Thursday, May 31, 2007

Gold bathtub worth nearly US$1 million stolen from Japanese hotel

A glittering bathtub made of gold, worth 120 million yen (US$987,000; euro730,600) has been stolen from a resort hotel near Tokyo, an official said Wednesday.

A worker at Kominato Hotel Mikazuki in Kamogawa, south of Tokyo, notified police the fancy tub was missing from the hotel's guest bathroom on the 10th floor of its building, according to local police official who only gave his surname, Ogawa.

The round tub, 1.21 meter (4 feet) in diameter and 71 centimeters (2 feet) tall, was made of 18-karat gold weighing 80 kilograms (176 pounds), Ogawa said.

The tub, flanked by two crane statues, has been a main feature of the hotel's shared bathroom. Visitors can take a dip in the tub, but it is only available a few hours a day "for security reasons,'' the hotel's Web site said.

Someone apparently cut the chain attached to the door of a small section of the bathroom where the bathtub was placed, but not riveted, and made off with the tub, Ogawa said. The cranes were left untouched.

"We have no witness information and there are no video cameras,'' he said. "We have no idea who took it,'' the official said.

Changi’s Terminal 3 to open on Jan 9

CHANGI Airport’s new S$1.75bil (RM3.9bil) Terminal 3 is completed. It will start operations on Jan 9, but before that, rigorous testing and final preparations will take place.

Over the next seven months, airlines, airport agencies, ground handlers and shop tenants will move in to the new terminal, built to handle 22 million passengers a year.

Flight trials will start in July, and the public can look forward to an open house later in the year.

Announcing the Jan 9 opening date after touring the terminal yesterday was Transport Minister Raymond Lim.

“This is an important milestone we have achieved. Terminal 3 will help us to strengthen and consolidate our regional hub position and at the same time enhance customer experience,” said Lim.

At 380,000sq metres, Terminal 3 is Changi’s biggest. Terminal 2 is 358,000sq metres, and Terminal 1, just over 280,000sq metres. Together, all three terminals will allow Changi to handle about 70 million passengers a year.

This will keep it ahead of regional airports like Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok, which handles 45 million passengers, and in step with emerging air hubs like Dubai International Airport, which also plans for 70 million passengers by next year.

To outdo the competition, Terminal 3 will offer visitors 100 shops and more than 30 food and beverage outlets, as well as a 350-room airport hotel with a swimming pool, restaurants, conference rooms and a spa, among other facilities.

This is in addition to the combined 160 shops and 80 food outlets in the other two terminals.

The new terminal's anchor tenant will be Singapore Airlines, which plans to move more than half its operations from Terminal 2, where it is currently housed.

Passengers who have to move between terminals to catch connecting flights can transfer via the airport’s new People Mover System.

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

400,000 Indian tourists expected

TRAVEL agents in India are keen to get more of their nationals to visit Malaysia, Tamil dailies report.

With India’s 13% economic growth last year, the Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) expects more people to travel and more than 400,000 Indian nationals would be visiting Malaysia this year.

TAFI, which held a convention in Kuala Lumpur in 1999, has returned to Malaysia and will hold its fourth annual convention this year in Kota Kinabalu from Sept 6 to 9.

TAFI president Praveen Chugh said the Visit Malaysia 2007 campaign had drawn the interest of many Indian nationals, with 400,000 travelling to Malaysia this year.

> The Tamil papers also reported that the Higher Education Ministry was intensifying its efforts to increase the number of university lecturers with PhDs to 60% of the total university staff by 2010.

This would come about from the ministry’s Lecturer Enhancement Scheme that hopes to have between 6,000 and 7,000 lecturers going for further studies in the fields of engineering, aerospace and biotechnology.

The papers quoted education secretary-general Datuk Dr Zulkefli Hassan as telling Bernama that the Government had allocated RM1.2bil for this purpose.

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

Malacca Goes Big on Tourism

The state’s position as a tourism destination will be further boosted when several attractions here are completed by December, including the country's largest bowling alley and go-kart track.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said the 52-lane bowling alley would be the biggest in Malaysia, eclipsing the 50-lane alley at the Megalanes in Prai.

It is being built by a consortium comprising a South Korean company and two local firms on a 0.8ha site near the Malacca International Trade Centre in Ayer Keroh.

“It will cost between RM6mil and RM9mil. The projects includes a canteen, restaurant and souvenir shops,” Mohd Ali told reporters after chairing the state executive council meeting here yesterday.

He said construction would start by the middle of June.

Mohd Ali said another project, which would be undertaken by the Malacca city council was a go-kart track near the Ayer Keroh toll.

It will be built on a 14ha piece of land, with a 1.5km-long circuit.

He said a 4ha piece of land nearby would be turned into a shopping venue.

At the Hang Jebat Bridge, the state government will construct a thrill ride the “Viking Ship” and, at the Sungai Melaka bank, a 30m bungee jump.

On another matter, Mohd Ali said the state’s herbal drink MyTea will now be known as MTea, and another 40 ha of the misai kucing herb would be planted in Selandar,

Mohd Ali said 2ha of the herb had already been planted and the remaining would be planted in a week.

Misai kucing is traditionally used to reduce high blood pressure.

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Peninsula Residence Opening Offer of RM168 nett with Breakfast

Peninsula Residence Opening Offer
RM168 nett with Breakfast
Peninsula Residence All Suite Hotel
SPACE. You shouldn't have to deal with less
even for a short stay.

Peninsula Residence Fact Sheet




30 days-6 months (Duration)
Studio Suite -
1 bedroom
509 - 55881RM380.00RM248.00RM5,100.00
Deluxe Suite -
1 bedroom
663 - 7022RM450.00RM290.00RM6,000.00
Executive Suite -
1 bedroom
792 - 7933RM550.00RM348.00RM7,200.00
Premier Suite -
2 bedroom
Peninsula Suite -
2 bedroom
993 - 100324RM750.00RM470.00RM9,600.00

All rates are inclusive of breakfasts, Government Tax and Service Charge.
Rates are subject to changes without prior notice.
All major credit cards are accepted (Amex, JCB, Master and Visa)

• Fruit basket, welcome drink and preferred newspaper.
• Shuttle Service to Mid Valley Mega Mall and KL Sentral Station
• Car Park

Long Staying:
• 20% discount on laundry
• Free pressing of 5 set of working cloths in a week
• 10% discount on food and beverage

Telephone lines
Intercom Telephone
Personal Safe
Iron and Iron Board
Air Conditioning
Weighing Machine
Microwave Oven
Coffee/Tea making facilities
Key card access to room
Other safety features
Rooftop Infinity Swimming Pool
Children Pool
Daily Housekeeping Services
24-Hour Security
24-Hour Reception
Convenience Store
Business Centre with Meeting Rooms
Jockey Services
Limousine Services
Shuttle Service to Mid Valley Mega Mall and KL Sentral
In-house Self Service Laundrette
Covered Car Park
Roselle Brasserie
1st Glass Lounge
Barbeque Pit

Peninsula Residence's Website :

Source : Peninsula Residence
[tags : ]

MAS posts higher profit, load factor and yield

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) reported a sustained turnaround with a net profit of RM133.1mil for its first quarter ended March 31, compared with a loss of RM319.9mil in the year-earlier quarter.

