Thursday, May 31, 2012


Just imagine what the RM100 million Express Rail Link (ERL) extension from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2), the low-cost carrier terminal in Sepang, will do for the low cost travellers.
Already it cost RM35 to go the KLIA MTB. It would cost another RM 3 at least to go to KLIA2 which will add up to RM 38. If the red and yellow buses are allowed to take passengers from KL Sentral to KLIA2 it would only cost them RM8. So the choice is very simple and it will only take an extra 30 minutes or less to get to KLIA2.
However the rail link is on track to be completed by year-end, says Noormah Mohd Noor, Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd Chief Executive Officer.
She said work was progressing at a feverish pace and the project was 45 per cent complete with a new car park already available at the new terminal.
On the progress of the 2.2 kilometre rail extension, she said:”The entire concrete pavement was almost complete and ready to be installed on the ballast. We have done about 400 metres of ballast at KLIA2.
The KLIA2 terminal is scheduled to commence operations in April next year.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Why isn’t there more travel buzz about Kuala Lumpur?

If you think that of Kuala Lumpur as a great city this is what a speaker from the USA Sheila Scarborough who attended the recent MITBCA conference has to say :
"My knowledge of Southeast Asia is not that deep (Brian Spencer’s Bangkok posts are helping to improve that) so this was my first visit to Malaysia other than steaming through the Straits of Malacca on Navy ships many years ago.
From what little I was able to see outside of the convention center and hotel during the conference, I honestly wondered why there isn’t more buzz about Kuala Lumpur?
There are interesting Indian, Malay and Chinese neighborhoods. The cuisine is delicious and unique, reflecting the heritage mix of the country. The people are friendly and welcoming.
The city’s architecture is a mix of British colonial history as seen in the photo; with the Petronas Towers gleaming in the background, the older building (built in 1935) is now the MaTiC  Malaysia Tourism Centre but it served as military headquarters for both the British and the Japanese during World War II.
There are side trips galore across Malaysia, with discount airlines like Air Asia and train systems that make it pretty easy to get around.
Sure, I explored the Petronas Towers – they may not be the tallest buildings in the world anymore, but they are quite impressive and a source of tremendous national pride.
Somehow, though, I don’t hear as much traveler buzz about this city, and I’m not sure wh, she said..

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


“Our strategy is very simple. We are trying to get children actively involved in the quiz game and also in the wildlife of Malaysia which has the perfect setting of the zoo. Once children see the orang utan in the zoo, and after participating in our quiz games, they will ask their parents to take them to the natural habitat of the animal,” said Syed Yahya Syed Othman, the director of the Frankfurt office of Tourism Malaysia in an interview with Bernama.
Tourism Malaysia’s Frankfurt office has been allowed to profile Malaysia’s wildlife and nature at the reputed Frankfurt International Zoo which has a combined population of 18 orang utans.
The strategy of arousing public interest in Malaysia’s wildlife, using the zoo as a vehicle for promotion of tourism, has been lauded by tourism promotion experts here. Indeed, there is tremendous public interest in the orang utan, which cand help further enhance the level of interest and, thus, also boost tourism traffic to Malaysia. The pitch will be made to children who, accompanied by their parents, are a common sight at the zoo, particularly on weekends.
Tourism Malaysia made a prsentation enticing children, helped by their parents, to participate in a quiz game called “Discover Malaysia and its Fascinating Nature,” said Syed Yahya Syed Othman, the director of the Frankfurt office of Tourism Malaysia in an interview with Bernama. The quiz will include questions about Malaysia’s wildlife and its natural environment; the questions will be posed to children who, according to the Tourism Malaysia’s Frankfurt office, can induce their parents to take them to the real habitat of the animals, particularly the orang utan.
Syed Yahya said in the course of their participation, Tourism Malaysia will seek the active participation of the children and, also the parents. “This will enable them to not only see the animals but also motivate them to visit places in Malaysia where the orang utan live,” he said.
The full-day event  opened up new avenues of opportunities for promoting tourism to Malaysia. “Europeans, particularly Germans appreciate nature and environment. We have organised a treasure hunt game for the children and parents can, of course, also join in. The children will provide answers to questions put to them, and this also indicate their level of knowledge about Malaysia,” Syed Yahya said, adding that the first prize is a free flight to Malaysia for two persons.
Syed Yahya said that Germany was a “promising market” with tremendous business potential inherent in nature tourism. The idea of stepping up interest in Malaysia by organising an event at the zoo has, meanwhile, travelled far and wide, reaching Malaysian envoys in other countries as well.
Syed Yahya, who recently held a meeting with German hoteliers inducing them to join in promotional work in conjunction with Tourism Malaysia, said that the idea of organising a wildlife quiz event was also well timed because of the success of the film “We bought the zoo” which has aroused public interest in wild life and nature.
We wish Syed Yahya all the best.

