Saturday, April 30, 2011


About 40 representatives from various tourism NGOs were assembled at the SPAD headquarters at One Sentral yesterday morning to take part in a dailogue with Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar, Chairman of the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) and several senior officials.

In his opening speech Tan Sri Syed Hamid welcomed the move by the Malaysia Tourism Federation to be engaged in a continuous dailogue with SPAD and this he hoped will be carried out on a sustainable basis in order that we can further improve the land transport system in the country. SPAD doors will be opened to any suggestion to improve the public transport system and encourage the use of them by the general public.

He added that all license holders of public service vehicles, goods vehicles and tourism vehicles are required to re-register with the Land Public Transport Commission between 1st April and 30 September 2011. The re-registration is a requirement as stipulated in the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board Amendment Act 2010. The ultimate objective of the re-registration is to regulate the industry to improve the land public transport in Malaysia for the benefit of the Rakyat.

With this exercise, the Commission will be able to identify the current status of licensees. This will help the Commission take action against inactive and problematic licensees. The re-registration exercise is applicable to license holders within the Malaysian Peninsular only.

Failure of licensees to re-register will result in the revocation of the license. All licensees are advised to re-register as soon as possible so that all licenses can be processed within the stipulated time.

Any enquiries pertaining to this matter and any other enquiries can made to the toll free line of SPAD at 1800-88-9600 or the official website

NGO representatives raised a wide ranging issues on licensing matters during the 2 hour session and they were extremely happy with the answers given by SPAD.

Dato Setia Dr Joshua Tan, President of MTF in his opening remarks thanked Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar for having spent the entire morning with members of the industry to discuss various issues relating to tourism land transport matters and said this augurs well for the future of the industry. MTF he said will continue to support any move by SPAD to imporve the public transport system of the country.

Friday, April 29, 2011


The appreciation of the ringgit against the US dollar will not deter tourists from spending in Malaysia as there are an abundance of attractively priced duty-free goods and services worth buying, said Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.

She said in other countries which are also experiencing strong currency rates like Australia, they are still enjoying a good spending pattern.

"In 2010, Australians were the highest spenders using MasterCard for shopping, followed by countries like Singapore, Indonesia, United States of America and the United Kingdom," she told reporters after opening the Chistofle Haute Orfevre exhibition here, Wednesday.

The ringgit continued its upward momentum today against the greenback to close at 2.97.

The stronger ringgit was in line with Asian currencies continuing speculation that the central banks in the region would raise interest rates to ease inflation.

Ng said the shopping revenue for Malaysia was about RM16.2 billion in receipt last year, a 7.3 percent increase compared with RM15.1 billion in 2009.

Commenting on Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Malaysia, Ng said it would strengthen bilateral investments and tourism between both countries.

"It is very significant to reflect the close relationship between China and Malaysia. I believe from here, bilateral investments and tourism will definitely grow," she said.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


The Johor tourism sector will be given a boost over the next two years with the opening of the Johor Premium Outlet in Indahpura, near Kulaijaya, in November and Legoland in Nusajaya next year.

State Tourism, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman, Hoo Seong Chang, said the shopping mall and the theme park would be the latest tourist attractions to Johor.

"The Johor Premium Outlet will be ready in September and will house 100 shops with 85 brands. So this year, will be a good year to promote Johor," he told reporters after chairing the state tourism committee meeting here Monday.

Hoo said that Johor recorded 1.6 million tourist arrival last year, from 1.5 million in 2009.

As of March this year, a total of 3.9 million tourist arrivals had been recorded in the state, he added.

In another development, Hoo said the state government would set up an information tourist centre in Batu Pahat and Segamat to make it easier for tourists to obtain information, including places of interests, in both the districts.

"The setting up of this centre is crucial to promote places of interests in the affected districts," he added.

He said efforts were also being made to promote the food stalls and restaurants in the state.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


IF YOU missed out on all the recent travel fairs, don’t fret. The Star Online’s information and travel portal, in collaboration with Creative Advances Technology, is organising the Virtual Travel Fair (VTF), from today to 30 for all travel bargain hunters.

The fair offers over 2,000 attractive and competitively-priced travel packages, as well as a host of spot prizes for online purchasers.

According to Creative Advances Technology CEO Rohizam Yusoff, the fair is designed for online consumers.

“This online fair combines choice and value with convenience and security, and it is sure to capture the imagination of travellers,” he said.

