Monday, April 30, 2007

Singapore Move won’t hit Tourism

Singapore’s move to slash the entrance fees to some of its tourist attractions by half for Malaysians is not expected to hurt domestic tourism.

State Tourism and Environment Committee chairman Freddie Long brushed it off as “nothing unusual.”

“They are doing this to promote their Great Singapore Sale,” he said, adding that Malaysia had its own way of promoting tourism through its Mega Sale, held twice a year.

Long said the state had its own strategy to woo tourists, including plans for a midnight sale, which would allow people to shop past midnight.

On Friday, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) announced that Malaysians could enjoy selected tourist destinations at half price by allowing the use of the ringgit between May 25 and June 30.

Johor Tourist Guides Association chairman Jimmy Leong said Malaysians were not too receptive to visiting places or attractions which were completely man-made.

“They like visiting places which have a balance of nature along with artificial man-made items,” he said.

STB Southern Malaysia area director Alfred Poon said Malaysians who wanted to journey along the Singapore River, for example, would only pay RM12 instead of S$12 (RM27.10).

“That is a discount of over 50%,” he said, adding that the campaign would be held concurrently with the Great Singapore Sale.

To qualify for the offer, Malaysians will have to produce their passports with valid embarkation cards.

“They will also have to prepare exact fares as no change will be given,” said Poon, adding that those who opted to pay in Singapore currency would be given a 50% discount off published rates.

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

HK developer believes properties are good investments

HONG Kong-based hotelier and property developer Tan Sri David Chiu has been flying in and out of Malaysia so often that he is often mistaken for a Malaysian.

“On the plane coming in, the crew will say I do not need an immigration card. I tell them, I do need one. They think I am joking,” says Chiu who first came to Malaysia in the 1990s.

Chiu in front of the soon-to-be opened May Tower project in Jalan Munshi Abdullah, KL
“I’m definitely from Hong Kong. It is just that I am very fond of this country and spent about 30% of my time here, and the other 40% in Hong Kong, and the rest in other countries where I have my investments,” says the deputy chairman of Far East Consortium International Ltd during a trip to Kuala Lumpur last week.

The Far East group is one of the largest three- to four-star hoteliers in the former British colony. It currently has 10 hotels, seven of which are in operation and three to be opened within 24 months.

As the interview wore on, Chiu began to little by little slip into Malaysian shoes when asked about his plans to establish a hotel base here and in China now that he has a firm footing in his kampung, while Malaysian property and construction companies were seeking jobs overseas.

“We are doing different things. It is exciting to talk about overseas investments, but have they really done as well as they have in Malaysia? Many times we read of the successes, but among these there are failures we do not read about.

“Yes, the overall margins here are tough; the market is relatively mature. But we have a stable government and a large middle class. People like to compare salaries here with that of Hong Kong or Japan. It is not the absolute numbers (that matter) but the disposable income,” says Chiu who was here to check out Sabah’s hotel scene.

“Now that we are relatively strong in Hong Kong, we would like to establish a platform here and in China’s hotel industry. We will make some acquisitions in China’s major cities.

“After owning Dorsett in Jalan Imbi (with 320 rooms) some eight years here, we bought Sheraton Subang. We are operating Dorsett Penang, which we do not own. Come June-July, we will be opening May Tower serviced apartment and hotel in Jalan Munshi Abdullah, Kuala Lumpur. In August-September, we will be opening our Johor Baru hotel, which will have 320 rooms.

“With the Singapore casino opening, there will be some spillover. I have seen the impact of what happened to Macau. We all knew that Macau will prosper but it was beyond anyone’s expectation, including the government’s.”

Chiu says because rates are the cheapest in Asia, there is only one way to go. Up!

The new four-star May Tower hotel-cum-service apartment will be run along the Ascott model. It will have 200 rooms as a base and some of the units will be put on lease. Chiu expects rates of between RM180 and RM200 a night with 80% occupancy against the average 70% for hotels in the three- to four-star category.

Chiu says while his Hong Kong hotels will have a margin of 65% with their main focus on lodging and little food and beverage emphasis, his Malaysian investments have a margin of 50%, about 10 points higher than a five-star outfit.

China places a high emphasis on F & B outlets because people like to entertain in hotels. “I went to a hotel in Guangzhou where there are 60 VIP dining rooms. That is a lot of rooms. We are looking aggressively into buying hotels. We will not say no to resorts either. We are in a position to announce a few acquisitions in major Chinese cities soon.”

Chiu says the Hong Kong hospitality industry has a large Chinese tourist and businessman market. France and England also have a large tourism market but not here.

“Which is why the country is having this Visit Malaysia Year. Here, you have a big Indian and Middle East market. Malaysia may be friendly but Hong Kong work longer hours and have better discipline.”

Chiu came to Malaysia in the early 1990s. Tan Sri Chong Kok Lim, a tin miner from Perak who owned the Regent hotel (now Park Royal) and built Sungei Wang Complex brought him here and introduced him to developer Datuk Wong Kee Tat.

“Wong introduced me to a banker and I bought a bond at a deep discount, which I subsequently sold to buy some land in Sri Hartamas which I put together.”

Chiu set up Malaysia Land Properties Sdn Bhd (Mayland) which became active in 1994. He and his Shanghainese wife lived here 70% of their time to allow him to put together a team which grew from 17 to 180, excluding his hotel management staff, and increase his land bank.

Today, Plaza Damas has 1,300 units of serviced apartments and a few hundred units shophouses. Mayland will be adding several hundred units with its phase three, which is located across Hartamas Shopping Centre.

“There will be an evolution of the serviced apartment and condominium market. There will only be a demand on linked houses if people can accept a certain amount of travelling time to their work.

“Admittedly, Puchong has grown and the infrastructure is good but they will be bored if they have to take more than an hour to get to work. That is why in Hong Kong and London city property prices are shooting through the roof. The same will happen here, coupled with the fact that families are getting smaller and security has become very important.

“Developing property is not like a restaurant operation or making TV sets. Food is consumed and is gone. A TV is junked after some years. But a property remains. A developer is short sighted if he thinks he can build something and wash his hands off the project. There are many things I cannot control, but when it comes to building properties, we try our best,” says Chiu.

“We do not give guarantees but try to enhance the value of the property we develop. Beginning from day one, the location is the magic word. Next is the product. If you go to Port Dickson and buy a 3,000 sq ft property, you die. It is not a place where you stay 365 days. You must not be romantic when buying a property. A developer cannot enhance the value in that location. Is this a location for a two-room or a semi-detached? It is a judgement he has to make. Any developer who try to fool the customer is an idiot in the long run. I also believe that the early bird should make money. If a project is RM500 per sq feet (psf), I will start with RM400 psf. Let the early bird benefit. Today, those who bought early from us have made money. So a developer is not a restaurant operator or a maker of TV sets.

“But there is one thing I am sad about. Not only in Mayland, but with other developers here as well. There is a lot of room for improvement and quality control. I must say Malaysian contractors' discipline is not that great.

“I will be invited to go to the 8th floor. I say, ‘No need to see the 8th floor. I know it will be good. I want to see the 10th.’ To be fair, there are areas for improvement even with us. But generally, here, before contractors take the job, everything is boleh. When they get the job ... sigh!”

Chiu concludes: “I have the same problem in China when we started building. But they have improved a lot in several years. The quality gets better all the time but not here. There is very little improvement.”

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

Hilton Relaunches Web Sites

Hilton Hotels announced today the re-launch of two of the brand’s online channels – and In addition
to the two refreshed sites, the brand recently completed the translation of its booking portal into Spanish, and is in the process of completing a
French version of the site.