Monday, May 28, 2012


Tourism has now spread its wings to do sports and health as well. Read on :

Tourism Malaysia is promoting the ‘Cuti-Cuti 1Malaysia Bike Ride George Town Bicycle & Trishaw Tour’ in efforts to liven up the tourism sector and help generate income for the local community.

Tourism Malayysia domestic marketing director Musa Yusof said besides promoting bicycle touring, which has become a global trend, the activity was also a healthy hobby.

“The Tourism Ministry hopes to turn bicycle touring into a tourism product as it is not only a mode of transportation, but encourages a healthy lifestyle.

“It is also a recreational activity which brings families closer and strengthens communities,” he said at the “Cuti-Cuti 1Malaysia Bike Ride George Town Bicycle & Trishaw Tour” launching ceremony at Tanjung City Marina, here today.

He added that cycling activities in George Town, which are cheap and economical, started in 2010 and was a unique way to bring visitors to explore Penang’s rich culture and heritage.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


All tourism stakeholders should work together to create products and services that are more value-based with “protect, preserve and conserve” as the national mantra for any process of balanced growth, especially tourism, says Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Ng Yen Yen.
She said the partnership between private and public sectors assumed an important role in sustainable growth, value and quality of travel and tourism industry, including for Kazakhstan that was diverse in ethics.
“We should work more closely with our friends from here and everywhere around the world who share the same belief and understanding to be mindful of the challenges we face and our missions and business interests with sustainable development objectives,” she said. She suggested that investments be looked at as an instrument of change to influence social and economic outcomes.
“We must understand that good planning is essential to ensure that value for money is created, risk is shared and problems in implementation are minimised,” she said in her speech on “Public-Private Partnership in the Sphere of Investments” on the second-day of the Astana Economic Forum last week
The Minister  said new products must be created and niche markets identified to attract tourists and make their visits memorable as demand for meaningful travel was increasing.
Such products are necessary for a nation to spur the industry going forward, especially for Kazakhstan that was developing aggressively with investment opportunities as a strong emerging market in Central Asia, she said. Dr Ng added that the long-term economic success of any nation depended on its ability to invest surplus resources wisely and all new ideas and innovation may mean tremendous investment opportunities abound in emerging markets.
“But it is always wise to ensure that we have sustainable development,” the minister added.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