Among the bargains that will be on offer are packages to Bali, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore. Buyers will only need to add RM10 for every additional second purchase of these packages.

Consumers paying via PayPal will receive a US$20 (RM60) rebate when making purchases valued at more than US$200 (RM600). Maybank credit card holders could also be in the money with five RM1,000 cash prizes up for grabs in a slogan competition.

In addition, every 50th transaction completed successfully wins an iPod and the 1,000th customer takes home an iPad 2.

To see what’s on offer at the Virtual Travel Fair visit

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


All the 10 National Service (NS) training camps in Perak have ceased doing the "poco-poco" exercise in adherence to the edict of the Perak Fatwa Committee banning the line dance.

NS Training Department Director-General Datuk Abdul Hadi Awang Kechil said today the 4,000 trainees of these camps were now doing another exercise routine.

There was no restriction on the dance being performed at the NS camps in the other states, he told reporters here.

The Perak Fatwa Committee chaired by Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria banned the line dance in the state after its research showed that the dance contained elements contrary to Islam.

The National Fatwa Council decided, however, that Muslims in the other states can continue doing the dance as long as they do not do anything contrary to Islam.

When Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen became Tourism Minister she introduced the " poco-poco " at a MATTA Annual Dinner at PWTC by actually leading the dance on stage. Those with her had a great time. But the idea of making it a tourism highlight never took off. Just like putting your palm on your chest when greeting tourists.

Some things just do not have a tourism value, but what is there to stop anyone from doing it just for the fun if it. Why all the fuss?

Monday, April 25, 2011


Mainstream media in the country should allow themselves to be critical of the government now and then, said former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He said that many were unwilling to criticise the government as they felt that they should support it all the way. Dr Mahathir said the mainstream media also practised self-censorship, and this had given the wrong impression that they were being censored by the government.

"So, the government sometimes gets lopsided views about what the public is thinking. They (media) think that they should self-censor.

"And, of course, this gives the impression that it's the government who's restricting them," he said at the inaugural Malaysia-Asean Bloggers Forum opened by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak here today.

Dr Mahathir, who is also patron of Blog House Malaysia which organises the event, said constructive criticism should be given when it was for the betterment of the country.

He said while bloggers should give fair treatment to the government and the people through their blogsites, they themselves should be treated fairly and justly.

About 35 bloggers from the region are taking part in the forum which carries the theme "Blogging Mindfully and Responsibly".

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen is suing ICS CEO Austen Victor Zecha for allegedly defaming her by saying she had solicited a bribe.

She contended that Zecha defamed her in her capacity as the Tourism Minister when he gave a radio interview on March 18 this year over BFM 89.9.

In her statement of claim filed on April 14, Dr Ng said Zecha had stated that she solicited a bribe through a third party from him over the ministry’s advertising tender process.

“In her suit, Dr Ng pleaded that the statements made by Zecha portrayed her as, inter-alia, being dishonest, corrupt and unfit for public office as well as being guilty of abusing her power and position as the Tourism Minister to make a profit for herself,” the minister’s office said in a statement issued yesterday.

Dr Ng contended in her statement of claim that the statements made by Zecha were false, unjustified and defamatory.

She also stated in her claim that the publication of the alleged defamatory statements made by Zecha had been reported locally and internationally.

She is seeking general, aggravated and exemplary damages as well as an apology on terms to be determined by her solicitors in her claim.

“Dr Ng is also seeking injunctive relief to restrain Zecha from publishing or causing to be published or continuing to publish similar words defamatory to her,” the statement added.

The suit has been fixed for case management on May 16 before the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

The writ of summons and statement of claim were served on Zecha’s solicitors on April 15. Zecha was named as the sole defendant.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Malaysians last year spent RM1.8 billion shopping online, according to results of an online shopping survey released by PayPal. The payment gateway provider estimates that the market will grow to RM5 billion in 2014.

PayPal’s growth in Malaysia last year was the strongest in the region — 70 per cent. Encouraged by this, PayPal opened a regional customer support centre here.

Malaysians for the most part chose to make online retail purchases on local websites to the tune of RM825 million (45 per cent) compared with RM627 million on overseas websites (35 per cent). The remaining RM371 million were made on websites of unknown countries of origin.

These findings showed a huge potential for local websites to cash in on the Malaysian willingness to spend online. “SMEs, wake up. You are missing an opportunity,” he said at a media briefing here today. The Nielsen Company used a sample of 400 online buyers aged 18 and above for the survey.

