Monday, December 31, 2007

Sports tourism gets boost

Sports tourism is fast gaining a foothold in the country.
Sports Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said sports tourism had the potential to grow as the country was rich in natural resources.

"I believe the industry will go far," Azalina said at the launch of the Adventure Sports and Travel Expo 2007 (Astex) at the Mid Valley Exhibition Centre here yesterday.

Astex organising chairman Datuk Seri Talaat Hussein said sports tourism had existed for years although little was known about it until recently.

Malaysia Sports Tourism Council (MSTC), as the organiser of Astex, hopes to create awareness about sports tourism as well as educate the public on adopting a healthier lifestyle.
"MSTC has created a database for fans of sports tourism.

"Anyone who is interested can find out about the activities through our database," MSTC president Ahmad Kamil Mohamed said. For information, visit

Source : NST
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Thursday, December 27, 2007

30 Minutes from KL to KLIA with new Highway

THE much anticipated 26km KL-Putrajaya Highway that offers road users a shorter and more direct route to the federal administrative capital Putrajaya, Cyberjaya and the KL International Airport (KLIA) is now open to road users and is easily accessible from the city centre.

If prior to this, travelling from KL to these destinations used to take more than an hour, the highway has shortened the trips to a mere 20 minutes to Putrajaya and Cyberjaya and 30 minutes to KLIA at Sepang.

The highway will be toll-free for a month until Jan 13.

Road users entering the highway from the Kampung Pandan Interchange will find their travelling time cut to more than half compared with travelling on the existing route, which takes twice as long to reach the same destinations.

According to Konsortium Lapangan Terjaya Sdn Bhd senior manager (corporate communications), Tihana Yon, the expansion of the KL-Putrajaya highway to the existing major highways would in turn stimulate further commercial and residential developments in the southern corridor of the Klang Valley.

Yon said road users could access the highway from five interchanges – Kampung Pandan, Salak South, Kuchai Lama, Bukit Jalil and the Putrajaya Link.

The Kampung Pandan Interchange provides easy access from areas within the Golden Triangle and the main roads such as Jalan Tun Razak, Jalan Ampang, Jalan Pahang, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Taman Maluri, Pandan Jaya and Kampung Pandan.

The Salak South Interchange provides road users a direct link from Damansara, Bangsar, Jalan Duta and Jalan Kuching.

The Kuchai Lama Interchange has two entry ramps, the first ramp channels traffic from Kerinchi, Mid Valley Megamall, Bangsar, Bandar Tun Razak, and Taman Connaught while the second ramp allows traffic from Jalan Kelang Lama, Kuchai Lama and Taman Desa.

The Bukit Jalil Interchange built over the Kesas Highway provides a lifeline as it assists in the easing of congestion in the city centre and the surrounding areas to Sungei Besi, Kajang, the KL-Seremban Highway, Sri Petaling and Bangi.

And from the opposite direction, road users would find the traffic in Klang, Shah Alam, Subang Jaya, Sunway, Gombak, Ampang and Cheras leading to KL, Putrajaya, Cyberjaya and KLIA much breezier.

The Putrajaya Link however integrates with the North South Expressway Central Link (ELITE Highway) and enables road users to reach KLIA within 10 minutes.

The highway is installed with several safety features and the advanced traffic monitoring systems such as emergency telephone, CCTV and electronic messaging which are routed to the highway’s Control Centre (CC).

“This enables CC to assist patrol vehicles in attending to emergencies on the highway,’’ added Yon.

In addition, she said, the KL-Putrajaya Highway provides a link between the MRR1 and MRR2 and other highways such as Besraya, KL-Seremban, NPE and Kesas, thus relieving traffic congestion along these routes

Source : STAR
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Friday, December 14, 2007

KKIA’s upgrade on right track

The new international airport terminal here is set to open by April and travellers can look forward to less “inconvenience and congestion”.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy said Malaysia Airports Bhd planned to use the terminal for boarding and arrivals by Jan 9 before making it fully operational for check-in.

“Once the new terminal is ready, the old terminal will be closed for upgrading,” Chan told reporters during a working visit here yesterday.

Personal inspection: Chan (second from right) checking on the construction progress of the new airport terminal in Kota Kinabalu yesterday. Accompanying him are Sabah MCA chief Datuk Edward Khoo (right) and other VIPs.
The new terminal complex, to be connected with the old one, is among a massive Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) upgrade project involving runway extension and a new low-cost terminal. The RM1.4bil project is scheduled for completion by May 2009.

“We thank the public for bearing with the inconvenience. It is not easy carrying out major upgrading works on an airport that is operational,” Chan said, adding that KKIA is the second busiest airport in the country after KLIA.