How do you feel when you call someone and the person who pick up the phone asks your name, puts you on hold so you can listen to a robotic answering machine and then tells you the person you are calling can’t come to the phone right now? While this may be an “accepted” mode of screening calls in Malaysia, it is company-centric, leaving callers in a lurch. How can you lead the field if you are not focused on how to elicit positive emotion in every interaction? Under Gagasan 1Malaysia this way of handling customers is not acceptable. We need to find a way to optimize profit. For customers, it’s a positive emotion or experience distinctive in every interaction. This “happiness” generates true loyalty that reaches beyond considerations of cost and location alone. For associates, the culture inspires fulfillment and leadership at every level, causing people to continually reach beyond their “current best” with each interaction (inside and outside the business). When you view your profit at the end of the month, consider it a “version” of what profit could have been — a percentage of what‘s possible. Gagasan 1Malaysia demands cultures become extraordinary, and the results may be seen in a variety of hard and soft metrics. Our people are enthusiastic, acting in the name of excellence and directly participating in our business success — and they know it. Employees don’t need to “be wronged” or have a marginal attitude to drain an organization. Sometimes they have just been there too long. Let’s do business with a company that chooses to be amazing — a company that when people ask “Do you like working there?” the answer is a resounding “I love it. I make a difference there.” This is the response you get when leadership occurs at every level of the organization. Top down management is no longer relevant these days.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Sometimes, it does not make sense to hear our Tourism Minister saying this and that, especially when she says that Malaysia and Kazakhstan should look into connectivity as the most important factor to further spur tourism between both nations, given the increasing number of Kazakh tourists visiting Malaysia. For years now, Kazakhs arrival into Malaysia is via Tashkent on Uzbek Airlines which flies into Kuala Lumpur three times a week with very low load factor. Only Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Ng Yen Yen is optimistic of receiving 25,000 Kazakh tourists this year, up from 17,000 in 2011, with the upcoming Malaysian tourism office in the Republic soon and joint technical training programmes. She is of course not aware of the difficulties in getting Malaysian visas at Tashkent or Almaty. According to very doubtful figures in 2010, only 10,000 Kazakh tourists visited Malaysia."The numbers show very good improvement and we hope to attract more tourists this year.We need connectivity to enhance bilateral tourism development and I'm sure if there are flights every day, we can achieve the numbers quickly," she said after a 40-minute closed-door meeting with Kazakhstan Industry and New Technology Minister Asset Isekeshev on bilateral cooperation in tourism development at the three-day Fifth Astana Economic Forum (AEF) from May 22 to May 23 Thursday. God bless Malaysia tourism.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Malaysian journalists are the most honoured lot in the tourism industry today.The annual Malaysian Meetings, Incentive, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) Journalism Awards (MMJA) is back to honour local journalistic excellence in business events. The award is the initiative of the Sarawak Convention Bureau (SCB) and is jointly supported by the Malaysian Press Institute and the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching
Full-time print and online journalists, broadcast journalists, producers and writers are invited to send in their entries before Sept 5 and must submit reports published or aired between Aug 15, 2011 and August 30, 2012. Winners of the award would be announced in October, said SCB in a statement.
SCB Managing Director Mike Cannon was quoted as saying in the statement that the MICE industry contributed more than RM17 billion last year in visitors spending to the economy.
Sadly tourism bloggers and social media activists are not honoured under this program. Perhaps someone should look into this to complement the Tourism bloggers and other social media events event recently held in Kuala Lumpur.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Can a visit to Malaysia change the life of a visitor. Your guess is as good as ours.

How will an outstanding customer service look like in Malaysia. Have anyone call you by your name upon checking in a hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

At any  property in Malaysia, would anyone call you by your name to thank you for your custom after you signed your  name on a bill for a meal in the restaurant . Each and every time you came back to the location, more and more servers would greet you  by your name.

Would you  had to place a bag on the floor, and will remain there until you call a bell captain. Although the hotel staff essentially provide mini ottomans for you briefcases and bags it is never in sight.

In other countries you  only push an elevator button on average once out of 10 attempts, as the staff would be attentive and not only pushed the up/down button, but also lit the indicator inside the elevator for your floor. Nothing was beyond their vision for providing exceptional service and surprises.
Can the visitor learn about the true art of hospitality and the investment made by dedicated salespeople. On a holiday weekend, the leaders of the sales team and other executives set up rich experiences to learn not only about their hotels but also about their destinations and culture.

Each meal was spent with a representative who provided their full attention without once glancing at the time nor ever appearing to want the entertainment of their guests to end.

Will our guests learn  to appreciate the Malaysian  way of life and  gain a deep overall appreciation for the people and the service culture of Malaysia.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Imagine Kuala Lumpur as an Ultimate Sports City. Stadiums everywhere and open spaces for all sorts of sports. Unfortunately Kuala Lumpur have none of these. Only Stadium Bukit Jalil and the Tennis Complex in Jalan Duta is worth of nay mention..

