Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Your Exclusive Invitation to Celebrate Tanjong Jara 10th Anniversary

Experience ‘Ten for Ten’, an exclusive package crafted by Tanjong Jara Resort, that unveils the natural charms and secret wonders of the East Coast as they celebrate 10 years of hospitality offering unique experiences for USD10 each, for bookings before 31st October 2009.

Celebrating 10 years of hospitality, Tanjong Jara Resort extends this exclusive offer to its guests to experience this luxurious sanctuary, rich with the heritage and culture of the East Coast.

Be attended to by people steeped in traditions of service as timeless as the land, explore underwater corals filled with marine life and discover a wholeness of being in this escape from the outside world.
Your ten experiences for USD10 each include:
  • One way airport transfer between the resort and Kuala Terengganu or Kerteh Airport
  • Any one 50-min spa treatment at the award-winning Spa Village Tanjong Jara
  • One Snorkelling trip at Tenggol Island
  • Jungle Trekking to Chemerung Waterfall
  • Set breakfast, set lunch or set dinner at Di Atas Sungei Restaurant or Nelayan Restaurant
  • Bottle of house wine
  • Traditional Handicraft Tour
  • Batik Painting
  • Cooking Class
  • Morning Market with the Menu Master
The Ten for Ten package starts at USD350 for one night.
Please note:
  • The prices above are subject to 10% service charge and 5% government tax.
  • This offer is valid based on room only rack rates as published on our website.
  • Food and beverages are not included, unless specifically mentioned above.
  • Every 'Ten for Ten' experience is on a per person basis and each experience is limited to one purchase per day.
  • Every airport transfer requires a minimum of two paying persons.
  • This offer is subject to availability and only available for bookings made through or YTL Travel Centre at based on rack rates.
  • Booking period is from 1st July 2009 to 31st October 2009, and valid for travel until 30th June 2010.
We would be happy to assist you in booking your Ten for Ten. Please email our YTL Travel Centre consultants to discuss your requirements. Book Now !

Book that luxury experience today by contacting YTL Travel Centre
at +60 3 2783 1000, one of our toll-free numbers or email us at

Terms and conditions apply.

• All prices are subject to 10% service charge and 5% government tax.
• This offer is valid based on room only rack rates as published on our website.
• Food and beverages are not included, unless specifically mentioned above.
• Every “Ten for Ten” experience is on a per person basis and each experience is limited to one purchase per day.
• Every airport transfer requires a minimum of two paying persons.
• This offer is subject to availability and only available for bookings made through or YTL Travel Centre at based on rack rates.
• Booking period is from 1st July 2009 to 31st October 2009, and valid for travel until 30th June 2010.

Malaysia eyes deluxe China MICE for 2010

INBOUND Malaysian travel agents with big China volumes expect the deluxe MICE segment to return strongly in 2010 following poor performance this year and last.

Three Star Holidays managing director Bernard Low said he had already confirmed four groups for next year, ranging from 160 to 500 people per group, a vast improvement on the four groups secured this year.

Low said: "The main draw is that Malaysia remains a value for money destination for the high-end category. Our ground rates are cheaper by 10 per cent compared to Indonesia and Thailand. However, for the budget MICE category, I predict a drop in 2010 since Malaysia is not as affordable as neighbouring destinations. Airfares to Thailand and Indonesia are cheaper by 10 per cent."

Another inbound travel agent, BTT Travel Services executive director Sam Kwan, said he had received two enquiries for 2010 for Sabah from the deluxe segment. Kwan said the typical budget was RM1,500 (US$429) per person for ground arrangements for five days, roughly double the budget of "normal" MICE groups.

Source : TTG
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Frills bring in Big Bucks for Airlines

AIRLINES are making good money from selling frills - items and services aside from tickets for their flights.

They earned an estimated US$10.25 billion (S$14.5 billion) last year by charging travellers for preferred seats, checked baggage, food and drinks and even blankets, or from commissions from selling extras like hotel rooms and insurance.

A steadily bigger chunk of airlines' revenues are coming from such items: The amount for last year was a more-than-threefold jump from the US$2.9 billion earned in 2006.

IdeaWorks, a United States-based research company which tracks airlines' ancillary revenues, released its 2008 findings recently.

It had surveyed more than 90 carriers including Emirates, Qantas, Delta, AirAsia and Ryanair, and extrapolated the industry's figures from there.

Among the airlines it polled, ancillary earnings made up 5.5 per cent of the total revenue, up from 3.5 per cent in 2006.

Leaning on ancillary revenues used to be a practice among low-cost carriers, but more and more full-service airlines - especially in the United States - are doing it too.

Many US carriers now charge for a second checked bag on selected routes, for example.

The growth in ancillary revenues grew largely out of last year's increase in fuel prices and the global economic meltdown, which sent demand for air travel into a tailspin.

IdeaWorks founder Jay Sorensen said: 'The sickly patient known as the world's airline industry suffered through 2008 and only survived due to dramatic schedule cutbacks, the slow reversal of fuel prices and an 'intravenous injection' of ancillary revenue.'

Mr John Devins, the regional director for Asia-Pacific at GuestLogix, which provides on-board retail systems to the airline industry, is betting that ancillary revenues will make up a bigger portion of airlines' earnings, going forward.

Such non-traditional revenue sources have growth potential in the industry, he said.

'For example, what if you could sell tickets to Disneyland on board a Hong Kong-bound flight, or a train ticket to the middle of the city?'