“The explosive and global growth of the Hilton brand has led us to rethink the
way we use the internet to connect with our guests,” said Jeff Diskin, senior
vice president, brand marketing and management – Hilton Hotels. “With these
refreshed sites we have three unique touch points that allow our guests to
connect with Hilton in ways that are most relevant to them.”
As demonstrated by its sponsorship of the GRAMMY® Awards and the launch of its
award-winning “Travel Should Take You Places” advertising campaign featuring
emerging musicians, Hilton’s marketing initiatives use music to connect with
consumers at an emotional level. At the new visitors will be
able to follow the personal journeys of the six emerging artists featured in
the ads. In addition to videos of the six ads, interviews with the artists and
an acoustic performance from each, the web site also features “Behind the
Scenes” interviews with each musician discussing their favorite things to do
while traveling.

Also featured on are many of Hilton’s new products and
services, including Hilton On Time, a system allowing guests to pre-order
items - such as extra towels or pillows, snacks and drinks - for delivery in
room upon check in.
This e-commerce site offers consumers the opportunity to buy “for home
versions” of the same products they enjoy in Hilton hotel rooms. Crabtree and
Evelyn® La Source bath products, the Hilton Family Exclusive Clock Radio, and
Cuisinart Two to Go Coffeemakers are just a few of the items found on this site.

In its upgraded version, Hilton leverages its relationships with strategic
partners. The Hilton Serenity Bed Collection, including mattress/box spring and
linens, are now branded with “As Seen on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,”
promoting Hilton’s relationship with ABC’s hit program. To further enhance
Hilton’s sponsorship of the GRAMMY Awards, visitors to can
purchase the 2007 GRAMMY Nominees CD., the brand’s booking portal, is now available in Spanish, German and
Japanese, with other translations, including Franch, in progress.

Source : Hotels
[tags : ]

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Plan to turn last tin dredge into tourist draw

IPOH: A tin dredge left idle in Tanjung Tualang, about 40km from here, will be given a facelift to bring it into the mainstream of Perak tourism.

Said to be the only one of its type left in Malaysia, there are plans to bring visitors there for a taste of the glory days when the Kinta Valley was the world’s richest tin producer.

Mining consultant company Osborne & Chappel plans to fence up the premises and redevelop the site into an exciting tourist destination.

“Once we sign the official agreement with the state government this year, we will engage engineers to survey the dredge to determine whether it is safe for visitors to go in,” said Steven Ng, a manager and spokesman of the company.

To get a facelift: There are plans to spruce up this tin dredge, sited in a man-made lake in Tanjung Tualang, and open the interior for guided tours.
“If it is safe, we can clean up the place and show visitors how the tin dredge works, moves and draws in the tin-bearing soil in manganese steel buckets,” he said.

Ng added that the dredge, weighing 4,500 tonnes, is one of the last great reminders of the time when the Kinta Valley was the world’s richest tin producing area.

Built in 1938 by W.F. Payne & Sons for Pernas Chartered Management Sdn Bhd, the dredge had scoured for tin ore in the Kinta Valley for 44 years.

The state government had reportedly spent about RM600,000 to develop facilities there some time back but the site had, nonetheless, fallen into a state of neglect.

The dredge, with the words T.T. No. 5 on it, used to belong to Southern Malayan Tin Dredging (M) Sdn Bhd.

Operations stopped in 1983 due to the collapse of the tin mining industry and the subsequent downward spiral of tin prices.

Ng said that among the many artefacts still intact on the dredge were the 155 manganese steel buckets, documents from the dredge master’s control room, a giant crane, power generators and the oscillating screen.

He added that there was also a plan to open a museum there, where he would display his private collection of dulangs (trays) used to sift for tin ore, wooden buckets, straw hats and numerous old photographs of the mining industry.

“It should be an interesting tour for schoolchildren and foreign tourists, especially since this is the last tin dredge left intact in Malaysia.

“Many young people forget that without the tin ore our forefathers had mined in the old days, our nation would not be enjoying much of the prosperity we have today,” Ng said.

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

Friday, April 27, 2007

No-Frills Tune hotel Opens Today at Jalan TAR

Tune Hotels’ first flagship hotel in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman in Kuala Lumpur

Tune, which opens its flagship “no-frills” hotel today, aims to take advantage of the growing budget hotels segment to push its expansion plans in the future.

It said in a statement budget hotels had registered up to 90% occupancy rates following the booming budget airlines industry, where players offered aggressive promotions.

The hotel offers 173 single and double rooms, where guests are given an option for add-on amenities like soap, towel and air-conditioner. Automated teller machine services, an Internet room and currency exchange services will also be made available.

Tune teamed up with strategic partners Pensonic Holdings Bhd, Nippon Paint (M) Sdn Bhd and Johnson Suisse (M) Sdn Bhd for various outfitting items. Rooms are secure, with chip-card access and extensive CCTV cameras placed throughout the premises.

Tune is also teaming up with to operate a 24-hour convenience store. There is also an eatery on the ground floor.

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

VMY 2007 has attracted more than 3.1 Mill Tourists in Jan & Feb

JUST four months into Visit Malaysia 2007, the nation is already off to a good start.

Not only are tourists happily thronging the country, but the main man behind the campaign, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor is also pleased with the campaign’s progress.

“I cannot single out one event which I am most proud of, I consider all of the events held so far as successful,” he said.

“So far, 3,101,691 tourists from all over the world have arrived in Malaysia in January and February,” said Tengku Adnan, adding that figure showed an increase of 9.1% for both months last year.

Satisfied with the statistics thus far, he is also confident of hitting VMY 2007’s target of 20.1 million visitors.

Royalty presence: Tuanku Mizan and Tuanku Nur Zahirah arriving in an open horse-drawn carriage for the Floral Parade in Putrajaya in January.
“Just take a look at the number of tourists who came to Malaysia for the past few months. There are only 28 days in February and yet we reported over 1.5 million visitors in that single month,” he said.

“Even the Eye On Malaysia has an average of 3,000 people enjoying the ride every day,” he said with pride of the 60-metre-high ferris wheel in Titiwangsa Lake Gardens which offers panoramic views of Kuala Lumpur.

Meanwhile, around 50,000 tourist packages have been snapped up for the Malaysia International Aerospace Adventure, which will be held in June.

The highlight of the aerospace exhibition is the US$2bil (RM6.8bil) Russian BURAN Space Shuttle, which took less than a minute to be launched into space.

Citing the recent Petronas Malaysian F1 Grand Prix race held in Sepang as another example, Tengku Adnan said the event was well received and among the spectators were visitors who booked 1,500 tourist packages from India alone.

Others were from Indonesia where 1,000 packages were booked.

The Flora Fest in January saw a Floral Parade with 18 decorated floats and 19 marching bands taking part.

The Penang state government’s float, themed Wings of Dream, emerged the winner.

Tengku Adnan added that the month-long National Water Festival, launched on April 6, had also received positive feedback from foreigners and locals alike.

“Some domestic tourists are really happy with this unique festival. They even said that they didn’t mind being basah kuyup (thoroughly wet) to join in the fun,” he said.

The festival included water-related activities such as an international fishing tournament, an extreme kayaking competition and a 5.4km swimming challenge to Pulau Papan and back to Labuan.

Recent statistics from the Immigration Department showed that the number one country frequenting our shores is none other than our neighbour, Singapore.

Singaporeans topped the list of foreign tourists with a record of 830,700 in January, followed by Thailand (123,634) and Indonesia (151,636).

Tengku Adnan: ‘There is neither social unrest nor fear among the people and that is why people love to come here’
Others include Brunei, China, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea and India.

When asked what he thought was Malaysia’s lure to the tourists, Tengku Adnan said that it was our country’s harmonious disposition.

