Thursday, July 29, 2010

Marina Bay Sands made $128m in first 65 days

The Marina Bay Sands integrated resort has turned in a strong performance, generating US$94 million (S$128 million) in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) in its first 65 days of operation, owner Las Vegas Sands said yesterday.

The US$5.7 billion resort fronting Marina Bay began operating in April.

Las Vegas Sands billionaire founder and chief executive Sheldon Adelson said during a conference call that he still expects the Singapore resort to bring in US$1 billion in EBITDA next year, due in part to a broader-than-expected customer base.

'There are so many people that are coming from different countries in Asia... We have a group of Koreans flying in every week,' he said. 'I think that the outer reaches of our marketing radius is wider than what we thought before.'

Mr Adelson also said in a statement: 'Both gaming volumes and visitation to the property have been robust' in Singapore. 'In Macau, we delivered an all-time quarterly record.'

Aided by the positive showing at the Singapore resort and in Macau, Las Vegas Sands yesterday posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit.

Las Vegas Sands earned US$129.3 million, or 17 US cents a share, in the second quarter after adjusting for one-time items. Analysts on average expected 9 US cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters. Net revenue rose nearly 51 per cent to US$1.59 billion.

'With property performance better than our expectations in Macau and Singapore, and with the Las Vegas Strip weaker than expected, we believe Asia will be the key driver of the story, and the report is bullish for the shares,' said Jefferies and Co analyst David Katz.

Gambling revenue in Macau, the world's largest gambling centre and the only place in China where gambling is legal, has soared this year, most recently rising 65 per cent year-on-year last month.

Las Vegas Sands said second-quarter net revenue at its three Macau properties rose 41 per cent from that a year earlier to US$1.03 billion, while adjusted EBITDA increased 74 per cent to US$307 million.

In contrast, its Venetian and Palazzo resorts on the Las Vegas Strip reported that EBITDA fell 15 per cent to US$66 million, as the casinos won less at the tables.

The company has lined up financing for the development of two sites in a section of Macau known as the Cotai Strip, but construction has not yet started due to government requirements for the hiring of local workers.

After payment of preferred stock dividends, Las Vegas Sands had a second-quarter net loss of US$4.7 million, or 1 US cent a share, compared with a net loss of US$222.2 million, or 34 US cents a share, a year earlier.

Source : StraitTimes
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Wednesday, July 28, 2010


About 200 Hotel General Managers From Across The Country Cast Their Votes Recently To Elect A New Board For The Malaysian Association Of Hotels (MAH) For The Next Two-year Term 2010

2010. Held at Renaissance Hotel Kuala Lumpur recently, the election saw the appointment of new board members. They were President Datuk Mohd Ilyas Zainol Abidin and three Vice Presidents, Ivo R. Nekvapil, Mohammed Shaheen Shah Mohd Sidek and Christina Toh.


Klana Resort Seremban Expands Ballroom

The Klana Resort, a leading hotel here, is expanding its ballroom and adding on another four seminar rooms at an estimated cost of RM6 million.

Its General Manager, Shamsul Kamar Ahmad said the ballroom is being expanded to cater to a crowd of 1,200 people from its present capacity of 900 people.

"Besides this, we are also adding on four seminar rooms with a capacity of 100 people per room. The project is being carried out in line with current development and needs.

"We are undertaking this project because many large events are held here and to cater to the large number of guests who turn up, we had to expand the ballroom," he told Bernama here Tuesday.

The ballroom will be refurbished with new and sophisticated facilities as well.

Work on the project started in April and it is expected to be completed by end of this August.

The four-star hotel is owned by the Negeri Sembilan state government under the Menteri Besar Inc (MBI).

Source : Bernama
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Hotel Operators Urged To Get Halal Certification

Hotel operators doing food promotion during the fasting month should get halal certification to erase doubts among Muslims, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

He said hotels and restaurants should heed the advice by Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) director-general Datuk Wan Mohammad Sheikh Abdul Aziz yesterday.

"Hotels must have separate kitchens for halal and non-halal food to address suspicion.

"They must not only apply to Jakim for halal certificates but comply by them," he said after launching 'Karnival Usahawan Desa 2010' in Bukit Jalil, here Saturday.

Wan Mohammad had urged hotel operators promoting food during Ramadan to apply for halal certification from Jakim to overcome doubts among Muslims.

Muhyiddin said although it was not complusory, hotels should take the halal issue seriously as offenders could be punished under existing laws.

Source : Bernama
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Langkawi Register Three-fold Increase In Tourists From Singapore

Tourist arrivals from Singapore has registered a three-fold increase in the first six months says the Langkawi Development Authority (Lada).

Lada's Tourism manager Megat Shahrul Azman Abas said more than 100,000 tourists comprising Singaporeans and foreigners from the Island republic had visited Langkawi in the first six months.

He said the increase in tourist arrivals was due to a number of initiatives and promotions undertaken by Lada, including the Langkawi Travel Mart in Singapore last Thursday.

The programme was organised by Lada with cooperation from the Kedah branch of the Malaysia Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta), Langkawi Tourists Association, Langkawi Hotels Association, Homestay Association, Tourism Malaysia in Singapore and the Malaysian Embassy.

Megat Shahrul said through the Travel mart, travel agents from Malaysia were able to strike a working relationship with travel agents from Singapore, to boost the tourism and travel industry.

"An increase in tourists will also boost the travel industry since most of the tourists used Silk Air Singapore, Malaysia Airlines (MAS), AirAsia and Tiger Always to travel between Singapore and Langkawi while some used the ferry services," he told Bernama here Tuesday.

Source : Bernama
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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Doubletree Kuala Lumpur to offer unique Makan Kitchen

The new Doubletree by Hilton Kuala Lumpur will feature a sprawling all-day dining outlet, not only showcasing Malaysia’s diverse cuisines but also offering a variety of business entertaining venues under one roof.

The 540-room property is expected to open in late August 2010 with Makan Kitchen – “makan” in Malay means to eat – a restaurant unique to this Doubletree.

The usual live kitchen stations are present but the rest of the space is taken up by dining settings, following Malay, Chinese, Indian and Peranakan, Malaysia’s dominant cultures. There is even a section resembling communal hall of a Sarawak longhouse where guests are seated on the floor as they would in the village.

Said Leo Frankel, Doubletree director of business development: “You could dine in different corners of Makan Kitchen, and think you were in a new restaurant.” The outlet is so designed that various areas appear secluded, which is ideal for meeting and incentive groups."

Projecting a relaxed but efficient environment for corporates is Doubletree Kuala Lumpur's main aim, from wine tasting sessions in the Axis and Cellar Door lounges to the Sweet dreams by Doubletree bed with jumbo pillows and plush-top mattress and HDMI technology, allowing laptops to connect to the 32-inch TV monitor.