Mr John Chapman, a vice-president of Amadeus-Asia Pacific, which provides travel-related technology solutions, agreed that there were growth prospects.

But he said he did not foresee premium carriers, especially those in Asia, rushing into this just yet, for fear of being seen as going down the same path as budget carriers.

He said: 'In Asia, flag carriers are a lot more proud of their brands and quality of service.'

Still, if the current downturn continues to hit yields, elite airlines may have little choice but to relook their existing business models, he said.

When Singapore Airlines announced last November that it would levy a one-way fee of US$50 for a guaranteed 'preferred seat' in economy class, the airline pitched it as a customer service, not a revenue-generating move.

These seats near the exits offer more uncluttered legroom and had typically been given to frequent fliers on request.

Charging for such seats has been about as far as SIA has gone, but other carriers now charge even for lounge access and priority boarding.

For low-cost carriers, the message to the consumer is simple: 'If you want the extras, you pay for them.'

So if you fly Tiger Airways or Jetstar Asia and all you want is a seat - any seat - you pay the base fare. Any request beyond that, such as for a guaranteed aisle seat, comes at extra cost.

Tiger and Jetstar declined to reveal how much they made in ancillary revenue.

SIA spokesman Nicholas Ionides said it was impossible for the airline to provide a 'meaningful number' because many items for which other airlines levy a charge, such as in-flight meals, beverages and checked baggage, are included in the cost of an SIA ticket.

Source : AsiaOne
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tourism M'sia Wants To Draw More Tourists From Brazil

Tourism Malaysia hopes to increase the number of Brazilian tourists to this country by seven to eight per cent from the 3,000 who came last year.

The agency's vice-president for Western USA and Latin America, Mazlan Araju, said the targeted increase also took into consideration the current global economic downturn and Influenza A(H1N1) pandemic.

"Tourism promotional efforts need to be stepped up, focusing on Malaysian culture, arts, food and shopping areas to make our country an attractive tourist destination," he added.

Mazlan was speaking to reporters when attending a Mega Familiarisation programme for a group of tour agents and media representatives from Brazil where they took part in weaving ketupat cases and preparing Raya delicacies like lemang, rendang and dodol at Kampung Wang Tok Rendong in Kuah, here, on Sunday.

Tourism Malaysia had simultaneously launched the Mega Familiarisation programme in conjunction with this year's Aidilfitri at six village homestay sites nationwide, involving more than 100 foreign tourists including media representatives and tour operators from 13 countries.

The homestay facilities involved are in Kampung Walai Tokou (Sabah), Kampung Santubong (Sarawak), Sungai Pasu (Pahang), Kampung Pachitan (Negeri Sembilan), Kampung Seterpa (Kelantan) and Kampung Wang Tok Rendong (Kedah).

Mazlan said he was working out an arrangement with the Malaysian embassies in the Latin American countries to promote Malaysia to the people in these countries.

He said Tourism Malaysia had also carried out promotional efforts when it participated in the Brazilian Association of Travel Agents Congress (ABAV) in Rio de Janeiro in October last year.

"The Brazilians find the Malaysian way of life, culture and traditions unique and interesting," he said, adding that this should be capitalised on with the right approach.

On the homestay programme in conjunction with Aidilfitri, Mazlan said it was to enable the participants to experience the celebration and village life such as tapping rubber and making handicrafts, learn the local culture and savour the food.

The tourists involved in the programme also come from the United States, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Singapore, Korea, China, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Source : Bernama
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New Visa-On-Arrival Facility For Visitors To Malaysia ( Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka)

Visa-on-arrival (VOA) issuance at Malaysian entry checkpoints can now be considered to citizens of Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka living abroad, if they hold certain types of documents.

According to Tourism Malaysia's office in Dubai, such documents included a valid permanent residence, expatriate pass, dependant pass, student pass and long-term visit pass from other countries.

"VOA issuance can also be considered to citizens of Afghanistan if they hold diplomatic or official passport," it said.

A fee of RM330 will be charged for the VOA which is valid for a maximum of 14 days.

VOA is issued at these entry checkpoints -- KL International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang; Penang International Airport; Senai International Airport in Johor; Kuching International Airport in Sarawak and Kota Kinabalu International Airport in Sabah.

The service is also available at the Sultan Abu Bakar Complex (Second Link) in Tanjung Kupang and Bangunan Sultan Iskandar in Bukit Chagar, both in Johor.

Source : Bernama
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AirAsia To Fly To Three New Routes In Southern India

AirAsia, Asia's leading low cost airline, will fly to Kochi, Trivandrum and Kolkata come December, in a move to expand its network in Southern India.

AsiaAsia Group's Regional Head of Commercial Kathleen Tan said AirAsia was flying now to Tiruchirappalli and would spread its wings to other destinations in Southern India this year.

"Last year we were very busy working in China and we are now extentively covered in China. At present, AirAsia flies to Chengdu, Guangzhou, Guilin, Haikou, Hangzhou, Shenzhen and Tianjin in China.

"For the fourth quarter and next year, AirAsia will focus on building our network in India where there is huge demand," she told Bernama in an interview on Monday in conjunction with AirAsia's 48-hour sales.

The two-day promotion, offers a 20 per cent discount on fares to all destinations, excluding London and Thailand, for the travel period beginning today until Nov 30.

It covers all domestic and international destinations across 20 countries and over 130 routes.

Elaborating on the Indian sector, Tan said AirAsia was looking at tapping destinations like Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and AirAsia's long-haul affiliate, AirAsia X, would look further at Mumbai and Delhi.

