Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tourism Malaysia To Introduce Three-Year Calendar Rescue Plan

Tourism Malaysia will introduce a three-year calendar rescue plan to boost the country's tourism promotion campaign, said its director-general Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab.

He said the plan would, among others, involve creating more advertisements to attract visitors to Malaysia.

"We have prepared the plan to further promote tourism in Malaysia to foreign tourists and visitors. The plan could perhaps bring more opportunities to tourists and industry players as well."

He said this after officiating at the 1Malaysia Contemporary Art Tourism 2010 Festival (MCAT), Putrajaya Flora Fest 2010 and Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival 2010 presentation at the Malaysia Tourism Centre (MaTiC), here Monday.

During the one-day event, Tourism Malaysia also organised a session with travel trade members to get their support and cooperation in promoting this year's key tourism events including MCAT, a new event initiated by Tourism Malaysia to promote Malaysian art and artists to the world.

Some 200 participants from the industry including officials from airlines, hoteliers and tour operators attended the event.

Source : Bernama
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Monday, June 28, 2010

More hotels expected to move into service apartments industry

With spacious rooms, the availability of round the clock hours services and a similarity to the modern home lifestyle, it is no surprise that serviced apartments will be one of the fastest growth markets in Malaysia.

Frasers Hospitality Pte Ltd Chief Executive Officer Choe Peng Sum said many players including hotel owners see the opportunities offered in this market.

"More serviced apartments will be available soon enough, making the competition more intense.

"As one of the top three global companies for serviced apartments, we realise the potential opportunities arising from this market, with people and tourists opting for residences that offer a myriad of amenities and features to make them feel at home.

"I can also say that many hotels have started investing in their own serviced apartments as a diversified business marketing strategy," he told Bernama recently.

Explaining the group's latest undertaking, Fraser Place Kuala Lumpur (FPKL), Choe said that it is a luxury project in Jalan Perak and close to the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC).

As a Singapore-based company, the venture marks Frasers Hospitality Pte Ltd's first foray into Malaysia.

"The apartments are strategically nestled in the heart of the city, comprising 30 floors with 215 one or two bedroom suites, studios, stunning penthouses and an infinity sky pool. The pool offers a view of the city's skyline.

"We are positioned in the very heart of the city centre with a host of food and entertainment outlets, offering unparalleled convenience to residents," he explained.

With a proven international track record in the hospitality industry, FPKL is expected to carry on the legacy here in Malaysia.

Source : STAR
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300 hotel rooms boost for Langkawi

The Baron Group, with five budget hotels in this tourist haven, is to invest RM20 million to build 300 rooms to meet growing demand for hotel rooms.

Managing Director Zailina Mohd Zain said 200 rooms will be built in Kuah and 100 in Pantai Cenang.

The group has a chain of three-star hotels and chalets in Kuah and Pantai Cenang, with a combined room capacity of 400.

The group's latest resort, de Baron Resort, near Pekan Rabu Complex in Kuah, which commenced operations in December last year, has 137 rooms.

Zailina told BERNAMA Langkawi often faced room shortage during festive seasons, school holidays and when international events are staged, hence the decision to build more rooms.

Currently, Langkawi has a cumulative 8,000 rooms from hotels, resorts, chalets and lodging houses, an additional 800 rooms from last year.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Kedah Chapter chairman Pishol Ishak said some 2.4 million local and foreign tourists are expected to visit Langkawi this year.

A total of 2.37 million tourists came to Langkawi last year.

Source : STAR
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Government To Promote Durian Trial Tourism Package

Durian will soon feature prominently in the country's tourism promotion campaign through the introduction of the "durian trail" package, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said.

She said the ministry found that durian season was actually a good tourist attraction given the variety and quality of the country's durian, dubbed the King of Fruits.

"We have suggested that the Agriculture Department discuss with durian orchard owners and to contact the Tourism Ministry when the durian season arrives so that we can devise a package for tourists," she told reporters after opening a durian-eating competition here Friday.

Ng said Malaysia exported durian to other countries like Singapore and the people there had to pay a hefty price for the fruit.

"We can now offer a holiday package for tourists where they can come to Malaysia during the fruiting season," she said.

Source : MalayMail
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Malaysia continues to lure Saudi tourists

For the fifth year in a row, Malaysia continues to attract a large number of Saudi tourists, a senior tours and sales executive has said. “For five years in a row Malaysia has topped the countries attracting Saudi summer vacationers. Egypt and the UAE are usually next in popularity,” Mahmud Hamid, a tours and sales executive, told Saudi Gazette.

According to tour and travel experts, people choose their destinations depending on the areas they live in. For example, Hamid said, people traveling to Europe are usually from Riyadh and cities in the Eastern Province.

“Fifty percent of Saudis from Riyadh prefer to spend their summer vacations in Europe with France being the country they most prefer to visit,” Hamid said.

Reisdents from Jeddah, Taif and surrounding areas prefer to go to Malaysia, Singapore and other southeast Asian countries.

Travelers late in deciding where they want to go may face booking problems, Hamid warned. Offices of most airlines are crowded these days as the summer holidays are around the corner. Several travelers talked about difficulties in getting confirmed bookings because they were late in deciding upon their itinerary. “People traveling outside must make their bookings at least four to five months in advance in order to avoid last-minute hassles,” Hamid said.

Solaf Abdulaziz was very late in deciding to spend her vacation outside the country. She was fortunate, however, to get a booking as a result of a last minute cancelation, but she had to cough up more money. “I made the reservation late and was put on the waiting list. I was desperate, but luckily I got the booking confirmed because of some late cancelations. But I had to pay a little more,” a relieved Solaf said.

Source : SaudiGazette
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Friday, June 25, 2010

Malaysia targets 2 billion tourists

Malaysia aims to attract two billion tourist yearly after 2015 and would have to upgrade its physical infrastructure and services to achieve this, said Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.

She said accommodation was particularly urgent, especially in the corporate tourism segment.

“The trend of accommodation is steering more towards corporate tourism.

“Not just to stay in the hotel room and be at the lobby, but tourists now want a homely atmosphere to stay,” she said after launching Fraser Place Kuala Lumpur (FPKL) on Jalan Perak here last night.

Dr Ng said Malaysia was on its way to reach RM115bil in tourism revenue in 2015 but more development in facilities and services were needed.

Malaysia was one of the few countries last year to record an increase in tourist arrivals by 7.6% despite the world economic downturn, she added.

“People come here because we have political stability.

“We squabble, we bicker, and the rakyat scold us, the leaders, sometimes.

“But it all stops at verbal conflicts,” she said.

Dr Ng added that Malaysia also wants Kuala Lumpur to move up to be among the top five most livable countries in ASEAN from its current 11th place.

The exclusive 215-unit FPKL she launched earlier is about 10 minutes walk from Suria KLCC.

Each unit of the serviced apartment comes fully equipped with modern comforts for the corporate jetsetter.

The luxurious FBKL marked Singapore-based Frasers Hospitality Pte Ltd’s first foray into Malaysia and was jointly developed with YNH Property Bhd.