A location at the intersection of Jalan Ampang and Jalan Tun Razak in the city's high-profile Golden Triangle precinct, host to a flock of oil and gas companies and financing firms, makes Doubletree Kuala Lumpur a fresh choice for corporate events and networking. It has a Grand Ballroom accommodating 1,000 theatre style, plus two junior ballrooms for 530 and 470 respectively theatre style and eight breakout rooms.

A covered walkway connects the hotel to the Jalan Ampang LRT station, which then links to other parts of the city and even the KL International Airport.

For individual travellers, there is a "2 for the Price of 1" promotion, based on a two-night stay, from MYR380 (US$117) with breakfast.

For the meetings sector, they are offering "two-day delegate rates for the price of " for meetings of 10 to 50 people.

Both offers are bookable until September 30 with individual traveller stays until February 15, 2011 and delegate stays until December 31.

Doubletree Kuala Lumpur is the brand's first foray into Southeast Asia. It is already operating in China, including Beijing and Kunshan, and will also arrive in New Delhi shortly.

For more details, visit

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Sale carnival puts shoppers in a frenzy

Thousands of shoppers flocked to malls nationwide as the Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival 2010 kicked off on Saturday.

The carnival, which will run for 55 days, is an opportunity for bargain hunters to find the best deals. It ends Sept 16.

The annual sale, now in its 11th year, coincides with Hari Raya in September .

Thousands of shoppers crowding the Sogo shopping complex in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman in Kuala Lumpur for bargains as the country kicked off its annual mega sale on Saturday. The 55-day shopping carnival ends on Sept 16. — ART CHEN / The Star

With the festival, shoppers can shop for, among others, designer goods, home decor items, computer peripherals and electrical appliances.

Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said amendments to the Trade Descriptions Act 1972 would provide for stern action against traders who cheat or hike the prices of their goods.

He said the amendments were expected to be gazetted before Ramadan.

Under the amendments, traders would then be required to inform the ministry of a sale at their outlets and the list of existing prices of their goods 14 days in advance before they offer price cuts.

Shops will also have to slash the prices by at least 70% of their goods.

Ismail Sabri said the amendments were to prevent consumers from being cheated by unscrupulous traders.

Check out the 2010 Megasale Carnival HERE!

Source : STAR
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Malaysia wants visitors to shop more

MALAYSIA wants to grow shopping revenue from the current 28 per cent of total tourism revenue to 35 per cent by 2020.

To attract more foreign shoppers to the country during the Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival (MMSC) from July 24 to September 16, Tourism Malaysia overseas offices have distributed Tourist Privilege Cards from leading malls such as Sunway Pyramid and Pavilion Kuala Lumpur. These cards provide discounts on selected purchases.

Now in its 11th year, MMSC is designed to target high-yield Middle East tourists as well as those on summer holidays from countries in the northern hemisphere.

Tourism minister Dr Ng Yen Yen said: “As shopping marks a major component of tourism revenue, focus is being placed on identifying more goods to be listed under duty free and promoting the Bukit Bintang /Kuala Lumpur City Centre district as the premier shopping hub.”

In 2009, shopping revenue amounted to RM15.1 billion (US$4.7 billion) of the total tourist receipts of RM53.4 billion.

To View more SALES events click HERE

Source : TTG
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Friday, July 23, 2010

Strong Demand For Malaysia Among Arab Holidaymakers

Tour operators and airlines here and elsewhere in the Gulf region are reporting brisk business as Arab holidaymakers head abroad to escape the baking summer heat, with Malaysia being one of the favourite destinations.

Many people mothballed their vacation plans last year as the effects of the global economic and financial crisis took hold. The H1N1 scare also prompted a lot of cancellations in 2009.

But this year the travelling crowd is back, according to Tourism Malaysia Dubai director Tuan Razali Tuan Omar.

"We've noted that demand for Malaysia is very strong this summer based on feedback from the market, travel agents and airlines," he told Bernama.

Most online carriers to Malaysia had indicated good growth on their Kuala Lumpur route, with some like Emirates Airline having increased capacity to the Southeast Asian country, he said.

Tuan Razali said Emirates Holidays, the tour operating arm of Emirates and the largest wholesale tour operator in the Gulf and Middle East, registered a 43 per cent increase in the number of travellers to Malaysia during April-June this year over the same period last year.

"Feedback from tour operators in Qatar is that hotel rooms in Malaysian destinations are fully booked this summer. And many of the travel agents here are saying that it's a bit tough finding suitable apartments for customers who want to spend their holiday in Malaysia," he said, adding that three-bedroom apartments were much in demand.

Middle Easterners prefer to travel with their families and often opt to bring their maids along. With this in mind, the Malaysian government has eased entry regulations for maids travelling with their employers to Malaysia. The new rules went into effect on May 21.

Narouz Sarkies, general manager of Belhasa Tourism & Travel Co. LLC, one of the leading tour operators in the United Arab Emirates, said Malaysia should continue promoting "newer" destinations such as Sabah and Sarawak.

He said: "I've been to Malaysia and there're really a lot of nice new places to visit like Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and others, beyond favourites like Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi, Penang, Redang. In fact, we're also recommending these new destinations in Malaysia for people from this part of the world to visit," he added.

Some Dubai-based travel agents have voiced frustration over the difficulty in securing airline seats and suitable accommodation for customers.

The problem is that Arab holidaymakers are travelling at the same time this holiday season, and many prefer to be back home in time for Ramadan which is to start next month.

"The travelling period is shorter because of the fasting month. And everybody wants to go to Malaysia at the same time," Edward Soliman, sales manager at Al Fajer Travel & Tourism, explained.

He said Middle Eastern families continued to favour Malaysia over other destinations in Asia for their summer holiday.

Soliman, however, claimed that accommodation rates, especially in sought-after locations like Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur and other areas, would go up at this time of the year.

"Perhaps the relevant authorities in Malaysia need to have a little bit of control over hotel and accommodation prices because it appears that they (operators) are raising prices to very high levels," Soliman said.

He also said Malaysia Airlines should have increased the capacity to Kuala Lumpur at least for the month of July to cope with the hike in demand for seats.

Al Fajer's outbound manager, Ahmed Bader, concurred, saying that some Arab vacationers may skip Malaysia during the high season in the future if challenges in getting competitively-priced seats and accommodation were not addressed. He said if this materialised, it would be a loss to Malaysia as Arab travellers were big spenders compared to tourists from some other parts of the world.

Tourism Malaysia's Tuan Razali said indications were that airline fares would still be on the higher side even until the middle of August.