Most of the online spend was for airline tickets. This accounted for 21 per cent (RM173 million). It was the same overseas, accounting for 11 per cent (RM72 million). Books came a close second at 10 per cent (RM63 million). The US was the most popular country Malaysians bought from, accounting for 41 per cent. Next was Singapore on 23 per cent.

An estimated 1.1 million online shoppers in Malaysia spent an average of RM2,461 per person in 2010. Malaysians spent more locally compared with foreign sites; on airline tickets, financial products, health and beauty products, clothing, shoes and accessories.

When Malaysians spent overseas, 65 per cent said it was because the products were not available locally. Twice as much was spent buying books overseas compared with domestic websites, as well as on movie, music and games downloads. Four out of 10 shoppers said security on credit/debit card online transactions were inadequate. Six out of 10 believed they were taking a risk each time they shopped using a card. Seven out of 10 would buy more online if security was tightened.

Malaysians gave highest priority to payment security (47 per cent). Next came protection for purchases (37 per cent), and not sharing financial details with merchants (31 per cent). Only 21 per cent found receiving orders in time important. Least important (17 per cent) was the cheapest method of payment.

PayPal, with its headquarters in San Jose, California, is an online financial transactions service that acts as a gateway for buyers to pay via PayPal account balances, debit cards and credit cards. Its main draw is that buyers do not have to share their financial information directly with merchants. The service, owned by eBay, operates in 190 markets using 25 currencies including the ringgit. Its international headquarters is in Singapore.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Asia's larger low-cost carriers are continuing to expand beyond their home markets and around the region as they tap on the growing demand for cheap air travel around the region.

Southeast Asia remains the region's engine for low-cost travel, although Indonesia's Lion Air and the Philippines Cebu Pacific have largely restricted themselves to their domestic market. That has left Kuala Lumpur-headquartered AirAsia and Singapore-based Jetstar Asia and Tiger Airways to expand to other countries in the region.

AirAsia has affiliates in Indonesia and Thailand, both of which could have an IPO later this year, as well as long-haul associate AirAsia X. It has also announced plans to start up an affiliate in the Philippines.

"The company is in the best position, financially, that it has ever been in providing a strong foundation for further expansion and growth in 2011," AirAsia's Group chief executive Tony Fernandes said earlier this year. The Philippine subsidiary will be based at Manila's Clark Airport, and is scheduled to begin international flights in the fourth quarter of this year. The airline plans to operate between Clark and Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Thailand, South Korea and Japan.

"Our choice of Clark underlines the airline's commitment to developing transportation and tourism hubs outside Manila. This is part of our plan to contribute to the development of the country as a whole," says chief executive Marianne Hontiveros.

Clark will be the 13th regional hub of the AirAsia group, in addition to its bases in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. Increasingly, however, AirAsia is finding that it has to share its turf with Singapore Airlines' associate Tiger, which has announced plans of its own for the Philippine and Thai market.

In February, Tiger said it would buy a 32.5% stake in Philippine low-cost carrier Seair, following a marketing partnership between the two airlines late last year. The initial partnership allowed Tiger to market Seair's flights on its website, while Seair operated A320 family aircraft leased from Tiger on its international flights.

Tiger's chief executive Tony Davis says that by taking a stake in Seair, his airline would be able to take a bigger share in "a major market opportunity for low cost airlines". The move would also allow Seair to compete more effectively against local market leader Cebu Pacific, which had a successful IPO last year and is rapidly expanding both its fleet and network.

It is in Thailand, however, that Tiger may be able to make the biggest dent in AirAsia's expansion plans. It has formed a joint venture with national carrier Thai Airways to start up a Bangkok-based low-cost airline. While the start of operations at ThaiTiger Airways, the name the new carrier has been given, has been delayed from the first quarter of 2011 to the third quarter of the year due to ongoing difficulties in getting government approval, there appears to be a significant amount of determination to make it a success.

"We will operate on the routes where there is a lot of demand for low-cost travel. Why should we leave the market to the competition? Thai will concentrate on the full service market, and this joint venture will add to our revenues at a low investment cost by riding on the growth in the South-East Asian air travel market," Thai president Piyasvasti Amranand.

Qantas subsidiary Jetstar, however, believes it is the Asia Pacific's leading low-cost carrier in terms of revenue and has long been operating low cost services in Australia and to regional destinations. While it also has a Vietnamese subsidiary, it is Singapore-based Jetstar Asia, in which Qantas has a 49% stake, which has become the focus of its expansion in the region.