According to Frasers Hospitality chief executive officer Choe Peng Sum, the company’s next Malaysian project, Fraser Residence Kuala Lumpur is underway and is slated to be completed by 2012.

Source : STAR

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tourism industry aims to contribute RM115bil

The tourism industry aims to contribute RM115bil in revenue and provide two million jobs in 2015, said minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.

“To achieve our 2015 target, our focus would be on attracting a larger share of high end travellers, capturing a bigger share of high growth segments and increasing the number of tourist arrivals,” said the Tourism Minister.

The segments identified were from Russia, India, China and Middle East.

Dr Ng said the 10th Malaysia Plan report recently unveiled by the Prime Minister targeted to improve Malaysia’s position to be within the top 10, in terms of global tourism receipts in 2015.

Regarding Kuala Lumpur, Dr Ng said the capital had the potential to become among the top five most livable cities in Asia, up from its current 11th ranking.

“To attract skilled human capital from overseas, Kuala Lumpur will be promoted as a city for those seeking quality and a varied lifestyle based on the environment, rich culture and a modern metropolis with a sophisticated infrastructure,” she said in her speech at the launching of the Fraser Place Kuala Lumpur on Jalan Perak on Thursday night.

Other cities, said Dr Ng, such as Georgetown, Johor Baru, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu would also be made more attractive and livable with parks; public squares, walkways and waterfronts.

Source : STAR

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Malaysian tourism arrivals bigger than expected

Despite the global economic climate, Malaysia continued to attract tourists from around the world last year.

Statistics from the Immigration Department showed that 21.5 million tourists arrived between January- November 2009, an increase of 7.6 percent year-on-year. October and November were particularly strong months, with tourist arrivals up by 14.3 percent and 11 percent year on year respectively.

Tourism Malaysia says in a statement, “We remain bullish about the long-term prospects for Malaysian tourism. The country offers a range of tourism options, from meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) travel to beach holidays, and the state is committed to supporting an industry that is an important generator of foreign exchange.”

Malaysia is continuing to target tourists from the Middle East who stay twice as long as tourists from other parts of the world and spend nearly three-times more money. 

Tourism Malaysia reported a 119.5 percent annual increase in the number of visitors from Saudi Arabia, in November 2009 and an 80.3 percent increase in arrivals from the UAE.

Source : SUN
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Malaysia outlines plan to lure in yield

MALAYSIA should enhance its product development and promotions to grab a greater share of the high-yield market.

These were among the recommendations presented to industry leaders yesterday by consulting firm, Jelas Dinamik, which had been commissioned by the Tourism Ministry to conduct a study on developing niche segments for high-yield longhaul markets, namely the UK, Germany, France, Russia and Sweden.

The study examined 13 categories – MICE, taxi service, car rental, promotional activities, luxury trains, food festivals, luxury cruises, hotels, airlines, golf tourism, ecotourism, spa/wellness and medical tourism.

The firm advised the Malaysian trade to create more boutique hotels, engage specialised marketing companies to push golf tourism and encourage environmentally-friendly certification of golf courses, allow foreign spa operators to enter the market, and carry out specific and focused promotional activities targeted at high-spending tourists.

To give ecotourism a further boost, facilities at lesser-known ecotourism locations should be upgraded and a variety of activities should be introduced at eco-lodges.

The Malaysian government is seeking to escape the middle-income trap and capture a greater share of high-yield tourists. The 2020 target is to get 3.5 times more tourist receipts than the 2010 target of RM54 billion (US$16.8 million).

Source : TTG
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Marina Bay IR aims to change the game

HEADLINE acts, parachutists and glitterati were all on show as the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) integrated resort celebrated its opening yesterday.

Even the resort owner's predictions glittered: Just as MBS' towers have transformed the skyline, the IR will 'forever change' Singapore's image and give the country's tourism industry a major fillip.

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson called the US$5.7billion (S$7.9billion) facility a game-changer for tourism here - a magnet for between 125,000 and 150,000 people that he expects to visit it each day.

This would be a record for parent company Las Vegas Sands' (LVS) properties worldwide.

Not surprisingly, all stops were pulled out for the opening ceremonies, which featured a competition to climb the three towers, a black-tie dinner party, a concert and more.

Speaking at a press conference, Mr Adelson said 'the integrated resort model is unmatched, and MBS will now be the reference point by which all new tourism projects are judged'.

The 71-year-old American added: 'It's going to change Singapore by providing entertainment amenities that were not here before.

'This will be for the Asian people a very major attraction, and will change the conservative perception of what Singapore has in the night time.'

The Republic will reap many benefits as MBS will transform the tourism industry and attract visitors from countries in the region and further afield, including China, Australia and Europe, he said.

To mark the occasion yesterday, some 2,500 guests were invited, as well as 1,100 members of the media from 17 countries who were specially flown in.

International superstars such as Diana Ross and Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child added a touch of glamour to a gala celebratory concert last night.

MBS first began accepting guests on April27, when the casino, meeting and convention centre and one-third of the hotel rooms opened.

From today, the rest of its 2,560 hotel rooms, more shops, restaurants and meetings facilities will also be open.

The Sands SkyPark, a surfboard-shaped attraction perched atop the three towers, will accept its first public visitors at 2pm today. Its features include a 150m-long swimming pool and spa.

But the resort will not be fully ready until next year, when it opens a theatre to host its Lion King show and two pavilions - one housing nightclubs Pangaea and Avalon, the other featuring a Louis Vuitton boutique.

Yesterday, MBS chief executive officer Thomas Arasi said the IR has drawn 500,000 visitors so far this month.

The big draw? Its casino, which attracts about 25,000 visitors daily, a third of them Singaporeans and permanent residents.

Such numbers, the company's chief operating officer Mike Leven forecast, indicate annual revenues of about US$1billion, and will allow its parent company to recoup its investment in just four to five years.

The company is looking beyond that, however.

MBS, Mr Adelson said, is the second step in his plan to expand further into Asia, which he sees as having an almost insatiable appetite for gambling.

Indeed, he said, even having the equivalent of five Las Vegases with 140,000 hotel rooms each in five different Asian locations would not satisfy demand.

An indication: In 2006, Macau overtook the Las Vegas Strip as the world's biggest gambling centre.

Last year, it drew about US$14.5billion in gaming revenue, compared to the entire US market's US$30.74billion.

Asia accounted for about 73per cent of LVS' revenue at the end of last year, he said, adding: 'We are an Asian company with a presence in the United States.'

By 2020, he expects this figure to hit 90per cent. But Macau will complement, not compete with Singapore, he said.

Macau, a Special Administrative Region of China, gets the bulk of its visitors from the mainland, whereas Singapore will draw customers from other parts of Asia.

Mr Adelson said LVS is exploring markets like Japan, South Korea and even China itself.

Analysts contacted yesterday said MBS' projections on earnings and visitors were on the high side.

Nonetheless, Barclays economist Leong Wai Ho said MBS' prime location in the heart of the city, and a critical mass of close to five million people here, mean the projections are attainable.