“We are a very safe and peaceful country compared to other places in the surrounding region. There is neither social unrest nor fear among the people and that is why people love to come here,” he said, adding that Malaysia is a “value for money” destination.

“Our country also has very good infrastructure, and everywhere is easily accessible.

“If tourists want to go to the mountains or rivers, all they need is take a two-hour drive,” he said, noting that Malaysia was voted the world’s best tourist destination last year by 13,653 readers of US business travel magazine, Global Traveller.

This VMY 2007 has around 240 events lined up to commemorate Malaysia’s 50th year of independence.

The golden jubilee marks an important milestone in the nation’s development and Tengku Adnan thinks that this year’s celebration would be more special.

“People can expect something different this year since it is our 50th anniversary,” he said, adding that the Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry is also working on a list of events to celebrate Independence Day as Aug 31 draws closer.

“Aside from state-level celebrations and the yearly Merdeka parade, people can also look forward to the Malaysia International Fireworks Competition which will be held from mid-August onwards,” he said.

The fireworks competition will see countries from all over the world competing to come up with the most beautiful and brilliant sparks in the sky.

Coming soon is also the Colours of Malaysia celebration kicking off on May 26, which will entice tourists, with its showcase of local culture and food delicacies.

Parades and musical performances around the country are set to expose foreigners to our unique culture.

Tengku Adnan hoped that VMY 2007 would receive warm response and support from the locals.

“I thank all Malaysians for supporting the campaign so far, and I hope they will continue to participate in the events that are lined up,” he said.

“As for foreign tourists, I hope you will enjoy your time here and do come back again.”

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

Siblings on holiday feared drowned at Terengganu Equestrian Resort

A nine-year-old boy and his seven-year-old sister are feared drowned while swimming at the beach near the Terengganu Equestrian Resort apartments in Kuala Ibai yesterday.

Mohd Kamil Mohammad Jamarin and Nor Sabrina, from Kubang Kerian in Kelantan, were on a family holiday.

The two had left their hotel room with their elder brother at 3pm to go swimming and were believed to have been swept away by big waves.

At press time, rescue workers from the state Fire and Rescue Department and Civil Defence Department were still combing the area in search of the missing children.

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

RM270mil Times Metropolitan project Plaza Merdeka includes mall and hotel

Times Metropolitan Sdn Bhd is developing the proposed RM270mil Plaza Merdeka project in the heart of the city.

An integrated shopping mall and a 290-room boutique business hotel development, the project is part of a revitalisation programme for the city’s landmark historic district.

Standing on the project site now is an abandoned row of dilapidated shophouses, a multi-million ringgit commercial complex called The Chambers, which was never occupied, and the vacant Treasury Building.

Times Metropolitan managing director Steve Ng said The Chambers and former Treasury Building would be demolished to make way for Plaza Merdeka, which is expected to be ready in mid-2010.

Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud is expected to launch the joint-venture project with Sarawak Inc, the state government’s investment arm, on May 8.

Steve Ng (left) and Times Metropolitan director Aw Tai Hui showing an artist’s impression of Plaza Merdeka
Ng said the shopping mall would have a built-up area of 820,000 sq ft and a net lettable area of 340,000 sq ft. Some 820 underground parking lots will be provided.

The developer will retain ownership of some 80% of the net lettable space and sell the balance to retailers and investors.

“The distinctive feature of the mall will be its huge 9,000-sq ft four-storey garden podium for promotions and exhibitions.

“There will be a department store, supermarket, coffeeshops as well as a food court,” Ng told StarBiz.

He said the eight-storey international standard hotel would sit on the shopping mall.

According to Ng, the hotel will feature designer interiors with state-of-the-art connectivity for business and tourist travellers.

Plaza Merdeka is designed by leading Filipino architect Yolanda David Reyes.

Ng said an underground tunnel, costing about RM4mil, would be built to link Plaza Merdeka with Jalan Gambier where the existing Kuching Waterfront would be extended.

“The modern and state-of-the-art shopping mall and hotel development within a classical building facade will add life and vibrancy to the city’s historical district,” he added.

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

Thursday, April 26, 2007

"Shabby" Sepang F1 Circuit to be Improved

Formula One Grand supremo Bernie Ecclestone has called Malaysia's Sepang race circuit "shabby" and in need of a clean-up – a statement designed to increase the pressure on Malaysia to keep its spot on the Grand Prix calendar.

Malaysia is aware that neighbour Singapore is revving up to deliver Formula One's s first night time street circuit.

Respected auto racing magazines say that Ecclestone's tactic of running down a circuit is one that he has used before to either drop a race from the F1 calendar or strike a better deal with the organisers.

According to reports, organisers of the Malaysia Grand Prix have been offered a new deal that will keep Sepang on the Formula One calendar until 2015, although the offer is believed to come with conditions attached.

The current Malaysian Grand Prix agreement with Ecclestone lasts until 2010.

Sepang circuit chairman Mokhzani Mahathir said that there were plans for a major upgrade of Sepang, including an automotive-related theme park.

However, it seems more than likely that Singapore will join the F1 circus, although whether that will be at the expense of Malaysia, or as a new race towards the end of the F1 season remains to be seen.

Ecclestone this week confirmed that he has assumed the role of promoter at the Istanbul Park Circuit, and that Turkey retains its F1 race until 2021.

Source : TravelMole
[tags : ]

KL & Macau Tourism Pact

Malaysia and Macau will work together in areas of advertising, tour package development, homestay programmes, and health and convention tourism. Both countries will exchange tourism market information, market research experience and opportunities for mass media to promote tourism.

The understanding was reached yesterday in an MoU between Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board and Macau Government Tourist Office.

MGTO director Joao Manuel Costa Antunes and Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Mirza Mohamad Taiyab signed the MoU at the opening ceremony of the Malaysia-Macau Economic Co-operation seminar here. Also present was Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.

Source : NST
[tags : ]

Sarawak to get more tourists inorder to get more Flights

Sarawak's tourism industry must work hard to increase the number of visitors to the state if it wants its requests for more flights to be granted by the airlines, state Housing Minister Datuk Abang Johari Tun Abang Openg said.

He said this was necessary so that additional flights would be viable for airlines.

"The question of air connectivity is related to the volume of people coming in.

"If the flights are not full, no one will provide extra trips.

"But if the volume is there, I'm sure we can request Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to mount extra flights to meet the demands of passengers who are coming here," he told reporters after launching a travel booking website for local company Insight Holidays here on Wednesday.

Tourism players in Sarawak have often lamented the relative lack of flights serving the state, making it a less accessible destination compared to other parts of Malaysia.

Abang Johari called on industry players to work together with MAS and be more aggressive and innovative in their marketing to attract more tourists.

"To be fair to MAS, they are currently engrossed in turning around their business and their consideration is whether the routes we request can make money for them.

"On the other hand we need the services of MAS to cater to our tourism industry. I think we have to be very aggressive in providing the passenger load so that MAS is able to mount the flights we need," he said.

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

Many Leave the Kampung for the City, How about now taking a Holiday in a kampung Resort?

Traditional delight: Modern methods are being used to make dodol.
Kampung Kuala Medang, a typical traditional Malay village is a perfect hideaway for tourists.

The village is 51km from Lipis town, a former capital of Pahang. It is located in the hinterland amidst fast-flowing rivers, rapids and pristine jungles.

It can also be reached via Raub town from Kuala Lumpur or directly through Lipis town from Jerantut.

Ever since the village started its homestay programme five years ago, it has received more than 5,000 foreign visitors, mainly from Sweden, South Korea and Singapore.