The net profit was derived from a group operating profit of RM129mil, comprising RM107mil from international operations and RM22mil from domestic services. Besides that, there was a gain of RM17.7mil from the sale of properties.

Chief executive officer Idris Jala said the improved operating results were due to a 21% increase in revenue, while expenditure, excluding domestic operations, decreased. The first-quarter results included the profit-and-loss account of domestic operations while it had not included that yet in the equivalent quarter last year.

Jala said MAS had conditionally agreed to take back rural air services in Sabah and Sarawak that were earlier transferred to Fly Asian Xpress. MAS agreed to this subject to the aircraft being returned in good condition and losses from such services could be recovered through a subsidy from the Government.

Idris Jala (left) at the MAS financial results announcement
The Government agreed with the arrangements a couple of weeks ago, he added.

On the first-quarter operating results, Jala told the media yesterday the airline's load factor improved to 71% from 68.6% in corresponding three months last year, while yield – the average fare per kilometre – rose 15% to 26.1 sen from 22.6 sen.

At the same time, the airline's workforce was trimmed by 15%, or 3,000, to 19,700. The employees left through a separation scheme, retirement and expiry of contract.

MAS chief financial officer Tengku Azmil Zahruddin said this was an ongoing process and that this year the workforce was projected to be reduced further by about 650 people through similar means.

The results were also helped by the stronger ringgit, Jala said, as a lot of costs, such as fuel and aircraft leases, were paid in US dollars while much of its revenue was in ringgit.

The airline is starting to plan for its next phase – expansion – by replacing its older planes with new aircraft. It has invited proposals from Airbus, Boeing and Canada's Bombardier.

The plan is to acquire up to 55 narrow-bodied planes for regional routes and about the same number of wide-bodied aircraft for long haul.

There would be a combination of purchases and leases, and it would be a prudent programme, Jala said.

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Number of tourists from India set to Increase

The Visit Malaysia Year campaign has caught the interest of many people in India.
Travel Agents Federation of India (Tafi) president Praveen Chugh said the number of Indian nationals visiting the country is expected to increase because of this.

The fact that the Indian International Tour Agents Convention will be held here from Sept 6-9 is also expected to boost the number of Indian tourists arriving in Malaysia.

Organised by Tafi, the convention is expected to stir major interest among holiday makers around the country.

Chugh said wherever the convention lands each year, it would steer travellers from his country to the same direction.
"This year, we picked Kota Kinabalu and we are confident the number of Indian tourists arriving in the country will grow," he said.

Chugh said Tafi’s policy of holding the convention outside India is aimed at strengthening bilateral ties for mutual benefits.

He said this before a preliminary meeting with the convention organising committee chairman Capt Promod Kohli, Sabah Tourism Board chairman Tengku Datuk Zainal Adlin Mahmood and Sutera Harbour chief operating officer Praba Menon.

Chugh estimated the number of tourists from India coming to Malaysia will be at about 400,000 this year, compared with 300,000 last year.

The total last year represented about 3.3 per cent of the nine million tourists from India who travelled overseas for their holidays.

Chugh said Malaysia had always been a choice destination among Indian tourists, with Langkawi, Penang, Genting Highlands and Kuala Lumpur particularly popular.

Zainal Adlin, meanwhile, said the arrival of the convention would open up new opportunities for tourism players on both ends.

Source : NST
[tags : ]

Cititel Express Expanding to Penang & Sabah

IGB Corp Bhd is planning to develop a third Cititel Express hotel in Penang soon while construction of the second Cititel Express hotel in Sabah is expected to begin later this year.

Cititel Express, the company's second Cititel brand, is scheduled to launch its first hotel in Kuala Lumpur today.

Cititel Hotel Management Sdn Bhd (CHM) managing director Datuk Eric H.K. Lim told StarBiz that IGB was now sourcing for a suitable site in a commercial area in Penang.

“We want to locate the hotel in a tourist catchment area. The land should be at least one acre. We hope to kick off the project in another two years,” he said.

The first Cititel Express Hotel in KL
Lim said there was presently a shortage of affordably priced three-star hotels in Penang and Cititel Express hotel should fill the gap.

CHM, a subsidiary of IGB, owns and manages the Cititel Express brand name catering to domestic and regional tourists.

The online booking rates for Cititel Express hotel start from RM68++ per night.

On the second Cititel Express in Kota Kinabalu, Lim said plans for the 270-room hotel were presently awaiting approval by the local authorities.

“We expect to get the green light in three months and complete the project in 18 or 20 months. The investment is about RM25mil,” he said.

Lim added that Cititel Express in Sabah would be a build, operate and transfer project with the Sabah Development Corp.

“The lease is for 25 years. Under the BOT arrangement, IGB will build and CHM will manage the hotel until the lease expires.

“The arrangement also gives us the option of renewing the lease for another 25 years,” he said.

Lim said CHM also had plans over the next two years to manage hotels developed by the IGB in Manila, Sydney, Bangkok, and Vietnam.

CHM also manages Boulevard Hotel, Cititel Mid Valley, Cititel Penang, MiCasa All Suite Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Pangkor Island Beach Resort, Sucasa Service Apartments Kuala Lumpur, and MiCasa Hotel Apartments Yangon.

Lim said that for the first five months of 2007, room rates for the Boulevard and Cititel Mid Valley hotels increased between 16% and 18%.

“There was also a 12% growth in room occupancy during the period,” he said.

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

Chef whips up Thai Delights at Dorsett's Checkers Cafe

Checkers Cafe
Dorsett Regency Hotel
172 Jalan Imbi
Kuala Lumpur

Executive Sous Chef Rizal Johar is no stranger to Thai food as he was one of the kitchen staff who was involved in organising different food promotions while attached to the Sheraton Imperial Hotel.