Apart from plans to rapidly grow its short-haul network in the coming years, Jetstar Asia has also begun long-haul services to Melbourne and Auckland. It has secured rights for flights to Tokyo's Narita airport, and is also eyeing destinations such as Beijing and Shanghai in China and Rome and Athens in Europe.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Malaysia spent approximately RM398.9 million on advertising between 2008 and last year to promote the tourism industry, locally and abroad.

Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit said the impact of the advertising campaign was visible in the increase in the number of foreign tourist arrivals to the country.

In 2008, he said, there were 22,052,488 foreign tourist arrivals, and the number increased by 7.2 per cent to 23,646,191, the following year.

"The number of tourist arrivals to Malaysia continued to increase by 3.9 per cent to 24,577,196 last year," he said in reply to Senator Mariany Mohammad Yit in the Dewan Negara sitting here Tuesday.

Mariany had wanted to know the volume of advertising expenses borne by the government to promote the country, and the number of tourist arrivals chalked between 2008 and last year.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Unlike its cunterparts in Peninsular Malaysia, hotels in Sarawak are expected to enjoy a higher level of occupancy and room rate this year, as the state elections and increase in corporate business provide a boost.

Coupled with a higher tourists arrival target of four million and a fairly stable number of room inventory, the hotels here hope to surpass the occupancy level, which has been rather static over the past three years.

"Occupancy has been on an even keel around 60 per cent plus for the past three years," the Malaysian Association of Hotels Sarawak acting chairman Keith Pointer said, adding that he hopes to see rates and occupancy improve by a tenth in 2011 and 2012. Only a quarter of the occupancy is filled up by foreigners.

Pointer said in a phone interview that there are 221 hotels with a total room inventory of 12,700 rooms in Sarawak . Of these, 191 hotels have star ratings.

The average room rate of the four and five-star hotels is at over RM200 while the rate for the smaller hotels is around RM110 per night.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Malaysia is considered to be one of the 10 "friendliest" countries of the world, according to a survey conducted by HSBC.

Malaysia is ranked 9th in the list, according to the poll, conducted last year.

Besides the friendliness of the local people, another criterion for judging a country's friendliness is how simple it is for foreigners to live and integrate themselves in the local environment.

The HSBC poll surveyed over 4,000 people from more than 100 countries between April and June 2010.

Respondents were asked to give answers to questions such as where it is simplest to find local friends, how easy is it to learn the language of a country or adapt to and integrate in its culture.

Eighty per cent of those surveyed said that English was their mother tongue.

Germany, a non-English-speaking country, however, made it to the list -- ranking 10th directly behind Malaysia.

South Africa, ranked 3rd, according to the poll, is "very open" to foreigners who want to live there.

The top 10 friendliest countries of the world, according to the survey, are: 1. Canada, 2. Bermuda, 3. South Africa, 4. United States, 5. Australia, 6. Spain, 7. France, 8. Great Britain, 9. Malaysia and 10. Germany.

Monday, April 18, 2011


TOURISM MALAYSIA’s Malaysia: Truly Asia campaign in 2009 won the Gold Award at Berlin’s International Tourism Bourse – the world’s largest and most important annual tourism and travel fair.

The 10-year-old campaign won for its international print advertisement of the country’s multi-racial, ethnic and eco-tourism attractions based on its continuing emphasis that the country offers nearly all aspects of Asia in one destination.

To date, the Malaysia: Truly Asia campaign has won nearly 30 top international awards and citations for its high-quality TV commercials and print advertisements, and also its marketing effectiveness in helping to increase the annual number of visitors to Malaysia.

The campaign was conceived, developed and nurtured by Malaysia’s ISC Group; founded and headed by marketing and advertising veteran Austen Zecha, who himself has been a permanent resident of Malaysia for more than 35 years although he is a Dutch citizen.

"It is so gratifying to note that the Malaysia: Truly Asia campaign for this country is not only effective but also continues to be recognised against all others as the most awarded national tourism campaign ever," Zecha said on March 23, 2009.

"The campaign’s basic premise that Malaysia is the melting pot of some of Asia’s greatest civilisations – the Malays, Chinese and Indians as well as other indigenous groups – still holds true and, equally important, that the essence of that is even more relevant in today’s chaotic world.