According to village headman Mohd Razaki Abdul Razak, last year, there were 2,040 visitors who joined the programme, staying with the villagers as their foster parents and taking part in the daily activities.

Razaki said the number was actually increasing as more villagers take part in the programme. Currently, 71 have signed up.

“There are terms for the villagers to follow to ensure visitors have a pleasant stay. Cleanliness and a hospitable spirit are requirements,” Razaki said.

The homestay programme in Kampung Kuala Medang is one of the events offered in the package by KTM Bhd with the co-operation of the state.

Recently, pressmen visited the village to experience what is being offered.

The visitors included State Arts, Culture, Tourism, Women and Family Development Committee chairman Datuk Maznah Mazlan, KTM inter-city strategic businesses and services unit general manager Sarbini Tijan, KTM inter-city services division marketing manager Mohd Noordin Kimi, former Pahang Tourism Malaysia director Jefri Munir and Jelai assemblyman Datuk Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail.

Golden sight: The paddy fields are an added bonus to a stay in Kampung Kuala Medang.
Razaki said visitors at present go to Kuala Medang by road.

With the efforts undertaken by the state and KTM, they could now also take a ride on the train from Kuala Lumpur to Lipis town or Gua Musang in Kelantan and then travel by road to the village.

He said Kampung Kuala Medang was known for its dodol, kuih bahulu, serbuk kunyit and noodles, made by members of the Kuala Medang Women Development Group.

“Their products are not only marketed to the locals but also to places outside the village. It is an additional source of income for them and, with the homestay programme, they could have customers from overseas too,” Razaki said.

He said other attractions in the village including jus salak (juice extracted from salak fruits), halwa, emping, bubur gula kabung and the mat-making using mengkuang leaves.

“The fast flowing river is another attraction here, and visitors could tackle the rapids on boat in Sungai Jelai,” he said.

Razaki said visitors normally spend three days and two nights under the package but there were some who would return on their own later to spend more time with the villagers.

Tranquil pastime: Fishing is a popular activity in the village.
“Basically, the package would include taking part in activities with the villagers, a visit to the waterfall in Jeram Tema, experiencing tapping rubber trees, oil farm harvesting, demonstrations of raft making, traditional performances of dances, silat, cooking and traditional games.

“The visitors would find themselves immersed in the activities and that is partly why some of them would return for more.”

Razaki said those wishing to sign up for homestay could call him at 012-9005828 or 09-3403046. Alternatively, they could find more details online at

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

Sabah Tourism to Improve Tourism - Complaints from Japan and South Korea

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor has asked the Sabah Tourism Board to help improve the sector’s frontline services in the state.

He said the ministry had received several complaints from foreign tourists on the unsatisfactory service.

“The complaints were made to me through the travel agencies when I was on a week’s visit to Japan and South Korea recently,” he told reporters after the closing of the 14th Lepa Regatta here recently.

Striking colours: Part of the of the 14th Lepa Regatta in Semporna recently.
He said the Japanese and Koreans loved to visit Sabah as they liked the local food, besides the natural attractions the state offered.

In view of this, the ministry would be organising a food festival in Japan and South Korea soon to attract even more tourists from these two countries to Sabah, he added.

Tengku Adnan also said that in the first two months of this year, tourist arrivals in Sabah increased by 9.3% from the figure for the same period last year.

On the National Water Festival, he said Semporna would be able to host it in two or three years’ time.

“But certain things have to be done fast like upgrading the jetty to facilitate transport of tourists to islands off Semporna like Sipadan,” he said.

He said this year’s National Water Festival would be held at Pantai Puteri Melaka on May 4.

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

The Greatest Tourism Carnival 07 - 70% Discounts coming up in June

Travellers will get another chance to enjoy discounted holidays of up to 70% at The Greatest Tourism Carnival 07 in June.

The event, which will be held at the Putra World Trade Centre from June 22 to June 24, will see travel offers and promotions by about 100 airlines, hotels, resorts and tour operators.

Carnival chairman Judy Cheah said there would be quality travel products and the best value for money holiday deals.

“The Sea, Land and Air Travel theme means there will be more thematically packaged tour and travel products to cater for a wider market segment and every niche market,” she said at the soft launch of the carnival here yesterday.

Cheah said the event, which would be presented by the Malaysia International Travel Mart (MITM) and Asia Pacific Tourism Events (APTE), was expected to attract 60,000 to 80,000 visitors.

Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Donald Lim said the partnership of MITM and APTE was in line with the Government's efforts to encourage the industry to creatively develop new travel products.

“This fair celebrates and pays tribute to Malaysia by offering an opportunity for holidaymakers to enjoy our various tourism destinations, cultural heritage, arts, craft, food and entertainment.

“It will also celebrate the wonders of Malaysia in a carnival of colours reflecting the many facets of Malaysia as Truly Asia,” he said.

On another matter, Lim suggested Malaysia host an annual Asia International Travel Mart to group travel agents from the region.

He said, Berlin's Internationale Tourisme Bourse and London's World Travel Mart catered to the European countries while Middle East countries will organise the Arabic Travel Mart in Dubai early next month.

“Asian countries still lack a similar fair and I hope the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents will consider organising one for all travel agents from the region,” he said.

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

Sheraton helps Trio Dream come True - Lunching with Ferari F1 Drivers

Jubilant: Shell Brand & CVP manager Moy Lai Yee with Ang (left) and Farris.

Their grand prize was inclusive of an exclusive meeting and luncheon with Ferrari F1 team drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa, a grandstand view for both the qualifying round and race day, Ferrari merchandise, accommo-dation at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel and also transfer cost to the Sepang Circuit.

Both the grand prize winners were also allowed to bring along a companion to the circuit.

Farris, 39, from Shah Alam, said the win was a dream come true.

Ang, 31, a distribution manager, said he felt the same way.

“I thought it was a prank call from the local radio deejays when the organiser called me to say that I had won the grand prize. As soon as I realised that it was not a joke, I was overjoyed,” Ang said.

Farris and Ang were also given a tour around the pit lane.

One for the album: (From left) Ang, Farris, Raikkonen, Massa and Lee Chor Voon taking a group photo with the F1 race car behind them.

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

70 dishes for Japanese Buffet Dinner at Holiday Villa

Freshly made: A chef preparing California Rolls.
TWICE a week, diners at the Seki Tei Japanese restaurant in Holiday Villa Hotel and Suites Subang Jaya are spoilt for choice: they can take their pick of more than 70 different dishes, ranging from the simple Ehire Chawan Mushi (Steamed Egg Custard with Stingray Fin), tucked neatly in a large dim sum basket, to Sukiyaki – thinly sliced beef or chicken simmered in broth together with assorted vegetables and fresh mushrooms.

The restaurant is divided into several sections, with a particular range of food offered in each nook. The outlet also has private rooms with Japanese-inspired windows and dim lighting.

Adding to the atmosphere, waitresses clad in full turquoise kimonos guide diners to their seats and serve at food counters.

Diners can try their hand at preparing their own Japanese BBQ skewer with their choice of ingredients from options that include chicken, beef, prawns, shitake mushrooms and chicken wings, which go perfectly with the Teriyaki sauce or the Shioyaki (salt) available.

At the front of the restaurant are a few stalls, decorated in true Japanese style, that offer Sukiyaki, Japanese BBQ Skewer and a selection of noodles, ranging from Ramen and White Udon to Buckwheat Soba and Mocha Soba (Japanese Green Teaflavoured Cold Noodles). Diners can eat the noodles with either the Clear Soup or the Nameko Miso Soup (Soya Bean Paste Soup).