The minister said that once completed, the upgraded airport would have state-of-the-art facilities to meet Sabah’s needs.

“Overall, the project is about 8.4% ahead of time though there are some delays in specific areas. But it will not affect the completion date,” he said when thanking the state government for resolving the Sri Tanjung airport squatter problem.

On MAB’s decision to move operations of all airlines to the new terminal once completed in 2009, Chan said AirAsia’s request to remain at Terminal Two would be considered.

“They have written in. We have to hear them out before we make any decision,” he said, adding that the new complex when completed could handle the needs of all airlines and would be convenient in terms of operations.

Source : STAR
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AirAsia and OCM ink deal

THE partnership between the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) and AirAsia, the Airline of the Year, will benefit the 46 affiliates of OCM.

“It is a great partnership as our affiliates can utilise AirAsia's services. The OCM will be appointing a liaison officer to co-ordinate things with AirAsia,” OCM president Tan Sri Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja'afar said after the official signing ceremony in Kuala Lumpur recently.

It’s a deal: Tunku Imran (left) and Fernandes exchanging copies of the agreement.
He added that the airline had supported the Malaysian contingent to the Asian Indoor Games in Macau in November.

AirAsia are involved in sending 400 athletes and officials to Korat for the 24th SEA Games. As partners of OCM, AirAsia will also be the official airline for the Malaysian contingent for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

AirAsia Group chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes said they were keen to play a part in the development of sports.

Source : STAR
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City tourism badly hit by Demonstrations

recent street demonstrations here have badly hit city tourism.

Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Donald Lim said tour operators informed him that many tourists had either cancelled or cut short their tours due to the demonstrations.

“Many of these tourists were from China, Vietnam and Hong Kong.

“It was quite bad from the end of November to early December, but the situation has stabilised slightly now,” he told the press after opening the Kuan Yin Temple in Sungai Buloh near here yesterday.

However, he said only tourism in the city was affected while “the other states are fine.”

He added that up to September, 16 million tourists visited the country. Malaysia is targeting 21.5 million tourist arrivals for the Visit Malaysia 2007, which has been extended to Aug 31 next year.

Source : STAR
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Faber to sell unit for RM228mil

Faber Group Bhd, through wholly-owned subsidiary Faber Hotels Holdings Sdn Bhd, has proposed to dispose of its 100% equity interest in Faber Labuan Sdn Bhd to Berjaya Land Bhd for RM228.54mil.

In a statement, Faber said it expected to realise a gain on disposal of RM99.06mil based on its audited financial statement as at Dec 31, 2006.

“The proceeds will be used for the redemption of redeemable convertible preference shares, the group's business growth and expansion plans,” it said.

Source : STAR
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Guidebook on Malacca

An updated tourism guidebook has been published to provide information on the charms and appeals of Malacca to local and foreign tourists.

Its author Bonny Wee said the book Malacca, A Charming Destination aimed to showcase historic Malacca in a light and easy way so that visitors could enjoy their vacations.

Wee previously co-authored You'll Love Malacca - 1998, You'll Love Malacca More - 2000 and You'll Love Malacca Always - 2003 with his late father Wee Hock Chye.

Light and easy: Wee reading his book on Malacca, which is now available in the market.
He said the state had more to offer than just history and past glory.

Wee said the book covered topics ranging from food, people, selected places of interest, small and delightful entertainment outlets in Jonker Street, Jalan Lekir, Hang Kasturi and Lorong Hang Jebat, antiques, art, culture, history and other bits and pieces.

“It gives recommendations on the best Nyonya, Portuguese, Malay, Chinese and Indian restaurants and features the origins of ikan bakar in Serkam,” he said.

He said there were articles on people of Malacca including dodol-king Tan Kim Hock, flying-doctor Lee, lantern-maker Uncle Ang, artist Kim, wood-carver Charlie and blacksmith Tan.

Wee said the book with colourful photographs gave insights on what Malacca was and is today and how one could best enjoy one’s stay in the state.

The book is available at leading bookstores such as MPH, Popular, Tai Kuang (Malacca), Borders and Kinokuniya and is retailed at RM16.80. It is also available at selected cafes, restaurants, gift shops, hotels and art galleries in Malacca city.

For more information, call Wee at 019 -340 7177.

Source : STAR
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@Ease Targets 60% Occupancy Rate

@ease Boutique hotel, a hotel in Sandakan, Sabah and owned by Sara-Timur Properties Sdn Bhd, expects to achieve an occupancy rate of up to 60% in line with the industry’s average rate.

The hotel, built at a cost of over RM40mil, is part of the Sandakan Harbour Square, a RM450mil integrated, commercial, retail, and recreational development project.