She said the Tiruchirappalli sector received overwhelming response from the population in Southern India who visited Kuala Lumpur and used it as a gateway to enter Southeast Asia.

On whether AsiaAsia was experiencing a dip in sales due to the economic downturn, Tan said AirAsia was not really affected due to the airline's strategic commercial initiative to encourage people to travel.

"Because of the economic downturn, people are downgrading but corporate travellers still want to fly. AirAsia offered alternative solutions to get people to fly," she said.

Tan said AirAsia's market was huge covering the corporate, youth, retired, labour, family and student segments, adding that travelling during an economic crisis was best because of low prices offered by hotels.

"Because of our low cost model, the fares are affordable. We are changing the travel dynamics in Asia and we see more Malaysians flying now. In the past, people in East Malaysia will not come to Kuala Lumpur because of the expensive airfare," she said.

Tan said the low cost carrier had opened up the flying experience as people not just travel for holidays but also for shopping or medical treatment.

She said AirAsia's low cost model also boosted domestic tourism as the airline's huge network enabled more Malaysians to take short domestic holidays to Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Miri and Tawau.

"We see 2009 as a challenging year for the aviation industry. We removed fuel surcharge and administration fees because we want to keep flying at affordable prices to stimulate travel.

"AirAsia today is more than just about low fares. We are selling romance, lifestyle and holiday dreams," Tan said.

Asked on AirAsia's sales target for 2010, Tan said the economy was recovering and people are beginning to spend.

"The worst is over, so let's see. Our bookings have been very encouraging," said Tan, adding that AirAsia was still expanding despite the challenging economy.

Saying that the low cost model was more matured and gaining acceptance, Tan added that online booking was no longer an issue because people were more tech-savvy now.

On AirAsia's 48-hour sales campaign, Tan said the airline rarely offered such a promotion.

"The campaign will encourage people to travel because this year was a tough year due because of the H1N1 pandemic and challenging economic factors," she explained.

Asked on the sales expectation, Tan said: "I would not be able to give figures, it depends on the response, but I think the response will be good. we are running into the peak travel period now and people want to start planning their holidays."

During the two-day promotion, AirAsia will offer a 20 per cent discount on fares to all destinations, excluding London and Thailand, for the travel period beginning today until Nov 30.

It covers all domestic and international destinations across 20 countries and over 130 routes.

Source : Bernama
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Negeri Sembilan To Attract Transit Passengers

The Negeri Sembilan state government will cooperate with the Tourism Ministry to attract more than six million transit passengers from the KL International Airport (KLIA) to the state.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said the figure was massive and should be exploited by the local tourism sector.

"I consider the current figure to be massive because some passengers had to wait between 12 and 24 hours. However, it needs the coordination of the various departments to be successful," he told reporters after attending the launch of the Malaysia Holidays Fair by Tourism Minister Datuk seri Dr Ng Yen Yen, here on Sunday.

He said that in the past, the number of transit passengers who came to the state was very small and it was made on the initiative of the local hotels.

If it were well coordinated, the state, especially the resort areas which had many hotels such as Port Dickson, would see a big jump in tourist arrivals.

Meanwhile, Dr Ng said the study on the entry of transit passengers to Negeri Sembilan would be discussed by a special committee that would be set up.

She said it was a major move and the responsibility should not be placed on the ministry alone.

"For this purpose, we will choose Negeri Sembilan, especially the areas around Port Dickson, as the first state to implement the programme as it is located near KLIA," she added.

Source : Bernama
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Making it easy to get to the LCCT via KLIA Ekspress

FROM Sept 15, travellers heading to the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) can to choose to take the KLIA Transit train to the terminal.

Passengers can board the KLIA Transit train from KL Sentral, Bandar Tasik Selatan or Putrajaya and Cyberjaya to the Salak Tinggi station where they will be ferried directly to the LCCT on a dedicated air-conditioned shuttle coach.

A porter will also be on hand to help with luggage at the Salak Tinggi station at no extra charge.

ERL CEO Noormah Mohd Noor said the service was not meant to compete with bus services to LCCT but to provide an alternative for passengers.

Follow us, please: Wan Shadianie Wan Abdul Rashid (front) and Norshrina Abdul Kader with the new shuttle bus that will take passengers from Salak Tinggi KLIA Transit station to LCCT in Sepang.

“It is the right time for us to come up with this service as LCCT passengers are more mature in their selection. There is a demand for better, safer, and more comfortable modes of travel and passengers are willing to pay for that,” she said at the service launch in Salak Tinggi KLIA Transit station recently.

Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri was also present at the event.

Noormah added that travelling via KLIA Transit also contributed to the reduction of car trips to LCCT, translating into significant savings on carbon emission.

With 73 trips from KL Sentral and LCCT, Noormah said ERL was expecting a 10% increase from its total daily passengers of 7,000.

A one-way ticket from KL Sentral to the LCCT costs RM12.50 (adult) and RM6 (child) while two-way tickets cost RM22 (adult) and RM11 (child). Shuttle bus services are free during the promotion period.

From Bandar Tasik Selatan station to the LCCT, tickets are priced at RM8.30 (adult) and RM4 (child). The shuttle bus service is charged at RM2.50 per person.

From Putrajaya and Cyberjaya station, tickets are priced at RM3 (adult) and RM1.50 (child) while shuttle bus services are also at RM2.50 per person.

In conjunction with the launch, ERL will be giving away 5,000 free tickets for the new service (applicable only from KL Sentral to Salak Tinggi station). The free tickets are valid for travel effective from Oct 1.