Source : Strait Times
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Monday, June 21, 2010

Pudu Prison Won't Be Turned Into Heritage Site

Although the Pudu Prison is more than 100 years old, it would not be turned into a heritage site, said Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin.

"Firstly, it's because the government's view is that the Pudu Prison is not something to be proud of and secondly, it is not suitable to be turned into a heritage site despite its age," he said when replying to a supplementary question from Fong Kui Lun (DAP-Bukit Bintang), who wanted to know whether the ministry planned to build a museum at the Pudu Prison site, at the Dewan Rakyat sitting on Monday.

Awang Adek said a historical museum would not be built at the prison site and the government would proceed with the development that had been decided.

The Pudu Prison, formerly known as Pudu Gaol located in Jalan Hang Tuah, was first built in stages in 1891 on a 10-hectare site and was completed in 1895.

The Pudu Prison wall stretching about 300 metres will be demolished at 10pm tonight to enable widening of the road and the Jalan Pudu underground passage construction beginning June 20 until 23.

The Pudu Prison was officially closed in 1996 when construction of the new prison in Sungai Buloh was completed.

Replying to Fong's original question on the details of the development by UDA Holdings Berhad (UDA) on the site of the former prison and how the commercial lots were to be distributed, Awang Adek said the development was divided into six plots where construction works would be carried out in stages within a 10-year period.

UDA will build a mixed development project which will accommodate a transit centre, service apartments, offices, recreation centres, a hotel and business space.

Source : Bernama
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MAS To Invest RM450 Mil To Boost Services

MAS is to invest RM450 million in the next five years to boost service standards and offerings.

Some RM400 million will be invested in revamping infrastructures and systems to facilitate smooth travel and to roll out e-commerce initiatives, says managing director-cum-chief executive officer Tengku Datuk Azmil Zahruddin.

He said key initiatives to simplify passenger travel include enhancing mobile connectivity; introduction of iPad kiosks; self check-in kiosks; and transformation of call centres.

"There will be a progressive role out of new channels such as e-mails, webchat and sms which are expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2011," he said after the company's annual general meeting on Monday.

MAS is also growing its network.

On July 16, MAS will fly to a new destination, Bandung, Indonesia. It has increased flight frequencies to key cities in Asean, South Asia, Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

"We do see Asia being relatively strong and Europe being weak as compared with the rest of the world," he said.

The national carrier is also taking delivery of three new planes, B737-800, this year. In total, MAS has ordered 55 B737-800s, 25 A330s and six A380s, costing US$12 billion.

The planes are to be delivered between this year and 2015.

On the impact of China's signal to ease yuan's two-year peg to the US dollar, Tengku Azmil said it was still unclear on how it would work, but in the event the yuan appreciated, it would be a boost to MAS' yuan-denominated revenue.

As for fuel, he said, MAS has hedged 60 per cent of its fuel at US$100 per barrel and any decline in fuel prices will result in higher mark to market losses.

Asked of MAS will raise airfare to boost revenue, Tengku Azmil said the airline planned to increase income via efficient revenue management than revising airfare.

MAS also planned to reduce its cost per unit of capacity to 15 per cent by 2015, he said.

At the same venue, MAS also launched its Everyday Value Fares campaign

Source : Bernama
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Develop Tourism Industry Into Special Niche Market: PM

Tourist arrivals in Kelantan increased from 107,000 last year to 88,240 in 2008, largely due to promotional efforts by federal government agencies and the media.

Kelantan Tourism Malaysia director Muhammad Zaki Talib said the travel and tour agencies also played their role in promoting the uniqueness of Kelantan culture, crafts, cuisine and places of interest to the other states and overseas.

He told Bernama that the number of tourists who visited Kelantan was based on records from the hotels and homestay operators.

Muhammad said from January this year, Kelantan Tourism Malaysia went to the ground to promote Kelantan to such states as Johor and Penang, and in May to Sabah.

He said it was also encouraging tourists to participate in the homestay programmes in Hulu Kelantan, especially in Gua Musang, Kuala Koh, Kuala Krai, Jeli and Tanah Merah which had various attractions including lush tropical forests, caves, rivers and waterfalls.

Source : Bernama
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Develop Tourism Industry Into Special Niche Market: PM

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the national tourism industry should not only be developed in general but a special niche market should be looked into that can enhance the industry's potentials and attraction.

The Prime Minister said that last year, Malaysia had recorded a very encouraging tourism growth and the country was among only three nations in the world to record an increase in tourist arrivals.

"The Tourism Ministry estimated that we have received 23.6 million tourists, which yielded a total of RM53.4 billion in revenue," he said when launching the Philea Resort and Spa at Ayer Keroh, here Saturday night. He said the figure was significantly higher than the 5.5 million tourists and a revenue of RM8.5 billion recorded in 1998.

Najib said the tourism industry had contributed nine percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the industry was among 11 sectors that had been identified as National Key Economic Activities (NKEA). By 2015, the industry is expected to contribute RM115 billion to the GDP and create two million job opportunities.

The Prime Minister said the government planned to attract 'quality tourists' who would stay eight nights and spend between RM4,000 and RM5,000 on the average per trip. Currently, the tourists generally stayed an average of 6.7 nights and spent RM2,300 per trip.

On the tourism industry in Melaka which is considered to have great potentials, Najib said that under the 10th Malaysia Plan, the government had approved an allocation for a further extension of the 'Melaka River Cruise". The Sungai Melaka tourism project currently stretches for about four kilometers from Taman Rempah and ending at the Quayside, at the Sungai Melaka Estuary.

The Philea Resort and Spa is the largest log resort in Asia, developed on a six-hectare site at a cost of RM140 million and owned by Majestic Hotels and Resorts Sdn Bhd.

Source : Bernama

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

New Sun Inns Hotel in Puchong

SUN Inns Hotel Group opened its latest hotel in One Puchong Commercial Centre, Puchong, recently to cater to businessmen, families and tourists travelling on a budget.

The group’s director Ng Hong Keat said the hotel provides clean, safe and afforable accomodation, and Puchong was chosen as the location because it is a developing business township.

Comfortable: A twin room at Sun Inns Hotel in Puchong.

The 100-room two star hotel is the sixth under the group’s belt after Bandar Sunway, Ipoh, Kuala Selangor and Seri Kembangan.

Three types of room — twin, double and family — are available at RM100 or below per night.

“All rooms are air-conditioned and have attached bathrooms. We provide free Western and local breakfast, such as roti jala and nasi lemak in our restaurant,” Ng said.

Kinrara assemblyman Teresa Kok, who officiated at the opening ceremony, said inexpensive lodging was needed to promote tourism and provide convenience to travellers with budget constraints.

“The local authority had a vision to only allow hotels with high star ratings when Sun Inns was setting up this branch.

“But I have a different opinion. This is not a high class community, so it is important to have affordable accomodation,” she said.

For details, visit http://hotelsuninns.com/.

Source : STAR
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AirAsia Wins World's Best Cargo Industry Newcomer Award

AirAsia became the first low-cost airline to win the Air Cargo Industry Newcomer of the Year Award 2010, at the Air Cargo Week (ACW) World Air Cargo Awards held on Wednesday in Shanghai.