"Also, as portrayed in some of our TV commercials and print ads for the campaign, this country’s socio-cultural history reflects the influence of such European cultures as the British, the Dutch and the Portuguese on Malaysia’s multi-racial people, landmarks, festivals and cultural expressions," he said.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


On 23 March 2009 The Sun printed this article:

To date, the Malaysia: Truly Asia campaign has won nearly 30 top international awards and citations for its high-quality TV commercials and print advertisements, and also its marketing effectiveness in helping to increase the annual number of visitors to Malaysia.

The campaign was conceived, developed and nurtured by Malaysia’s ISC Group; founded and headed by marketing and advertising veteran Austen Zecha, who himself has been a permanent resident of Malaysia for more than 35 years although he is a Dutch citizen.

"It is so gratifying to note that the Malaysia: Truly Asia campaign for this country is not only effective but also continues to be recognised against all others as the most awarded national tourism campaign ever," Zecha said.

"The campaign’s basic premise that Malaysia is the melting pot of some of Asia’s greatest civilisations – the Malays, Chinese and Indians as well as other indigenous groups – still holds true and, equally important, that the essence of that is even more relevant in today’s chaotic world.

"Also, as portrayed in some of our TV commercials and print ads for the campaign, this country’s socio-cultural history reflects the influence of such European cultures as the British, the Dutch and the Portuguese on Malaysia’s multi-racial people, landmarks, festivals and cultural expressions," he said.

Last year, the international campaign won the Gold Award for "Asia’s Best Long-Term Marketing and Branding Campaign" from the region’s leading trade magazine Media in Macau.

That award was in recognition of the campaign’s effectiveness in helping Tourism Malaysia to nearly triple the number of annual visitors from 1999 to 2008, and more than quadruple the earnings from tourists for the country’s benefit during the same period.

"The campaign’s success is not only in its creative quality but even more in its ability to create awareness, interest and most of all, to attract visitors to Malaysia," Zecha said,

He also credited his ISC Group’s top strategists and creative people for having given Tourism Malaysia’s forerunner, the country’s former Tourism Development Corporation, the country’s previous multi-award winning "To Know Malaysia is To Love Malaysia" international campaign and theme song in the 1980’s.

Whilst the former campaign helped to distinguish and differentiate Malaysia against its regional competitors, Zecha said Tourism Malaysia’s current Malaysia:Truly Asia campaign is helping to place Malaysia as a world tourism destination and one which highlights the essence of the country’s unique multi-racial, religious and cultural attractions against all others.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Malaysia Airports Bhd (MAB) is ready to accept AirAsia if they move their flight operations to Terminal One of the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA).

MAB general manager Zainol Mohd Isa said with the facilities provided at Terminal One, the low-cost carrier could fulfill all the needs of commercial flights and be able to provide better flight connectivity to their passengers.

“The decision on the matter now rests with the Transport Ministry. All I can say is, we have facilitated this airport with good infrastructure for any airline, including them (AirAsia). If they don’t want to move here, it is their choice and they still can operate from Terminal Two,” he said.

Zainol said this to the media during a press conference after launching of the safety, health and environment campaign at KKIA Terminal One yesterday.

Two months ago, AirAsia chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said the airline was hesitant about moving out its operation from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1 of KKIA because the operational costs would increase which would in turn force the reduction in the number of flights and ultimately causing Sabah to lose about one million tourists.

Meanwhile, Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri had hoped that AirAsia would stick to their written undertaking conveyed to the Transport Ministry that they would move their flight operations to Terminal 1 of KKIA. Rahim said the transfer of AirAsia’s operations to Terminal 1 would provide better flight connectivity to their passengers.

The fate of terminal 2 after the move is not known at this time. It may be a good idea to retain it as an example what poor planning and being wasteful is all about.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


These are some of the recommendations to reduce your carbon footprint while traveling:

1) Travel
- Choose green destinations
- Choose a low-CO2 mode of transport, for example buses, trains and the subway. If you have the time and are interested, you can check out for really good overland travel options – you can travel all the way to Europe on land if you want
- If you don’t have the luxury of time, fly, but purchase carbon offset credits. Malaysia Airlines has a voluntary carbon offset scheme (VCOS) in collaboration with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. For more information on this, you can visit

2) Accommodation
- Choose eco-friendly accommodation. There are many ways to identify these, among them are by looking at green star ratings and recommendations. Wild Asia has a Responsible Tourism Award going on every year and is a great source for 5-star eco-friendly accommodation.
- If you like, backpack! Not only will you be meeting new and interesting people, but you will also be sharing space and resources