"It means that there's still demand for travel to Malaysia during Ramadan. This is a good thing because we're promoting Ramadan as well as Aidilfitri holiday among Arab travellers," he said.

The tourism official expressed hope that the trend would continue for the next few years when Ramadan also falls during the summer months.

Industry observers said that Malaysia should step up its game as other destinations like Turkey had come into the picture.

"Over the past years, Malaysia and Australia had always been among the top destinations for our business. But this year there has been a slight change. This year it's Europe, Turkey, then the Far East -- mainly Malaysia followed by Australia -- and Middle East destinations. That's the trend now," said Belhasa's Sarkies.

He also felt that there had somewhat been a decline in the level of advertising and publicity campaigns promoting Malaysia in this region.

"It was like a brainwashing exercise before. Everywhere you turned you were bombarded with the 'Malaysia Truly Asia' slogan. But I feel that this is no longer the case," Sarkies said. "Maybe it's due to budgetary constraints or other factors, I'm not sure," he added.

Despite 2009 being a challenging year for the tourism industry, Malaysia managed to attract 284,890 visitors from this region with a growth of 7.8 per cent over 2008, at 264,338. The target for 2010 is 300,000.

Meanwhile, Tuan Razali reminded Malaysian tourism industry players to maintain high standards and offer only the highest level of service to customers, including Middle Eastern tourists.

"And we do hope to provide more three-bedroom apartments to cater to tourists who come with big families. We do have them but not in sufficient numbers," he added.

Source : Bernama
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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sabah To Be Destination Of Choice In Asia For Business And Leisure

Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan says Sabah would be developed into an internationally recognised destination of choice in Asia for business and leisure by 2025 under the 18-year Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) Project.

"Tourism, logistics, agriculture and manufacturing sectors will be the main focus of SDC, and shall be guided by the NKEA in line with its key factor endowments," said Pairin when addressing more than 100 delegates from Malaysia and China at the 7th Malaysia-China Joint Business Council Meeting here today.

He was here with ministers, assistant ministers and officials from the state government and corporate leaders from Sabah to attract Chinese investment in the SDC project.

When elaborating on tourism development under the project, Pairin said, the Sabah government would turn the state as a target of high-yield and long stay visitors, with premier eco-adventure destinations, as well as a high-end second home destination with luxury holiday villas and lifestyle activities.

"Offshore islands and Kinabalu Gold Coast Enclave will be developed into high end signature resorts, together with new eco-tourism products such as wildlife safari, rainforest interpretation, island hopping and submarine diving," he said.

Lifestyle products like Mt Kinabalu lookout, MICE facilities, marinas, holiday homes, spas, wellness, healthcare centres, boutique resorts, performing arts, handicraft centres and art galleries will also be built.

He said, development would capitalize on Sabah's largest genera of marine life (cradle of coral life), oldest rainforest and colourful and diverse native population, Agro-tourism in the interior districts and wellness tourism in the highlands.

"Handicrafts and home stay will also be actively promoted to encourage local participation in tourism. To achieve this ends, a handicraft village will be established and new handicraft products such as leather craft will be introduced," he said.

As Kota Kinabalu acts as the main gateway for tourists arriving in Sabah, the waterfront area would be rehabilitated and re-developed into an iconic attraction, added Pairin.

Earlier at a meeting with officials of the Jinan Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone, Pairin invited Chinese officials to visit Sabah and look for investment opportunities in the state.

He said, investors can focus on four key sectors, namely agriculture, tourism, logistics and manufacturing.

Source : Bernama
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12 Travel Sites Temporarily Closed To Tourists

Nine marine park islands and three islands off Langkawi, Terengganu and Pahang are closed to tourists from July 2 to Oct 31 due to coral bleaching.

Marine Parks Department director-general Abdul Jamal Mydin said the coral degradation, which was caused by global warming, was worse than in 1998.

He said in Langkawi, the authorities decided to close Teluk Wangi, Pantai Damai, and Coral Garden in Pulau Payar while in Terengganu - Pulau Redang, Teluk Bakau, Pulau Tenggol, Teluk Air Tawar, Pulau Perhentian Besar and Teluk Dalam.

There other islands are in Pahang, namely Pulau Rengis, Pulau Tumok and Pulau Soyak, he told a news conference after attending a meeting on the quagmire on Wednesday.

Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab was present.

He said the department had set up a committee comprising the Tourism Malaysia, the Public Works Department, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Malaya and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to look into the problem.

Abdul Jamal said more than 500,000 local and foreign tourists visited the marine parks every year.

On Pulau Payar, he said visitors to island would be reduced by 50 per cent to 200 as a controlled measure and to reduce stress on the coral reef.

Only three locations on Pulau Payar are closed to visitors, he said, adding that restriction on other islands had yet to be decided.

Source : bernama
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pullman Kuala Lumpur is Hiring

Pullman Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the newest 5 star in Bangsar is opening middle of 2011 with more than 500 rooms and 7 FxB outlets. We are looking for the top executive positions;

- Hotel Manager, a specialist in 5 star hotels in Asia, with Shangri-la, Hilton, Hyatt or Sofitel Experiences. Single, specialist of ecommerce et revenue management.

- Chief Engineer, huge experience in pre-opening.

- Director of Sales ,Marketing and Distribution, a specialist in corporate and banqueting business, huge experience in Malaysia with City Centre hotels if possible 5 star international.

- Room Div Mgr, able to manage a team of 200 staffs, 3 front offices areas, 525 rooms, Opera system, experience in 5 star plus hotel in Asia

- Front Office Manager, a reference in Hotel with proper management including check-in and check-out by our own Kiosks ATM systems.

- Housekeeper, M/F, executive with point to detail, experience in Sofitel or Pullman is a must.

- PA to General Manager. a top executive able to assist teh GM in all dally operations.

For all positions please contact our existing hotel in Malaysia via who will foward right candidates. Candidates without any news within 10 days may consider their file as rejected.

Source : Ehotelier
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Launching the Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival at Sg Wang

More products should be made duty free to make shopping attractive for tourists.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said the shopping component of tourism had registered RM15.11bil, or a 28.3% share of tourism revenue.

She added Malaysia was aiming to hit 35% by 2020.

“Duty free or tax exemption on a wider range of goods is vital to positioning Malaysia as a duty-free shopping destination that will be at par with the popular neighbouring countries,” she said.

Dr Ng was speaking at the launch of the Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival, which will run for eight weeks from July 24 to Sept 16.

“Currently, not all goods are duty free. For example, a leather handbag. If entirely leather, the handbag may be duty free. But if it has a metal buckle, some additional thing at the back, then it is in a different category,” she said.

“If we want to be a major shopping player in the world, we should simplify this. All handbags should be made (duty free), regardless of what buckles they have.” As shopping is one of the major thrusts in tourism, Dr Ng said it was important to keep the price of goods competitive.