The award was presented by Air Cargo Week, a respected UK-based publisher of a weekly newspaper on the air cargo industry.

AirAsia emerged tops in a global survey that polled industry peers and shippers.

"This award signifies the growing confidence and belief in the AirAsia cargo product and services," said AirAsia's Regional Head of Cargo, Sathis Manoharen, in a statement here on Friday.

The airline said it is strengthening cargo operations in part to protect its bottomline against fluctuations in fuel prices.

AirAsia has been tying up with more cargo agents and large export-import firms in the markets it flies.

It is also reaching markets beyond its current route network through other airlines with which it has special pro-rate agreements.

Source : Bernama
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Tourism Ministry Would Consider Guang Zhou As An Import Center For Malaysia Durian

The Tourism Ministry is considering making Guangzhou district a centre for exporting Malaysia durian to China.

"Guangzhou is a huge fruit market which has great potential for fruit export and Malaysia is yet to explore this market," she said at a dinner hosted by Guangdong Province Tourism Administration chairman Yang Rongsen here on Thursday .

She said the short distance between Guangzhou and Malaysia was ideal for Malaysian durian to be exported to China to ensure that the fruit maintained its freshness.

"The ministry will work with the Agriculture and Agro-based Ministry to discuss exporting durian to Guangzhou," she said.

Dr Ng, who is on an four-day working trip to China, is visiting Guang Zhou and Zhengzhou. She will hold dialogues with the local tourism operators and attend the International Mayor's Forum on Tourism (IMFT) in Henan on Friday.

Dr Ng said that with the increasing tourist arrivals from Guangzhou to Malaysia, Malaysia Airline had doubled its daily flight from Guang Zhou to Kuala Lumpur from one flight per day.

The Southern Airline in China had also opened up a new route from Guangzhou to Penang with a daily flight, she added.

Dr Ng said she was informed by the Guangzhou tourism operators that the new route had received great response the locals.

Meanwhile, Yang, in his speech, said Malaysia had emerged as a popular destination for tourists from Guangzhou and the district was looking at working with Malaysia in promoting the tourism industry for both sides.

"Exploring the fruit market here by importing delicious fruits such as durian is a great idea in promoting the tourism industry as durian is the favourite fruit of many locals here," he said.

Source : Bernama
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Tourism Ministry To Launch Student Discovery Malaysia Programme In China

Malaysia is stepping up its tourism promotion in China, a key market, and will launch a Student Discovery Malaysia programme in Shenzhen at the end of the month to attract youngsters.

The programme is targeted at 10 to 15-year-olds to visit Malaysia with their parents, said Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen, who is on a four-day working visit here.

"Through the programme, we are introducing educational tours such as discovering the flora and fauna in Malaysia through jungle trekking," she told Bernama on Friday.

Tour packages at affordable prices will be included in the programme to attract more families from China to visit Malaysia.

A group of 128 will be the first group to join the programme to visit the Kota Tinggi Resort at end of this month.

Dr Ng urged Malaysian resort and tour operators to participate in the programme to help promote the country's tourism industry.

"Besides educational tours, the ministry is also trying to link four-wheel drive associations in Malaysia and China to organise tours in Malaysia as our country can be the ideal location for four-wheel adventures," she added.

Dr Ng will also visit Zhengzhou city in central Henan province to attend the International Mayors Forum on Tourism today and meet local tour operators.

Malaysia will also participate in the World Tourism Day celebration in Guangzhou city on Sept 27 with 12 booths to promote Malaysian tourism products at the an exhbition.

"Some 200 million people are expected to visit the exhibition and the ministry is planning to conduct an investment seminar during the event to bring more investments from China to Malaysia," she added.

Source : Bernama
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Tourism Ministry To Focus On Promoting Eco-Tourism

Malaysia's Tourism Ministry is to focus on promoting eco-tourism in Malaysia as its future tourism development plan, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said here.

She said Malaysia had more then 1,000 species of flowering plants which could be developed into an interesting tourism product.

"Ecological tourism has a potential market which is yet to be developed and many European tourists are very interested in visiting garden and flower expos," she said, adding that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak also supported the idea of promoting ecological tourism in Malaysia.

"Malaysia won a gold medal in its maiden participation in the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show 2010, and this has proven that Malaysian tropical plants can be turned into an attractive tourism product," she said after a meeting with the mayor of the Xuchang Municipal Government, Li Ya, on Saturday.

Ng, who is on a four-day working trip to China, is visiting Guang Zhou and Zhengzhou. She had held dialogues with local tourism operators and attended the International Mayors' Forum on Tourism (IMFT) in Henan on Friday.

Ng said the ministry would look into the possibility of Malaysia signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Xuchang in conducting garden and flower expo visiting tours.

"The ministry will hold the Malaysia International Floral Parade in Putrajaya on July 10 and Xuchang will hold its international flower festival in September this year.

"This could be a chance for both countries to conduct bilateral tours to visit these events and encourage China tourists to visit Malaysia and vice versa," she said.

Ng also expressed Malaysia's interest to participate in the Xuchang international flower festival to showcase Malaysian flowering plants to China.

She also suggested to Li that Xuchang should consider exporting its unique pottery known as Jun porcelain to Malaysia and turn Malaysia into a trading centre for the pottery for Asean countries.

At her meeting with Henan Governor Guo Gengmao earlier, Ng had proposed that Henan consider promoting its historic places to Malaysian tourists while Malaysia would introduce its multicultural uniqueness to China tourists.

"Exchanging ideas and suggestions always helps to develop the tourism industry by introducing different packages to be offered to tourists," she said.

Ng also emphasised that the development of the tourism industry with other Asean countries as well as China should focus on collaboration rather than competition.

Source : Bernama
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Eye on Malaysia to spin again in Malacca

The Eye on Malaysia, which came to a stop early this year due to a legal wrangle, is likely to start spinning again soon.

Chief Minister Datuk Mohd Ali Rustam said this followed successful negotiations with the owners of the 62m-tall observation wheel, Fitraco NV of Belgium.

The Ferris wheel will be managed by the operators of the Malacca Wonderland Theme Park.

The new deal will see the Belgian company being paid RM100,000 for the lease of the wheel.

"We would like to see it spinning as soon as possible," said Ali after opening the new Malacca Football Association building here yesterday.

He added that Fitraco, however, wanted the paperwork involving the new deal to be completed before it allowed the wheel to start spinning.

Earlier, negotiations between the state and Fitraco for the purchase of the wheel hit a snag when both parties couldn't agree on the price for the wheel.

MST Ad Suria was the company responsible for bringing the Eye on Malaysia to the country as part of Visit Malaysia Year 2007, while Eye On Malaysia Sdn Bhd (EOM) was the operator of the attraction.

Fitraco had said it had not received any settlement of RM18 million owed by MST Ad Suria and EOM.

The Belgian company gained legal possession over the wheel on Jan 7, following a successful suit brought against Ad Suria at the Kuala Lumpur High Court to recover a lease loan of RM18 million last year.