3) Food
- Eat local. You’re in Paris, please don’t go to that McDonald’s joint. Please.
- Reduce meat intake. Meat is a major carbon emitter and this is an easy way to reduce personal carbon intake
- Sustainable dining guides that are admittedly a bit “hippie dippie” but very cool. For example, there is a restaurant in Melbourne called 100 Miles which sources all its servings from within 100 miles from its restaurant.
- Most backpackers or youth hostels have a kitchen for you to cook in, complete with a fridge (or several fridges) to store your items. Cooking your own food not only saves money and is healthier, but you also save travel miles and support the local economy, because you would be buying produces from nearby. You also get to specifically choose what goes in your meal when you buy these produces, for example free range or organic goods which reduces your carbon footprint too.

4) Be responsible with entertainment
- Observe your surroundings. If you’re diving, respect the reefs. There are many rules to ensure sustainability (with regards to the reefs), like don’t touch anything, don’t step on anything and don’t swim while wearing sunscreen.
- If you’re going into the jungle, tag everything so you don’t forget to bring it back out. Don’t leave anything behind, and use the environment around you if you like but don’t take anything out.
- If you want to take a step further, you may want to consider responsible travel, which means you volunteer as you travel, and find sustainable souvenirs.

Sustainability is not just about going green; that it’s about looking at everything holistically and traveling responsibly. If you already consider yourself a person who practices sustainability at home, then basically all you have to do is to use the same principles that you use at home, and apply them while traveling.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Instead of waiting for a handout and fam trips from the Ministry of Tourism,the industry should be proactive by determining ou own future.

This can be done by following exactly what the Indian industry people are doing right now.

The core team of Indian Association of Tour Operators will conduct a one day interactive workshop in Assam, which will deliberate on the various opportunities and challenges in promoting Assam.

IATO’s core team will be on a fam trip to Assam from 23-29 April. The workshop will be attended by the Assam tourism officials and private stakeholders to network and collectively carve out a strategic roadmap to promote tourism in the state.

The Malaysian Tourism Federation can take a lead in tihs direction.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Only the Tourism Minister can explain this. She said, "A shoe designer can walk into a good future and eventually, the lap of international recognition."

Parents who think such a profession did not guarantee a good future like that of a doctor, accountant or engineer, ought to change their mindset, said Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.

She said the local shoe-making industry was getting better and some of the local shoe designers stamped their mark in the international arena.

"Parents (generally) don't see shoe making as good (a profession as that of) doctor, accountant, engineer. Making shoe no...we have to change the mindset of their understanding of what is the shoe industry.

"Look at Malaysia's success stories, for example. Bonia, Carlo Rino, Nose...all there. Those are Malaysian brands. So, we can be outstanding," she told a press conference after launching the Malaysia International Shoe Festival (MISF 2011) here Thursday.

The four-day festival starting today, will only be opened to commercial buyers and VIPs today, and to the public from tomorrow until Sunday.

Dr Ng said the festival was a good platform to educate and expose the parents and young generation, as well as the public, on the country's shoe industry.

"One of the main reasons for this festival is also creating awareness among Malaysian about our shoe industry," she said.

She hoped that this year's festival would attract 90,000 visitors and earn RM10 million in sales, compared to last year which drew 45,000 visitors and recorded RM5 million in sales when it was held for the first time.

By the way these numbers represent visitors from within the country and never heard of anyone from abroad.

Friday, April 8, 2011

MyCEB launches collaboration program

The Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) has launched an Industry Partner Program (IPP) - a collaboration with industry to strengthen Malaysia’s competitive position in the global business tourism market.

The IPP will be rolled out in a series of co-operative programs to provide business opportunities for partners and to increase Malaysia’s international business events success rate.

The IPP is open to Malaysia-based business tourism product and service providers including venue and accommodation providers, conference and event management companies, transport operators, tour and leisure companies and industry associations.

Key features of the IPP include: Business opportunities through co-operative sales and marketing platforms under the destination umbrella; access to sales leads and business referrals; professional development opportunities; knowledge, ideas and market intelligence sharing platforms and product development programs.

Business tourism has been identified as one of the Entry Point Projects (EPPs) under the Economic Transformation Program (ETP) and is targeted to contribute significantly to Malaysia's Gross Domestic Product. Business tourism arrivals are estimated to grow from five per cent to eight per cent of overall tourist arrivals, an increase from 1.2 million to 2.9 million by year 2020.

