Monday, October 29, 2012


Kuala Lumpur is the second best shopping city in Asia Pacific, according to the latest Globe Shopper Index, cementing its position as a shopping paradise. Twenty-five cities in the region were assessed under five categories shops; culture and climate; hotels and transport; affordability; and convenience.

Kuala Lumpur achieved the second highest overall score of 65 out of 100. Only Hong Kong scored higher 68.5 edging other cities for its safety, dependable city transport and variety of shops and brands. Shanghai was third with a 63.1 score with Beijing placed fourth at 60.7.Singapore (60.2) and Bangkok (57.1) were ranked fifth and seventh respectively. The other big cities ranked included Sydney (58.4), Tokyo (56.4) and Seoul (54.8).

“Kuala Lumpur’s specific strength is its ability to combine low prices with a good range of products in a large number of stores, including three of the world’s 10 biggest shopping malls,” the index report stated.

The report predicted that Kuala Lumpur had the potential to perform better in future indexes due to the Government’s efforts to promote retail tourism. It also took note of the Government’s mammoth investments in developing KLCC and Bukit Bintang as a “premier shopping precinct in Malaysia”.

Unfortunately not much has been done  to put local products on the shelf of these outlets. Branding and other marketing elements may be the reason for this, but enabling local products take place at the shelves is the responsibility of all shopping complex owners as part of the CSR.

We believe that local products must be give a fair share of  the tourism market and by doing so assist them to improve branding and bottom line of their businesses.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


TOURISM Malaysia wants a bigger share of the Russian outbound market and is aiming to grow visitor numbers from Vladivostok and Khabarovsk in the Russian Far East as well as Novosibirsk, the administrative centre of Novosibirsk Oblast.

According to Datuk Haji Azizan Noordin, deputy director-general (planning), Tourism Malaysia, the NTO is in discussions with charter operators and travel consultants to schedule charters from these cities to Langkawi and Kota Kinabalu this coming winter.

The NTO will provide outbound agencies with joint marketing support, while Malaysia Airports, which manages most of the airports in Malaysia, has agreed to waive aircraft landing fees to encourage more chartered flights, he added.

From January to June 2012, Malaysia received 24,198 Russian tourists, a 28.2 per cent year-on-year increase.
In an unrelated development, Azizan told TTG Asia e-Daily that Tourism Malaysia was planning to upgrade its marketing office in Almaty, Khazakhstan, into a full-fledged regional office next year. First established in 2007, the office will be tasked with overseeing promotions throughout Central Asia.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Tourism promotion can be better done by other Ministries. A good example would be the event in London officiated by Dr Rais Yatim, the Information Minister.

Up to 154,300 people visited Malaysia Week 2012 at South Bank here in the two days since the event to promote Malaysia was launched on Saturday.
Deputy Secretary-General (Culture) of the Malaysian Information, Communications and Culture Ministry, Datuk Abdul Ghaffar A. Tambi, said the number of visitors exceeded the 150,000 target set for the five-day programme scheduled to end on Wednesday.
"We are very happy (with the turnout) as it was a weekend and the weather was good. On the first day, Saturday, we recorded 74,300 visitors.
"More people came yesterday (Sunday) and that there were about 80,000. The total figure for the two days exceeds our target (for the five-day programme)," he told Malaysian journalists covering the event, here, on Monday.
The event, organised jointly by the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry, Tourism Ministry and Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade), was launched by Malaysian Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim on Saturday.
Malaysia Week, which carries the theme 'Faces of 1Malaysia', promotes to the international community Malaysia's culture, heritage and the different ways of life which reflect a life of unity in diversity.
The activities include cultural performances and martial arts depicting the 1Malaysia concept, demonstration and sale of craft, exhibition and sale of works of visual arts, modelling of fashion and textile, and Malaysian traditional games.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


The tourism industry is extremely worried over the remarks by AirAsia Malaysia CEO that the decision to move to KLIA2 will be based on whether the new airport is safe and functional and can facilitate the carrier’s low-cost operation.
AirAsia Bhd, Asia’s largest low-cost carrier (LCC), remains coy about a move to KLIA2, the new LCC terminal due to be completed in seven months. AirAsia Malaysia chief executive officer Aireen Omar said the decision will be based on whether the new airport is safe and functional and can facilitate the carrier’s low-cost operation.
“In order for us to be able to move there, we need to work closely with Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd to ensure that the KLIA2 move facilitates our low-cost model,” she said in an interview recently.
However, there are other ways that AirAsia can manage itself should the new airport prove unsuitable for its low-cost model, she added.
Aireen said the carrier has 16 hubs in the Asean region but declined to elaborate on the possibilities of AirAsia relocating its Malaysia operations to one of its regional hubs.
It is indeed worrying that Air Asia is not firm on going to KLIA2 as MAB is working day and night to complete the work. As far as we are concerned it has been a done deal. So lets get on with it.

