling ceremony at Renaissance Hotel recently.“It is the first ever hop-on and hop-off bus service in Malaysia. This is certainly not new in Europe and America. We use the concept to suit the Malaysian environment and believe that this service is good for KL and the Visit Malaysia Year 2007,” he said.

“Hopefully, by April, we will have 10 buses. With the four buses, we estimate (a ridership of) 500 passengers a day and 1,500 passengers a day with 10 buses.”

The bus will connect to about 43 tourist attractions in the city.

The KL Hop On-Hop Off City Tour will run from 8.30am to 8.30pm daily at 30-minute intervals. Passengers can hop on and off as many times as they like at any of the 22 designated stops along the route.

A pre-recorded tour commentary in Malay, English, Mandarin, Hindi, Arabic, Japanese, French and Spanish is available by using headsets on board. The guided tour is designed for tourists to experience the places of interest through stories of the present and past.

The bus will also stop at major hotel areas. Tickets can be bought at a ticket counter to be built in Bukit Bintang, on the bus and over the Internet while hotel and travel agents will act as agents to sell the ticket to their customers.

The tickets, which will allow passengers to use the service the whole day, are priced at RM38 (adult), RM160 (family or group of five) and RM17 (senior citizens, students and the disabled). It will be free for children aged below five.



News Source : STAR

Hotel Bill? It's in the E-Mail

For business travelers, there are few things more troubling than being unable to find the hotel bills when filling out expense reports.

For business travelers staying at Marriott International hotels, there is an answer: a copy of the bill via e-mail.

The Bethesda hotel chain is expanding its eFolio program for all guests staying at any JW Marriott, Marriott, Renaissance, Courtyard, Residence Inn, Fairfield Inn, TownePlace Suites, SpringHill Suites or Marriott Vacation Club.

The eFolio program was previously limited to corporate accounts and Marriott Rewards members.

When guests request an eFolio at check-in, they will receive the hotel bill
within 48 hours of check-out.
Forget even stopping at the front desk for a paper copy. There's no need anymore.



News Source : Ehotelier
[tags : ]

Bed Crashes through Hotel Ceiling

Three people were badly hurt in a luxury Spanish hotel today when two tourists in a bed crashed through the floor onto a man renovating the room below.A 32-year-old woman suffered various injuries, including serious damage to her arm, while her 38-year-old male companion fractured a vertebrae, emergency services said.

There was no further news on the builder's injuries or on what exactly caused the accident in the posh Parador de Toledo hotel in the central Spanish city of Toledo.

News Source : Ehotelier

[tags : ]

Download VMY 2007 Song (mp3) - Malaysia One Golden Celebration

We've managed to find the Download Link on Tourism Malaysia for the VMY 2007 theme song, Malaysia One Golden Celebration.

The Download link is here. (Right Mouse Click and Save)

http://202.157.188.226/consumer/postcards/music/VMY%203.5%20mins-12.10.06.mp3


The song, One Golden Celebration, was written by Ismail Paul Lingan is a song full of emotion. It is a fusion of contemporary and traditional sounds and musical arrangement - an apt portrayal of the beautiful sounds of Malaysia, sounds that Malaysians grew up and are familiar with, sounds that are our heritage.

The lyrics reflects the wealth of our Malaysian cultural tapestry and the Dikir Barat chorus buttresses our rich cultural heritage. The Malay and English versions of the theme song are sung by Juwita Suwito!


Lyrics to Malaysia One Golden Celebration

Music by: Kieran Kuek
Lyrics by: Paul Lingan & Kieran Kuek

Malaysia

There’s a place not far away
Different faces yet all the same
With a million dreams
In one golden celebration

Malaysia

It’s the place for us to be
It’s the time to feel so free
With a million smiles
In one golden celebration

Malaysia

Come and spread your wings
There’s so much to see
There’s a million colours
Right before your eyes
It’s one golden celebration

Come and spread your wings
There’s so much to see
There’s a million colours
Right before your eyes