“To achieve these objectives and to secure more business events for the country, we need the collaborative voice of the Malaysian business tourism industry," said Zulkefli Hj Sharif, chief executive, MyCEB.

"It is crucial that we collectively strengthen our knowledge, expertise and quality of service delivery in order to compete effectively globally. Our goal is to provide world’s best practices in service delivery as well as product innovation and development.

“The IPP has been launched to act as a platform to engage with and to encourage co-operation amongst the industry players,” added Zulkefli.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Tourism can help to rebuild a damaged city due to natural disaster.

AirAsia is taking the lead by doing its bit to help with the restoration of Christchurch.

The budget airline's inaugural flight landed in the quake-damaged city last night.

The Malaysia-based carrier's international network includes 15 destinations in 10 countries. It's part of the wider AirAsia Group, which operates over 150 routes covering Asia, Australia and Europe.

The airline says it will donate a percentage of each ticket to and from New Zealand over the next two months.

It aims to raise $220,000 to go toward the restoration of Christchurch's heritage buildings like the Cathedral and Arts Centre. The airline estimates it will bring around 70,000 new visitors to the country in its first year.

Tourists arriving on these flights not only support the local tourism industry but also help to restore the cities.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Have you heard of a truck that is not mobile. Using it for tourism advertising is also not a new idea. Some 20 years ago the idea was already around.

But according to the Tourism Minister the country's first “mobile tourism truck” will visit morning and night markets as well as carnivals in a move to introduce local sights and sounds to Malaysians.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said the truck would travel to events around Malaysia.

Showing off the truck which was equipped with a television screen, information counter, sound system and brochure holders, she said: “This is a new mode of advertising. We need more Malaysians to know about our beautiful country.”

At the launch of the mobile advertising campaign yesterday, Dr Ng also unveiled a “moving billboard” truck, which will display various tourism advertisements as it travels around the country. She encouraged all tourism agencies and non-governmental organisations to notify the ministry a month in advance if they wanted the mobile trucks at their events.

Before we do that we need to know how much money was put in by MOT to launch this project and who are the operator.

“We're confident that this will help increase awareness about Malaysia's holiday destinations and boost domestic tourism,” Datuk Seri Dr Ng said, adding that domestic trips had experienced a huge boost of 90.5 million trips in 2009 from 63.3 million in 2008.

She also said that domestic tourism had raked in around RM26bil in 2009, contributing to the year's total tourism receipt of RM80bil.

She said the ministry would also focus on attracting tourists from Asia including China, Russia and India.

“We're also looking at establishing a tourism office in Istanbul,” she said, adding that a drop in tourists from Egypt (30%) and Yemen (15%) was expected while Japanese tourist arrivals was estimated to drop 30% with 1,861 cancelled trips so far.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Little has been done to look into the synergy of the various sectors of the tourism industry. Instead Tourism Minsitry wants to control every damn thing.

As a result much resources are duplicated and more often than not wasteful. It is about time we follow India.

Subodh Kant Sahay, Union minister for Tourism on 29th March 2011, announced the formation of a Sub Committee to synergise the work of Tourism Ministry, Private Sector, IRCTC & Railways to foster domestic tourism in the country.

Sahay stated that tourism is a sunrise industry and to attain the common goal of boosting growth in this industry there is a need of synergising the efforts of private sector and the Government.

In Malaysia we do have a Cabinet Committee on Tourism. Also many other joint committees which was set up to consider ways and means to spent budgeted funds and ask for more.

We must put and end to all this, instead just look into how we can synergise all available resources to keep the industry on a better footing.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Malaysia needs the right mix of quality hotels to attract high-yield tourists, said Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.

She said more investments were needed to upgrade hotels in Malaysia to four or five-star rating and, subsequently, increase their supply.

“In moving towards our ambition of growing tourist receipts by three times and tourist arrivals by 1.5 times, we will need more investments to ensure high quality of service,” said Datuk Seri Dr Ng.

She said that as at February, there were 1,610 hotels in the country, ranging from three to five-star hotels and budget establishments, offering 161,117 rooms.

“In Kuala Lumpur, there are 236 hotels offering about 30,000 rooms with the average occupancy rate of 66.9% last year. The number of rooms would need to be increased by 50% by 2020 for the Government to achieve its target of 36 million tourist arrivals.”