All-time favourites like fresh salmon, butterfish, oyster, boiled octopus, sashimi, octopus, Japanese pickles, tempura, California rolls, Unagi Kabayaki (Grilled Eel), Ebi Shogatani (Grilled Prawn with Salt), Niku Tofu (Simmered Beef cooked with Tofu), Lamb Sansho Yaki (Grilled Lamb with Japanese Pepper) and Chikuzeni (Simmered Mix Vegetables cooked with Japanese Soya Sauce) are available, too.

Keeping warm: Ehire Chawan Mushi (Steamed Egg Custard with Stingray Fish) in a bamboo basket.
The buffet is priced at RM70++ per person and is available only for dinner every Friday and Satur-day.

  • SEKI TEI JAPANESE RESTAURANT, Holiday Villa Hotel and Suites Subang Jaya (Tel: 03-5022 7222/ 7201). Business Hours: Daily 11.30am-2.30pm (lunch), 7pm-10.30pm (dinner).

  • Source : STAR
    [tags : ]

    Jailed for pretending to be a Shangri-La Hotel Guest

    When Surinder Singh Pritam Singh tried to use a guest’s room number to access the gym at a hotel, he probably had no idea who the guest was.

    The hotel guest turned out to be a Taiwanese man.

    Surinder Singh, 48, was caught by hotel security and handed over to the police. He then spent five months in remand.

    Yesterday, he pleaded guilty to deceiving Rose Zaimah Ahmad @ Shariffudin, a staff member of Shangri-la Hotel’s fitness centre, by having her believe that he was Steven Lee Chai Lun in order to use the gym facilities last Dec 1.

    Surinder Singh also admitted that he did not have his identity card with him when he was arrested that evening.

    According to the facts, Lee told the hotel management that he had never allowed anyone to use his name to enter the fitness centre.

    In mitigation, Surinder Singh said he was a social worker with a monthly income of RM300 to RM500 prior to his arrest.

    He said he regretted his actions after spending about five months in remand and asked for a chance to turn over a new leaf.

    Prosecuting officer C/Insp R. Rukumar informed the court that the accused had one previous conviction in Singapore for an immigration offence.

    Surinder Singh said that it happened a long time ago.

    Magistrate Aizatul Akmal Maharani sentenced him to four months’ jail for the cheating offence and a month’s jail for the identity card offence and ordered both sentences to run concurrently from the date of arrest.

    That means Surinder Singh was a free man after the proceedings.

    Source : STAR
    [tags : ]

    FAX to Give Rural Air Services back to MAS

    It has come a full circle – the rural air services will be taken from Fly Asian Xpress (FAX) and handed back to Malaysia Airlines (MAS).

    Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy, who announced this Cabinet decision yesterday, gave assurances that it would not affect MAS’ turnaround plan.

    “We have gone through the proposal and recommended to the Cabinet that MAS via its subsidiary Firefly be appointed to take over the rural air services.

    “We also agreed that the provision of such services is the Government’s responsibility and a type of social service so we will continue subsidising the cost of running these operations, which amount to RM60mil per year, to maintain the low-fare structure.

    “Officers from both my ministry and the Finance Ministry will go through all the details of the subsidy,” Chan told reporters at his office.

    It has been less than a year since MAS handed over the rural air services to AirAsia, which then subcontracted them to FAX.

    Earlier this month, FAX shareholder Datuk Tony Fernandes proposed that Firefly take over the operations of all rural air services, citing it as the “logical thing to do”.

    Fernandes said FAX would be launching AirAsia Long Haul operations soon, and that it would be too distracting to operate turbo-propeller aircraft as well.

    On Tuesday, MAS managing director Idris Jala said it would consider taking back the service if it did not jeopardise the national carrier’s turnaround plan.

    “To be fair to MAS, as a public listed company, the proposal will be brought to its board for consideration. However, I have already spoken to MAS’ top management and they are prepared to look into it.

    “But this is the Government’s decision. The takeover of these services will be a separate exercise from its restructuring plan. The Government will be responsible for any profit and loss incurred by MAS for the provision of these services,” he said.

    In response to this latest development, Idris replied in a statement that they had just been informed of the decision and would await details from the ministry.

    “Once the details are received, we will need to study them before making a decision,” he said.

    FAX chief operating officer Raja Mohd Azmi Raja Razali said they were pleased with the announcement, as it would enable them to work together with Firefly on a seamless handover.

    “My main concern is with the staff in Sabah and Sarawak. They have my assurance that we will take care of them in the eventual transfer.

    “All employees based in Miri and Kota Kinabalu will have the option of joining Firefly or AirAsia Long Haul,” he said in a statement.

    He added that this resolution would allow AirAsia Long Haul to concentrate its efforts in making the company the world’s first long-haul low-cost airline.

    According to Bernama, Sarawak Tourism Board chief executive officer Gracie Geikie said it would be a big help towards reinstating tourism destinations in the state’s rural areas on the global map.

    “As it is 100% owned by MAS, Firefly is in the best position to take over the service,” she said.

    She said tourism players in the state went through an “expensive experience” after FAX took over the service.

    In Kota Kinabalu, acting Sabah Tourism, Environment and Culture Minister Datuk Karim Bujang said the step would not only greatly benefit the people living in rural areas but would also help boost tourism.

    Source : STAR
    [tags : ]

    Wednesday, April 25, 2007

    Do You Know why VMY2007 ends in August 2008?

    It’s an extension of celebration

    THE reason Visit Malaysia 2007 will be extended to next year is not that there has been poor response .

    Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor told the House that it would be appropriate to extend VM2007 since the country was celebrating 50 years of independence this year.

    He said the celebrations should last one year as the country would
    achieve the 50th year of independence on Aug 31 this year and the 51st on Aug 31 next year.

    “It will be great if we continue our efforts to attract tourists to see the beauty of the country and the tolerance and development that had been achieved over 50 years.

    “The extension is not due to a lack of tourists, as we had 3,101,691 tourists in January and February, which was a 9.3% increase compared with the same months last year,” he said while answering a supplementary question by Datuk Raja Ahmad Zainuddin Raja Omar (BN – Larut).

    Raja Ahmad had asked if the reason for the extension was that the Government wanted to increase the profits or if there was a drop in tourist arrivals due to the floods in Johor.

    He also asked if the ministry was planning to hold events that involved Chinese superstars to attract more Chinese tourists.

    Tengku Adnan said the ministry had planned to invite more film industry players from around the world and make Malaysia a destination for film festivals.

    Related Post

    Source : STAR
    [tags : ]

    Development to be speeded up in Pulau Sipadan

    Sabah wants to speed up the construction of tourism facilities at the renowned diving haven of Pulau Sipadan.

    Acting State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjum said the state was aware that Sipadan was among the world’s top five diving destinations.

    “I will be meeting the chairmen of Sipadan’s Joint Committee (the Chief Secretary to the Government and Sabah State Secretary) to expedite the decision-making process for tourism facilities there,” he said yesterday.

    Responding to concerns by Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor that visitor facilities were dilapidated and were an eyesore, Masidi said Sabah Parks was willing to refurbish buildings on the island if funds were provided by the Prime Minister’s Department National Security Division which had been collecting fees in Sipadan.

    He said planning and approvals for the new facilities, including quarters for Sabah Parks and security personnel, took time and existing buildings were being utilised by staff there.

    Masidi said these buildings, built by diving companies which have since relocated their visitor accommodation operations to nearby islands, would be demolished once the new structures were completed.

    Source : STAR
    [tags : ]

    Create more inbound tours in Malaysia

    More Malaysians are holidaying abroad due to attractive tour packages offered by local travel agents.

    The state tourism authority want the agents to come up with similarly attractive inbound packages to woo foreign tourists to Penang.