Besides shopping, 31% of tourism revenue went to accommodation and another 17% to food, she said.

She said her ministry aimed to attract 36 million tourists by 2020, with an estimate revenue of RM168bil. The target this year is 24 million tourist arrivals and RM55bil in tourism receipts.

Kicking it off: Dr Ng launching the Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival at Sg Wang Plaza, Kuala Lumpur, yesterday. Also present were (from left to right) Tourism Ministry deputy secretary-general Datuk Haji Ab Ghaffar A.Tambi, Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit, Sungai Wang Chairman Yong Kei Seng and Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab.

On a related matter, Dr Ng said a star-rating system on tourism products, including eco-tourism attractions, would be implemented. The products would be judged according to quality, infrastructure and management.

View 2010 Malaysia Mega Sale

Source : STAR
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Malaysia makes top 5 in Asia Pacific meetings ranking

Kuala Lumpur leaped five spots to the 22nd position in the latest ICCA, International Congress and Convention Association city rankings, from 61 meetings (2008) to 72 meetings (2009), thereby placing it among the five leading meetings destination in Asia Pacific. Other cities in the top five include Singapore, Beijing, Seoul and Bangkok.

In the ICCA country rankings, Malaysia moved up one spot from 32nd in 2008 (87 meetings) to 31st with 92 meetings.

Commenting on the achievement, Mr Zulkefli Hj Sharif, CEO, Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) said, “The latest ICCA rankings reflect a growth in Malaysia’s association meetings business amidst challenging economic conditions last year.

“This is testimony to the growing popularity of the country as an international meetings destination and a recognition of Malaysia’s unique selling points by associations and meeting planners globally. This includes our strong track record for hosting successful meetings, excellent value for money proposition, world-class infrastructure and our warm Malaysian hospitality."

Mr Zulkefli added, “The improved city and country rankings are a result of stronger collaboration between MyCEB and its local industry partners in bid development and joint promotional efforts.

“The addition of new infrastructure in place, the upgrading and refurbishment exercises of hotels around the country, especially in Kuala Lumpur, has also helped us to grow the business for Malaysia.”

According to Mr Noor Ahmad Hamid, ICCA’s Regional Director Asia Pacific, “The annual ICCA rankings are much anticipated by convention destinations who use it as their benchmark or Key Performance Indicator (KPI). The competition is tough with new, emerging destinations who are proving their capabilities as host of international association meetings.”

In 2009, Malaysia welcomed over 1.18 million overseas business event visitors, contributing an estimated RM10 billion (USD3.1 billion, EUR2.5 billion, AUD3.6 billion) in visitor spend to the local economy. Some of the association meetings hosted include the 6th World Chambers Congress (1,056 delegates), 14th International Conference on Thinking (1,500 delegates) and the 7th Congress of Asian Pacific Society of Hypertension (1,500 delegates).

Source : Travel Daily News
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Tourism Ministry To List More Duty Free Items To Make Malaysia Shopping Destination

The Tourism Ministry hopes to identify more goods to be listed under duty free items to make Malaysia a preferred shopping destination for tourists, said its minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.

She said shopping has been recognised as a major contributor to Malaysia's tourism industry.

"We want to be a mega shopping player in the world and working hard to make Malaysia a duty free country for goods. I am not saying that goods in Malaysia are the cheapest, but it is value for money," she told reporters after launching the Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival 2010, here Tuesday.

The Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival will be held from Saturday to Sept 16 and Yen Yen expressed satisfaction with tour operators for promoting the Mega Sales event to countries like Vietnam, India, the Middle East, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan by including shopping as part of their tour packages.

She said tour operators had worked together with hotels, airlines, shopping complexes to promote the mega sale, which included offering discounts to those who took up the packages.

Yen Yen said from January to May this year, the number of tourists arrivals had grown by 4.2 percent from 9 million to 9.6 million tourists, generating revenue of RM13 billion.

Last year, the July Mega Sales attracted 6.3 million tourist, which was an increase of 12.4 percent compared with the same period in 2008, where Malaysia only received 5.37 million tourist, she said.

From the total tourist arrivals last year, shopping activities generated a revenue of RM15.11 billion to the country, she added.

Source : Bernama
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Malls eye RM63b shopping revenue from tourists

Malaysian Association of Shopping and Highrise Complex Management expects foreign tourists to spend RM63 billion on shopping in 2020.

Foreign tourists are expected to spend a whopping RM58.89 billion shopping in the country in 2020, accounting for 35 per cent of the total foreign exchange receipts of RM168 billion then.

But local malls expect to ring up a little more than that. Malaysian Association of Shopping and Highrise Complex Management (PPK) president H.C. Chan expects foreign tourists to spend RM63 billion on shopping in 2020.

This is four times more than what was achieved in 2009 from shopping at RM14.94 billion, from a total foreign exchange earnings of RM53.37 billion.
Last year, for every RM100 spent by a visitor, 28 per cent went into shopping or a total of RM631 per person.

This compares with the top two shopping destinations in the region - Singapore and Hong Kong. The 2020 target set by the Malaysian government is similar to Singapore's where each visitor spent 35 per cent or RM988 on shopping, while in Hong Kong they spent 57 per cent or RM1,311.

"We are confident that today's 28 per cent tourist spending in shopping can be increased to 40 per cent level by 2020, as there is a tremendous potential and strong upside to move up tourist spending in malls," Chan told Business Times in an interview.

The mall beneficiaries of the tourist dollar now include Suria KLCC and Sunway Pyramid, where tourist spending can be between a fifth and a third of total sales derived by the mall. Tourists spend two to three times more than locals and in terms of absolute numbers, the amount is substantial.

One way of getting tourists to buy more in Malaysia is by making Malaysia more competitive. Duties on imported branded items are now as high as 30 per cent.

Chan feels that even if duties were not removed completely but reduced, it will create an incentive for people to spend more as what they will be buying is cheaper.

Operating costs are already competitive as mall rental rates in Malaysia are 25 per cent lower than in Singapore. As such, a product can be priced much lower if duties are reduced.

"Tourists need to feel that they are saving 10 per cent to 30 per cent if they shop in Malaysia," he said. "We hope something substantial or a breakthrough will result from the ongoing National Key Economic Areas (NKEA) Tourist Lab where key industry players and stakeholders are represented including PPK," he added.

The Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) under the Prime Minister's Department, is facilitating the NKEA Labs.

Source : Business Times
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Thursday, July 15, 2010

AirAsia flew more passengers than MAS last year

Budget airline AirAsia overtook national carrier Malaysia Airlines (MAS) last year in terms of overall passenger volume, the Dewan Rakyat was told Wednesday.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said AirAsia flew 15.23 million passengers last year compared to the 13.87 million recorded by MAS.