It’s time to celebrate
It’s one golden celebration



Mari Adik Adik
Mari Abang Abang
Mari Ramai Ramai
Mari Bergembira

Mari Adik Adik
Mari Abang Abang
Mari Ramai Ramai
Mari Bergembira

Feel the magic in the air
Every moment and everywhere
With a million thrills
In one golden celebration

Malaysia

A million colours, a million dreams
A million smiles and a million thrills
For you and me
In one golden celebration

Malaysia

Spread your wings
And take your flight
One celebration
One delight
It’s the time for us to be
One golden moment for you and me

A million colours , a million dreams
A million smiles, a million thrills
It’s the time for us to be
One golden moment for you and me


Come and spread your wings
There’s so much to see
There’s a million colours
Right before your eyes
It’s one golden celebration

Come and spread your wings
There’s so much to see
There’s a million colours
Right before your eyes

It’s time to celebrate
One golden celebration
(Malaysia)
It’s time to celebrate
It’s one golden celebration

Mari Adik Adik
Mari Abang Abang
Mari Ramai Ramai
Mari Bergembira

Celebration

Mari Adik Adik
Mari Abang Abang
Mari Ramai Ramai
Mari Bergembira
Malaysia truly Asia



Related Posts



[tags : ]

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Malaysia Year End Sale (M-YES) is Back

The much awaited for M-YES or Malaysia Year End Sale is back!

Part of the ever popular Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival, the M-YES begins on December 1st 2006 till January 2nd 2007.

Those waiting for this shopping gala will be happy to know that even better bargains, promotions and fun- filled activities are in store!Check out the shopping malls in the popular shopping districts nationwide for a great shopping experience.

Many of them will be going the extra mile to hold their own special activities and promotions in addition to that of the M-YES.Master Card once more supports this event, bringing with it fabulous promotions and discounts for its Paypass Master Card holders. Look out too for hotel packages up for grabs at affordable prices.

This year, the M-YES comes with a most colourful and exciting surprise! For the very first time the Kuala Lumpur International Buskers Festival is being held from the 2nd – 10th December 2006. This is a thrilling collection of street buskers from the world over, roped in to add fun and excitement not only to the M-YES but the year-end holiday season here.

So, gear up for a marvellous shopping spree and holiday fun in tropical Malaysia. We guarantee you an exciting finish to 2006 and a great welcome to 2007!




Malaysia Year End Sale (M-YES) Launch
EventDate: 1 December 2006
Venue: Central MarketTime: 8.00pm – 10.00pm


The launch of the Malaysia Year-End Sale will be held at the newly refurbished craft market i.e. the Central Market. The event will be launched by the Honourable Minister of Tourism, YB Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor and will feature a sneak preview of local and international busking acts and presentation that will be part of the KL International Buskers’ Festival 2006.

We found that ShoppingNSales has the most up to date list of current sales and promotions in Malaysia. - http://shoppingnsales.blogspot.com
You can search by Sales Categories as well.


Main Mega Sale Website : http://www.mymegasale.com/myes





ShoppingNSales - Click For a Bigger Picture



Sarawak Plans Chartered Flights from Seoul

MIRI: Direct chartered flights from Seoul to Miri in northern Sarawak will start next year, said Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) chief executive officer Gracie Geikie.

She said a planeload of about 180 Korean tourists will be visiting Miri and the Mulu National Park and taking part in the Miri International Jazz Festival 2007 here in May.

“These Korean tourists belong to a major golf club that has more than 8,000 members in Korea. They have confirmed their plans to come to northern Sarawak using a chartered aircraft,” she said.

“We (STB) are trying to arrange with Malaysia Airlines to facilitate this tour package from Korea to Miri, direct without any stops. We are also looking at the possibility of arranging similar direct chartered flights to Miri from other Far East countries and Europe,” she told a press conference here yesterday when launching the Miri international jazz festival logo here.

Geikie said the jazz festival to be held on May 11 and 12 will be a major event to commemorate Visit Malaysia Year 2007 and to celebrate Miri City Day on May 20.

Renowned jazz groups from Cuba, Morocco, Germany, India, France, New Orleans in the United States, Australia, England, Spain and China will be taking part in the musical.