For further information, visit

Source : STAR
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Friday, September 25, 2009

Reliance eyeing 15% sales growth for travel division

Reliance Pacific Bhd targets a sales growth of 15% for its travel division in its current financial year ending Mar 31, 2010 (FY10), boosted mainly by its online travel services portal,

According to the company’s annual report, the travel division contributed about 90% or RM493.56mil of its total revenue of RM553.62mil for FY09.

Managing director (travel division) Tan Sin Chong said Reliance would be adding more packages to its web portal to attract more customers.

»We want to build a strong foundation in Asia before expanding« TAN SIN CHONG

“We will be enhancing our (online) portal by providing more product offerings such as more hotel room options and more land packages in Asia,” Tan said after the company AGM yesterday.

“We plan to include more two- and three-star hotels because there is high demand for them. We will be offering other attractive packages as well but cannot reveal what they are for the time being,” he added.

Tan said Reliance expected to achieve sales worth RM20,000 in hotel rooms per month by FY10 through

“Currently we are selling about RM10,000 in hotel rooms per month,” he said. Sales through its online portal presently account for about 20% of its travel division’s total sales revenue.

Tan said he was confident that the online business would account for 50% of the travel division’s total sales revenue within the next three years.

“Making travel arrangements online is becoming increasingly popular. It is more accessible, scaleable and convenient. It is also much easier to reach a wider audience this way,” he said.

Tan said Reliance had no immediate plans to add destinations outside of Asia to

“We want to build a strong foundation in Asia before expanding. We know the Asian market well and know the consumers’ needs.

“For our offline travel business, we also plan to reinvent our offerings. We hope to offer more diversified experiences and packages. After all, travelling is all about the experience,” he added.

He also said he was optimistic about the outlook of the travel sector in the second half of FY10.

“Economic conditions are improving and the Influenze A(H1N1) epidemic also seems to be waning. From October to December, travelling also tends to pick up so we expect a better second half for FY10.”

Source : STAR
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Hyatt shows how to damage a brand

The entire travel industry might learn some lessons from three Boston Hyatt hotels that fired their entire maid staffs and outsourced their positions to a third-party vendor at a lower cost.

“Looking for a sure-fire way to do a little damage to your brand? Follow these two simple steps,” wrote the Harvard Review.

1. Make the decision to fire a very important yet modestly paid sector of your work force. Fire the entire lot of them.

2. Outsource their positions to a third-party vendor who will bring in contractors to do their jobs at a lower cost. But -- and this is critical -- before you fire them, trick your workers into training the people who will replace them.

The hotel disputes this but the newspaper report said the maids were told they were training “vacation replacements.” This vacation, however, was permanent.

The Boston Globe newspaper reported that at last count, more than 584 comments had been posted on the newspaper site about Hyatt’s actions. The article has been among the site’s most e-mailed pieces of content. There were demonstrations and pledges from participants that they would never again stay at Hyatt.

“For a hotel, housekeeping is not trivial,” reports the Review.

Hyatt is a hospitality company, the report says. Hospitality companies rely on the currency of brand maintained by superior customer service -- to sustain and grow their businesses.

“Is this the way you'd want your management treating your fellow workers? Would this inspire you to go ‘above and beyond’ for your customers? To do your job at its highest level?” the report asks.

The lesson here: think about the way your actions will be perceived by all your stakeholders before you take them. Will these actions affect the way your customers feel about you? Might they impact worker morale?

How will they look on the "most-emailed" list of your local paper?

Source : TravelMole
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Illegal travel agents urged to obtain licences

Unauthorised travel agents are urged to legalise their businesses by applying for licences.

Pahang Arts, Tourism, Heritage, Family Development and Women’s Affairs Committee chairman Datuk Shafik Fauzan Sharif said there was a number of illegal travel agents operating in the state and this could create problems for the tourism industry.

Shafik said, should anything happen to tourists on trips organised by illegal travel agents, the tourists would not have had proper insurance coverage and the Government would get blamed for allowing the illegal agents to conduct business.

“Applying for a licence is as simple as filling up the registration forms. Of course, there are terms and conditions to be met. The purpose of registering as travel agents is to protect both operators and clients if a problem arises.

“There will be insurance coverage for the tour if the agents are licensed,” Shafik told reporters at a press conference to announce the upcoming MATTA fair.

The fair, organised by the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents Pahang chapter, will be held from Oct 9 to 11 at Kuantan Parade here.

Shafik said that insurance companies did not cover illegal travel agents. If tourists were injured in an accident, they would not get compensation, he added.

“The Government welcomes efforts by individuals and companies to promote tourism in the state. However, it has to be done in a proper and legal way,” he said.

He added that there were 63 registered travel agents in the state.

On the MATTA fair, Shafik said the three-day programme would provide a good opportunity for travel agents to widen their market.

“It is a meeting point for them to sell and promote their services and packages,” he said.

He said that 57 booths would be set up and more than half had already been taken up.

Source : STAR
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Thursday, September 24, 2009

RM10mil to develop Kenyir Lake

The Terengganu Tengah Development Authority (Ketengah) will spend RM10mil this year to develop Kenyir Lake for tourism.

Its general manager Hamzah Ngah said Ketengah had identified several projects, among them building the Gawi tourism terminal and improving the facilities at the Herbal park and Pulau Sah Kecil.

“This will help Kenyir Lake to expand as a major tourist attraction in the country,” he said here.