Of the AirAsia passengers, 7.2 million were international passengers while 8.03 million were domestic passengers, he said in a written reply to a question from Loke Siew Fook (DAP-Rasah).

Of the MAS passengers, 7.37 million were international passengers and 6.5 million, domestic passengers, he added.

Source : STAR
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Success of tourism industry in hands of all: Tourism Minister

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen has suggested that each state in the country set up a theme park featuring its own uniqueness and specialties.

"I believe theme parks have very good potential to attract repeat visitors and also boost domestic tourism in the 13 states of Malaysia," she told the media after launching the Asian Attraction Expo 2010, on Wednesday.

Dr Ng said currently, the country's 28 theme parks were concentrated on the west coast of the peninsula such as in Selangor, Malacca and in Genting Highlands, Pahang.

"We don't have any in the east coast at all, so we are looking at this. It is not a matter of how many theme parks we have. They can be of medium size but the most important is to provide a niche product," she said.

Dr Ng said she would be interested to discuss the matter with some states and urged the private sector to take the lead in building theme parks.

On the three-day expo organised by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), she said it would provide a good opportunity to learn more about the industry.

Over 200 suppliers from around the world are participating in the expo.

Source : Bernama
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Success of tourism industry in hands of all: Tourism Minister

Attracting more tourists to Malaysia requires industry players to be creative and innovative in providing niche products and services that cater for various markets, including the corporate sector.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said her ministry was prepared to assist with policies and guidelines for the industry and was willing to play its part. but ultimately the success and continued growth of the industry was in the hands of the players and all Malaysians.

“There needs to be a change in mindset of all Malaysians in terms of safety, security, hygiene and respect for the environment.

“For industry players, there needs to be self drive to look at creative and innovative ways to grow the industry,” she said yesterday at the second dialogue with industry players themed Malaysia Tourism Transformation Plan 2020 towards 36:168.

Ng said 36:168 represented Malaysia’s target of 36 million tourists and RM168bil in tourism receipts by 2020, the year Malaysia has set to achieve developed status.

“It’s a big challenge but achieveable if we are creative, innovative and competitive by developing niche and attractive packages for various segments of the tourist market, especially those with higher disposable income,” she said.

Ng said conscious consumption was a new tourism trend as consumers sought ecological and culturally sensitive travel products as well as meaningful experiences.

She cited several successful innovative tourist packages such as the homestay programme. “The homestay programme earned income totalling RM4.9mil in 2009 and up to May this year, we had 159 homestays nationwide with a total of 2,984 houses offering 3,008 rooms. A total of 70,417 visitors have experienced these homestays, of whom 17,842 were foreigners. Income earned during this period (January to May) was RM4.1mil,” she noted.

Ng said industry players should be cognisant of changing trends and offer travel packages to met tourists’ expectations.

She said to achieve the 36:168 target industry players needed to focus on capturing a bigger slice of the high-end tourist market, especially those in the business community as Malaysia’s good infrastructure was well suited to attract these individuals.

“With the creation of meaningful and high-value products, accompanied by excellence in service, the tourism industry will be able to attract greater numbers of high net-worth tourists willing to pay premium prices for first-rate experiences,” Ng said.

For the first quarter of this year, Malaysia registered a total of 5.75 million tourists, an increase of 5.3% compared with the same period in 2009.

Source : STAR [tags : ]

Friday, July 09, 2010

Malaysian Airlines-MITM Travel Fair 2010 Expects 60,000 Visitors

The Malaysia Airlines-MITM Travel Fair 2010 is expected to have a visitor turnout of 60,000 with sales turnover exceeding at least RM50 million.

Chairman of Malaysian International Travel Mart (MITM) 2010 organising committee and President of Malaysian Chinese Tourism Association (MCTA), Paul Paw said the event scheduled from August 13 to 15, will be staged at the Mid Valley Exhibition Centre.

"It will bring together tourism products under one roof," Paw said during the soft launch of the Malaysia Airlines-MITM Travel Fair 2010 here Thursday.

He also said that for the first time in the history of MITM travel fair, all booths were sold out in 14 days from the date it opened for registration in mid April this year.

"Over 40 travel agents are participating in the event. Tourism Malaysia has also taken six booths in this fair."

Meanwhile, the director general of Tourism Malaysia, Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab said the Malaysia Airlines-MITM Travel Fair could be a platform to promote tourism in Malaysia particularly among domestic travellers.

"From past experience, it's domestic travellers who had helped to sustain the tourism industry especially during economic crisis," Mirza said.

The government has set the target of positioning Malaysia among the top 10 global tourist destinations by 2015, he added.

Source : Bernama
[tags : ]

Sabah expects RM8bil tourism revenue

SABAH is confident of reaping RM8bil in tourism revenue by 2015, said its Tourism Board chairman Datuk Seri Tengku Zainal Adlin Tengku Mahmood.

He said the target was achievable based on the gradual but steady growth in tourist arrivals over the past few years. The state recorded 2.3 million in arrivals and RM4bil in tourism revenue last year.

“Our projection is reasonable. Air accessibility is a key to our success. Our Kota Kinabalu International Airport will be able to handle up to 12 million passengers annually once its expansion and upgrading work, is completed in August. Currently, it accommodates only about 4.6 million passengers,” he said when met at the Sabah-Labuan Corporate Travel Bazaar in George Town recently.

The one-day bazaar at Cititel Hotel was jointly organised by Tourism Malaysia (Sabah) and Sabah Tourism Board and designed to market travel packages of Sabah and Labuan to the business community in Peninsular Malaysia.

A total of 19 participants from the Sabah travel trade fraternity were present to provide information to more than 100 representatives of corporate and government agencies from Penang, Kedah, Perak, Perlis and southern Thailand.

The state recorded a slight increase in foreign and domestic tourists arrivals for the first four month of this year. The number of foreign tourists increased by 15.4% to 154,000 in comparison with 134,000 recorded last year. Domestic tourist arrivals also in-creased to 525,000, or 4%, from 505,000 last year.

Tengku Zainal Adlin said another 6,000 hotel rooms would be ready by 2012 to complement the existing 18,000 rooms in the state.

“Another aspect we were looking into is flight arrangement. We need more direct flights from Penang.”

Tourism Malaysia Sabah director Roslan Abdullah said Sabah was placing a strong emphasis in tapping the MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and expositions) market. “The MICE industry is an important segment of tourism in Malaysia. Penang has many multi-national companies, so, we would certainly want to tap into that,” he said.

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Tourism Challenge

MALAYSIA is a relatively new player in the field of tourism. The upgrading of promotional activities started only when the Tourism and Culture Ministry was established in 1987.