At a media briefing on @ease, the operator of the hotel, Value Hospitality Group, said the peak tourist season in Sandakan would be from April to December.

“Sandakan itself has been earmarked as a new growth hub for Sabah, whereby commercial and tourism activities are increasing,” said Value Hospitality area general manager, east Malaysia, John Augustin.

From left: Rosita Hamden, John Augustin and ICSD Ventures Sdn Bhd joint managing director Kenneth K.Y. Tiong at the media briefing
Value Hospitality also manages the Prescott and Everly hotels.

@ease, which was soft launched on Nov 26, is scheduled for official launch on Dec 23.

“We are looking at opening eight more hotels in the peninsula as well as East Malaysia in the future,” said Sara-Timur joint managing director Rosita Hamden.

A property developer with various projects in the country, the company is also the main contractor for Phase I and Phase II of the Sandakan Harbour Square.

Rosita said the company was looking at having the same boutique hotel concept for the eight hotels it planned to build but had yet to decide on the cost of investment.

@ease will feature 138 deluxe rooms and suites, a business centre, and banquet and state-of-the-art meeting facilities.

Source : STAR
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Sunway close to signing deals

Hanley Chew
Sunway International Hotel & Resort is close to signing hotel management agreements with four to six parties in Malaysia, Vietnam and China, chief executive officer Hanley Chew said.

“We are already in negotiations with four to six parties in the region. We are close to signing the agreements,” he said yesterday after a signing ceremony with Angkor Tourism Co Ltd to manage two hotels in Cambodia.

The hotels are Allson Angkor Hotel and Allson Angkor Paradise Hotel, located in Siem Reap.

The agreement would enable the hospitality and management arm of Sunway City Bhd to expand its presence in Cambodia, Chew said.

Chew said the company would start managing the hotels next month for an initial period of 10 years.

“We aim to achieve 60% occupancy rate for both hotels in the coming years,” he said.

Angkor Tourism managing director Kousoum Saroeuth said the company believed Sunway International was capable of managing the two hotels in Siem Reap well.

“Sunway has a good reputation and is performing well not only in Cambodia but also in Malaysia and Vietnam. So it is definitely an opportunity for us to take advantage of Sunway’s expertise and marketing network to develop better our hotels around the world,” he said.

The Malaysian hospitality group now operates and manages 13 hotels and resorts under two hotel brand names –the Sunway Hotel & Resorts and Allson Hotel & Resorts – in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam, representing up to 3,000 guestrooms.

Source : STAR
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Friday, December 07, 2007

Jetstar Asia granted rights to fly to KL

Low fare carrier Jetstar Asia has been granted the rights by Singapore’s Air Traffic Rights Committee to start a daily service between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 1 February 2008.

The services will give consumers ticket savings of up to 70 per cent compared to the current fares available.

Chong Phit Lian, CEO of Jetstar Asia/Valuair said: “Jetstar Asia is happy to provide a low-fare air travel alternative for both business and leisure travelers between the two cities.

We are confident our product will be well supported in view of the strong ties between the two cities where many residents of both cities have friends and relatives.

Jetstar Asia’s big advantages are our operations out of Changi Airport Terminal One, free online seat selection, pre-assigned seating and 20-kg baggage allowance.”

Source : TravelWeekly
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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Malaysian Signforce Hospitality thinks global

LOCAL management company, Signforce Hospitality, plans to manage eight five-star hotels internationally by 2011.

It recently secured a management contract for a five-star resort in Cherating, Pahang, and three other properties in Doha. All are scheduled to be opened in 2010.

Signforce Hospitality's involvement will include providing technical services, financial structuring and management of the property, its chief operating officer, Mr Melvin IZ, said.

Locally, Signforce Hospitality is managing one property, Tanjung Rhu Resort Langkawi, since 1999, under a 30-year contract.

Source : TTG
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Double-digit growth in September arrivals for Malaysia

TOURIST arrival figures in Malaysia for September was recently released.

Most markets recorded a double-digit growth in arrivals compared to the same period in 2006, Tourism Malaysia said in a statement. Poland recorded the highest growth of 370.5 per cent, followed by Russia (93.2 per cent), Vietnam (64.1 per cent), France (48.3 per cent), the Philippines (43.8 per cent) and India (40.4 per cent).

The top five tourist generating markets in September were Singapore (816,776), Indonesia (124,132), Thailand (121,617), Brunei (104,275) and China (57,958).

Tourist arrivals from January to September 2007 were 15.6 million, representing an increase of 21.3 per cent compared to the same period in 2006. Another 4.5 million arrivals are needed in this last quarter to meet the target of 20.1 million tourists for 2007.

Source : TTG
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