Sunday, April 3, 2011


The Finance Ministry is not sure why the government has yet to give approval to Air Asia to fly to Sydney despite the carrier getting the green light from the Australian government.

In his reply to Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin in Parliament today, Deputy Minister Awang Adek Husin said the government was still deliberating on the matter.

This is typical of an answer in Parliament, alwys evasive. Either the question is wrongly put or answered by the wrong person. Both ways, the people are not getting the right answer.

The industry understands that Malaysia has adpoted an open sky policy. This means that anyone can fly into Malaysia. So what is our business to stop our carriers going to other peoples' country. It is purely a commercial effort.

Earlier, Khairy also asked about the government’s principle in awarding airline routes, whether it was to support the carrier that could bring tourism dollar or to protect national carrier, Malaysia Airlines.

Awang said the government was fair to both carriers but he acknowledged that AirAsia had partly helped boost tourism in Malaysia through its massive promotion such as selling cheap air tickets.

This is an understatement. We know that Air Asia has worked harder than the Ministry of Tourism to bring in the millions of tourist to Malaysia without spending a single sen of the government's money.

“Our tourist arrivals soared last year to 24.6 million from the previous 23.6 million in 2009. Therefore our revenue from tourism soared to RM56.5 billion in 2010 from the RM53.4 billion recorded partly due to Air Asia’s contribution,” he said.

“However, we are offering several incentives to Air Asia by reducing passenger service charge from RM51 to RM25. We are also building a new low- cost carrier terminal (LCCT 2) in Sepang for the carrier at a cost of RM2 billion,” he added.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Instead of worrying about reduction in passenger numbers, the world's best low cost airline, AirAsia Bhd, will continue to fly to Japan although the land of the rising sun is being faced by uncertain radiation leaks from a crippled nuclear-power plant.

​Group Chief Executive Officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said Airasia would, instead continue to provide full capacity flights to the world's third-largest economy, as a sign of solidarity.

He said AirAsia's decision was consistent with the airline's earlier stance when it continued to fly to Christchurch, New Zealand, which was hit by an earthquake on Feb 22 and to Bandar Aceh which was almost wiped out when Tsunami hit Indonesia on Dec 26, 2004.

Airasia's long-haul affliate Airasia X has been flying to Tokyo's Haneda airport from Kuala Lumpur since December last year.

"AirAsia's presence in these areas is also to help these disaster striken countries. We don't want to dissapoint them," he said.

Datuk Seri Fernandes, who received the Order of the British Empire award from Queen Elizabeth II in London yesterday, is presently, without a doubt, one of the most admired executive-turned-entrepreneur in the Malaysian corporate world.

We wish him continued success in bringing in the numbers of tourist into Malaysia. He is truly our Minister of Tourism for this region.

Friday, April 1, 2011


The Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board has lined up strategies to introduce affordable new tourism products and packages to attract more Singaporean visitors. Malaysia Tourism Singapore director Zalizam Zakaria said Singapore “has always been the biggest contributor to our nation's tourism economy.

Speaking after the launch of the Central Region Seminar and Travel Mart 2011, Zalizam said Malaysia Tourism Singapore contributed nearly 53 per cent of the total tourist arrivals from Singapore to Malaysia, saying: "In 2009, we had about 12 million Singaporeans visiting Malaysia. Last year, the number was up by four per cent to 13 million.”

This year, he said, although the target set by the Tourism Ministry was only 12 million tourists "I think we can match the same number or little bit higher than that." 
Explaining that Singapore has only five million population and how did Malaysia received 13 million Singaporean tourist arrivals, Zalizam said this was because of repeat visitors.

"On the average, at least one Singaporean goes to Malaysia 2.5 times. After two or three times, where do they go, that's why we have to expose new places for them.
Our strategy now is to open new places and new products for them," he said.

Citing east coast states (Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang), Perak, Sabah and Sarawak as well as the rest of Malaysia are popular but were getting less visitors. He said Tourism Malaysia Singapore was aggressively working with various state governments to woo Singaporeans to these places.

Zalizam said Tourism Malaysia Singapore initiated this seminar and travel market last year by focusing on region by region. "We started with the east coast last year and today we are organising the event to promote the central region comprising Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Putrajaya," he said.

He said the seminar and the travel market served as a fitting platform for tourism players from Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Putrajaya to meet Singapore travel and tour agents. "The objective of organising this session is to allow the states to update their latest tourism development happenings and to introduce these new products and packages in their future travel itineraries," he added.