At that time, the country was little known to the rest of the world. Those responsible had not only to deal with the task of creating awareness but also with the fact that the country had to compete against several more mature markets in the region.

The tourism industry has undergone rapid development over the past decade. The industry has grown from strength to strength to become a leading revenue generator as well as a significant contributor to the nation’s economic growth.

Recognising this, the government has placed great emphasis on tourism product development by continuously upgrading the infrastructure, the quality of existing products as well as developing new tourism products that can capture a bigger share of the world tourism market.

At the same time, I hope more and more of our people and the frontliners will continue to provide value-added services to tourists. I also hope more emphasis will be given to inculcate the spirit of “Think Tourism” among our industry players and those in the hospitality sector.

The government, under the 10th Malaysia Plan, is targeting to improve Malaysia’s position to be within the top 10 in terms of global tourism receipts by 2015. According to the Minister of Tourism, the ministry would focus on attracting a larger share of high-end travellers capturing a bigger share of high-growth segments and increasing the number of tourist arrivals, in order to achieve the 2015 target.

There are, of course, many issues and challenges ahead that have to be resolved. One of the major ones is the fragile global economic recovery. Government budget allocations for the purpose of promoting tourism is not unlimited. So, it is vital that the right priorities be exercised.

It is equally important to ensure the maximisation of positive results in promotional expenditure. Those involved in the industry have questioned the wisdom of some of the high-cost domestic promotion activities. They argued that the expenditure could have been better utilised in promotional events in the relevant foreign markets. They have also commented that some of the activities carried out in the country were not within the scope of the tourism authorities.

For instance, critics have been wondering about the accommodation for our visitors. Last year, 23.6 million tourists visited the country and there are only 2,373 hotels and 168,844 rooms nationwide. That raises the question, “Where do the rest of the tourists stay?”

Clearly, not all are accommodated in the hotels and resorts. While certain tourists prefer home stays, others could have taken up service apartments, holiday homes, and such.

On that note, there should be a way to keep tabs and traceable records or a complete database of where the rest of these tourists are staying.

In another scenario, the long list of annual sporting events that are highlighted under sports tourism raises many doubts as to the relevance and its return on investments. For instance, is the Le Tour de Langkawi or the F1 race at the Sepang International Circuit contributing to the national economy?

Looking at the trends, it seems that even after a decade had passed, these sporting events are still dependant on generous handouts and financial sponsorships from the various government agencies and government-linked corporations.

Ironically, if such events claim to be sustainable enough, then they should not be dependent on others for financial aid. Otherwise, the ethical move is to have these events dropped altogether.

Similar trends or practices are also observed with the yachting and sailing events where financial sponsorship from government agencies and the public are sought, year after year.

Likewise, other sporting activities like golfing should be given similar consideration. Apparently, the golfing industry in the country should not be too dependent on foreign labour (caddies, staffing, etc).

While we welcome every effort to promote Malaysia through the various activities and events, many find it rather confusing when these events transgressed other boundaries.

For instance, the Colours of Malaysia, the Pesta Air and the Chelsea Flower Show all should have been organised and promoted by the former Ministry of Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage and the present Ministry of Agriculture, Horticulture and Agrotourism, respectively.

The Colours of Malaysia has always been a cultural representation of the country’s rich multi-racial communities through songs, dances and cuisine. This celebration is also to highlight the various cultural differences of the 13 States in Malaysia.

But the irony is, “Since it is a cultural event, wouldn’t it be appropriate if it were to be placed under the purview of the former Ministry of Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage? Reason being, such a ministry was well-positioned as the proper custodian or gatekeeper to promote the various cultures of Malaysia.

Furthermore, the venue for the Colours of Malaysia has always been an issue. Sometimes, it is staged in a stadium and sometimes it is portrayed as a street parade spanning from Dataran Merdeka to Jalan Raja Laut and Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman. The decision changes each time Malaysia receives a new tourism minister.

The changing of venues must indeed incur heavy costs. Quite frankly, one does not have to look far to realise that staging the Colours of Malaysia as a street parade could easily incur higher costs than hosting the same event in a stadium. One wonders just how much of this cost really goes down to the infrastructure, props or the site preparation (no such costs are required if it is staged in a stadium).

Of late, the Tourism Ministry has been subscribing to the practice of scrapping good events and replacing it with other “unrelated” ones without any proper study or market feedback.

One really wonders, “Whatever happened to the Pesta Air Malaysa?” Instead, we find ourselves promoting a new product. The Chelsea Flower Show has raised a few eyebrows in the industry. Some critics are asking ”Why are we into it?”

No doubt Malaysia managed to secure a gold medal in the recent Chelsea Flower Show after spending RM2 million for the sophisticated landscaping and floral arrangements by an ethnobotanist, James Wong. But what the ministry failed to realise is that Malaysia’s recent participation has raised a high level of expectancy on our parks and gardens.

Having said that, now everyone knows that you can never get a similar garden like the ones showcased at the Chelsea Flower Show in any of the parks in Kuala Lumpur. Just visualise tourists bound for Malaysia, who are now expecting to catch at least a “similar” garden and park in the open spaces of Kuala Lumpur and your guess is as good as mine… they will be disappointed!

There are indeed many tourism issues that I would like to highlight. Tourism products are deteriorating — you cannot swim in the sea off Port Dickson, Penang, Cherating and Malacca, and corals are dying off Tioman Island, Redang Island and Paya Island off Langkawi.

Pollution is a big problem. We also have to limit the number of visitors to fragile areas. We cannot have a thousand visitors visiting Paya Island when the carrying capacity is only, say, 300 visitors a day. Thus, the pollution will kill the corals and reduce the fish population there.

There is also lack of enforcement and maintenance in these areas. Sewage, grey water, household and restaurant waste are being discharged into drains polluting the water. Most of our rivers are getting more and more polluted due to no laws to reduce and control household discharge into drains and rivers.

Two beautiful nature sites — Lake Chini and Taman Negara — have been spoilt by over-development. Lake Chini was damaged by building a dam to raise the water level to make it easier for boats to access and by killing most of the trees surrounding the lake and until today, the place has not recovered and no one takes responsibility.

Taman Negara gives a bad taste to visitors as floating restaurants discharge their waste straight into the pristine river and illegal hotels and guest houses discharge poorly-treated sewage into the river. There is no proper control of development and pollution.

Tourists do have a bad image of Malaysia when more and more cases of snatch thefts are happening in places like Penang, Johor Baru, Malacca and Kuala Lumpur. Even poorer countries like Myanmar and Cambodia do not have such problems.

As is widely known, the tourism industry is the second-largest foreign exchange earner to the country. So, the stakeholders have to continue to strive hard to ensure that the industry remains sustainable.