“CNN have agreed to give coverage to this event and so has Discovery Channel and Travel and Living. This event will be shown to global audiences and hopefully will give a lot of international publicity to this part of Sarawak,” said Geikie.

“STB will soon arrange with a global online ticketing agency to enable tickets to this jazz festival to be purchased via Internet,” she said, adding that the festival will be held at the Parkcity Everly beach resort, which overlooks the South China Sea.

STB hoped to turn this jazz musical extravaganza into a major tourism success just like the Rainforest Music Festival in Kuching, she said.

The rainforest music show brings in more than RM10mil in revenue yearly by drawing more than 20,000 visitors.

News Source : STAR
[tags : ]

International Spa Experts to Converge in Malaysia

International spa experts to converge in Malaysia

Star Exclusive: For the first time in Malaysia, 17 internationally renowned spa experts will converge at the Asia Spa and Wellness Festival 2006, marking a new chapter for the spa and wellness industry in Malaysia.

If names like Dagmar Rizatto, Suzanne Ng and Toni Mehmann ring a bell, you probably know that these are some of the top names in the spa and wellness industry. And for the first time, they will be joining 14 others to speak at the Asia Spa and Wellness Festival 2006 (ASWF2006).
The Festival will be officiated by Tourism Minister, Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, who will also deliver a keynote address on the spa industry.

Melinda Yon Ina Bauermeister, Project Manager for ASWF2006 said that this will be the learning and networking event of the year for the Malaysia spa and wellness industry, and is a must-attend for spa operators and managers, hoteliers, travel agents, and any professional with an interest in the spa and wellness industry.

She said, “A recent study indicated that spa and wellness industry globally has exceeded the USD 20 billion in revenue, and employs in excess of 400,000 people. In the United States, spa is already the fourth largest leisure industry, and has overtaken theme parks, casinos and cruise”
“The social and economic impact of the industry, which is growing at an average of 12% to 18% annually, cannot be ignored. If you run a hotel, a shopping mall, a hospital or even a cafĂ©, it is time to start thinking how you can benefit from this industry”

Melinda Yon, who runs Hong Kong-based 360O Spa Solutions, concurs, and said, “Malaysia with its strong heritage of traditional therapies and natural wellness is ideally positioned to be the next spa destination. What is needed is the operational know-how to raise the standards locally to international-level. When that happens, Malaysia will be hard to beat”

INTERNATIONAL PANEL OF EXPERTS
Ina BauermeisterWilliam Ng, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of leading spa publication, 5 Senses is all praise for the Festival.

“Looking at the programme, the Organisers have definitely placed a lot of efforts in gathering the world-class speakers that will be at ASWF2006. I encourage spa professionals and managers to attend the Summit, as you will go back energized and better prepared for the uphill task ahead, as we prepare ourselves to become the next spa destination”

Besides Dagmar Rizatto (Germany’s top spa consultant), Suzanne Ng (President of SpaFinder Japan) and Toni Mehmann (Managing Director of Switzerland-based Mehmann Wellness Consulting), other speakers include Professor Dr Gerard Bodeker (Chairman of the Commonwealth Working Group on Complementary Medicine), Dr Manish Patwardan (Director of Pune Ayurveda Academy), Trent Munday (Managing Director of Mandara Spas) and Dr Pakpillai Thavisin (President of S Medical Spa).

Bauermeister added, “Our focus this year is on capacity building. The programme is designed to enable both novice operators and seasoned managers to learn from, and benchmark against the best. This way, we will be able to rapidly raise the standard of understanding, knowledge and world-view of local players”

The topics to be addressed during at the Summit ranges from guide to setting up your own spa and creating treatment menus to marketing your spa and incorporating wellness concepts in your spa.

“If you wish to open a spa, learn new ways to improve your existing spa or is a spa enthusiast who like to discover more aspects of spas, then do not miss the Summit at ASWF2006”, Bauermeister said.

SUBSIDISED RATES
“As part of the Visit Malaysia Year 2007, ASWF2006 Summit has received a grant from the Government, allowing us to price the Summit at cost. Hence our early bird price of RM 995, with an additional 3+1 offer is truly affordable, as you will reap the rewards many fold by skipping the learning curve and studying from the best. You have to pay at least 10 to 12 times of this amount in similar programme in Europe.