He also said that Ketengah received an allocation of RM25mil in special funds from the Federal Government this year.

The biggest allocation was for the tourism sector, with RM10.3mil, infrastructure and social development (RM6.3mil), housing (RM3.2mil), human capital and education (RM2.2mil), economic and business development (RM1.7mil), information technology and communication (RM800,000) and poverty eradication (RM500,000).

Source : STAR
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ATP set to boost Malaysia Truly Asia brand

The Malaysia Truly Asia brand is set to gain priceless global publicity at the Proton Malaysian Tennis Open, which is part of the ATP World Tour 250 series.

The famous catch phrase will be featured on the Hawk-Eye challenge system, which is the electronic line-calling system used when a player challenges a call on court.

Tournament director Nick Freyer said the system, to be used during the Malaysian Open from Saturday to Oct 4, would be officially known as the “Malaysia Truly Asia Review”.

“Every time a player challenges a call on the centre court, the ‘Malaysia Truly Asia Review’ will swing into action around the world, on televisions across the country and in faraway places, and the four giant screens at the stadium.

“We will be able to see what the correct line-call outcome is through the use of high-speed, high-definition video cameras and powerful computer technology.

Exciting event: Dr Ng and Freyer checking out some Malaysian Open posters Wednesday. — Bernama

“This is going to be a brilliant fan experience and is the first time this has been done in South-East Asia,” he said yesterday at a joint press conference with Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.

Winners of each match on the centre court will also hit signed tennis balls into the stands, giving fans a chance to get their hands on the autographed balls and claim prizes totalling more than RM100,000.

The nine-day tournament at Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil has attracted top tennis stars, including world number eight Nikolay Davydenko and ninth-ranked Fernando Verdasco.

Other stars include former world number one Lleyton Hewitt, Robin Soderling (ranked 11th) Fernando Gonzalez (12) and Gael Monfils (13).

Freyer also said former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis and holder of four ATP Tour titles Taylor Dent would be wild card entries in the tournament, together with another “mystery entry”.

Dent, Freyer said, was an inspirational story for Malaysians as he recovered from two major back surgeries and a year in a body cast before recently playing again.

Meanwhile, Dr Ng said tennis fans were in for a treat at the event, given its diversity of players and attractive prizes for fans.

“Malaysia is privileged to be chosen as one of the five ATP World Tour events in Asia. The event, to be telecast globally, will help boost the economy and tourism industry,” she added.

For more information, visit Tickets can be purchased at the stadium entrance or online at

Source : STAR
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Perak attractions at Singapore travel fair

The state government plans to promote its food and tourist destinations with the theme Perak — The Gateway To Nature during the Fascinating Malaysia Travel Fair in Singapore next month.

State executive councillor Datuk Hamidah Osman, who heads the state Tourism Commit-tee, said the state had booked 14 booths at the Suntec City Mall from Oct 13 to 15.

“We want to sell famous foods and tourist destinations in Perak to the Singaporeans.

“We will even promote dry food like the kacang putih from Buntong, Kampar chicken biscuits and Ipoh white coffee,” she said at a press conference here yesterday.

Tourist destinations to be highlighted include the Royal Belum state park, the Matang mangrove forest in Kuala Sepetang, Taiping Zoo, the Royal Town of Kuala Kangsar, Gua Tempurong, the state herbal park, Sungai Klah Hot Springs, Ipoh limestone hills and Pangkor island.

Hamidah said the basic infrastructure and services must be upgraded at tourist spots.

She said information for tourists needed to be coordinated and made readily available to visitors in hotels, at the airport and in the various districts.

Hamidah added that the state also had a six-month course for those interested in becoming licensed tour guides.

Source : STAR
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US agencies renew warnings on luxury hotels security

U.S. security authorities have told local law enforcement agencies to be on alert for possible attacks on luxury hotels, but said they had no information on the timing, location or target of any planned attacks.

The note, sent by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI to local law enforcement agencies, was unrelated to a probe into a bomb plot in New York and Denver made public in the last week, officials said on Tuesday.

The two federal agencies said the warning issued on Monday was part of "a series of unclassified homeland security notes ... produced to assist our partners as they go about their daily duties."

The agencies said they "believe it is prudent to raise the security awareness of our local law enforcement partners regarding the targets and tactics of previous terrorist activity."

Two federal law enforcement officials said it was just a reminder that terrorists in the past have targeted luxury hotels.

The officials said a similar note also had been sent recently to local law enforcement agencies to be on the alert for possible attacks on U.S. sports stadiums, but they said there was no intelligence of a specific threat.

A probe into a suspected bombing plot, taking place in New York and Colorado, prompted two different FBI and Department of Homeland warnings last week. A U.S. Homeland Security Department spokeswoman said an advisory has been issued "to remind transit authorities to remain vigilant."

Source : STAR
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Berjaya Hotels & Resorts - New Look & Feel in 5 Days

Featuring our updated brand, look and attitude.

Bookmark this page and join us for the launching held onMonday, 28 September 2009
In the meantime, do check out our current website for Best Available Rates and please ensure your bookings are made.

Join us in unveiling our new webpage on Monday, 28 September 2009 and find out the attractive surprises we have planned for you.
Contact us for more information :

Firefly proves sceptics wrong

WHEN Malaysia Airlines (MAS) announced in 2007 that it was setting up a community airline which would use the Penang International Airport as its primary hub and operate using two 50-seater Fokker F50 planes, there were many sceptics.