The KL Padang has been converted to Dataran Merdeka and no longer home for KL cricket matches. The TPCA Stadium in Kg Baru is used for some unknown sporting events, to name a few. 

However the Malaysia's vibrant capital, is among 25 cities across the globe which have been shortlisted for the SportBusiness Ultimate Sports City Awards 2012.
The Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) said, besides Kuala Lumpur, three other Asian cities, namely Singapore, Tokyo and PyeongChang in South Korea, were on the list.
"We're excited that Kuala Lumpur is once again ranked among strong contenders such as Melbourne, Sydney, London and Manchester, in being touted as the top sports cities in the world," MyCEB chief executive officer Zulkefli Sharif said in a statement here Thursday.
He described it as a 'great accolade' to the unrelenting efforts by the tourism ministry in promoting Malaysia as a global sports tourism destination.

Monday, May 21, 2012


Here is something we can be proud of and it is homegrown. Creative Advances Technology Sdn Bhd (CAT)is targeting to have 100,000 travellers registered under its newly-rebranded online travel portal, Smart Online Travel Assistant (SOTA) by year-end.

Chief executive officer and founder of CAT Rohizam Md Yusoff said the portal, which was previously known as Standard Online Tourism Architecture, currently has 25,000 travellers registered from around the world. “We hope that 50 per cent comes from Malaysia while the remaining can come from the Asian region. We see a lot of potential coming from the region especially with Asians accounting for 47 per cent of the world’s Internet users,” he told reporters at the launch of the portal’s new brand identity here Thursday.

 He said the new portal would be seen as more consumer-focused online travel portal, moving on from the initial focus of providing an online platform for sellers in the travel industry to one that focused on reaching the buyers in the travel market.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


In our latest attempt to facilitate arrivals of visitors at our entry points foreigners coming into the country need not fill up arrival cards issued by the Immigration Department, starting June 1, said the Home Ministry in a statement Thursday. Finally the Home Ministry’s Chief Secretary Tan Sri Mahmood Adam made this clear to everyone and said the procedure was not required because the Immigration Department had already introduced the biometric recording system for every foreigner upon arrival, under the National Enforcement Registration System (NERS). “Through the NERS system that was introduced on June 1, 2011, the data of foreigners will recorded and stored. The procedure will also fulfill the requirement of the Tourism Ministry to record data and number of tourist arrivals,” he said in the statement. Mahmood said the decision was made after discussions and consultations with the Immigration, Home Ministry and Tourism Ministry since it is a much faster system in recording data of foreigners. He urged those who needed clarification to contact the Immigration Department at 1-800-22-6969 or through its email address Lets hope this announcement will be final. After all many countries such as Vietnam has implemented no filling up of forms on entry for sometime now.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Most local papers carried the story on the front pages especially The Sun with the headline ” off the hook”.
 Pempena Sdn Bhd is a company wholly owned by Tourism Malaysia and has a positive cash position of over RM62 million when Tan Sri Sabbaruddin Chik left the Ministry more than 10 years ago.
 A new team of managers and entrepreneurs took over and was directly under the command of the Tourism Minister. Nothing happens unless he or she says so.
Datuk Mirza then became the Director General and actually had nothing to do with the day to day running of the business. However his signature was on every single check of Pempena being a director of the company and was available every single day of the year.
Can he not sign the checks when they are piling on his table and the Minister’s men are already waiting outside his door to collect them. Being a new kid on the block he just did what a good civil servant will do. Sign them.
When Pempena businesses went down the drain and issues were raised in parliament, the Minister at that time lied about Pempena in parliament. Parliamentarians were extremely unhappy and the local newspaers had a field day.
MACC went into action and obviously got the wrong guys. Datuk Mirza and Rosli Selamat ” sudah selamat”. But are they really off the hook?