All participants will also receive a certificate of participation as testimonial of them being part of this world-class learning experience”, Bauermeister added.

For more information on ASWF2006, visit http://www.aswf2006.com/ OR email Ina Bauermeister at ina@5senses.com.my or call +603 78031152.

News Source : STAR

The Future of Travel


The future of travel
By LEONG SIOK HUI
RESPONSIBLE tourism is here to stay. UN’s World Tourist Organisation launched the World Responsible Tourism Day at the World Travel Market in London on Nov 6.
In the November issues of National Geographic Adventure and NG Traveller, “sustainable travel” are the key words.
This year, publisher of the most-read travel guide in the world, Lonely Planet, released Code Green, a book that lists destinations and tourism operators that promote or practise responsible tourism. At the same time, readers get tips on how to travel the world responsibly.

Guided tours and activities involve locals and bolster interaction between locals and visitors.So, what is responsible tourism? It is defined as travel that/where:

Environment
Contributes towards conservation and the protection of a natural area’s biodiversity or indigenous heritage.
Minimises environmental impact.
One gets to learn and share information with locals to better understand and appreciate the destination.


Social
Respects local cultures and traditions.

Tourism income helps preserve traditions and supports community development projects like education and healthcare.

Guided tours and activities involve locals and bolster interaction between locals and visitors.
Economy

Benefits host communities directly and operate on principles of fair trade.
One stays at locally owned lodgings or patronises operators who hire locals and source from local suppliers.


Sources: World Tourism Organisation, http://www.world-tourism.org/ and Lorimer, Kerry; Code Green – Experiences of a Lifetime; Lonely Planet Publications; 2006.


News Source : STAR

Wild Asia’s Responsible Tourism Award 2006 Winners

Wild Asia’s Responsible Tourism Award 2006
THE WINNERS

Category:
Luxury-Boutique Resorts and Hotels

A) Evason Phuket, Thailand; RT score: 100%
B) AlilA Ubud, Bali, Indonesia; 85%
C) AlilA Manggis, Bali; 84%

Eco-ventures, lodges and homestays
Nanga Sumpa Lodge, Batang Ai, Sarawak; 65%

Destination Award (Best in Langkawi)
Tanjung Rhu Resort, Langkawi Island; 65%


From luxury resorts to a jungle lodge, winners of Malaysia’s first Responsible Tourism Award prove that you can be chic or small, AND still go green. LEONG SIOK HUI checks out what makes these operators ‘responsible’.

BY 2010, a whopping 1 billion tourists will hit the road annually.* Inevitably, natural areas will make way for mega resorts, species will go extinct and traditional cultures will be massmarketed.

Short of asking people to stay at home, tourism operators are cracking their heads to ensure their products and services stay sustainable. In Asia, many tourism destinations are dealing with over-development, destruction of forests, marginalisation of local communities and unsustainable waste management.

In 2004, Kuala Lumpur-based conservation group Wild Asia (WA) introduced its Responsible Tourism (RT) Self-Assessment exercise where tourism operators (resorts, tour operators or hotels) examine how their business benefits local environment and communities.

The inaugural Wild Asia’s Responsible Tourism Award 2006 is given to tourism operators in Asia who are committed to responsible tourism. It is supported by the British Government’s Global Opportunities Fund.

“There are people out there making a difference,” says Dr Reza Azmi, founder and director of WA.

“They prove that profits can be made without jeopardising your business assets – the people, culture and natural environment.”

More than 20 tourism operators from Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand sent in their entries. While resorts in Malaysia scored an average 50% to 60%, winners from Thailand and Indonesia averaged 85% to 100%.

Sustainable RT efforts need the support and commitment from investors, owners and top management down to the operation staff, Reza explains.

“Evason Phuket (RT award winner) shows that they have commitment at the top. They have teams on the ground to monitor things, identify problems and find solutions,” says Reza whose WA online site sees up to 6,000 visitors a day.