Many wondered if the new airline would survive in the face of other competitors in the country and region, and if the new venture would place the national carrier in financial trouble.

Former MAS managing director Datuk Seri Idris Jala, when speaking at the launch of the new airline's logo in March 2007, had said Firefly would work with its parent company to break new ground in realising a core network over five years.

He had cited markets such as North America, South America and South Africa at the time as part of this network.
Idris had also made it clear that although Firefly is 100 per cent owned by MAS, it would operate separately in terms of management, via FlyFirefly Sdn Bhd.

The focus of Firefly, he said, was to serve the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand growth triangle.

MAS has so far proved sceptics wrong and Firefly today has carved out a niche and branded itself among players like AirAsia, Silk Air, Jet Airways and Dragon Air.

In further developing its sister airline, MAS invested in a fleet of fuel-efficient turbo-propeller planes to service its routes, and added the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang as its hub.

Its choice of planes was the ATR 72-500s, whose design is touted as a high-wing, twin turboprop aircraft by its French-Italian makers for efficiency, operating flexibility and passenger comfort.

Firefly currently flies from Penang to Kuala Lumpur via Subang, Langkawi, Phuket, Banda Aceh and Medan.

The airline also flies from Subang to Penang, Kota Baru, Kuala Terengganu, Kerteh, Langkawi, Johor Baru, Alor Setar, Kuantan, Koh Samui, Phuket, Pekan Baru, Medan, Batam and Singapore.

And since September 1 this year, Firefly has been operating the Singapore-Ipoh route

Source : Business Times
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Setting course for MAS to reach new heights

The most urgent task for Malaysia Airlines' (MAS) newly-appointed chief would be to position and brand the national carrier ahead of economic recovery, say analysts.

Datuk Tengku Azmil Zahruddin, previously the chief financial officer, took over as MAS' managing director and chief executive officer from Datuk Seri Idris Jala on August 28.

"With economic recovery possibly happening by the end of the year, passengers will be less concerned about the few dollars' difference in fares. MAS should position itself to take advantage of that. In the long run, the current low-fare scheme won't work," Maybank Investment Bank Bhd senior analyst Khair Mirza told Business Times.

He said that the last thing MAS needed was to price itself so low that it diluted the airline's premium-service products.

"What MAS must now ask itself is, what exactly it needs to do. It has cut all that it can cut - costs, size, network. The question is, as part of its fleet renewal plan, will it come up with something that meets the needs of the more price-sensitive consumers?"

Should MAS decide to come up with a new low-fare scheme for the long term, it should focus on giving exactly what a normal low-cost carrier (LCC) would give rather than the extra trappings it boasts of currently, Khair said.

"Azmil saying that he will continue with the existing plan is his way of not rocking the boat. I'm sure he will have new ideas worked out, and one of them should be what role (MAS' wholly-owned subsidiary) Firefly can play in the greater scheme of things. In a way, this is Firefly's opportunity to rise," he added.

Khair voiced hopes that Tengku Azmil would continue to ensure MAS was well represented in the formulation of government policies, adding his view that Idris had done a good job in this respect.

During Idris' tenure, MAS evolved into a new breed of hybrid carrier blending traditional full-service carrier traits with those of the LCCs.

During a press briefing in June last year, Idris had likened MAS' business model to a cross between full-fledged full-service airlines like Cathay Pacific Airways and Singapore Airlines and LCCs like AirAsia.

Standard & Poor's Asian Equity Research analyst Shukor Yusof said that as more and more airlines consolidate, MAS would have to decide where it wanted to position itself in the industry.

"There has been a wave of consolidation, as you can see in the likes of Japan Airlines. With the latest round of airline consolidation, where does MAS see itself being positioned?" Shukor questioned.

So far, rather than join any of the global airline alliances such as OneWorld and Skyteam, MAS has chosen to grow its network through code-share deals with other airlines.

"Would MAS be looking to join an alliance? This remains a key aspect of the business which needs to be addressed quickly," Shukor said.

Source : Business Times
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Hilton Changes Name and New Hilton Logo

Hilton Hotels Corp. has changed its name to Hilton Worldwide to reflect the company's rich heritage and current status as a global hotel company as well as its strategic objective of continuing to grow internationally going forward.

Accompanying the new name is a new corporate logo incorporating design elements that reflect Hilton’s heritage, its quality and commitment to excellence in service, and the company's vibrant vision for the future.

Hilton Worldwide logo

Together the two elements represent a new identity for what President and CEO Chris Nassetta calls a completely transformed and restructured global enterprise.

"Our new identity is reflective of a refreshed company vision, mission, values and key strategic priorities, and in some ways signifies that this is a new beginning for our company," Nassetta says.

“This is an incredibly dynamic time in our company’s history," Nassetta continues. “While our corporate name and logo have changed, the best of our company – the passion, commitment and high standards of our team members that translate into exceptional experiences for our guests – remains the same.”

The new corporate name and logo follow the company’s recent relocation of its global headquarters from Beverly Hills, California, to McLean, Virginia. These changes also have been mirrored by the internal launch of a refreshed company vision, mission, values and key strategic priorities, which are intended to communicate more clearly how Hilton conducts business and plans to achieve company goals.

Hilton Worldwide’s portfolio of 10 brands comprises more than 3,300 hotels in 77 countries around the world. The company will open more than 300 hotels this year.