Friday, May 18, 2012


Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab and Pempena’s former chief operating officer, Mohammad Rosly Md Selamat who were charged with CBT of RM888,000, were acquitted by the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court No.4 yesterday.

 Judge Che Mohamad Zulkifly Jusoh ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove a prima facie case against them. Delivering a 3 minute oral judgement before a packed courtroom 3 hours after the appointed time, the judge said that the two did not break any law under the Companies Act.

 The two were charged at the court on August 16 2010 with committing the offence at the Pempena office at Putra World Trade Centre here on February 27, 2007. During the two year trial it was highlighted by the defence team that the money was never transfered to the payee due to some techincal anomaly.

It was the bank ( under instruction from the higher ups) who tranfered the money ( not the original sum) to another party. In an organisation whose culture is nothing happens unless the Minister wants it, the prosecution should now go after the Minister then.

We like to see this happen after having an innocent DG put on trial for close to two years wasting a lot of public time and money. The Malaysia Tourism Federation is happy with the judgement  but is very concerned with the time taken by the judge to deliver judgment which could have been done earlier.

MTF would like to see Datuk Mirza resume duries immediately.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


The World Islamic Tourism Mart 2012 (WITM 2012), an exact copy of the ITCM organised by the Islamic Tourism Centre held in 2010, will take place at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC), from May 31 to June 2. Organised by MATTA, the nation’s number one copycat, the inaugural event will feature three major sections, namely the Consumer Travel Fair, Business-to-Business Travel Exchange and an international conference. Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Datuk Mohd Khalid Harun, who now facing a vote of no-confidence, said WITM 2012 was projected to enhance the unrealised potential of the Muslim tourism sector. “With over 1.7 billion Muslim population worldwide and growing affluence of the Muslim society, the Muslim tourism market is a gold mine waiting to be tapped. “More and more travel agents and tour operators in Malaysia are setting up Muslim departments within their company to offer Muslim packages,” he said in a joint press conference with Etihad Airways and Maybank Islamic Berhad, here, Tuersday. Small wonder what MATTA has to do with Islamic travel, when they have already so many events on their plate. It must be about money. So MATTA is now Money Association of Travel & Tours Agent.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Not learning from the experiences in Batu Berendam Melaka, the Perak government has called on the federal and neighbouring state governments particularly Penang to view favourably the proposed low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) in northern Perak as an airport that complements rather than competes with other airports in their respective states. Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said the LCCT, to be known as Utara Malaysia Airport Terminal (UMAT), was crucial in the overall development of northern Perak for which the state government has lined up ambitious plans. Politicans should just remain as politicians and look after the affairs of the state they are in power and not mess around trying to create projects that will ultimately be named in the hall of fame as ” white elephants”. The Batu Berendam Airport in Melaka is a good example. After a RM250 million upgrading the airport now handles only 3 flights a week. So the industry is asking the number one man in Perak not to worry about airports. Instead he should be more concerned about making the outskirts of Ipoh a more livable place.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


When does a service issue become an outright problem instead of just a temporary inconvenience? What is the “tipping point” that provokes a guest to write a comment or, worse, never return to a property? And, most importantly, once you find this threshold, how do you ensure things never reach this point? The new-age verbiage for this process is “double deviation,” a term you’ve probably heard in passing, and yet, it’s one you should have in the back of your mind at all times. To draw upon my tourism background, customer complaints follow an initiation and propagation couplet. That is, a problem only becomes a problem when guests are not adequately compensated for the initial error, or when a second error occurs. I will use a recent trip to an island resort. My wife and I spent the weekend at a government owned luxury property. The first morning we chose to dine at the hotel’s uncrowded restaurant and were not impressed in the least. We waited a full 10 minutes for our simple order of a continental breakfast to be taken and another 20 for it to arrive — cold and with no apology forthcoming. Having a table near the kitchen, we could hear the staff chatting it up all throughout our half-hour hang-up. Unacceptable. We left without touching our food and complained to the front desk, then went off to a nearby warong for real food and activities. Returning that evening, we found a rather contrite note and a fruit basket in our room. Apology accepted. In our minds, the issue was fully resolved by the positive response from the staff. We chalked this up as a technical fault. It did not impede our travels, and we are not above thinking that there may have been other extenuating circumstances outside of the staff’s control. Then came the coup de grace. Housekeeping had cleaned the bathroom without leaving any towels. Not even a face towel! A minor grievance, negligible even, but it set off a flood of bad memories from that morning. Once was okay, but twice was utterly deplorable, no matter what the compensation. Needless to say, we agreed to never stay there again. When asked about our trip to, a foremost topic of discussion was always the horrible service at our hotel. This property not only lost a customer, but probably many other prospects as well.