Winners like the classy Balinese Alila resorts – Alila Ubud and Alila Manggis – deal with the upscale market, so trumpeting “eco” messages around the resorts may seem like bad taste.
“How do you communicate to your guests about RT without making it look too tacky?” adds Reza, a biologist and conservationist.

“Alila resorts plan to use the iPods (available in all the guest rooms) to inform about local environmental issues and the resort’s RT practices.

“But what’s exciting is Alila resorts are chic and cool, yet doing something for the environment and the local communities,” says Reza.

Walk the talk
A 260-room resort with rates starting from RM770 (at low season), Evason Phuket and Six Senses Spa already has two certifications under its belt – Green Globe 21 and Thai Green Leaf.

(Backed by United Nations, Green Globe 21 is an international certification scheme for RT operators. The Thai Green Leaf Foundation certifies hotels that are committed to environmental conservation.)

“We take part in the RT award because we’ve a strong interest in social and environmental issues,’’ says Norwegian Arnfinn Oines, Evason’s environment coordinator. Oines’ job focuses solely on the resort’s social and environmental issues.

“By being eco-labelled and getting awards, it give us credibility,’’ adds Oines. Evason Phuket is managed by Six Senses, a resort and spa management company managing resort brands like Soneva, Evason Hideaways and Six Senses Spa.

The resort sources and hires locally, encourages guests to participate in projects like mangrove-planting, supports local charities such as raising funds for autistic children and reducing energy consumption. (See: Highlights – what they do best)
Small acts like changing split-type air-conditioning to a more efficient chiller system or switching all the garden lighting to energy-saving bulbs saves the resort US$10,000 per year (RM36,000) or 150,000kWh of annual energy use.

Hardly a bed of roses
Getting RT practices right involves time, effort and money says Oines.

Energy-saving equipment such as a solar thermal plant or double-glazed glass windows require huge capital investment. The availability of eco-friendly technology and know-how is limited in Thailand.

“When you import these technologies, the taxes are high,’’ says Oines. “But things are improving.”

Destination Award winner, Tanjung Rhu Resort (TRR) in Langkawi, found their operating cost increased by 11% when they first adopted eco-friendly practices like using recycled packaging, water-saving push valves (shower) and low-wattage bulbs.

“But now, our operating cost is reduced to 6% annually,” admits general manager Arnold Esmond. The 137-room resort, managed by Malaysian company Signforce Sdn Bhd, is ISO 14001-certified (an international environmental management system).

Like most resorts in Langkawi, however, Tanjung Rhu’s main challenge is waste management.
“Yes, we separate the recyclable and non-recyclable wastes. But we can’t curb the bad practices of the local contractors who just dump everything into the landfill,” admits Warner Ong, TRR special projects coordinator.

“Langkawi’s landfill problem will impact on the ecological well-being of the island.”
One of Tanjung Rhu’s biggest selling points is its natural beauty – the long stretch of sandy beach and shady Casuarina trees set amidst lovely tropical gardens.

“We like to be known as an environmentally friendly resort, and 60% of the feedback (on how to improve RT practices) come from our guests who are sensitive about what they do when they travel,” adds Esmond.

Tanjung Rhu’s room rates start from RM1,300 and above and 80% of its guests are Europeans.

Few Evason guests know about the resort’s social and environmental efforts.
“But once they stay here, they appreciate it. Some guests even return because of it,” says Oines.

Room to get better
Oines admits there is always room for improvement.
“We have to increase our staff’s environmental awareness and get more guests involved in our social and environmental projects,” says Oines. “And we try to influence more hotel operators, suppliers and government to adopt the RT approach.”
“By showing we can reduce negative impacts without compromising our guests’ enjoyment, we hope to influence others to do the same. It doesn’t matter how nice the resort is if Phuket deteriorates as a destination.”

“It’s also important to make sure the local community benefits from job opportunities, business, education and support.”

“After all, sustainability is about doing something that can be enjoyed by generations to come,” sums up Oines.