Logo Design Details
With the addition of the word “worldwide,” the new logo unites all members of the organization across all parts of the globe with one shared vision for success. The platinum and gold stylized H evokes quality, stature and the richness of Hilton’s heritage. The two halves are reflective, which are a reminder of the company’s storied past and vibrant future, and the open curves are welcoming, symbolizing the world of travel by suggesting the round edges of the globe, the arch of a bridge and posts of a bed.

The logos and imagery of the hotel brands that comprise Hilton Worldwide, including Hilton Hotels, will remain unchanged, while the Hilton HHonors brand will adopt the core elements of the new corporate identity and logo.

“The new corporate and Hilton HHonors branding enable our individual hotel brands to further build their distinctive identities while also communicating their common connections and the strong value proposition of the HHonors program,” says Paul Brown, president of Hilton’s global brands and commercial services.

New Luxury, Lifestyle Leader
Earlier this week, Hilton named John Vanderslice global head of luxury and lifestyle brands, reporting to Brown. Vanderslice has an extensive background in both branding and hospitality, having previously overseen legacy brands and new product introductions for Kraft Foods and having served as president and CEO of Club Med Americas. Vanderslice most recently was CEO of the lifestyle resort Miraval Spa in Tucson, Arizona.

"John is off to a quick start," Nassetta says. "The combination of [his] skills—classic brand training, experience directly in the lodging business and high-end spa experience—is very complimentary to the skill set inside this company, and will be pivotal in defining and re-defining how we want to approach the luxury space and enter the lifestyle space."

"John has significant brand management and operations experience, as well as a proven track record of successfully growing existing brands and introducing exciting new products to the marketplace," adds Brown. "We are delighted to welcome John to Hilton."

Source : Hotels
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Auto system entry into Malaysia for frequent Singaporean visitors

An automated clearance system, initially introduced for investors coming into Iskandar Malaysia, is now open to all residents from the Island Republic.

Home Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Mahmood Adam said that Singaporeans frequently travelling between both countries could apply for the Malaysian Automated Checkpoint System (MACS), which was introduced five months ago.

Besides Singaporeans, foreign nationals living there can also apply for this sticker which costs RM30 annually.

“We have already prepared about 100,000 stickers for those who are interested in using the MACS,” he said, adding that the authorities were confident that this move would ease the congestion at both the land entry points into the country.

The present entry points are the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine in Bukit Chagar and the Second Link.

“We have received numerous complaints on the long queues that people have to go through on a daily basis especially those who frequent the causeway daily,” he said.

He added that the system was set up in April but many still were not aware of it.

He was speaking during a press conference after handing out Hari Raya cookies to staff working at CIQ on Sept 20.

“If more Singaporeans apply for the system, it will definitely help smoothen the clearance process at the check points,” he said adding that the RM30 was a yearly fee for the sticker.

He also explained that special lanes had been set up for MACS users and with the system, it would take them less than three seconds to get through the immigration checks.

“The system is simple, once applied, a sticker will be attached to the passport of the user which will contain all the information needed to clear the check point.

“The user just has to touch the passport onto a scanner before placing his thumb onto a reader to pass through,” he said.

Mahmood added that fliers and other information relating to the system would also be distributed to the public to ensure that more people were aware of the facility.

Those interested in applying for the sticker can do so at the immigration office at the CIQ in Bukit Chagar.

Source : STAR
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Tourism boost with Singapore F1

The 2009 Formula 1 Singtel Singapore Grand Prix, to be held from Sept 25 to 27, will have a spillover effect on Malaysia’s tourism industry, said Singapore Tourism Board regional director Geraldine Yeo.

“It will be a win-win situation for both countries. While the Malaysian F1 Grand Prix is a daytime event held in the first half of the year, ours is a night race held in the second half.

“It offers different propositions and experiences for the audience. It’s a beneficial arrangement for the region as a whole,” she said.

Last year, the event attracted more than 100,000 people, 40% of them foreigners, said Yeo.

“Although ticket sales are lesser than last year due to the economic climate, this year, we expect the same huge turnout of foreign audiences.

“We also expect a fair share of Malaysian race fans, due to the nation’s strong history in motorsports. Moreover, air-fares are more affordable these days,” she said.

The entertainment events in store include performances by international stars like Beyonce and Black Eyed Peas, and these would be a big draw as well, Yeo added.

Source : STAR
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Malaysians no longer putting travel plans on hold

The travel bug is back in Malaysia after an initial knee jerk reaction to the H1N1 flu outbreak.

Malaysians are no longer putting their travel plans on hold.

If the response at a recent travel fair in Kuala Lumpur is any indication, Malaysians are starting to come to terms with the H1N1 flu outbreak that has claimed more than 70 lives in the country.

Nearly 65,000 people thronged the three-day event organised by the Malaysia Tour and Travel Association - snapping up cheap air tickets and travel packages.

Retiree Madam Soo and her husband are planning their year-end getaway before winter - when a second wave of the flu is expected.

She said: "I should not worry, I should not wait. How long can we wait ? (There are) a lot of offers now...(so we) should take this opportunity to travel."

Mrs Mohd Ali, who has been keeping her three children at home over the past months, is also planning to take a break with her family.

She said: "Maybe (we will go to) Langkawi and Terengganu, where there are beaches...(these are) the best places right now."

Indeed, many tour and travel companies are now factoring the flu pandemic in their itineraries.

Consumers are opting for shorter holidays to domestic or nearby destinations instead of long haul travel to the US or Europe.

Chan Meng Fatt, senior general manager, Mayflower Travel, said: "On our planning side, what we do is that we emphasise on cleanliness, explore more open areas...whereby (people) do not get contained in enclosed areas, so our product emphasis is always on open space..."