• TAN Sri Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman is currently a practicing advocate and solicitor. He was previously the chief executive officer of Malaysia Airlines for 20 years. Prior to this, he was the judicial and legal officer in the government for 10 years.

Source : Malay Mail
[tags : ]

Envoys see potential in Malaysia’s medical tourism

Ambassadors from Middle East countries see great potential in Malaysia promoting medical tourism to their home countries.

“They have been going to Singapore and the United States for medical treatment and the bills are getting higher. They are interested to come to Malaysia,” said MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek.

This was relayed to Dr Chua during his series of meetings with some ambassadors since he took over as the party president in March.

He met with the ambassadors from Middle East countries and North Korea at Wisma MCA here yesterday. The ambassadors also informed Dr Chua that more could be done to attract Chinese businessmen from Malaysia to invest in Middle East countries.

“I told them that there is hardly any information from their countries about trade promotions, and that they need to do more promotion,” he said.

On North Korea, Dr Chua said the delegates had invited the party to visit the country and he promised to respond accordingly.

MCA, said the president, would continue to foster good relationship with ambassadors and look for overseas investment opportunities for local businessmen.

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

7 August - 30 September 2010 : Nikko Mid City Deal

7 August - 30 September 2010
Nikko Mid City Deal
RM355++ Per room per night
with Extra Valued Added Priviliges
as highlighted below
Hotel Nikko Kuala Lumpur
Tel 603 2161 1111 Website Down from 9-11 July 2010 will be having a System Upgrade and their online booking reservation website will be temporarily unavailable from 1300 9 July 2010 to 1800 11 July 2010.

The following services will not be available

  • Flight Bookings via

  • AirAsia Sales & Offices & Counters

  • AirAsia Call Centre

  • Manage My Booking

  • Self Check-In

Please work around the down time of

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Malaysia Airlines Compensated RM329 Million For A380 Delay

Malaysia Airlines received RM329 million in compensation from Airbus following the delay in delivering the A380 aircraft, the Dewan Rakyat was told Tuesday.

Malaysia Airlines' first A380 aircraft was supposed to have been delivered in 2007.

Deputy Transport Minister Jelaing Mersat said after several delays, Airbus informed the airlines that the aircraft would be delivered in August 2011 but that too had run into a delay.

The aircraft would now be delivered in April 2012, he said.

"Malaysia Airlines received a one-off payment of RM329 million," he said in reply to Hee Loy Sian (PKR-Petaling Jaya Selatan) who wanted to know when the first A380 would be delivered to Malaysia Airlines and whether compensation was paid following the delay.

To Hee's supplementary question on the upgrading works at KL International Airport to accommodate the superjumbo, Jelaing said it involved a cost of RM115.5 million.

Source : Bernama
[tags : ]

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

iPad takes the travel industry by storm

The versatile iPad. Courtesy of

Let your fingers do the flying with MHkiosks

Malaysia Airlines and the air transport IT specialist, SITA, have launched the world’s first self-service kiosks to sell airline tickets using the Apple iPad.

The iPads come pre-installed with the Mhmobile app, which customers can se to book and pay for tickets, as well as to check in three simple steps – select the flights, make payment with a credit card and receive confirmation via SMS and email.

Customers can also use the MHkiosk to look up flight schedules, check on their flight status, choose their seats and search for deals and offers.

Malaysia Airlines Managing Director and CEO, Tengku Dato’ Azmil Zahruddin said the kiosks would help manage queues. “It will mean better queue management at our ticket offices during peak hours when customers can be re-directed to ‘stand-alone’ iPad MHkiosks.”

The new iPhone augmented reality application, MHdeals, will also be available online soon in the Apple AppStore and demonstrates, for the first time, how airlines can exploit the technology commercially as a new channel to customers for ticket sales.

Jim Peters, SITA Chief Technology Officer, explained that MHdeals is an iPhone augmented reality application that uses the GPS to determine your location and display the nearest airports from which you can access great deals.

“You simply hold the phone in front of you to view the surrounding airports and select one to view flight offers. Passengers can then book their flights through the MHmobile application which SITA Lab developed and launched for Malaysia Airlines last year,” he added.

• Note: MHkiosk is currently available at the Malaysia Airlines ticket office, Kuala Lumpur City Air Terminal and Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station.

Free iPad service at Langham Place Hotel

Langham Place Hotel in Mongkok, Hong Kong is now offering a free roaming iPad service for guests.

The iPads are loaded with Langham Place’s own Hong Kong city guide, a Cantonese-English translator of must-know phrases, to-the-minute maps of Hong Kong, an intimate guide to using the Mass Transit Railway, as well as a restaurant locator and information on how to match Hong Kong delicacies with wine.

Tech-savvy guests are able to “check-out” the iPads for 24-hours at a time.

Langham Place Hotel’s general manager, Shaun Campbell, said, “The hotel is surrounded by a Wi-Fi bubble so guests can take the iPads anywhere in the hotel – by the pool, at the bar, or in their room.”

Guests can also browse the web, check emails, flick through the latest magazines or sit poolside skimming through one of the pre-loaded e-books – all free of charge.

The hotel’s x team (concierge) is also equipped with iPads to provide interactive information on the city’s must-see and must-do attractions.

The iPads for guest use are accessible free of charge, regardless of room type for a 24-hour time period.

An iPad for a menu

The Global Mundo Tapas eatery at Rydges Hotel in North Sydney, Australia, has replaced its printed menus with the iPad for its customers to order their meals.

Rydges Hotel’s general manager Craig Simpson, said having such a unique menu is “One of the points of difference for our restaurant”.

He bought 15 iPads, getting 10 from Adelaide on launch day (May 28) when the highly sought-after gizmo went on sale outside United States. Each cost A$629 (US$531).

“It’s the cost of doing business,” said Simpson.

An iPad app enables diners to flick on the screen to browse the menu, which comes with photographs and tasting notes. Press a button and the order is placed.

The hotel plans to add new features to the iPad, which include pop-up boxes recommending wines to go with the meals and stock-control mechanisms to delete sold-out items from the menu.

According to the hotel’s f
ood and beverage manager, Fareid Taheri, the menu had been well received. 

“It’s something to play with while you order,” he said.

Source : Transit Cafe
[tags : ]

Low-cost carriers like AirAsia X versus full-service carriers like SIA

AirAsia Bhd and Qantas Airways Ltd are challenging Singapore Airlines Ltd and other full-service carriers with a low-fare, long-haul business model that has previously failed.

Qantas’s Jetstar unit will add budget long-haul flights from Singapore later this year. The carrier cuts costs by renting movies to passengers and using lightweight equipment to pare fuel usage. AirAsia X, which flew more than 1 million passengers in 2009, squeezes 35% more seats onto its planes than full-service carriers to pare expenses.