He was there for two years before joining Dorsett Regency.

Wide range: Pastry chef Badrul Hisham Shaari at the pastry corner.
While there, he learnt to cook various dishes and Thai dishes were part of them.

Sweet delights: Thai Cendol is one of the items for dessert at the promotion.
“I first learnt to cook when young by watching my mother. I like to experiment and recipe books also helped me to a certain extent,’’ he said.

At Dorsett Regency, where he has been for six years, Rizal and his team constantly come up with new food combinations to stay ahead of the other hotels in the vicinity.

“We are the only four-star hotel in the Golden Triangle and therefore always create something innovative for both the local and foreign guests," he said.

At Checkers Café where Rizal leads more than 15 staff, every month they have a different theme for their buffet spread and during the International and Asian themes, he always try to include two or three of his favourite Thai dishes.

“When my regulars try them and say they like it, it gives me the confidence to try new dishes to be added in the buffet spread. This is how I have perfected my Thai dishes although there is a slight variation from the real stuff to suit the local palate. Even some of our foreign guests find the original Thai dishes too pungent,’’ said Rizal.

At work: Chef Emmy Erlina Kamarul Ariffin preparing a Thai mango salad.
Until the end of June, Rizal and his team will delight diners with authentic dishes from the Thai Kingdom.

The buffet spread promises only the best selection highlighting favourite Thai dishes from several menus rotated daily.

“It means that although there will be some common dishes, the main course will be different everyday to provide guests with a varied choice,’’ he said.

Rizal’s favourite dish is the green curry and for him the green curry actually tastes better with duck meat than any other meat.

Although he is an expert in cooking western cuisine, especially Italian, this is the first time Rizal and his team have attempted a full range of Thai specialties.

The highlights include Spicy Grilled Salad, Minced Chicken Salad, Tomyam Kung, Crispy Cat Fish Salad, Spicy Mango Salad, Thai Otak-Otak, Pineapple Fried Rice, Red Curry Chicken with Bamboo Shoots, Sambal Fried Rice, Beef Noodle Soup and more.

At the dessert corner, guests can choose from a selection of Thai delights like Thai Cendol, Tako, Tapioca with Syrup, Pumpkin Pudding, Red Ruby and more.

The Sawadee Thai Food Buffet promotion is priced at RM55++ per person for lunch from Monday – Friday and dinner is priced at RM65++ per person from Monday – Sunday (7pm - 10.30pm). For reservations, call 03-27151000.

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

Golden Chef’s path to success at Pulai Spring Resort Johor

New creations: Chef Wong with two of his newly unveiled dishes, Deep Fried Cod Fish and Thousand Island Sauce (left) and Stuffed Egg Skin with Mixed Vegetables.
He began his career as a chef at the tender age of 15 at a chicken rice shop in Singapore.

It was 33 years later that he re-turned to his hometown here as the ‘first wok’, a title given to the assistant to the Master Chef at the Qing Palace Chinese Restaurant, Pulai Spring Resort Berhad.

Three months later, he was promoted to Master Chef.

Wong Yok Ho, or more famously known as ‘Golden Chef’, attributes his interest in cooking to his mother and his love for food when he was younger.

“I used to be in the kitchen whenever my mother cooked and would taste her cooking before she served the dishes.

“I did not like to study and so I chose to work at a young age,” said the 51-year-old.

His journey from the chicken rice shop to Qing Palace was a colourful one, allowing him to cook for people from all works of life including royal families.

A few years after working at the chicken rice shop, he joined Hotel Mirama in Singapore as an ap-prentice before taking off to Milano in Italy to work at a Chinese restaurant in a five-star hotel there.

Chef Wong recently unveiled three new dishes - Deep Fried Cod Fish and Thousand Island Sauce, Stir Fried Lotus Root and Sweet Beans with Fresh Lily and Macadamia Nuts, and Stuffed Egg Skin with Mixed Vegetables.

“As a chef, I have to do my best in fulfilling my guests’ needs,” he said.

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

Kaamatan to be listed in Labuan's Tourism Progranmme

The government will list the Harvest Festival or Pesta Kaamatan in the Labuan annual tourism programme to boost the tourism sector.

Member of Parliament for Labuan Datuk Suhaili Abd Rahman said the proposal had been submitted to the Labuan Tourism Action Council.

“We believe that cultural programmes and activities should be actively promoted due to their potential as tourism products.

“We are living in a country with cultural diversity which should be preserved. ” he said when launching the Federal Territory of Labuanlevel Pesta Kaamatan here last week.

Suhaili said the KadazanDusunMurut community should be proud of the government’s recognition for Pesta Kaamatan, including it in its annual tourism programme.

He also announced an annual allocation of RM20,000 for the programmes and activities of the Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association (KDCA) in Labuan.

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

Holiday packages on offer at Kuala Lumpur International Travel Fair 2007

Holiday mood: Bring your laptop to the beach with plenty of choices at the KLIT.
FROM July 13 to 15, travellers can head to the Kuala Lumpur International Travel Fair 2007 (KLIT), organised by GC Media Corporation Sdn Bhd.

The event, which will have more than 400 booths, is a one-stop fair showcasing both local and foreign destinations and is supported and endorsed by the Tourism Ministry, the Federal Territories Ministry and Tourism Malaysia.

KLIT, organised in conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year 2007, also aims to promote, support and encourage Malaysia with an emphasis on inbound tourism. The organisers will be inviting tourism boards from various countries to participate in an effort to introduce Malaysia to them.

KLIT aims to provide a platform for travel and tourism organisations to market their products.

GC Media Corporation is no stranger to events like KLIT, having organised the KL One Stop Wedding Expo at Midvalley Exhibition Centre last year and it has plans to organise more such fairs in the future.

Those interested in joining as exhibitors, co-sponsors or any sponsor participations, can call GC Media Corporation at 03-7727 1102/ 1115.

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

JB Hotel & Garden Hotel were Target for Haadyai Bombing

Several locations usually frequented by security officials and Malaysian tourists were the targets in the recent explosions that rocked the suburbs of Haadyai in southern Thailand.

The JB Hotel and Garden Home Hotel that were targeted in the attack on Sunday were “designated” hotels for security officials from Malaysia and Thailand.

The Nai Nang Restaurant, where two bombs exploded in the toilets, was a popular restaurant frequented by Malaysian tourists.

Four other targets that were hit were the Siang Tueng Foundation, Tesco Lotus, Big C Superstore, and Phesat drug store.