    State Tourism and Environment Committee chairman Teng Chang Yeow said fewer than 10 of the 100 licensed travel agents in the state were showing effort in promoting inbound packages.

    “Instead of just promoting travel packages to many parts of the world, local travel agents should also help by bringing in foreign tourists.

    “They should come out with affordably-priced packages to Penang to lure foreigners and help boost the tourism revenue,” he told reporters at a gala dinner held at Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion on Leith Street in Penang on Friday night.

    High flyers: Yeung(centre)posing with air hostesses Jenny Lee(left)and Sandy Woo in front of replicas of the Cathay Pacific aircraft.
    The dinner was organised by Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd, a Hong Kong-based airline carrier, in conjunction with its 50th year of operation in Kuala Lumpur and 30th anniversary in Penang.

    Teng noted that agents preferred to promote outbound travel because customers here had to settle their payment before departing for their destinations. Many were reluctant to promote inbound packages for fear their cash flow would be disrupted through delayed payment by their foreign counterparts.

    Teng said he had discussed the matter with the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) Penang to come up with a workable solution.

    “The government, on its own, cannot achieve much in promoting tourism in the state. It needs coope-ration from everyone,” he said.

    Cathay Pacific Airways Southeast Asia general manager Patrick Yeung said the group, comprising Cathay Pacific, Dragonair and freight carrier Air Hong Kong had targeted to have 160 aircraft serving 126 destinations worldwide by end of this year.

    Cathay Pacific started its operation in Malaysia in 1957 with three weekly flights, ferrying more than 200 passengers. Today, it has three daily flights from Kuala Lumpur to Hong Kong and carries more than 3,800 passengers out of Malaysia every week.

    Source : STAR
    [tags : ]

    Leading Hotels of the World (LHW) launches green initiative

    Enables guests to make a conscious decision for greener travel.

    The Leading Green Initiative is a carbon neutral program whereby The Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd. will directly absorb the cost to offset guests’ energy consumption for stays at any of its 440 hotels worldwide by actively supporting Sustainable Travel International (STI), the foremost non-profit organization in responsible tourism.

    "We are extremely proud to be the first luxury hotel brand to provide a carbon offset program with STI. While many companies offer the opportunity for customers to voluntarily make donations, we feel strongly about taking a leadership position in environmental responsibility and setting the example. We are, therefore, delighted to be making the financial contribution on our guests’ behalf,” said Paul M. McManus, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd.

    "We will make a donation of 50¢ to STI for every night of a guest’s stay when their reservation is made through our website, or when ‘Leading Green’ is mentioned to any one of our worldwide voice reservations centers. The investment per guest represents 29.3 kilowatt-hours of electricity supplied by new wind and solar power, which equates to 33.7 pounds of greenhouse gas emission reductions. The Leading Green Initiative is entirely underwritten by The Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd. corporate entity; prices have not been augmented to support this effort.”

    Brian T. Mullis, President of Sustainable Travel International stated, “We are excited to be partnering with The Leading Hotels of the World to educate their guests and hotels to reduce their environmental footprint by the efficient use of energy and minimization of waste.”

    "We are most pleased to see how seriously Leading Hotels executives are taking this partnership as they have already committed to offsetting the energy consumption of their upcoming annual Sales & Marketing Conference held in Stockholm May 9 – 12, 2007. A corporate donation will be made to STI to offset the energy consumption of all nearly 200 attendees, not only including accommodations, but also air transportation, meeting rooms and common areas,” Mullis concluded.

    The Leading Hotels of the World and STI are evaluating a number of other programs, including sustainable tourism certification, travel philanthropy, and the potential implementation of environmental management systems by Leading Hotels. Additional information can be obtained by visiting

    Source : 4Hoteliers
    [tags : ]

    Malaysian Companies Seeking new Experiences in China

    MALAYSIAN corporate companies sending incentive groups to China are buying more teambuilding experiences and new destinations outside the traditional cities of Beijing and Shanghai, and Hainan island.

    And apart from Malaysian Chinese's incentives and meetings market, the country's other major ethnic groups - the Malays and Indians - are also keen on China.

    H.T.T. Travel's assistant operations manager - incentive, conventions meetings, Ms Grace Hen, said the company's MICE business for China had been growing by about 10 per cent since 2000 because it was an affordable destination.

    Holiday Tours & Travel sales manager conventions & incentive planners, Ms Kelly Kwan, added: "We have accommodated special requests in the past where our groundhandlers had to apply for licences to hold events such as a dinner at the Great Wall of China and tea at the Summer Palace in Beijing. For first-timers, Beijing and/or Shanghai are must-visit destinations. But repeat travellers would like to see new places."

    Tibet and Outer Mongolia have a lot to offer and she is at the show to meet groundhandlers in these areas, and hoteliers of local five-star hotels from all over China.

    Source : TTG
    [tags : ]

    Only 100ml Liquid Allowed on International Flights effective 21 May

    Limit on some hand luggage comes into effect May 21

    Effective May 21, liquids, aerosols or gels (LAGs) in airline passengers’ hand luggage will be limited to 100ml per item on all international flights departing from Malaysia.

    LAGs carried in containers larger than 100ml will not be allowed, even if the container is partially filled and these containers must be placed in a transparent, re-sealable plastic bag with a maximum capacity of one liter.

    Malaysia Airports Berhad security & airport fire and rescue services senior general manager Datuk Kamaruddin Mohd Ismail said these bags measuring 20cm by 20cm will be provided free of charge to passengers.

    “We expect to be providing these bags free for the first three to six months of implementation, after which passengers must get it by themselves from any supermarket.”

    Kamaruddin said the containers must fit comfortably in the bag and that the bag should be presented for X-ray screening separately from other hand luggage.

    “Exemptions will be made for medicine, baby milk/food and special dietary requirements needed during the flight,” Kamaruddin said, but added that those carrying medicine or special dietary would need to show proof for verification purposes.

    “LAGs purchased at duty free shops or on board the aircraft are exempted from this, but the items must be packed in a different sealed tamper-evident plastic bag with the receipt attached.

    “The bag will be provided at the retailers expense at all points-of-purchase that sell LAGs and the receipt attached must be for the day of travel or transit.

    “This bag is also much larger and completely different from the transparent, re-sealable plastic bag.”

    Kamaruddin said airport staff would be on hand during the initial stage to assist passengers who might not be familiar with the process and added that the smaller re-sealable bag, but not the tamper-evident bag, could be reused.

    Kamaruddin urged passengers to take note of the new ruling so that there would be less inconvenience and delay.

    Kamaruddin said the new rule followed recommendations by the International Civil Aviation Organisation that was issued to all Contracting States on Dec 11, 2006.

    “The recommendations are a result of reports concerning the alleged terrorist plot on August 9, 2006 in the UK.”

    Countries which have implemented such restrictions include the United States, Britain, European United nations, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and the Philippines with China starting on May 1 and Singapore on May 8.

    The airports in Malaysia where this ruling will take effect are KLIA, Penang, Langkawi, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu, Miri, Redang, Tioman and Malacca.

    Source : STAR
    [tags : ]

    1.1 million cheap tickets up for grabs

    Malaysians can now look forward to more cheap air fares as the country’s two rival airlines are offering some 1.1 million cut-price seats to domestic and international destinations.

    Prices as low as RM1 for domestic AirAsia flights and RM19 for domestic Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flights will make passengers spoilt for choice.

    AirAsia is also offering low-price seats for international destinations with one-way flights to Macau from RM61 and Chiang Mai from RM41. Flights to holiday destinations like Phuket will cost RM21 or to Hanoi from RM51.