The two carriers also have support from existing airlines, with AirAsia X able to access flights to about 70 cities from its Kuala Lumpur hub through cooperation with AirAsia, Asia’s largest budget carrier. These ties may help the long-haul carriers avoid the fate of stand-alones Oasis Hong Kong Airlines Ltd and London-based Zoom Airlines, which both folded in 2008.

“Long haul, low cost is transforming the whole aviation landscape in Asia,” said K. Ajith, an analyst at UOB-Kay Hian Research in Singapore. “Budget carriers may be a force to reckon with in the future because if they have a strong network and are viable, they can potentially lure passengers from established carriers.”

Long-haul discount airlines differ from Southwest Airlines Co and Ryanair Holdings Plc because they offer flights of more than five hours and have premium-class seats. AirAsia X, part-owned by AirAsia, flies twin-aisle Airbus SAS planes to London and Australia, and it’s planning services to Japan and South Korea. Jetstar intends to begin Singapore-Melbourne flights in December followed by services to Auckland in March. It’s also planning flights to European and Asian destinations.

“There seems to be a market for long-haul discount travel if prices are low enough,” said Sean Fenton, who helps manage US$740mil at Tribeca Investment Partners in Sydney. “It’s a threat to the incumbent carriers.”

AirAsia X charges from about RM1,286 for a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Stansted Airport, 12km outside of central London. An economy ticket on Malaysian Airline System Bhd (MAS), the nation’s largest carrier, to Heathrow Airport costs from about RM2,104. Singapore Airlines charges from about S$1,486 (RM3,429) for a Singapore-Heathrow coach-class ticket.

Singapore Airlines serves “different market segments with different service propositions,” Nicholas Ionides, a spokesman, said in an e-mail reply to Bloomberg questions.

MAS doesn’t intend to compete directly with the lowest fares rivals are offering to safeguard margins, chief executive officer Tengku Azmil Zahruddin said in an e-mail. The airline was targeting customers who didn’t make decisions based on price alone, he said.

AirAsia X, which last year had its first annual profit since starting flights in 2007, had gained from AirAsia’s feeder traffic, said chief executive officer Azran Osman Rani. Oasis Hong Kong, which flew to London and Vancouver, and trans-atlantic carrier Zoom, didn’t have similar partners.

Relying on a point-to-point market “will be a real killer because there won’t be enough people flying every day,” Azran said. “That’s why the Oasis of the world really struggled.”

Jetstar, which operates domestic flights within Australia and services to Japan, has code-shares with Qantas and a partnership with Air France-KLM Group, Europe’s largest carrier.

AirAsia X cuts costs by using fewer attendants per flight than full-service carriers because it only loads and serves hot meals that customers have ordered, Azran said. That saves the carrier as much as US$100 per passenger, he said. Jetstar also formed a venture with AirAsia in January aimed at lowering costs for spare parts and ground-handling services.

AirAsia X’s costs were 2.8 cents per available seat kilometer last year, Azran said. Jetstar had costs of 6.8 Australian cents (5.7 cents) in the six months ended December, said chief executive officer Bruce Buchanan. The carrier made twice as much profit as the Qantas mainline business in that period.

Costs at Singapore Airlines, including premium and economy cabins, averaged 8.7 Singapore cents (6.2 cents) last year, according to Bloomberg calculations on figures from the carrier.

Jetstar plans to boost its fleet to about 100 aircraft by 2015 from 65 as of June. AirAsia X aims to increase its twin-aisle fleet to 20 planes from eight over the same period, as it strives to more than triple sales.

Including short-haul routes, budget carriers may account for 30% of Asia-Pacific capacity by 2015 from 20% now, said Derek Sadubin, chief operating officer at the Sydney-based Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation.

Singapore Airlines may be shielded from budget competition by its reliance on premium passengers, who account for about 40% of revenue, said Ng Sem Guan, an analyst at OSK Research Sdn in Kuala Lumpur. “There’s always demand for luxury things such as Mercedes Benz,” he said. Singapore Airlines is “a different animal” from low-cost carriers.”

Travelers now flying economy-class with full-service airlines may also be reluctant to give up frills just for a cheaper ticket, said Rohan Suppiah, an analyst at Kim Eng Securities Pte in Singapore. “Do you really want to sit for hours in a budget configuration?” he said. “This model will probably only appeal to customers who are very price-sensitive.”

Zoom stopped flying in August 2008 about a year after it began London-New York flights, crippled by competition and rising fuel costs. Oasis Hong Kong, which halted services after 17 months of flying, entered liquidation in June 2008 with about a HK$1bil of debts.

Stephen Miller, who was Oasis’s chief executive officer, said there was “great potential in Asia” for low-cost long-haul because of the high costs at full-service carriers.

“But it’s a tough business until you get a name, a certain percentage of the market and a critical mass of aircraft,” he said. — Bloomberg

Source : STAR
[tags : ]

Easier transfer between KLIA terminals for connecting passengers

SHUTTLE coaches will ply the airside between the Kuala Lumpur International Airport's low-cost carrier terminal and main terminal building by this year-end, providing easier transfers for passengers with connecting flights.

Malaysia Airports Holdings senior general manager operation services Azmi Murad said the new service would save the approximately 500 passengers shuttling between the two terminals everyday a 15-minute drive.

However, passengers would still have to carry their luggage from one terminal building to another and check-in again for their connecting flight, as interlining facilities would not yet be available.

Source : TTG
[tags : ]

MAS provides online booking to seven cities

There will be less hassle for Malaysia Airlines customers travelling to seven cities in Europe as they can now book tickets online.

MAS said customers departing or arriving in Barcelona and Madrid in Spain; Munich and Frankfurt (Germany); Brussels (Belgium); Geneva (Switzerland) and Athens (Greece) can purchase their tickets online at from July 11.

The national carrier already serves these cities via Rome, through a partnership with Alitalia. MAS offers three weekly non-stop flights to Rome. Previously, customers could only purchase tickets at MAS’ ticketing offices or from travel agents.

MAS senior general manager (commercial strategy) Dr Amin Khan said by offering online booking for the destinations, customers can enjoy more convenience and seamless connectivity. “These complete our offering of online bookings for United Kingdom and Europe as customers are already enjoying online booking for code share flights with KLM Royal Dutch Airline and British Midlands. Collectively, we offer our customers 22 code share destinations,” he said in a statement yesterday,

From Rome, Alitalia provides thrice weekly connectivity to Barce-lona, Madrid, Munich, Frankfurt, Brussels, Geneva and Athens. MAS also offers five times weekly non-stop flights between Kuala Lumpur and Frankfurt.

Source : Bernama
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