Demolished: A Thai soldier standing guard in front of a Haadyai pharmacy that had its entrance destroyed by a bomb on Sunday. — Reuters
According to Thai police sources 13 people were injured in the incident. None of the victims were Malaysians.

Police have detained two suspects, believed to be from southern Thailand, to facilitate investigations.

However, separatists from southern Thailand denied any involvement in the bombing.

“We have asked around. It was not done by any of us. Even the RKK (Ronda Kumpulan Kecil) denied any involvement,” said a separatist leader. RKK are insurgents who operate in small groups.

Separatists claimed that those with a political agenda probably masterminded the coordinated attacks.

“We believe the bombings are linked to the Constitution Tribunal ruling on May 30. The fate of the Thai Rak Thai and Democrat parties, which face election fraud charges, will be known on that day.

“Those with a political interest want to create chaos days before the ruling,” said the separatist source.

Thai police also suspect that the attacks were politically motivated, but they had not ruled out separatist involvement.

Thai army chief Gen Sonthi Boonyaratkalin was quoted as saying that the bombers intended to create a disturbance rather than cause deaths and major damage.

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

Monday, May 28, 2007

Tourism challenges for Penang Need to improve services

GETTING tourists to go to Penang without improving tourism products and services is like “killing the goose that lays the golden eggs''.

State Tourism Development and Environment Committee chairman Teng Chang Yeow said yesterday that if the state wanted to retain tourism as one of its main revenue earners, the industry players would have to work harder to improve the quality of services.

“One of the key elements in the tourism industry is service.

“We can have a product which is on par with any other in the region, but what is the point if we are lagging behind in services?

“Thirty years ago, Penang was the top tourist destination in the region.

“But now we are facing stiff competition, not only from other regions but also within the country,'' he said at the launch of the Penang Tourism Appreciation Award.

Teng also said the tourism industry should be rejuvenated and reformed from within to face the challenges in the industry.

Penang Tourist Centre Bhd chairman Datuk Syed Aidid Syed Murtaza who was present said the standard of services extended to tourists in Penang was above average.

“With better training and education, especially for those front liners in the industry, the standard can be improved further,'' he said.

The award is given every two months to any individual or organisation that provides service or products which meet the expectation of tourists.

The award is given to the best nomination based on various criteria.

Nomination forms are available for free in hotels, Penang International Airport, restaurants and other tourism-related outlets.

Completed forms should be returned to the Penang Tourist Centre, Penang Port Commission Building, (Ground Floor Arcade), Pesara King Edward, 10300 Penang.

An independent panel of judges will pick the winner based on certain criteria and after conducting an interview.

Syed Aidid said the award was launched to improve services and to give recognition to those who had contributed to the industry.

“A dinner will be held early next year to announce the winner,'' he added.

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

Open Skies for Malaysia and Singapore to other Airlines

WHEN talks emerged last year about expanding the air services agreement (ASA) between Malaysia and Singapore, industry observers took this as a sign that the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route would be finally made available to other airlines.

This would put an end to the “duopoly” long held by Malaysian Airline System Bhd (MAS) and Singapore Airline (SIA).

It is only a matter of time before the Kuala Lumpur- Singapore route will be thrown open, and ready or not, MAS will have to compete as an equal player.
Aviation analysts say that it is about time that Malaysia and Singapore open up the much-guarded route. The existing ASA was last reviewed nearly 30 years ago. Since then, all air traffic rights for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore sector have been fully used up. As a result, new carriers are unable to service this route.

Budget airlines have been lobbying for the decades-old agreement to be dismantled, arguing that low-cost carriers (LCCs) will promote healthy competition, maximise efficiency, and ultimately pass on gains to travellers through lower airfares.

For travellers, this is indeed terrific news. Especially, when they have to fork out over RM800 for a round-trip ticket, inclusive of fees and taxes, for a mere 40-minute ride.

Many would agree that freeing up the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route would be good for the country. Given that the Malaysian tourism sector is the second largest foreign exchange earner, garnering some RM36.3bil in receipts last year, there is much for the industry to gain should the two governments reach an agreement to open the route to budget airlines.

Singapore is an important market for Malaysia. Tourists from Singapore currently account for the largest portion, about 55% (or RM19.9bil in tourist receipts) of the total inbound travellers to Malaysia.

But growth has been stagnant of late. Annual figures from Tourism Malaysia showed a mere 0.2% growth in total arrivals from Singapore in 2006 from the previous year.

This means that fewer Singaporeans are opting for a holiday in Malaysia. One key reason could be due to the far cheaper airfare offered by LCCs to neighbouring countries like Thailand and Indonesia, and thus, Singaporean holidaymakers are giving Malaysia a miss.

This is indeed worrying as Singapore is an important market for Malaysia, especially since authorities estimate that tourists from Singapore will account for half of the targeted 20.1 million tourist arrivals for the Visit Malaysia Year.

That being the case, allowing budget carriers to join in the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore action is certainly a step in the right direction to bring Singaporean holidaymakers back to our shores.

Malaysia’s pioneer budget carrier, AirAsia, made no secret of its desire for a slice of this lucrative pie. Since its launch in December 2001, AirAsia has been lobbying for rights to fly into the Lion City but to no avail. Then, the budget carrier announced that it was no longer interested in this short-haul route.

But in an apparent change of heart, the airline’s CEO Datuk Tony Fernandes once again made an aggressive push for the Government to free up the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore air route. This came soon after the industry un- derwent a major overhaul last year.

Across the border, Tiger Airways (a budget carrier co-owned by SIA) has already made known its desire to be part of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore action.

Media reports suggest that both governments are working to liberalise the air route between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore ahead of the deadline set by Asean. While no-frills airlines applaud this move, the reaction from Malaysia’s national carrier suggests otherwise.

One can understand why MAS is reluctant to let go of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route. It is said to be one of Asia’s busiest routes and is believed to be one of the national carrier’s most profitable routes. And MAS, unfortunately, does not have many money-making ventures.

The airline introduced its business turnaround plan in February last year in order to trim cost and enhance revenue. Therefore, it is unsurprising that MAS is against freeing up this route before 2008. An early liberalisation, the airline argued, will only jeopardise plans to turn its operations around.

But with Asean capitals moving towards open skies by end-2008, the clock is ticking. It is only a matter of time before the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route will be thrown open, and ready or not, MAS will have to compete as an equal player.

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

AirAsia set to soar even higher

ANALYSTS strongly favour AirAsia Bhd as they see good upside to the stock, going forward.

The budget carrier has continued to deliver in terms of financial performance, despite facing tough times in a competitive industry.

