Friday, May 07, 2010

Emirates May Mount Extra Flights To KL During Ramadan - Minister

Emirates Airline is supportive of a request for an increase in flights to Kuala Lumpur during Ramadan as Malaysia eyes more Arab visitors during the Muslim fasting month, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said.

She said the possibility of Emirates using the Airbus A380 superjumbo for the flights was mentioned in her talks with Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline and Group here, Wednesday.

"I requested Emirates to add flights to Malaysia during Ramadan...and he was very supportive," she told the Malaysian media after the meeting which took place at the ongoing Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2010 here.

Dr Ng is leading the Malaysian delegation at the Middle East's premiere travel fair which ends tomorrow.

Emirates currently operates 21 weekly non-stop flights between its home base of Dubai and Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital.

The minister said the unique atmosphere of Ramadan in Malaysia should be enjoyed by outsiders.

"In Malaysia, the length of your fasting time is quite constant. The whole religious aspects are well-catered for in Malaysia.

"You can have your breakfast and sahur (early morning meal) at the hotels which offer buffet spreads, and perform tarawih prayers at the mosque," she said.

Dr Ng said an interesting aspect of Ramadan in Malaysia was that non-Muslims would also wait for the azan (call to prayer) before eating with their Muslim friends at the breaking fast ritual.

The minister said Tourism Malaysia would engage hospitality industry players in planning for the Ramadan tourism push.

Dr Ng also said Sheikh Ahmed made an observation that many Middle Easterners were going to countries like Thailand for medical tourism despite Malaysia having facilities for this purpose.

"I will go back and convey the message to the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council," she said.

On its part, she said, Tourism Malaysia would always extend any assistance needed in promoting medical tourism in Malaysia.

Source : Bernama
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