    MAS’ cheapest flight is for a one-way ticket to Penang, Johor Baru or Kuantan whereas the most expensive tickets are at RM139 to Labuan and Kota Kinabalu.

    The sales period for AirAsia is from April 23 to 29 for travel between Oct 1 and March 29 next year.

    As for MAS, the sales period is from April 23 to 28 for travel between May 7 and May 22, and, June 14 and June 30. However, travel will be restricted to certain days within those periods for some destinations.

    MAS’ cheap fares fall under its SuperSavers promotion with 500,000 tickets allocated over six days for domestic locations only.

    AirAsia’s low fares promotion is a celebration of its recent F1 Grand Prix partnership with the AT&T Williams team, with the 600,000 low-fare seats offer going under its Fast & Furious campaign.

    Both airlines are only allowing booking of seats online and prices do not include airport tax and other surcharges.

    AirAsia and MAS denied they were in a price war, saying the offer had already been planned for some time.

    AirAsia executive vice-president Kathleen Tan said they were “extremely flattered to observe other carriers imitating our successful marketing model.”

    She added that AirAsia promises the lowest fare that no other carrier could match all year round.

    “I will let the public decide who is responding to a price war. Smart consumers will vote with their own pockets,” Tan said .

    MAS senior general manager for network revenue management Bernard Francis denied that the carrier was copying AirAsia.

    “We have a strategic rollout plan for our promotions. In fact, from December last year, we started our monthly promotions for domestic routes to encourage travel in support of Visit Malaysia Year 2007 and to address lean travel periods,” Francis said in an interview.

    When asked if MAS was reacting to a market that demanded such offers, he said MAS promotions were targeted and planned.

    “In addition to attractive fares offered during the Malaysia Airlines Travel Fair and during MATTA fair, we will continue to do a series of domestic and international promotions this year to stimulate travel as part of our strategy to maximise revenue opportunities,” he added.

    Source : STAR
    [tags : ]

    Tuesday, April 24, 2007

    Corus Hotel launches Discover Real Comfort Campaign

    CORUS Hotel Kuala Lumpur has launched the Discover Real Comfort campaign to give guests a better quality stay.

    For the campaign, the hotel has refurbished three categories of rooms - Deluxe, Paradise Cabanas and Terrace Suites.

    The Deluxe rooms are decorated in contemporary style and are equipped with facilities like high-speed Internet access and TV with in-house movies and Astro channels. Paradise Cabanas in the new wing is targeted for honeymooners.

    With a resort feel to it, the rooms are located by the pool and garden floor while the Terrace Suite is ideal for families.

    Corus Hotels Malaysia vice president and group general manager Pel Loh said the hotel was spending RM3mil for the annual refurbishment exercise.

    New look: The refurbished Paradise Cabanas are targeted at honeymooners.
    She said the campaign also included training hotel staff to communicate better with foreign guests.

    “Out next facility will be a spa to pamper our customers.

    “This will be launched at the end of May,” said Loh at the campaign's launch on April 17.

    Officiating at the launch was Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen.

    Dr Ng said Malaysia expected to receive 20.1mil visitors and earn RM40.2bil in tourist receipts this year.

    “However, this can only happen if we are able to attract foreign visitors through excellent services and facilities,” she said.

    In 2006, total tourist receipts were RM36.27bil with 17.55mil tourist arrivals.

    Currently, there are 388 rooms at Corus Hotel Kuala Lumpur and it targets at least an 80% occupancy rate throughout the year.

    Source : STAR
    [tags : ]

    A Mediterranean affair at Impiana's Tonka Bean

    Wide array: Folks helping themselves to the food at the 'Mad About Mediterranean' food promotion at Impiana KLCC Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.
    LANGUAGE and social cultures may differ in the large Mediterranean society but interestingly, the countries concerned are united in terms of food as they share common spices and vegetables.

    “The basic ingredients are about the same. Onions, garlic, tomatoes and olive oil are some basic ingredients for many dishes,” said executive chef Steven Seow of the Impiana KLCC Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

    The ''Mad About Mediterranean'' food promotion at the hotel's Tonka Bean. Deli is being held until April 30 and offers five interesting menus for lunch and dinner.

    “For lunch, there is an array of local fare while Mediterranean selections are offered for dinner,” he said. Also available for both lunch and dinner is the Mediterranean set meal.

    During a recent sampling, Seow introduced the special Stuffed Chicken with Prune from Italy. The chicken is butter fried and stuffed with prunes, breadcrumbs and mustard before it is rolled and roasted.

    Fish delight: Salmon is also part of the promotion at Tonka Bean.Deli.
    It is served with sauce made from prunes and a mixture of herbs like oregano, shallots and garlic with added sugar and balsamic vinegar.

    There is also the creamy seafood lasagna with white fish, prawns, snow fish, squid and mussels.

    Stew Potato and Vegetables in Bouillon or the seasoned broth is part of the Spanish offerings.

    “It is well-flavoured with all the vegetables added in. It is a light and healthy meal,” said Seow. Using vegetable stock, the aromatic broth is prepared with fennel, garlic,carrots, celery, leak, mushrooms, coriander seeds, rosemary, bay leaves and shallots.

    Other dishes available on the set meal are Smoked Salmon Tartar in Mustard Dressing served with Mesclun Greens, Virgin Olive Oil and Lime Emulsion for appetisers and ovenroasted Tomato Soup with Thyme.

    The choices for the main courses are Grilled Seabass Fillet and Shellfish over Charcoal served with Vegetable and Lime Herbs Sauce or the Pan Fried Beef Mignon with mushroom and asparagus.

    For dessert, try the Warm Chocolate Cake served with ice cream and tea or coffee.

    The set is priced at RM48++ while the buffet is RM50++.

  • TONKA BEAN.DELI, Impiana KLCC Hotel and Spa, 13, Jalan Pinang, Kuala Lumpur (Tel: 03- 2147 1111). Business hours: lunch, noon - 2.30pm, dinner, 6pm - 10pm

  • Source : STAR
    [tags : ]

    Sarawak SEDC raises stake in Kuching Hotels

    Malinch Associate Holdings Sdn Bhd has sold its entire 43.5% stake in Kuching Hotels Sdn Bhd to Sarawak State Economic Development Corp (SSEDC).

    No price tag for the transaction was disclosed.

    Malinch is an indirect subsidiary of the privately-held Li & Fung (1937) Ltd.

    Kuching Hotels owns and operates the 288-room Holiday Inn Kuching and the Sarawak Plaza Shopping Complex.

    The agreement was signed here last Saturday between Malinch director Manit Lertsakomsiri and SSEDC chairman Datuk Talib Zulpilip.

    SSEDC also owns the Crowne Plaza Riverside Hotel in Kuching
    With the acquisition, SSEDC has increased its stake in Kuching Hotels to 88.7%. Kuching Hotels’ other substantial shareholder is state-owned Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corp, which has 11.3% stake.

    “The acquisition of shares in Kuching Hotels is deemed strategic to SSEDC in terms of synergy and group marketing and promotion,” SSEDC said in a press statement.

    SSEDC also owns the 241-room Crowne Plaze Riverside Hotel here and two beach hotels, Holiday Inn Resort Damai Beach and Holiday Inn Resort Damai Lagoon, in the Santubong Peninsula near here.

    In a separate statement, SSEDC said it had entered into a long-term contract with InterContinental Hotels Group PLC (IHG) to manage Holiday Inn Kuching and Crowne Plaza Riverside Kuching.

    As part of IHG’s continuous expansion in the country, a Holiday Inn hotel will be launched in Malacca in six months.

    Source : STAR
    [tags : ]

    FAX buying 10 Airbus planes for US$2.5b

    Fly Asian Xpress (FAX) will place an order for 10 Airbus A330-300s, with an option for five more, costing about US$2.5bil, chief executive officer Raja Mohd Azmi Raja Razali said.