Source : NST
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Tourism Now Included In Five-year Plan As Major Economic Player - Ng

For the first time ever, the tourism industry has been included in the country's Five-Year Plan as a major economic player, said Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.

She said this was because the government had now realised the importance of the tourism industry to the country's economic development.

"Previously, the tourism industry was ranked only as a minor player in Malaysia's economic development," she said after meeting with the chairman of China National Tourism Administration, Shao Qiwei, here, Friday.

According to the 10th Malaysia Plan report, Malaysia targets to improve its position to be among the top 10 countries, in terms of global tourism receipts in 2015.

Dr Ng said the tourism industry contributed nine per cent to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) last year by generating RM1 billion in revenue per week.

"With the implementation of the liberalisation policy by the government, the industry can achieve greater development for many tourism-related industries," said Dr Ng who is on a four-day working trip to Guangzhou and Zhengzhou in China.

She said as the Chinese government had also included the tourism industry as an economic pillar, she believed that China as a major partner for Malaysia in this sector, could bring further development to the industry.

She also suggested that China and Malaysia set up a task force to study the possibility of collaborating in providing tourism services through mobile phones.

Meanwhile, Shao said the Chinese government would continue to encourage people in the country to travel abroad.

"However, we should not only focus on two-way traffic in tourist arrivals but to also look at the bigger picture," he said, adding that tourism had turned into a modern service industry which also brought development to many other sectors.

Shao said the China-Asean Free Trade Agreement (FTA) also helped to promote tourism with Asean countries.

Later, when delivering her keynote address at the International Mayors Forum on Tourism (IMFT) in Henan, Dr Ng said Kuala Lumpur was a significant example of a tourism city with its modern infrastructure and variety of entertainment.

"We believe that tourism does not discourage environmental protection. In fact, tourism helps to protect eco-balance in the city," she added.

The First IMFT was held in Zhengzhou, Henan Province in April 2008.

The second IMFT, which is held here now with the theme, "Tourism for Better City Life", has attracted the participation of more than 50 cities.

Dr Ng, who represented Malaysia, was the only representative invited to give a keynote address at the event.

Source : Malay Mail
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Cash to splash

Well-heeled tourists demonstrate that money can buy you everything...well, almost.

Standing at the counter in an inconspicuous fashion and lingerie boutique located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, three fully-veiled women argue among themselves. Their husband, obviously at wit’s end, does not know how to stop them from bickering.

He shakes his head, points to a lacy red thong-and-bustier set worth RM800 and booms, “Here, I’ll take this. Make it three . . . so my wives can each have one. No need to fight then, eh?”

Just then, a young and nervous-looking Middle Eastern man walks into the store, much to the relief of one of the harried sales attendant. She quickly rushes to his side and asks if she can be of assistance.

Saudi tourists are the biggest spenders in Malaysia, and they’re here between June and August.

“Yes, I wonder if you have any panties that taste like this?” asks the man, holding up a strawberry-flavoured chocolate bar.

The sales attendant stares blankly in return.

Such scenes, it seems, are not uncommon in the boutique at this time of year. It’s mid-July, and the Arab season is in full swing.

This “season”, typically occurring from June to August, is when thousands of Middle Easterners descend upon our cities to escape the stifling summer heat in their own countries. It is a period, not unlike Christmas, when sales skyrocket, products fly off the shelves and gratuities flow freely.

“I never plan my vacations during the Arab season,” remarks Ling C., the boutique owner. “It’s a good time to earn back a year’s worth in rental cost and make a nice sum to offset the slow months.”

According to Tourism Malaysia’s 2008 survey of total tourist expenditure, shopping made up 26.8% and accommodation constituted 31.2%. In 2009, our country made RM53.4bil from 23.6 million tourists. Although Saudi tourists do not make up the bulk of these numbers (in fact, Saudi Arabia takes the number 13 spot on our list of top 20 tourist arrivals), they are the biggest spenders, splurging an average of RM7,992 per person. Hot on their heels are tourists from the United Arab Emirates who spend an average of RM6,315 per person.

For the average Middle Easterner, this means non-stop shopping sprees during the day and retiring to classy, five-star accommodations at night. For retailers and hoteliers, it means money and lots of it.

Chinese tourists love to shop for branded goods.

Paying a high price

“Everyone knows Middle Eastern tourists love outrageous clothes and bags,” says Calvin Y, a former sales person for a luxury Italian brand.

“They can be quite fussy sometimes, too. Sometimes they like the design but they want it in a certain colour. Or they like it in that colour but want the design to be a certain way.”

To get their piece of the pie, local retailers often do their best to appeal to these tourists’ unique tastes, even if it means stocking up on merchandise that would not sell on regular days.

“That’s when I start to amp up my window display with feathers, sequins, gold, silver and all that jazz,” says Ling, who claims that it’s not unusual for a Middle Eastern woman to spend several thousand ringgit in one go.

“But I have to sell each and every one of those items because I don’t want to have it lying around once the Arab season ends. Malaysians won’t touch it with a 10-foot pole,” she reveals.

But look beyond the promising facts and figures and you’ll notice that nothing is what it seems.

“The period right after 9/11 was very good. Every retailer was laughing all the way to the bank because many rich Middle Easterners who usually went to Europe for their summer holidays came to Malaysia instead (due to widespread Islamophobia),” says Ling.

“But as soon as the situation improved, Malaysia became second option again. We get a lot of penny-pinching Arabs now, and many of them treat my boutique as if it’s a flea market. They go around asking for crazy discounts. I’ve heard from other salesgirls that this happens in their shops too.

“And when you refuse, they steal. I’ve caught a couple of women who tried to walk away with lingerie hidden underneath their burqa,” she exclaims.

Due to the economic boom in Asia, especially in the Far East, a new type of tourist is also emerging — and they are noisy, demanding and not at all embarrassed.

“China, oh China,” quips Calvin. “The way these Chinese tourists dress and behave don’t really reflect how much they spend. A badly dressed, loud-mouthed auntie can come in and spend RM20,000. They pay by cash, too. I once saw a Chinese tourist unwrap a newspaper with bundles of money in it.”

A recent survey of Tourism Malaysia revealed the China market as one of the contributors towards Malaysia’s tourist revenue, after Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei. In one year, they spent a total of RM2.5bil as compared to the RM596mil spent by Saudi tourists.

Bernedetta N, a Korean-and-Mandarin-speaking tour guide, says that shopping is a favourite pastime among China’s nouveau riche.

“The Koreans come here to relax and play golf, but the Chinese love to hit the malls,” she says. “I think it’s because they can get branded items at a much cheaper rate in Malaysia compared to China. The women tend to buy a lot of bags, shoes and cosmetics, while the men go for watches and shirts.”

Unlike the Arabs, they are not fussy customers. Throughout his retail stint, Calvin found their clothing preferences to be predictable.

“They have a weakness for anything that communicates wealth and status. Signature bags and logo-shirts are always a favourite among the Chinese because it’s easily recognisable, and you can instantly tell that it’s this or that brand,” he says.

Malaysian sales people like serving European and American shoppers because they are more considerate compared to other customers.