Monday, May 14, 2012


The Sabah Tourist Association has joined in the controversy. Its Chairman, Tonny Chew has expressed concern over the recent call for taxi and hired car associations to offer attractive packages and to double up as tour guides made by Federal Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen. The call was also objected to by the Sabah Tourist Association Guide (SGTA) and Malaysia Association of Tours and Travel Agent, Sabah (Matta). “It’s understandable that the move may be beneficial for taxi drivers and can boost their business in the transportation services with added advantages of selling travel packages and being guides for each client that they chauffeur. “Alas, in doing so, it renders the services of existing licensed tour operators and licensed car rental companies null,” he said. “It may become a big disadvantage and comes as significantly unfair to guides who have invested time and money to have their skills recognised and certified, during the learning process. “It is also a disadvantage for travel companies that have invested a lot to build their fleet of licensed guides,” he said. Chew said it might spark a beginning of another controversy in the tourism industry, particularly in Sabah. “To have such programmes to be implemented here in Sabah would be to cripple our own feet. “It would also be impractical for taxi tourism service due to the limitations of routes being set by the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board, also known as Lembaga Pelesenan Kenderaan Perdagangan (LPKP), as each taxi licence is different and would clash with the tour packages they offer,” he said, adding for example, airport taxi limousine can only transfer guests from the airport. “Whereas a regular taxi that operates within the city can only run in the city. “Hence, causing inconvenience to potential customers as they have to change cabs when travelling to different destinations and for taxi drivers to be allowed to do so would indirectly encourage them to operate beyond their approved route as stated in their licence,” he said. Chew strongly agreed with the comments made by Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun and both STGA and Matta chairman, to have the Tourism Minister think thoroughly about the project before implementing it to avoid negative impacts on all sides in the industry.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) which is currently facing internal problems and bad governance have revealed today that it had imposed mandatory travel insurance on all its members since March 1. Six insurance service providers, namely Ace Jerneh Insurance Bhd, Chartis Malaysia Insurance Bhd, Hong Leong MSIG Takaful Bhd (HLM Takaful), Kurnia Insurance (M) Bhd, Lonpac Insurance (M) Bhd and RHB Insurance Bhd, have been appointed for this purpose. HLM Takaful is the only appointed takaful operator to provide travel takaful for MATTA delegates which means that the company can extend services to MATTA’s haj and umrah delegates. In a statement, MATTA President Datuk Mohd Khalid Harun said having an outbound travel insurance coverage when travelling overseas was important as there were many cases of travel agencies becoming insolvent. “When you personally hear cases of consumer’s hard-earned money being absconded, it is very heart-wrenching. And that is why MATTA is ensuring that travel insurance is made mandatory to safeguard the consumer’s wellbeing,” he said. MATTA itself must take insurance coverage to protect itself from a vote of no-confidence and action from members who are not happy with the way this organisation is being managed.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