    He said the first new aircraft was scheduled for delivery in the fourth quarter next year and the rest would be fully delivered by 2011.

    Azmi said the acquisitions would be financed via bank borrowing and equity.

    The catalogue price of the aircraft was US$175mil each, said AirAsia Bhd group chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes, who has a 10% stake in FAX. He did not reveal the actual cost of the deal.

    “Over the next five years, we target to have more than twenty A330-300s and carry 7.5 million passengers in and out of Malaysia,” Azmi said at the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Airbus and FAX yesterday. The event was witnessed by Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy.

    From left: Airbus chief operating officer - customers John Leahy, Datuk Tony Fernandes, Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy and Raja Mohd Azmi Raja Razali at the signing ceremony
    FAX is the operator of a new long-haul, low-cost airline. The carrier, launched in January, has franchised the AirAsia brand and aims to cover flight destinations that take more than four hours.

    Azmi said the airline’s focus was Japan, South Korea, China, India, Australia, the Middle East and a few routes in Europe.

    He said FAX planned to start operations by September using leased aircraft.

    “We will start with two or three destinations from Kuala Lumpur,” he said, adding that the airline “intended to fly everywhere.

    Fernandes said FAX may also operate the long-haul services from Penang, Sabah and Johor Baru.

    Source : STAR
    [tags : ]

    20,000 Tourists abusing Visa Facility to Malaysia

    MORE than 20,000 tourists have gone “missing” after entering the country via the visa-on-arrival (VOA) facility introduced by the Government last year to promote Visit Malaysia 2007, Berita Harian reported.

    Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Radzi Sheikh Ahmad said the tourists, mainly from China, India and Africa, were found to have violated their one-month stay period.

    “We are not dismissing the possibility that they could have abused their VOA for other purposes, including working illegally in the country.

    “Efforts to hunt down these people are being carried out by Immigration officers together with the help of Rela and the police,” he was quoting as saying.

    However, Radzi said the ministry was not planning to abolish the VOA facility, as its benefits in promoting VM2007 were evident.

    > Utusan Malaysia reported that at least 5.4 million out of 27 million Malaysians had early symptoms of diabetes.

    Malaysian Diabetic Association president Prof Dr Ikram Shah Ismail said the alarming figure could escalate if Malaysians did not start taking notice of their lifestyles.

    “Unhealthy lifestyles have been reported to be the main factor for diabetes, infecting even children as young as 15. The actual number of patients is more than reported, as many are still unaware or reluctant to be examined for the condition,” he added.

    He said the situation was quite bad, pointing out that at least 2.8 million Malaysians were diabetic patients.

    Source : STAR
    [tags : ]

    MAS won't risk turnaround plan by rural service take over

    Malaysia Airlines (MAS) will consider taking back the loss-making rural air service in Sabah and Sarawak if it does not jeopardise the national carrier's turnaround plan, said managing director Idris Jala.

    Speaking after the company's EGM yesterday, he said the airline was “totally” committed to its business turnaround plan, and hinted the airline's first-quarter result “is looking good”.

    “We are not going to do something that would jeopardise the plan,” added Jala, who was tasked to revive the carrier that has been financially stressed since the 1997/98 economic crisis.

    Last week, Fly Asian Xpress Sdn Bhd (FAX), which offers the rural air service in Sabah and Sarawak, submitted a proposal to the Transport Ministry, urging the Government to have one, instead of two, turbo-prop operator in the country.

    The proposal came after MAS launched its turbo-prop operator, FireFly Sdn Bhd, early this month.

    Jala speaking to the press
    FAX shareholder Datuk Tony Fernandes, who is also chief executive officer of AirAsia Bhd, had earlier said FAX was ready to hand back the rural air service to the authorities so that it could concentrate on international long-haul flights.

    FAX director and shareholder, Raja Mohd Azmi Raja Razali, also stated that the turbo-prop operator's hands were tied, thus it could not operate in a commercially viable manner.

    According to Jala, MAS had not received any official word from the Government on the matter.

    The group, he noted, would have to study the terms and details, including Government subsidies, before making a decision.

    “Any decision that we make will be consistent with our plan to turn around the company and to continue to make it profitable,” he said.

    MAS returned to the black in the second half of its financial year ended Dec 31, 2006 (FY06). Its net loss shrunk to RM136.4mil from RM1.14bil in FY05. The loss per share narrowed to 10.89 from 91.28 sen.

    In view of the improved performance, some analysts are expecting FY07 to be profitable.

    According to Bloomberg, the market consensus forecast for the airline's earnings per share is 29.6 sen in FY07 and 58.4 sen the following year.

    At a separate event yesterday, Airbus chief operating officer, customers, John Leahy said MAS would be compensated for the delay in the delivery of the Airbus A380 super-jumbo aircraft ordered in 2003.

    “Absolutely, there will be some compensation for MAS,” Leahy said.

    He said the aircraft maker had “sorted out” the delay issue with Singapore Airlines, Qantas and Korean Air and was now trying to finalise things with MAS.

    Leahy said Airbus was in talks with the national carrier on the delivery date and compensation. He expects the matter to be resolved over the next couple of months.

    Penerbangan Malaysia Bhd signed an agreement in December 2003 to buy six A380-800s, to be leased to MAS.

    The first two aircraft were supposed to be delivered early 2007 and a third later this year.

    The other three planes were due to be handed over in the second half next year.

    Source : STAR
    [tags : ]

    Monday, April 23, 2007

    Tune Hotels to Open 2 More Hotels in Penang

    TUNE Hotels.Com is planning on opening two more hotels in Penang over the next two to three years, in anticipation of increasing demand for no-frills accommodation.

    Its co-founder and director Dennis Melka said the company was targeting to cash in on the lack of quality affordable rooms on the island, which is a popular tourist destination.

    “Penang offers a vast array of higher-end hotels for tourists, but when it comes to two to-three-star hotels, there is a lack of quality ones there,”

    He said that the company planned on opening a 250-room beachfront hotel and another in George Town with a similar capacity at the cost of about RM20 million each.

    “We are probably looking to set up one hotel in 2008 and the other in 2009,” he said. The hotels would complement its first one in Penang with a capacity of 340 rooms in Jalan Burmah, which is expected to open its doors for business by January next year.

    “Once the hotel opens, we are confident that it will enjoy a 60% to 70% occupancy rate. By December 2008, we expect to have achieved between RM8 million and RM10 million in gross sales,” he said. Melka added that there was a possiblity of expanding the hotel, which was set up at a cost of RM25 million, by adding another 70 rooms next year.

    “All in all, we want to have about 1,000 rooms in Penang over the next four to five years. We expect that most tourists would come from Singapore, India and China,” he said.

    Melka said a study on two- to three-star hotels in Penang showed that most had security issues and provided below-par facilities.

    “Many hotels I went to had a musty smell in the rooms and the beds provided were uncomfortable. Tune Hotels will, however, provide guests with a five-star bed, complete with attached bathrooms equipped with power showers,” he said.

    On whether running a beachfront hotel would prove profitable considering the high cost associated with prime property, Melka was confident that it would see high returns.

    “It shows that people do not mind booking and paying in advance if they know they are going to get quality service and facilities,” Melka added.

    Tune Hotels.Com will also have Uncle John Kopitiam and MyNews.Com as its retail partners in its Penang operations.

    Tune Hotels Sdn Bhd, which owns Tune Hotels.Com’s assets, is 72% owned by Tune Ventures Sdn Bhd.

    Source : SUN
    [tags : ]




    Related Posts with Thumbnails