Analysts are generally positive about the airline’s future performance, going by its sound management, business model and current form
The region's largest low-cost carrier is one of the most widely covered stocks on Bursa Malaysia. Analysts are generally positive about its future performance, going by its sound management, business model and current form.

A local analyst said the airline's nine-month results were within expectations, buoyed by foreign exchange gains, which helped offset losses from its Indonesian operations.

The air accidents in Indonesia recently, including the Adam Air crash in January and the Garuda accident in March, led to concerns over air travel which resulted in AirAsia's Indonesian unit making an RM8.5mil loss last quarter.

“However, overall, AirAsia managed to post a six-fold increase in its third-quarter net profit, placing the airline on track for a double-digit growth for its financial year ending June 30, 2007,” he said.

For the nine-month period ended March 31, 2007, AirAsia's net profit swelled to RM86.9mil from RM14.1mil in the corresponding period a year ago.

The analyst said AirAsia's recent results showed that the low-cost carrier's business model was a success.

He said AirAsia's revenue for the third quarter rose 53% to RM396mil compared with RM259mil in the corresponding period in 2006, with average fare rising to RM171 per passenger compared with RM123 previously.

According to him, management had attributed the strong earnings to a 39% jump in the number of passengers in the third quarter to 2.16 million compared with the same quarter in 2006, after AirAsia offered more promotions and added flights.

“Moreover, the airline's third-quarter net profit received a substantial boost from a tax adjustment of RM45.1mil,” said the analyst.

Going forward, he said, the continued delivery of A320s would boost capacity while the new services and lower low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) taxes announced by the Government recently should ensure high load factors.

Airport taxes at Malaysia's LCCTs in Sepang and Kota Kinabalu will be reduced for domestic and international travels effective June 1.

For LCCTs in Sepang and Kota Kinabalu, the airport tax for domestic travel would drop to RM6 from RM9, while for international travel, to RM25 from RM41.

OSK Research senior manager Chris Eng said AirAsia's recent results gave analysts greater confidence that growth was sustainable.

“For calendar year 2008, we put AirAsia on a higher fair value of RM2.40 and upgrade the stock from trading buy to buy as there is greater visibility on the sustainability of earnings,” said Eng.

He said AirAsia's reported annualised pre-tax profit was within the broking house's estimates, although 15.5% above consensus and was achieved despite its Indonesian unit's losses.

Eng said floods in Jakarta hit AirAsia's Indonesian operations in February, causing cancelled flights, and the recent airline crash in Indonesia also dampened travel demand.

However, on a year-on-year basis, AirAsia's growth was spectacular, he said, adding that it managed to add nine planes to its Malaysian fleet.

He said AirAsia had pursued a load factor strategy and that revenue per passenger per km grew by 50.7% year-to-date.

“The airline also increased fuel surcharge and ancillary income-boosting revenue and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA),” said Eng, adding that despite increased finance and depreciation charges from the 19 A320s, the increased EBITDA led to a 96% jump in pre-tax profit.

He said new services rolled out such as Web check-in and Xpress boarding services also would improve yield and save time, while lower LCCT taxes would help maintain the attractiveness of AirAsia’s flights.

“These improvements, coupled with strong fleet growth over time, lead us to estimate a 33% compounded annual growth rate for AirAsia's pre-tax profit for the next three years,” said Eng.

He said OSK Research evaluated AirAsia based on its pre-tax profit rather than net profit due to the large deferred tax assets in the books.

“AirAsia managed to report fair numbers even as its Indonesian operations were hit by floods and other airline disasters, as the stronger ringgit allowed the airline to record a foreign exchange gain of RM77mil for the nine months.

“Investors should note that AirAsia has restated its revenues, other income and costs such that insurance revenues and administration charges are now booked under revenue rather than offset against costs,” Eng said, adding that the airline had to record losses from its Indonesian associate above its equity investment as per Financial Reporting Standards 128.

On AirAsia's long-haul services, Eng said: “While the potential from the airline's long haul looks exciting, we feel that it is still too early to impute anything into AirAsia's earnings as yet. With the airline only scheduled to take off in July 2007, the revenue from the franchising of AirAsia’s brand should be minimal for now.”

As for AirAsia’s stake in Fly Asian Xpress, OSK Research understands that it will be structured probably in the form of irredeemable convertible unsecured loan stocks, which would protect the carrier from any start-up losses incurred by its long-haul services.

“As such, although the airline's long haul might add spice to the AirAsia story, we feel that it would be too early to adjust our earnings for now,” said Eng.

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

AirAsia to refund airport tax on unused tickets

AirAsia passengers who did not board their flights will be refunded on airport tax but not on fuel surcharge.

“AirAsia is a low-cost airline and the bulk of its ticket sales are purchased online, some for even 11 months ahead of the travelling date.

“Due to the high volume of passengers, it is not easy for us to track the number of no-show passengers,” said its executive vice-president (commercial) Kathleen Tan in a reply via e-mail.

The airline advises passengers who want to claim any refund to contact its guest support team at 603 8660 4388 (from 9am to 6pm daily) or by e-mailing to

“But our policy on no-refund on the fuel surcharge remains unchanged,'' Tan added.

On the reduced airport tax, she said AirAsia's online booking would reflect the new rates from June 1.

“We are happy with the reduced airport tax. However, we believe that it could be lower. As we do not want to burden our passengers, we hope that cost will be exempted totally,” she added.

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

AirAsia to start flights to Chinese city from July 15

AirAsia will finally be flying to China starting with daily flights to Shenzhen from July 15.

The low-cost airline's commercial executive vice-president Kathleen Tan said: “For the first time, we will be flying to one destination from two of our hubs – Bangkok and the KLIA LCCT – on the same day.

“Shenzhen will act as our initial gateway to the mainland. At present, our only China destination is Macau which has proven to be very popular,” she said in an interview.

She said the airline would also be flying to Guilin, Xiamen, Haikou and Kunming. Previously, AirAsia had been operating charter flights to some Chinese cities like Guilin.

Tan expected the flights to Xiamen to start in the next three months. AirAsia is considering a four-times-a-week schedule for this flight from Kota Kinabalu.

At present, the only international destination for the airline from Kota Kinabalu is Macau, on a daily basis.

As for the other cities, Tan said AirAsia expected to start services there by the end of the year.

“We are quite used to Guilin and Haikou because of the charter flights. The Kunming sector will probably start in the last quarter of the year,” she added.

Tan said that, at the moment, AirAsia was still looking at Chinese cities within four to four-and-a-half hour flight time.