There is no end to the Malaysian fam tours. The tourism ministry will bring in over 280 Mega Familiarisation programme (MegaFam) participants from 23o countries during Citrawarna Malaysia on May 19. Citrawarna is held to attract tourists to visit Malaysia and spur domestic tourism.This is what the government thinks. So on our part, said the legendary Tourism Minister, it is important to promote the “Malaysia Truly Asia” concept at this event,” she said. The Colours of 1Malaysia or popularly known as Citrawarna is back and set to dazzle crowds with an array of shows on May 19. This year Citrawarna celebrates its 14th anniversary which will take place at Dataran Merdeka from 5pm until midnight. The annual event is expected to attract over 100,000 visitors including foreign tourists and overseas media, said Tourism minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen. “This is a tourism event. We want to show tourists our products including our contemporary arts, our fabulous food, homestay and eco-tourism,” she said at a press conference at Malaysia Tourism Centre (Matic) today. She said there will be about 7,000 participants including school children and members of the public. A 1.5km parade will wind its way through Jalan Raja, Jalan Raja Laut, Jalan Isfahan to Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, from 8.30pm to 11.30pm and will end with performances by dikir barat group. Tourism packages are also being sold by various travel agencies for this event. “Our iconic event is one of our biggest and will attract lots of tourists from overseas. There will also be local art shows and activities,” she said.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Some 350 people mostly Malaysians were seen at the Malaysia International Tourism Bloggers Conference which was held on 8 and 9 May 2012 at the Seri Pacific Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. Organised by the Ministry of Tourism and managed by the Malaysia Social Media Chambers the conference was graced by the presence of 18 prominent social media activists and bloggers. However most of the attendees were local Malaysians who were not blogging for tourism. Other than the tourist guides who were there in full force there was a glaring absence of tourism players from the other clusters. So to call it a tourism bloggers conference is not very correct. Topics discussed were wide ranging from outreach beyond travel bloggers to entrepreneurship in tourism using social media. There were also workshops on how to make social media tools work for tourism and the leisure business using social media. These were excellent topics but certainly did not reach the right target audience. It was learnt that a sum of RM600,000 were allocated for this event which was not managed by the mainstream tourism NGO.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Contrary to what the Minister has said earlier the Tourism Ministry stressed that it has no intention of allowing taxi drivers to become tour guides, at least not without going through the right procedures and training. Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen was previously reported as saying when launching the taxi tourism service programme in Raub, Pahang, on April 29 that cabbies could double up as tourist guides. Under the programme, tourists can choose a day trip package to various tourist spots by taxi for a single charge. Upon clarifying the matter yesterday, Dr Ng stated that what she actually meant was for the taxi drivers to be “well-informed”. “As part of the Think tourism, Act Tourism’ campaign, taxi drivers should be the frontliners in the tourism industry. They should ensure that they are equipped with basic information to share with tourists as well as understand their role in promoting tourism,” she said, adding that it would be sad if a taxi driver responds with “I don’t know” to every question a tourist asks. “According to the Tourism Industry Act 1992, licensed tourist guides should undergo proper training, and taxi drivers are no exception,” Dr Ng said at the launching ceremony of more than 2,000 taxis and 10 buses as “ambassadors” for the Malaysia International Tourism Exchange 2012 (MITE 2012) at the Malaysian Tourism Centre (Matic). What a way to flip flop.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


After making it unnecessary for tourists arriving from China, the embarkation card is still in use, the Tourism Ministry clarified yesterday. Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said the Immigration Department had not done away with the embarkation card as earlier reported but was still in discussion with the ministry to decide the timeline to abolish the embarkation card, possibly this year. “The embarkation cards or white cards are for us to do data and statistical collections and conduct analysis. With the big influx of tourists to Malaysia and a better system to gather data now, the cards are not the only source of information,” Ng said after launching the inaugural Malaysia International Tourism Bloggers Conference and Awards yesterday. Local daily theSun earlier reported that the Immigration Department had quietly abolished the embarkation card since February due to the implementation of the biometric system introduced in conjunction with the Home Ministry’s 6P legalising programme for foreign workers and illegal immigrants. Ng said more details will be announced in a joint press conference with the Immigration Department later.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