Monday, October 8, 2012


Despite the claim by Tourism Minister that she was responsible for all the arrivals into the country the Opposition state of Penang has put her to shame in medical tourism. It accounted for 60% of 555,000 foreign medical tourists to Malaysia last year for healthcare services.

Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA) chief executive officer Datuk Redza Rafiq Abdul Razak said seven private hospitals from the Penang Health Association (PHA) recorded a revenue of RM280bil in the past year.

“A total of 333,000 people sought medical treatment from hospitals such as Pantai Mutiara Hospital, Lam Wah Ee Hospital, Mount Miriam Cancer Hospital, Loh Guan Lye Specialist Hospital, Gleneagles Hospital, Penang Adventist Hospital and Island Hospital. Among those who came to Penang for medical tourism were from southern Thailand and Australia,” he told a press conference in conjunction with the International Conference for Cancer Caregivers yesterday.

He added that NCIA was collaborating with the association to penetrate into other countries such as Cambodia, Bangladesh and Myanmar. “We are stepping up efforts to promote medical tourism among foreign tourists through several measures including flight incentives which would be announced later,” he said.
Penang Adventist Hospital marketing and business development manager Ng Gim Bee said the state expected an annual growth of 15% on foreign medical tourists to Penang. “Foreigners come to Penang mostly for open heart surgeries and procedures, and dental care,” she said.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Another non-event  is the making and it is probably the fourth Visit Malaysia Year held so far  in addition to he ones held at state level.

To do this the Tourism Ministry will bring international and world-class attractions into the country to draw visitors during Visit Malaysia Year 2013/2014. Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen declared: “We are not going to focus solely on tourism products. We aim to also make Malaysia the venue of choice for conventions, seminars and meetings.”

Declining to elaborate, she said: “Whatever we are doing now, we are going to do it bigger.”
Dr Ng was speaking to reporters after opening the 1Malaysia Contemporary Art Tourism Festival (1MCAT)recently..

You can just imagine the kind of spending that will take place if the same Minister sits in office.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


When Dr Ng Yen Yen said in parliament that the foreign trips and promotions by the Tourism Minister last year generated an increase of RM635.3mil in foreign exchange revenues compared to 2010 is actually like ” masuk bakul angkat sendiri..
The increase she said could be derived from the promotions of prestige tourism and high spending tourists to Malaysia.
In 2011, foreign tourists spending in the shopping sector alone made up 30% of the total revenue for the industry, which is RM17.5bil compared to 28.7% or RM16.2bil in the previous year. This is another bull by the minister,
Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen told Teresa Kok (DAP-Seputeh) during Question Time. Kok had asked the ministry to list the minister’s foreign trips and tourism promotion from 2010.
Dr Ng said that the official promotional visits to various countries had also increased tourist arrivals, boost revenue as well as opening new markets.
“In 2011, we went for several promotional visits, including to Iran, Indonesia, China, Russia, Philippines, Vietnam, and United Arab Emirates in conjunction with the Arab Travel Mart”, Dr Ng said. “For instance, tourists from China increased by 10.6% from 1,130,261 visitors in 2010 to 1,250,536 in 2011, generating 12.6% increase in revenue from RM3.1bil to RM3.5bil.”
“This year, from January to August, we visited Singapore, Philippines, and Germany in conjunction with the Internationale Tourismus Borse (ITB)”, she said.
Small wonder how our parliament can put up with Minsters such as this one.

Friday, October 5, 2012


After a four hour demonstration by taxi drivers the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) has agreed to look into the problems faced by taxi drivers around Bukit Bintang.

SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar in a statement here today, said decision to look into the matter was made after a two-hour meeting with the Association of Bestari Taxi Drivers of Kuala Lumpur here Wednesday.

Nine issues were highlighted by the association at the meeting, most of which involved operational issues including the claim that the income of taxi drivers was badly affected by the introduction of free GO-KL bus service.