“We will have quite an extensive network in China when our long-haul operations under AirAsiaX rolls out later this year. Then we will look at cities all over China including Tianjin, Hangzhou, Chengdu and even Chongqing,” she added.

Tianjin is a city about two hours from Beijing while Hangzhou is about an hour from Shanghai.

AirAsiaX, which is expected to start operations in September, is a franchise of AirAsia that is to be operated by FAX. The two airlines share common directors.

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

Tightening Tourism Law for Travellers affected by companies that go bust

Travellers affected by companies that go bust – such as in a recent case – will be protected under a proposal to amend the Tourism Industry Act.

»The data will help us plan the amendments to the Act to protect consumers against fraud« DATUK DONALD LIM
The Tourism Ministry, however, first wants the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) to submit to it a report of how the issue is dealt with in other countries.

Deputy Minister Datuk Donald Lim said Matta has been given a month to compile the data.

“The data will help us plan the amendments to the Act to protect consumers against fraud,” he told Matta officials at a meeting at the Putra World Trade Centre here on Friday.

Earlier this month, tour company Excellence Holiday Sdn Bhd went bust after two directors allegedly deserted it and caused scores of travellers to lose the money they had paid in advance for several tour packages.

Lim said 336 people had complained to Matta regarding the failed agency.

The losses suffered by the travellers totalled about RM2.4mil.

Matta president Ngiam Foon said the association has made comparative research overseas to find out how the regulations protect consumers.

“We’ve found that Australia, Britain and Hong Kong have provisions to protect consumers while Singapore does not have such regulations,” he said.

Asked how Matta would help the customers affected by the Excellence Holiday debacle, Ngiam said:

“We are talking to suppliers, hoteliers and airlines to come with a plan to help those who had been cheated.

“This is not a promise but we will do our best.”

He added that Matta would propose a fund to help the consumers.

Elaborating on the matter, he said: “Whenever consumers buy a travel package, it would include an extra cost that would go towards the fund.”

“The fund will be used to compensate consumers if any incident, such as the one that happened three weeks ago, were to occur,” added Ngiam.

Related News

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

Friday, May 25, 2007

Seri Malaysia Group to build five more hotels in the country

Hotel Seri Malaysia Sdn Bhd will build five more hotels under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP), said its Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Zafrul Isa.

Zafrul said the hotels were to be built at Kepala Batas in Penang, Tanjung Malim in Perak, Kangar in Perlis and Sabah and Sarawak.

New hotel: Rahaman unveiling the plague to launch the Hotel Seri Malaysia in Ayer Keroh recently.
“The chain of hotels started in 1994 under the Sixth Malaysia Plan, with 15 hotels built, and the hotel in Malacca is the 18th Hotel Seri Malaysia to join the chain,” said Zafrul at the launching of the Hotel Seri Malaysia in Ayer Keroh recently.

He said the hotel in Malacca had been operating for about a year, recording an average occupancy rate of 65.32% for the average room rate of RM92.24.

Zafrul added although the hotel was recognised as a two-star hotel because facilities provided were the basic amenities needed by visitors, at certain locations in the country, the Seri Malaysia hotels facilities were at par with those of three-star hotels.

Besides the basic amenities, he said the hotel in Ayer Keroh was equipped with other facilities such as the Jonker Cafe restaurant, a multipurpose hall to accommodate 300 people and a self-service laundry.

“Our objective is to provide quality, international standard service at a reasonable and affordable price, or simply put, a five-star service at a two-star price,” said Zafrul.

He added Hotel Seri Malaysia was the only hotel chain which was given the recognition as the Largest Hotel Chain in Malaysia by the Malaysian Book of Records.

Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam, whose speech was read out by State Tourism Committee Chairman Datuk Rahaman Abdul Karim, said the state generated revenue of RM2.5bil from the tourism industry last year, and was aiming to hit RM3mil from the Visit Malaysia 2007 campaign.

“Front liners such as hoteliers and service providers in the tourism sector must go back to basics such as cleanliness, friendliness, affordability and quality.

“Besides that, industry players must also think out of the box on how to attract more visitors to stay over especially during off-peak periods and weekdays,” said Mohd Ali.

Mohd Ali added travel agents also played an important role to ensure that they offered value-added packages to tourists and make Malacca a “must-see” destination whenever a visitor visits Malaysia.

“Travel agents must make sure that once the tourists land in Kuala Lumpur, Malacca must be the first destination where they spend their first night,” he said.

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

Tenku Adnan to meet Matta reps over cheating agents

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor and his deputy Datuk Donald Lim will meet Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) representatives today to come up with guidelines to tackle the issue of travellers who are cheated by travel agents.

“We will be mainly discussing two issues. Firstly, we are going to hear suggestions from Matta and come out with some of our own ideas on how to tackle this issue and to prevent it from happening again.

“We will try to work out guidelines viable for the industry. This is to help travel consumers as a whole,” Lim said after launching the Edu-Tourism Programme by ELS Language Centres yesterday.

The second issue, he said, was to discuss how Matta would be able to assist some 150 travellers who had been robbed of their fully-paid vacations, when their tour agent Excellence Holidays Sdn Bhd went bust and cancelled everything at the eleventh hour.

“We also want to hear how they plan to assist the travellers in this particular case,” he said.

Related News

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

Tourism Website Not Updated

RESTAURANT operators listed in the official Penang tourism website should update the website manager if there are any changes in their contact details.

State Tourism Development and Environment Committee chairman Teng Chang Yeow said it was im- possible to call every restaurant to see if they had changed telephone numbers or addresses.

“Since the government is helping them by listing their outlets in the website (, they should inform us if there are any changes.

“The listing is based on a mutual trust that the information they provide us is correct,” he said when contacted recently.

He was responding to complaints received by The Star from the public who claimed that some telephone numbers of the restaurants listed were no longer in use.

A tourist from Kuala Lumpur, David Khee, said he was disappointed to find incorrect telephone numbers and addresses on a tourism website.

He cited the Dragon King Restau-rant which had moved out of Bishop Street many years ago but its old address was still retained on the website.

Sabahan Karen Fernandez said she wanted to check out some Malay food outlets featured in the website but could not contact the operators for directions because the telephone numbers were useless.

A random check by The Star showed that among 70 telephone numbers of restaurants listed in the website, 23 are no longer in use.

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

India ready to discuss frequencies of MAS flights

INDIA is ready to hold discussions with Malaysia to clarify the frequency of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flights to Indian cities under its open skies policies, reported Tamil Nesan.