Oh, behave!

Being rich doesn’t necessarily mean they will spend without batting an eyelid. Just ask Calvin, who claims that the Chinese like to get more bang for their buck.

“Bargaining is in their blood,” he says. “Every time they buy something, they ask for discounts or freebies. Mind you, these are people who do not think twice about spending more than RM50,000 in one boutique.”

The trick is to always ask nicely.

“We don’t give discounts but we occasionally throw in some old samples from our storeroom if they’re pleasant enough. If we don’t have any extras to spare, we give them paper bags. Even that makes them happy,” he reveals.

Joanne L, a former sales person for a high-end jewellery brand, says that the Chinese tourists she has encountered are much harder to please.

“A lot of them are loud and rude, especially when they come in tour groups,” she says. “They don’t know how to appreciate the item and they don’t understand why it’s so expensive. So they handle it very roughly, to the extent of throwing it on the counter sometimes.”

The brand’s foreign clientele, states Joanne, are primarily Russians, who love bling and have a tendency to spend a whopping six-figures on big, bold jewellery pieces. However, that doesn’t make them any more approachable than the Chinese.

“They’re very intimidating, very cold,” she says. “They don’t like making small talk. They come in, look around, try a couple of items, make their purchases, then leave. They like to get down to business as soon as they enter the boutique.”

Calvin says that many rich families from India take the top prize for being the rudest customer group.

“It’s like you don’t exist at all. They will pretend they’re deaf and totally ignore you, even when you’re standing beside them, offering your assistance. This is despite the fact that they all speak English!

“If and when they finally need help, they’ll order you to ‘Come here’ when you are just a few inches away from them. Then they’ll boss you around as if they own you. We’re not maids, you know!” he exclaims.

As a result, many luxury boutiques train their sales staff to handle such prima donnas.

“We’re told to play it by ear,” says Calvin. “If they get physically abusive, you call security. Thank goodness it hasn’t happened to me, but I hear it has happened to others.”

According to him, Asian shoppers could learn something from their American and European counterparts in terms of courtesy.

“The Caucasians treat us better, and we like them even if they don’t buy anything,” he says. “On the contrary, most Asians feel that boutique sales assistants are not professionals, and therefore we don’t deserve any respect. But they are wrong and that should change.”

Source : STAR
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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Teens Having Cosmetic Surgery to Feel Young Again in Malaysia

Australian teens are rushing to other countries for cosmetic surgery in an attempt to "reclaim" their youth, Australia's Herald Sun reports.

One 18-year-old single mother, Ambah Young, plans to head to Malaysia to have a tummy tuck, breast augmentation and a "designer" vagina procedure, according to the Herald Sun.

While the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery questions the appropriateness of cosmetic procedures on young women, noting that surgeries conducted overseas can be risky, Young says she has felt old ever since she had her baby and would like the surgery to regain confidence.

"I'm having this surgery so that I can feel my age again," she told the newspaper.

Approximately 400 Australians travel to Malaysia each year through Gorgeous Getaways, a group that books "cosmetic surgery holidays," and 80 percent of these individuals undergo two or more procedures, according to the report.

Louise Cogan, director of Melbourne-based Gorgeous Getaways, said she knows several 18-year-olds who have traveled to Malaysia for cosmetic surgery, but most of the clients are in their 30s to 60s. She also told the Herald Sun that Young was a strong candidate for the procedures, because diet and exercise weren't improving her saggy skin.

Overseas cosmetic procedures cost about half of the Australian price, Cogan explains, including flights and other accommodations. Young's surgeries will cost a total of about $13,000 or about $10,800 U.S. dollars.

Psychiatrist David Castle, of Melbourne University, suggested that young people be assessed for psychological problems before undergoing major cosmetic surgery.

"Sometimes they believe their psychological distress will be cured by some cosmetic procedure, and it never is, it usually makes things worse," he told the newspaper.

More on Cosmetic Surgery:

Source : AOL

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Malaysia Aims To Be Within Top 10 In Tourism Under 10 Malaysian Plan

Malaysia has targeted to improve its position to be within the top 10, in terms of global tourism receipts in 2015, according to the 10th Malaysia Plan report.

The report, tabled in Parliament today, stated that it also targeted to increase the sector's contribution by 2.1 times, contributing RM115 billion in receipts and providing two million jobs in the industry in 2015.

According to the report, Malaysia ranked 16th in terms of global inbound tourism receipts, capturing approximately two per cent of the global market share in 2008.

Between 2006 and 2009, revenue from the tourism industry increased 67.1 per cent to RM53.4 billion, while tourist arrivals increased 43.6 per cent to 23.6 million.

To achieve the 2015 target, the report said focus would be on attracting a larger share of high spend travellers and capturing a higher share of high growth segments, particularly from Russia, India, China and Middle East, in addition to increase the number of tourist arrivals.

The report said tourism products would also be improved, through the creation of focused tourism clusters that would leverage on existing and new iconic tourism products.

For instance, Langkawi (the Geopark and Pulau Payar Marine Park), Penang (Georgetown Unesco World Heritage Sites) and Sabah (Sipadan and Kinabalu Park Unesco World Heritage Sites).

Source : Bernama
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Habiba Suites Cash In On Sabah's Tourism Growth

Tourism revenue continues to grow in Sabah, with more visitors arriving on its shores, in search of unique holiday experiences.

While most sectors try to take advantage of the currency flow that foreign tourists bring on their vacations to the state, no one is capitalising on it more than the hotel industry.

Lodging homes and hotels of all sorts have been seen popping up, in and around the city recently, providing more rooms for tourists, and thus complimenting the industry's growth.

But with little concept variation from one hotel to the other - limited often by the location of the establishments - one local company has broken away from the conventional hotel image that line city streets.

The latest player to step into the profit gallery in the rooms market, is Rimaforce Sdn Bhd, with its apartment hotel property, Habiba Suites.

Rimaforce Managing Director, Habiba Abdullah said the company's objective is to capture a share of the rooms market. She is confident the alternative concept of Habiba Suites, would appeal to both domestic and foreign tourists.

"Habiba Suites offer comfortably furnished apartment suites for travelling groups who prefer a quiet, peaceful environment over the busy atmosphere of hotels along the city streets.

"We also have other accommodations such as studio apartments, which smaller groups or families may prefer. It doesn't matter what type of rooms they choose, guests at Habiba Suites are certain to enjoy the view.

"It is the biggest selling point of our hotel," she told Bernama, here.

Situated on the city-facing slope of Signal Hill, guests staying in this British colonial building, can enjoy the panoramic view of Kota Kinabalu and the surrounding South China Sea.

On the other hand, the hotel also offers an adjacent wing that provides a view of the majestic Mount Kinabalu.

Other than offering rooms, the hotel also has a hall that can cater for events for 500 people as well as ample lawn space for private outdoor functions.

"Hotels generate a lot of revenue by providing venue facilities for all kinds of events and Habiba Suites is also looking to tap into this segment.

"We have lots of open space for people to hold outdoor functions or ceremonies like a garden wedding," said Habiba.