Still, many travellers are not taking any chances.

Donning masks and observing safety precautions have become a routine for some families.

One person said: "I am not worried about H1N1, because we can protect ourselves."

Another added: "I wear a mask and take a bottle of hand sanitiser with me ."

So masks or no masks, Malaysians are travelling again. In fact, some argue that this is the best time to travel when traffic is low and you get real bargains at unbeatable prices.

Source : Channel News Asia
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Friday, September 18, 2009

Laksa and nasi lemak among our pride, says Yen Yen

Laksa, nasi lemak and bak kut teh — these are some of the food Malaysia will lay claim to.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said there were many dishes synonymous with Malaysia’s identity but they had been “hijacked” by other countries.

Happy chefs: The chefs of the Malaysia International Gourmet Festival at Royal Selangor Club, Dataran Merdeka. - AZMAN GHANI/THE STAR

“We cannot continue to let other countries hijack our food. Chilli crab is Malaysian. Hainanese chicken rice is Malaysian. We have to lay claim to our food,” she told reporters after launching the Malaysia International Gourmet Festival yesterday.

The festival, which runs throughout October, is part of the Fabulous Food 1Malaysia campaign. Novem-ber’s part of the campaign will centre around shopping mall food, while street and heritage food will be the highlight in December.

“In the three months, we will identify certain key dishes (to declare as Malaysian). We have identified laksa ... all types of laksa, nasi lemak and bak kut teh,” she said.

When asked how the ministry would go about labelling the dishes Malaysian after identifying them, Dr Ng said she would reveal her strategy at a later stage.

“That is Part Two. We cannot reveal it yet, but we will let you know soon,” she said.

On another matter, Dr Ng said tourist arrivals in August increased by 10.4% to 2,030,337 compared to the corresponding period last year.

For the first eight months of the year, arrivals went up by 4.4% to 14,730,437 compared to the corresponding period last year.

Dr Ng said arrivals from China increased by 14.8% in August, while arrivals from Australia and Britain increased by 26.6% and 16.5% respectively.

Double-digit growth was also recorded for arrivals of tourists from more than 20 countries, including Poland (59.9%), Italy (49.7%) and Iran (40.4%).

To further boost tourism, Dr Ng said 500 guides were undergoing a three-month foreign language course.

“They are being trained in Russian, Arabic, South Korean, Japanese and French. It is a scholarship. Right now, we only have two Russian-speaking guides. That is not enough,” she said.

Source : STAR
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Now Malaysia wants a food fight

Laksa, nasi lemak, Hainanese chicken rice and chilli crab are all Malaysian dishes, Malaysia’s tourism minister, Dr Ng Yen Yen, has declared.

In a report in the Malaysian Insider Dr Ng accused other countries of “hijacking” local dishes such as laksa and nasi lemak, and said it was high time that Malaysia claimed them as Malaysian.

“We cannot continue to let other countries hijack our food,” she said, without naming the countries, although her ire is almost certainly aimed at Singapore and Indonesia.

“Chilli crab is Malaysian. Hainanese chicken rice is Malaysian. We have to lay claim to our food,” the minister said after she launched the Malaysia International Gourmet Festival.

Dr Ng said that her ministry was identifying the popular dishes, which are also available in neighbouring countries, and would declare them as Malaysian in the next three months.

The tourism minister's announcement came as Malaysia and Indonesia were working hard to resolve a dispute alleging that Malaysia “stole” Indonesian culture such as batik and claimed it as its own.

Warisan Tidak Ketara Makanan 2009


Nasi Lemak


Gulai Asam Rom


Kuih Cara


Nasi Ayam


Kari Kepala Ikan


Kuih Bingka


Nasi Kunyit (Pulut Kuning)


Kurma Daging/Ayam


Kuih Bakul


Nasi Tumpang




Kuih Bulan


Nasi Kerabu


Masak Ikan dan Pisang Dalam Buluh


Kuih Cincin


Nasi Dagang


Yong Tau Foo


Kuih Bakar


Nasi Himpit


Daging Dendeng


Kuih Sepit


Nasi Goreng Kampung


Ayam Panggang


Apam Balik


Nasi Ulam


Botok-Botok Ikan


Pisang Goreng




Sambal Tumis






Chili Crab




Pulut Kukus Periuk Kera


Teh Tarik




Mee Mamak




Buah Melaka @ Ondeh-Ondeh




Air Batu Campur (ABC)




Mee Kari


Air Kelapa




Char Kuay Teow Pulau Pinang


Air Selasih




Laksa Johor




Lempuk Durian


Mee Siam






Bubur Pedas Sarawak




Seri Kaya


Bubur As-Sura






Bubur Sum-Sum


Sambal Belacan




Bubur Kacang Hijau




Pulut Panggang


Sagu Gula Melaka


Sambal Gesek Ikan Bilis




Kuih Bingka Ubi


Sate @ Satay






Yee Sang


Putu Mayam








Ayam Percik


Telur Pindang


Roti Jala


Manok Pansoh


Kerabu Mangga Muda


Roti Canai


Masak Asam Pedas






Gulai Tempoyak Ikan Patin


Kuih Keria




Ikan Bakar


Kuih Koci


Kuih Lopis


Ikan Panggang Tanah Liat






Gulai Lemak Umbut


Kuih Seri Muka


Ubi Kayu


Gulai Lemak Cili Padi

Source : TravelMole WarisanGov
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