An official from India’s Civil Aviation Ministry said the country did not impose any ban on MAS flights as reported in the papers lately but admitted that India was unhappy with Kuala Lumpur’s decision not to give landing rights to two of its carriers.

Last week, leading local newspapers in India had reported that the Indian Civil Aviation Department had issued a ban warning to MAS as retaliation to Malaysia’s decision not to allow Air Sahara and the Indian Express to fly to Kuala Lumpur.

India had nominated the two carriers to operate the Malaysian route and Air Sahara had started its Delhi-Kuala Lumpur operations last March.

The official said the ministry was ready to discuss the matter and was in the process of preparing a letter for the Malaysian authorities.

India’s move shocked airlines and tourism industry observers, who feared such a ban or even the idea to limit number of flights from Kuala Lumpur to Delhi would harm the booming Malaysian tourism sector, which attracted about 280,000 Indian visitors last year.

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

New airport tax apply to tickets issued after June 1

The reduced airport tax for flights from low-cost carrier terminals (LCCTs) will only apply to tickets issued from June 1.

Malaysia Airports Berhad (MAB) senior general manager (operations) Datuk Azmi Murad said the new rates did not apply to those who had bought tickets in advance for travel on or after that date.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy said on Wednesday that for the LCCTs in Sepang and Kota Kinabalu, the airport tax for domestic travel would be reduced from RM9 to RM6.

For international travel, the tax will be reduced to RM25.

On queries from The Star readers who said that the current airport tax was the same as the new rate of RM6, Azmi clarified that at present the rates for domestic and international flights were broken down into passenger service charge (or airport tax) and security charge.

The new rates lump both charges as one charge under passenger service charge without any breakdown but inclusive of the security charge, he said. (see table)

“The rates are now standard and will be applicable to all future LCCTs in the country,” he said, adding that the charges would be remitted to the MAB through airline tickets.

On statements by the Transport Minister and Tourism Ministry that airlines should refund the airport tax and fuel surcharges to passengers who did not board their flights, Azmi said it was up to the airlines to make such refunds.

He explained that MAB did not know who pays the charges because the airlines only submit the names of passengers who board the planes.

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

Finally, A convention bureau for Malaysia

After almost a decade of false start-ups, Malaysia may finally get its own convention bureau once the Malaysian Cabinet approves the proposal for its formation.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said the proposal had been submitted to the cabinet for approval. "We are pushing for the bureau to be up and running by the end of this year."

Apart from saying that the ministry is in talks with ICCA (International Congress ad Convention Association) and other MICE experts on the bureau's structure, he declined to elaborate.

All he would say at this stage is: "We'll be the catalyst for the bureau's formation but we'll leave it to the Cabinet to decide if it'll be private-sector driven or we (Tourism Malaysia) will run it ourselves."

The formation of the bureau will, hopefully, push MICE delegates to Malaysia to a new high. Tourism Malaysia hopes to increase the number of MICE delegate arrivals this year to 10 percent of total tourist arrivals and contribute 20 percent to total tourist receipts. This will translate into 2.01 million arrivals and RM4.45 billion tourism receipts.

Source : TravelWeekly
[tags : ]

Thursday, May 24, 2007

First Air Asia X Destination could be in Asia-Pacific

Long-haul low-cost carrier AirAsia X has rescheduled its inaugural flight from July to September and is targeting a city in Asia-Pacific instead of the much-publicised London destination.

“Instead of this year, London may come early next year with possibly a stop in the Middle East,” said a source.

The team at Fly Asian Xpress Sdn Bhd (FAX), the operating company for AirAsia X, is working feverishly to complete talks on landing rights for the inaugural flight before launching its website for travellers to make their bookings.

In a related development, FAX yesterday named Azran Osman-Rani as its new chief executive officer effective July 2.

Azran is the second senior executive from Astro All Asia Networks plc to join FAX after Senthil Balan was appointed to the new carrier's senior management team over a month ago.

Besides that, Gareth Lim, formerly from Morgan Stanley, and US-based Jet Blue Airlines’ Tim Claydon are also now with FAX. AirAsia Bhd has also seen some employees crossing over to FAX, its sister company.

And in the coming weeks, it would be no surprise if some senior executives from rival Malaysia Airlines (MAS) walk over to FAX.

“Some senior executives at MAS have indicated interest to join FAX. The airline is evaluating several of the applications,” said the source. FAX currently has a team of 20 people, including the senior management team who number less than 10.

FAX said Azran was senior director of business affairs at Astro and he succeeds Raja Mohd Azmi, who has been appointed FAX director.

While FAX readies itself for AirAsia X to get off the ground in September, its rivals are not sitting idle.

In fact, they are just waiting for a clue to drop prices to match FAX’s much promised “very low fares.” Neither MAS nor Singapore Airlines is going to let its market share slip in any of the destinations that AirAsia X would be plying in the future.

Long-haul airfares are certainly going to drop but the quantum will pretty much depend on the intensity of competition. In his new role, Azran will have to ensure that the sectors AirAsia X decides to ply would offer better value than the incumbent players.

Azran, according to the source, not only has to implement a business plan but also be involved in the negotiations for landing rights in a very tight timeframe.

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

12 cooking stations to choose from at Shang's Lemon Garden

ONE is spoilt for choice at the Lemon Garden Cafe as it offers a potpourri of flavours for all day dining.

The café has a hot, trendy interior design with the aroma of fresh food wafting through it and a visual feast of fresh greens and fruits greeting the customers.

Oriental: The Chinese corner gets all hot and steamy with a variety of soupy noodles being cooked on the spot and if you fancy dim sum or stir fried Chinese dishes, this is the corner to head to.
At this melting pot of cuisines, one can discover 12 new and redesigned live cooking stations featuring Seafood Haven, Floating Tapas Counter, Interactive Pasta Hotspot, Sweet Sanctuary and more.

The Salad Island with an abundance of greens, pickles, toppings and sauces resembles a fresh market vegetable corner, as the vegetables are fresh and crisp.

Panayotakos: Lemon Garden’s offerings are wide and varied.
Cheese boards offer up to 10 types cheeses, which can be eaten on their own or with crackers.

Local fruits for the popular local rojak dish also have a spot at the Salad Island.

At the Interactive Pasta Hotspot, customers get to decide what ingredients they want in the pasta.

Chef de cuisine Taki Panayotakos said diners had a choice of tomato, cream, pesto and aglio olio to pair with a selection of pastas, laid out in cute glass tumblers.