* Statistic from World Tourism Organisation, www.unwto.org

News Source & More News : STAR

5 Course Moet & Chandon Dinner at Shang


Passionate pairings

THE La Residence du Trianon is known for its exquisite cuisine, and for three days food lovers in Malaysia will get to indulge in the best selection presented by chef Bernard Dance.
Dance, specially invited by Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur, where the dinner is to take place, will feature a five-course dinner over three days.

Dance will feature a five-course Moet & Chandon dinner on Nov 30 and Dec 1 at Lafite, Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.Dance is currently the chef de Cuisine at the La Residence, a Moet & Chandon property.

His years of working with the Moet & Chandon’s winemakers have given Dance the opportunity to master the fine art of food and wine pairing.

To Dance, pairing food and wine is not just a case of matching similar flavours but having a deeper knowledge of blending wines that helps unite the various elements between the two.
Dance delights in creating menus that celebrate this union.

The Moet & Chandon dinner featuring classic French cuisine with fine French champagnes is from Nov 30 to Dec 1 at Lafite.

Diners can expect to sample Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial, Moet & Chandon Millesime Rose 1999 and Moet & Chandon Nectar Imperial.

Dishes served will be that of the simplest recipe to the unique such as the pan sauteed scallops, roasted breast of pigeon and dessert pineapple with spiced caramel and coconut ice cream.

The promotion is priced at RM530++ per person. For reservations, call 03-2074 3900.


News Source : STAR

Hotelier’s Son Gunned Down


Hotelier’s son gunned down
By FARIK ZOLKEPLI

JOHOR BARU: A 28-year-old son of a budget hotel owner was shot dead by his would-be abductors early yesterday.

Tay T Tong and a woman friend were at a traffic light junction near his house in Jalan Kuning at 3.20am when a car pulled up behind them.

Two men, one armed with a pistol, got out and rushed towards Tay who was seated in the passenger side. They opened the door and tried to force him out but he resisted.
On seeing this, Tay’s 24-year-old friend slammed on the accelerator as the gunman opened fire hitting him in the arm and rib.

The woman drove for about 2km and stopped at Jalan Kelabu when she was sure she was not followed. She called the police.

When police arrived at the scene, Tay had already died.

Tay, a former top student, had been managing the family’s budget hotel in Taman Pelangi the past three years.

Meanwhile, Tay Seow Buey, 60, said his son was a good person and had no enemies.

“I don’t think anyone would want to abduct him for ransom as we are not millionaires. We just own a budget hotel,” said Seow Buey.

He said his son, who represented his school in a basketball tournament in Taiwan, had a degree in marketing from University of South Australia and had been taking care of the hotel since he was retrenched from his banking job in Singapore.

PROBE STARTS: Policemen removing the body of Tay from the car where the woman driver stopped after the shooting early yesterday.Johor Baru (South) OCPD Asst Comm Shafie Ismail said police were still investigating the motive for the murder.

He urged those with information to contact the police hotline at 07-221 2999.


News Source : STAR

Special International Fares for VMY 2007

Special international fares for VMY 2007

SUBANG JAYA: Malaysia Airlines is expected announce a special package for international fares early next year to help promote Visit Malaysia Year 2007 (VMY 2007).

Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Donald Lim said the Tourism Ministry had urged MAS to be more competitive with other international airlines.

“There are a lot of complaints that MAS fares are expensive,” he told reporters at the prize presentation for winners of the Small and Medium Businesses Recognition Award 2006 here yesterday.

“For domestic fares, we leave it to the Transport Ministry but the international portion is what we are very concerned about. We are asking them to look at the whole fare structure. That’s important because nobody can control that kind of pricing, not (even) the Government.”

Lim said the ministry held a discussion with Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy and the airlines’ top management officials yesterday, and MAS had come up with proposals to help the tourism industry with a special package for VMY 2007.

He said the special package would hopefully restore the confidence of the public and foreign tourists.

Lim, who is MCA SME bureau chairman, also said the ministry was in talks with banks to ensure that loan applications for SMEs carrying out tourism-related projects could be approved within two or three months.

“Some applications take a year to be approved. We are looking into ways to cut red tape,” he said, adding that if needed, financial advisory services could be used to assess project viability.