The association also requested that the taxi coupon system in KLCC and Pavillion to be abolished, besides asking for a taxi terminal to be built in Bukit Bintang.

Syed Hamid said SPAD would meet with the relevant agencies to find solutions to the matters raised. At about 3.30pm yesterday, a group of taxi drivers staged a demonstration in Bukit Bintang and demanded SPAD to hear their problems.

The demonstration, caused severe traffic congestion in the area.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


THE mainstream media have repeatedly described the Iskandar Malaysia region in Johor as the Orlando of South-east Asia, but according to buyers at the recent PATA Travel Mart in Manila, this label needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. Iskandar Malaysia is not quite Orlando yet, says buyers.
Tushar Jain, director, BTC Tours & Travel New Delhi, said it would be difficult for Iskandar Malaysia’s theme parks to gain a following among Indian travellers, given the overwhelming popularity of Universal Studios Singapore.
“There’s hardly been any promotions in India for Legoland, Sanrio Hello Kitty Town and The Little Big Club. Indians have therefore been left in the dark about these new theme parks,” he said. “Secondly, the parks in Iskandar are aimed at young children, whereas Universal Studios Singapore caters to all ages. From a business perspective, it makes more sense for us to bring clients just to Universal Studios when they visit Singapore.”
According to Leo Chan, marketing manager, Charlotte Travel Hong Kong, visitors from Hong Kong to Singapore would see little sense in heading over the border to Johor unless ‘they were die-hard Hello Kitty or Lego fans’. “When Hong Kong tourists visit Singapore, they stay for only four days. They do not want to visit more than one theme park (besides Universal Studios) during that time, especially if they have to travel out of Singapore. However, they might hop over to Johor on subsequent trips,” he said.
Dennis Law, managing director, Star Holiday Mart Singapore, was also circumspect about the prospects for the Iskandar theme parks in drawing visitors from outside Malaysia and Singapore. “Iskandar currently suffers from a lack of tourism infrastructure such as hotels and restaurants to make the region an attractive and viable destination for foreign travellers. This might change in future, but for now, this is a sizeable obstacle,” he said.
“Cost is another impeding factor. Visitors have to fork out around US$85 each to visit all three Iskandar theme parks. However, if the parks can band together to develop value-for-money packages, they might just be able to draw visitors from Singapore and other parts of Malaysia,” he added.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


It is said that Urban Planners and Tourism Managers play a vital role in tourism development. But how can this be when tourism players are never sought after for urban planning.

The planners and tourism managers play an important role in ensuring sustainable tourism development complements with overall municipal policies, besides meeting the needs of both, city residents and its visitors.

Kuala Lumpur Mayor Datuk Ahmad Phesal Talib said tourism planning at all levels was essential to achieve sustainable tourism development and efficient management of the city.

“The experience of many tourism areas in the world has demonstrated that, on a long term basis, the planned approach to developing tourism can bring benefits without significant problems, and maintain satisfied tourist market,” he said in his speech at the launch of the Global Tourism Cities Conference (GTCC) 2012 here Monday.

His speech was read by Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur Deputy Director-General (Planning) Datuk Zulkifli Ibrahim.

The City Mayor said places which allowed tourism to develop without the benefit of planning often suffered from environmental and social problems.

So please put this to work and let us see the results.

Monday, October 1, 2012


The Visit Malaysia Year 2013/14 has targeted to draw 26.8 Million Tourists. Sometimes we wonder how this  will work out. Is there a formula on this earth to really determine the justification for such expenditure.
To achieve this target the government has allocated RM358 million under the development expenditure, an increase of 42 per cent, to target 26.8 million tourist arrivals. How this amount of money will be spent depend greatly on who sits in as the Tourism Minister.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said tourism was a key economic growth sector, contributing almost 12 per cent to GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Tabling the 2013 Budget today, he said that total revenue generated from the tourism sector was estimated to increase to RM62 billion in 2012.
As a tax incentive, tour operators who bring in at least 500 foreign tourists a year are currently given tax exemption for three years.
For tour operators who bring in at least 750 foreign tourists or handle 1,500 local tourists a year, the government has proposed under the 2013 Budget that the income tax exemption be extended for three years.
The income tax exemption will be in force beginning with the 2013 assessment year until 2015.
This tax exemption is welcomed by all tourism businesses but will it  really boost the tourism arrivals ??