A seminar on "An Update on the Malaysia My Second Home Program" by Pn. Siti Nana Shaarani, Director of MM2H Centre, Ministry of Tourism will be held on May 8, 2012 at MICCI Training Room @ 9.00 am. If you have further enquiry, please call Ms. Nurul at 03-6201 7708. Kindly forward your registration forms as soon as possible as Seats are Limited. please contact Chitra Devi Kothandapani Manager, Human Capital, Infrastructure, Corporate Responsibility & Tourism --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MICCI) C-08-8, 8th Floor, Block C, Plaza Mont' Kiara, No. 2, Jalan Kiara, Mont' Kiara 50480 Kuala Lumpur Tel: (03) 6201-7708 Fax: (03) 6201-7705

Friday, May 4, 2012


Social media has become a key tool in telling the world about Malaysia’s tourist attractions, said our clever Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen. “If promotions are not done over the social media, you are quite a dinosaur,” Dr Ng said at a press conference on the Malaysian International Tourism Bloggers Conference & Awards (MITBCA 2012). The event, which is organised by the ministry in collaboration with the Malaysia Social Media Chambers, will see a gathering of tourism bloggers and industry players here on May 8 and 9. Dr Ng said the inaugural Malaysia International Tourism Bloggers Awards would also be held in conjunction with the conference. Sixteen awards will be presented in categories such as lifestyle, duty-free shopping, travel, food, music, entertainment, destination blogs, micro blogger and tourism blog of the year. TV host and personality Jojo Struys and cookery show host and chef Anis Nabilah, who are avid bloggers, will be among those speaking at the conference. Details can be obtained from .

Thursday, May 3, 2012


As expected the swap deal between Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and AirAsia is off. This is to confirm earlier rumours that a combination of union pressure, concerns over conflict of interest and the upcoming general election would force the national carrier’s hand over the issue. Trading of MAS and AirAsia shares has been suspended to make way for an official announcement later today. The dissolution of the comprehensive collaboration framework signed last August is likely to see AirAsia’s Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin Meranun exit the MAS board. On the flip side, the cooperative spirit of the agreement is set to continue, with MAS and AirAsia expected to persist in collaborations on procurement, pilot training, and maintenance support and repair services, in an attempt to secure cost savings. The carriers are expected to establish several joint venture companies to facilitate this collaboration. Corporate figures seem to forget that running airlines is not only about putting planes in the air. It is more about motivating the human resource so that they can feel proud of their airlines and will put every effort to make it a success.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Instead of going to Bali the Riau Islands province is keen to learn how to develop its tourism sector from Malaysia. The Riau Islands Tourism Division head Rahman Osman said they would increase cooperation with Malaysia in order to realise their aim. "The same sun shines over both places but how is it that Malaysia can attract more than 18 million tourists annually and Indonesia only about seven million. According to my observation we have more tourism products, so we need to study Malaysia's method of promoting their products," he told Bernama at Daik, Lingga here. The Riau Islands, situated east of Sumatera, is more than 75,000 km square and has a population exceeding six million. He also invited private companies from Malaysia and other Asean countries to invest in tourism in Pulau Benan, which is considered the gateway for Lingga's tourism sector. This is perhaps a better option for our tourism investors.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


The Malaysia Tourism Federation welcome the move by the Tourism Minister to give bigger role to taxi drivers in providing local tours. The Minister had said yesterday that taxi and hired car associations have been urged to offer attractive packages to tourists to strengthen the tourism industry. In making the call, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said the tour packages should be made available to local and foreign tourists. Under the programme, tourists can choose a day trip package to various hotspots via taxi for a single charge. “The drivers will double up as tour guides too, but they have to attend a day-long course with the ministry to participate. The drivers will be given a RM100 monthly allowance each and they can earn more through the taxi tourism package,” said Dr Ng. Dr Ng said she hoped to start similar programmes in other districts. The taxi stand that was built over four months has a unique roof which comes with a self-cleaning technology which is the first of its kind in Malaysia. The Federation feels that upgrading the taxi drivers will make them better and responsible members of the tourism industry. MOHD TAIB WAHAB Secretary General MALAYSIA TOURISM FEDERATION mobile: 012-2992911