Locals, familiar with Signal Hill, will remember the building as old housing quarters for senior government officials. It was built during the colonial days and used as a residence for expatriates.

The building itself hasn't changed much, apart from a new coat of colours. In fact, everything is basically the same as it was, when built more then half a century ago in 1959.

The state holds the title to the land but a 20-year lease contract finalised in 2006 gives Rimaforce exclusive rights to the building.

"Habiba Suites is a product of one of the most successful government commercialisation projects in the State.

"The idea to commercialise the building was actually introduced in 1996 but rejected until 10 years later, when the government finally decided to go with the plan.

"We managed to get the lease and went ahead with our concept for the building," she added.

Minor renovations were made for the 12 suites and 10 studios at a mere splash of RM1.2 million, providing it with an adequate guise, as one of Kota Kinabalu's latest properties in the lucrative rooms market.

Expensive new furniture, bedding and other amenities were fitted into each suite to provide a touch of luxury to its 2,200 square feet of living space.

Marketing efforts to promote the hotel extensively is the only process left now to implement.

Habiba is feeling positive and optimistic about the business, despite a sluggish start to the year.

She is confident the hotel will soon pick up more business and is anticipating this to happen immediately after the official launch scheduled for next month.

"The hotel market here is lucrative and we have a product that is different from the rest.So, I am quite confident we will do well," she declared.

Source : Bernama
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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Separate listings for 3 AirAsia affiliates

The group plans to seek separate listings for AirAsia X, Thai AirAsia and Indonesia AirAsia so that investors can clearly choose to invest on geographic and business models.

Analysts are not surprised by low-cost carrier AirAsia Bhd's (5099) plans to list three affiliated airlines separately as the group seeks to ease its financial strain.

The group said yesterday it plans to seek separate listings for AirAsia X, Thai AirAsia and Indonesia AirAsia so that investors can clearly choose to invest on geographic and business models.

Long-haul affiliate AirAsia X may seek an initial public listing as early as the second half of next year.

OSK Research Sdn Bhd aviation analyst Ng Sem Guan said it was just a matter of time before the decision was made for the three airlines to have their own cash flow statements given the heavy capital expenditure needed.
"AirAsia would want AirAsia X to be independent and taken on their own aircraft funding," he said.

Standard & Poor's editorial director Shukor Yusof said that AirAsia's bankers and investors would view the news favourably as they would want it to remain focused.

"Also, the idea is to list and separate the units that may draw negative investor sentiment and weigh down (AirAsia)," he told Business Times yesterday.

The AirAsia group is executing a corporate and organisational restructuring to provide investors with a clearer and more focused business model.

"After more than two years of operation, we have begun to notice some dilution of the AirAsia business model and recognise the need for AirAsia and AirAsia X to remain focused on their respective markets," AirAsia group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said in a statement yesterday.

He added that the reorganisation was timely for AirAsia X as it enters its next growth phase, and the arrangement will allow it the financial independence and latitude to develop its own marketing strategy.

AirAsia X will now take over deployment of its own pilots, cabin crew, ground staff, and commercial and marketing team.

The move would enable the airline to pursue its own commercial strategy and better develop its capabilities in long-haul service.

It is currently completing a RM100 million rights issue exercise to achieve financial independence and fund its continued growth.

AirAsia X will see its fleet increase from 8 to 11 planes this year with the launch of more routes, including India, South Korea and Japan, by the end of the year.

"While it continues to capitalise on the strength of the AirAsia brand, website and culture, this separation gives more focus and discipline to AirAsia X's model," Fernandes said.

AirAsia X, launched in November 2007, posted a net profit of RM87 million against revenue of RM720 million in financial year 2009. It aims to exceed RM1 billion revenue this year.

Source : Btimes
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6-star Malacca resort opens next week : The Philea Resort & Spa

MALACCA'S first six-star resort and spa will open its doors next week, following a RM140 million investment by timber group Sanbumi Holdings Bhd.

The Philea Resort & Spa, claimed to be Asia's largest log resort, is located on a 5.7ha site in Ayer Keroh, Malacca. It was designed by Symbios Design Associates Sdn Bhd.

Philea's general manager Ung Beng Huat said Philea is Sanbumi's maiden venture in the hospitality management industry. Sanbumi is also involved in the tourism industry

Speaking at the preview of the resort on Monday evening, he said a thorough study had been done for two years involving concept and other details before Philea's construction started in August 2008 and was completed in May this year.

The company plans to bring in tourists from Hong Kong, Taiwan and China via chartered flights four times a week.

Philea consists of 180 Pavillion Villas, 19 units of Philea Suites and two units of Royal Villas. Each villa is uniquely designed, complemented with pine-log walls and a host of amenities.

The resort will also have five in-house food and beverage outlets as well as a host of other facilities and services such as outdoor-landscaped swimming pool and a spa village which will be opening soon.

Source : Btimes

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Tune Hotels.com opens another outlet

Tune Hotels.com is banking on Iskandar Malaysia and Singapore as the two main factors to attract guests to the company’s Danga Bay hotel here.

Chief executive officer Mark Lankaster said Tune Hotels wanted to position the property as the most preferred hotel among visitors and tourists to Johor Baru.

Modern: TuneHotels’ newest property in Johor Baru.

He said the opening of the hotel was timely with the opening of Singapore’s two Integrated Resorts (IR) - Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) and Marina Bay Sands (MBS) this year.

“Malaysians from outside Johor planning to visit the Integrated Resorts can stay at our hotel as our rate is cheaper than hotels in Singapore,” said Lankaster.

He said this at the soft opening of the 218-room Danga Bay Tune Hotel costing RM35mil located at Danga Bay waterfront development area.

He said visiting the two IR would not be a problem as the hotel had eight shuttle services daily to transport its guests to and from Singapore at RM18 return trip.

He added that all rooms at its Danga Bay hotel were fitted with 32-inch LCD television, the first hotel in its stable to do so and would be followed by the company’s other hotels in stages.

Lankaster said the company was not competing with existing hotels in Johor Baru but was giving customers a choice with the pay-as-you-use concept.

He said that apart from targeting Malaysians from other states, the hotel was also looking at drawing Singaporeans and foreign tourists due to the low room rates.

He added that upcoming tourist attractions in Iskandar within the next two years such as Legoland Theme Park, Indoor Theme and Malaysia Premium Outlet would also boost the tourism sector in Johor.

Tune Hotels launched its first hotel in Kuala Lumpur in 2007. Its other hotels are in Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, KLIA-LCCT Airport, Penang, Petaling Jaya and Kuta and Legian in Bali, Indonesia while the one in Westminster, London, in UK, will open in August.

Source : STAR
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Langkawi Facing Shortage Of Rooms

Langkawi is facing shortage of rooms to meet rising number of local and foreign tourists, particularly during school holidays and international events like Langkawi International Maritime Exhibition (Lima).

Kedah Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) chairman Pishol Ishak said the room increase from 7,200 last year to 8,000 currently was inadequate to meet demand from tourists.

He said inadequate rooms at hotels, resorts and chalets prompted many tourists to stay at homestay projects in kampungs while some had to sleep in cars and at bus stations.