News Source : STAR
[tags : ]

MAS to Review Domestic Fares



MAS to review its domestic fares

MAS will re-look its domestic fare structure following public complaints that
they are too pricey. Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy said the
national carrier agreed to reviews its fares for certain sectors and will come
up with a proposal later.


PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia Airlines will look again into its domestic fare structure following public complaints that they are too pricey.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy said the national carrier agreed to re-look certain sectors after a two-and-a-half hour meeting at his office here yesterday.

“MAS and the ministry will look into the fares and come up with a proposal later. These involve only certain (domestic) sectors but in comparison, I must say that the fares are still quite competitive.

“Whatever it is, since there is a lot of public concern, MAS is quite prepared to look into it. The airline has agreed to meet up with my officers as early as next week,” he told reporters after a meeting with MAS managing director Idris Jala.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor and his deputy Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai also attended the meeting.

Chan did not specify the sectors affected but said Sabah and Sarawak were definitely involved.

On Tuesday, the airline was criticised by several Members of Parliament who said the national carrier was thinking “profit above service.”

MAS is expected to introduce new fares for three local sectors on Dec 1. They are the Kota Kinabalu-Labuan, Kota Kinabalu-Miri and Kuching-Bintulu routes.

On the MPs’ criticisms, Chan said they must bear in mind that fares in Sabah and Sarawak have not been raised in 14 years.

“I think some of the arguments raised in Parliament that the percentage increase is around 300% are not true. Of course, when there is an upward revision, some of the increases – in terms of percentage – are on the high side. But the actual fares are still quite competitive.”

Besides the domestic and international pricing structure for MAS, the meeting also discussed measures the ministries and MAS could implement to ensure the hosting of Visit Malaysia Year 2007 was carried out smoothly.

Tengku Adnan said the public could have confused MAS’ imposition of fees such as fuel surcharges and cancellation payments for the “high increase” in fares.

“Like all airlines, MAS has different ticket prices for low and peak seasons as well as discounts like supersavers. The pricing structure has always been there, but now, we have asked MAS to brief tour agents and operators all over the world about it.

“This is because for international flights, a study by IATA (International Air Transport Association) showed that MAS is actually cheaper than other airlines,” he said.

When approached, Idris said a press release on domestic fares would be made soon, and stressed that the airline’s fares were still competitive.

Lim said MAS has promised to introduce a number of strategies to help attract 20.1 million visitors to Malaysia next year.


News Source : STAR
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Friday, November 24, 2006

Malaysia makes bigger MICE push

Tourism Malaysia’s Convention Division is planning to make the fifth Global Meet Malaysia, expected to take place in September 2007, the biggest edition of the MICE show.

The division’s deputy director, Mr Zulkefli Haji Sharif, said promotions would be “more aggressive”.

“Invitations to international buyers will be sent out at least three months ahead, to give them ample time to prepare,” he said.

As part of the strategic approach to draw international buyers, the invites will be sent together with a free copy of a MICE facilities guide, which will be published by the end of this year.

The event is held at a different venue each time so repeat visitors will get a fresh experience. The seven-day programme includes post- tours that will take international buyers and media to different states, to allow them to experience the different cultures and wide-ranging MICE facilities.

Tourism Malaysia estimates its share of the international MICE market to be 1.67 per cent of the US$30 billion it is said to be worth.

The fourth Global Meet Malaysia, held two months ago at Putrajaya International Convention Centre, saw its largest turnout with 102 buyers, 24 media representatives from 27 countries, and 100 local MICE suppliers and service providers representing the private and public sectors.

Sarawak Convention Bureau CEO, Ms Jill Henry, said: “We’ve received enquiries from Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore and Europe who are interested and were previously not aware of our products.”

Bangladesh-based Times Aviation executive director, Ms Yasmin Rahman, said: “I have been selling Malaysia for over three years, but this event has given me a wider perception of what the country has to offer. Each state has its own characteristics and diverse customs which I did not have a lot of awareness of. After this exposure, I am sure I will be able to sell more.”

News Source : TTG
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