Just tell the chef you prefer marinara or bolognaise and he will whip it up in no time.

Chef Panayotakos said the house Spaghetti Carbonara, and Marinara were popular with customers.

Not far from the Salad Island and pasta corner is the picture-perfect Floating Tapas Counter filled with little appetisers to whet your appetite.

These appetisers in cute little plates offer a taste so that you can move on to bigger servings at the Western section.

The Western corner offers customers lamb, chicken and fish dishes, with vegetables, soups and potatoes to indulge in.

The Carving Station is another favourite spot that offers a rotation of Salmon Fillet with Hazelnut and Sundried Tomato Crust, Roasted Lamb, Roasted Ribeye, Roasted Duck, and Roasted Chicken.

For something a little closer to home, the local section beckons not too far away with a medley of favourites including Satay, Fish Curry, Chicken Curry, Dhal, Shawarma and Tandoori (king prawns, chicken, fish, lamb, cod fish tikka).

Neptune’s offering: Seafood Tier at the Seafood Haven corner.
The Chinese corner gets all hot and steamy with a variety of soupy noodles cooked on the spot and if you fancy dim sum or stir-fried Chinese dishes, this is the corner to head to.

Sushi is speedily replenished at the Seafood Haven area with the Seafood Tier looking pretty delicious with fresh prawns (king and river prawns) handsomely decked nearby a row of freshly shucked oysters, clams and mussels.

The Sweet Sanctuary has four counters to tempt dessert lovers.

Yummy: Take your pick of fruit sticks and dip them into the chocolate fountain.
The first counter has white and dark chocolate fountains, chocolate pizzas and new style soufflé (spuma).

The second counter offers ice cream in innovative servings as they can be shaved, scooped, flavoured or shaped with a bit of teppanyaki zest thrown into it.

For more, the vertical dessert treats in drawers are fun to choose from as are the desserts placed on mounted spoons.

Lemon Garden is all about discovering cuisines as a variety of Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, Japanese, Italian, Mediterranean, Thai and Western dishes are laid out to assault your senses.

  • LEMON GARDEN CAFE, Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur, 11, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-2032 2388). Business hours: 6am to 1am, daily.

  • Source : STAR
    [tags : ]

    Exciting Super GT for Malaysians

    TWO 30-footer lorries adorned with Super GT colours with specially brought in GT Queens Aki Oguchi and Momoyo Aihara grabbed the attention of onlookers at Hotel Equatorial Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.

    The Super GT babes in sexy red tops with white hot pants are in town to promote the 2007 Super GT International Series Malaysia.

    GT Queens: The Super GT babes at the launch of the 2007 Super GT International Series Malaysia with Hannah Tan.
    “The Super GT On The Move'' mobile road show will be traversing Malaysian roads, from Penang to Johor Baru, to meet fans and promote the oncoming motor sports event until June 24.

    While the GT babes use one lorry as a stage for performances, the other vehicle has a racing simulator machine and a sales and ticketing kiosk.

    Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said who launched the Super GT International Series Malaysia said the branding of the Super GT International Series, which had created a relatively large following, was an important calendar event for the Sepang International Circuit (SIC).

    “We are proud that the Japan GT Association has chosen Sepang as its first venue outside of Japan and I am told that there are plans to bring it to Australia and China also.

    “This year being Visit Malaysia Year, the Government and SIC will step up efforts to ensure the event is exciting,'' she said.

    It has been held in Malaysia since 2000.

    Azalina said the Motorsports Commission of Malaysia (MCM) had been established to take the Malaysian motor sports industry to a higher plane and ensure Malaysia became a hub for motor sports in the region.

    “I believe this is the first time such a commission has been set up anywhere in the world and together with the newly formed Motorsports Association of Malaysia (MAM), I believe we will have many more events and programmes to boost the motor sports industry further,” she said.

    Also present at the event was SIC chairman Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir, Japan GT Association (GTA) chairman Maasaki Bando and MCM chief operating officer Nordin Yasin.

    Tickets for the Super GT are priced at RM30 and can be purchased via the Internet at or by calling the ticket hotline at 03-8778 2222.

    Fans can also purchase pit-walkabout passes as well as Circuit Safari passes.

    Source : STAR
    [tags : ]

    Wednesday, May 23, 2007

    World Tourism Conference 4 June at Shangri-La Hotel

    NINETEEN speakers have confirmed attendance at the three-day World Tourism Conference in Kuala Lumpur, hosted by the Tourism Ministry, in conjunction with UNWTO.

    They include: UNWTO assistant secretary-general, Mr Geoffrey Lipman; PATA CEO, Mr Peter de Jong; third vice-president, International Congress & Convention Association, International Board of Directors, Mr Anthony Wong; Resorts World's president and CEO, Mr Lee Choong Yan; AirAsia CEO, Datuk Tony Fernandes; and Hong Kong's Tourism Commissioner, Mr King-Chi Au.

    The key areas for discussion are Sustainable Growth, Marketing, Product Development and Partnership.

    Key Speakers of World Tourism Conference

    Mr Geoffrey Lipman, Asst. Secretary General, UNWTO


    Mr Christopher Rodrigues CBE

    Chairman, VisitBritain,


    Prof. Dr. Amran Hamzah, Course Director, Universiti Teknologi, Malaysia

    Datuk Dr Victor Wee, Secretary-General, Ministry of Tourism, Malaysia

    Mr Moeketsi Mosola, CEO,

    South African Tourism, South Africa

    Dato Tony Fernandez, CEO,

    Air Asia, Malaysia

    Mr James C. Ram, President, Indusa Global, USAMr Walter Jamieson, Dean, University of Hawaii, USA

    Mr Peter De Jong



    Mr Jeff Javis, Program Director,

    Monash University


    Dato' Dr. K. Govindan, Head of Secretariat, National Economic Action Council, PM's Dept, Malaysia

    Mr. Reas M Kondraschow, Executive VP,

    Wyndham Hotel Group International, USA

    Mr. Wayne Calder General Manager, Dept of Industry, Tourism and Resources, AustraliaMr Anthony Wong, Third Vice-President, ICCA’s International Board of Directors, Netherlands

    Dr Frédéric Dimanche, Director-Center for Tourism Mgt, CERAM Sophia Antipolis, France

    It will bring together a wide range of world leaders in tourism, high-level policy makers, specialists and experts from the public and private sectors to exchange experiences, put forward ideas and provide guidance for future tourism development.

    The conference, themed Tourism Success Stories and Shooting Stars will be from June 4, at Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur.

    World Tourism Conference





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