Langkawi's latest hotel is the 154-room My Hotel in Kuah which opened only last week.

Spokesman Ku Azhar Ku Abdul Razak said My Hotel was set up by My Ferry, the Langkawi ferry operator.

"We offer "My Pakej" which comes complete with lodging and ferry service to visitors," he said.

Source : Bernama
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KL Convention Centre Contributes RM2.4 Billion In Economic Impact

Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) which celebrates its fifth year anniversary, says it has contributed approximately RM2.4 billion in economic impact to Kuala Lumpur city and Malaysia.

In a statement, it said KLCC had enjoyed high occupancy levels as the venue of choice for 2,960 events with over 8.3 million delegates and visitors since its official opening.

Having been awarded the ISO 14001:2004 by Sirim QAS International, the convention centre too had a good start into its fifth year, with 44 conventions and 57 exhibitions already confirmed on its 2010 events calendar.

"As 2010 progresses, the centre will continue to develop innovative product offerings to bolster its achievements for the future.

"The centre's success is also attributed to its central location complete with world-class infrastructure. It will be more appealing with the upcoming Grand Hyatt Hotel with its 1,030 rooms and Impiana KLCC Hotel Phase 2 expansion project which includes adding 180 rooms to the existing 1,641 units," it said.

Source : Bernama
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Monday, June 07, 2010

Mutiara Beach Resort slated to reopen in 2012

THE Mutiara Beach Resort in Penang will finally reopen in 2012, some six years after the closing down of its operations.

The hotel, located at Jalan Teluk Bahang in Tanjung Bungah, is owned by Tradewinds Corp Bhd (TCB).

TCB chairman Tan Sri Megat Najmuddin Megat Khas said that the 21-year-old hotel is set to undergo a RM100m million renovation and refurbishment.

"We just started work on the hotel recently," Megat Najmuddin told Business Times.
"Cost (of renovation) is estimated at RM100 million and we are at the design stage," he said, adding that rooms and large suites are being planned.

When asked about likely date for the hotel opening, Megat Najmuddin said: "Opening would depend on many factors, maybe (we will open) in 2012," he said.

"We are confident of doing well, otherwise we won't be refurbishing it. Batu Feringgi hotels are doing okay now," he said.

TCB, whose hotel portfolio includes Hotel Istana and Mutiara Johor Baru, has decided that it will manage Mutiara Beach Resort on its own.

While he said it will be difficult to predict the likely average room rate (ARR) and occupancy the hotel will garner when it opens, he said that the hotel will be in the five-star category.

The hotel was to be renovated as a an InterContinental Resort Penang. However, early last year, both the hotel owner and the international hotel operator decided to mutually terminate the contract.

Its chief executive officer Shahrul Farez Hassan then said that it was relooking at its options as there were some weaknesses in the market and when the weaknesses will abate.

The hotel scrapped its initial plans to halve the room inventory and build luxury residences there.

TCB had at that time planned to reduce the inventory of the 438-room property to 220 rooms and include 80 units of luxury residences.

The residences were to be sold at around RM500 per sq ft and leased back. The hotel was supposed to reopen at the end of 2008.

The re-opening date was then changed to mid-2009.

TCB also owns the Crowne Plaza Mutiara Kuala Lumpur and Hilton Petaling Jaya but is managed by international hotel chains.

Source : Btimes
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Friday, June 04, 2010

Tune Hotel Opens in Kota Damansara, Malaysia

Tune Hotels has opened its latest hotel at Kota Damansara township in Petaling Jaya.

The opening comes just two weeks after Tune Hotel Danga Bay in Johor Bahru commenced operations. Tune Hotel Kota Damansara is the 9th to open since the brand first launched in 2007.

Occupying two floors of the Main Tower of Sunsuria Avenue in Kota Damansara, all 121 rooms at the hotel are equipped with 32” LCD television sets as well as its signature high-quality basics of 5-star beds and hot power showers.

Tune Hotels Group CEO, Mark Lankester said, “Kota Damansara in Petaling Jaya is one of Klang Valley’s fastest developed new townships with lots of attractions and huge potentials. Our hotel here is strategically located to serve not only Kota Damansara but also the surrounding areas like Damansara Perdana, Mutiara Damansara, Damansara Utama, Bandar Utama and even up to Sungai Buloh, Kepong and Subang.

It serves as a satellite to our prime hotels in Downtown KL and KLIA-LCCT Airport that are consistently enjoying high occupancy. With easy access by bus and taxi, and surrounded by business, shopping, entertainment and education establishments, the hotel is ideal for both work and play. Guests will also be able take advantage of its location being in the vicinity of Subang Skypark (Terminal 3).”

“The addition of the 32”flat-screen TV’s is new to Tune Hotels and is in direct response to comments from our guests. Starting with Tune Hotel Kota Damansara and Tune Hotel Danga Bay, Johor Bahru, we are also installing TV entertainment in all our existing hotels in stages,” Mr. Lankester added.

Tune Hotel Kota Damansara is jointly developed and operated by Tune Hotels and Easywell Sdn Bhd.

Under its global expansion plan, Tune Hotels has forged strategic partnerships with Apodis Hospitality Group for 20 hotels in India by 2012; Bangkok-based Evolution Capital PCL for 44 hotels across Thailand, China, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Indonesia; and the UK-based Queensway Group Limited for 15 hotels in Greater London. More recently, Tune Hotels formed a 50-50 joint venture with Singaporean-based Plato Capital Limited to have 10 operational assets in South East Asia, Australia and the UK by 2013. Including its homegrown development in Malaysia, Tune Hotels targets to have 100 operational hotels worldwide by 2012.

There are currently seven Tune Hotels in Malaysia and two in Bali, Indonesia, while its first hotel in London is set to open at Westminster in August 2010. Existing Tune Hotels are located in Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu (Sabah), Kuching (Sarawak), KLIA-LCCT (Selangor), George Town (Penang), Danga Bay (Johor) and Kota Damansara (Selangor) in Malaysia; Kuta (Bali) and Double Six, Legian (Bali) in Indonesia.

Source : AsiaTravelTips
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Thursday, June 03, 2010

Strong wave of bookings for Malaysian June holidays

OUTBOUND agents report strong demand for regional and longhaul destinations during the upcoming two-week school holidays that start on June 7.

Parlo Tours general manager Kerry Tam said she had sold out group departures for a 10-day holiday combining three countries - Sweden, Denmark and Norway. Russia and Central Europe are also popular destinations.

Ramza Travel & Tours managing director Kay Azmin said the Gold Coast in Australia is a popular family destination due to its many theme parks.

She said 13-day Umrah tours to Mecca and Medina are also very popular. "Many choose group travel as the costs work out to be cheaper than FIT travel."

Sutra Travel managing director Syed Razif Al Yahya said total package prices for Umrah had increased by 10 to 15 per cent over last year, mainly because of the short supply of rooms in Mecca.

He added that leisure travel to regional destinations continue to thrive, particularly those points serviced by low-cost carrier AirAsia.

Source : TTG
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