Saturday, July 27, 2013

Workshop to discuss challenges in technology and marketing trends in tourism industry

Changes and challenges in technology and marketing trends affecting the future of tourism will be discussed at a workshop at the Asia Pacific Tourism, Hospitality and Technology (APTHAT) Conference here on Nov 21 and 22.
The “Shifting Knowledge/Technology and Marketing Trends for the Future of Tourism” workshop will be conducted by Dr Edward Dramberger, a tourism trainer and consultant from New York.
The workshop, on the second day of the conference, will look into global challenges that specifically affect the growth in inbound tourism in South-East Asia and Malaysia.
Among Dramberger’s accomplishments include developing a proven result-oriented selling model – “Compass Selling” – within the tourism sector and publishing a book entitledDestination Diaries this year, which focused on his unique travel experiences around the world. The conference, which will be held at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching, aims at identifying opportunities propelled by innovations.
Initiated and organised by UCSI Communications Sdn Bhd, APTHAT is the first ever conference on travel technology and hospitality automation. It is meant for anyone in the tourism and hospitality industry.
Programmes for the inaugural conference will include conference, workshops, master-classes, buyer seller sessions, hotel inspections and exhibitions.
Among the objectives of the conference is to prepare travel and tourism industrialists to be resilient in the competitive market that is technology driven. It is also to introduce them to the latest gadgets.
Apart from gathering industry experts and players from within the Asia Pacific region to the conference, UCSI Communications also hopes the event could further enhance the state’s effort in making Sarawak a MICE (meeting, incentive, conference and exhibitions) destination in Malaysia. UCSI Communications is hoping to attract some 300 participants to the conference.
Tourism Malaysia Director-General Datuk Mirza Mohammad Tayeb has consented to deliver the keynote address at the conference.
A total of six papers will be presented along with six workshops and two master-classes.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tourist from Singapore is up 11.5%

Tourist arrivals from Singapore between January and May this year recorded consistent growth over the same period last year, says Tourism Malaysia director for Singapore, Noor Aine Ismail.
"To date, we have received a total of 5,209,286 tourist arrivals from Singapore, an overall increase of 11.5 per cent in arrivals," she said, according to Bernama.
"Last year, we welcomed about 13.01 million tourists from Singapore - a drop of 2.75 per cent from 2011.
"This drop was mainly due to the change in statistics calculation, which was based on 'Country of Origin' instead of 'Country of Residence'," she said at the Tourism Malaysia Media Night in Singapore.

Friday, July 19, 2013


The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) is reviewing taxi fares and has indicated a possible increase in the near future.

SPAD was studying the costs incurred by taxi drivers taking into account the operational costs (of taxi drivers)

SPAD  was also looking into an “accreditation programme” which would become a future requirement for cabbies to enable better taxi services.

This was announced by PM Najib in his speech before presenting 500 Taxi 1Malaysia (Teks1m) individual licences to the cabbies. They were part of a group of 1,000 drivers chosen out of 19,117 Teks1m applicants earlier this year.

SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said the fare review was almost at its final stage although it is not declared on what kind of increase would be involved.

However, he said SPAD hoped to present the review before the Government by the end of the year, adding that the implementation might take place by that time or at the beginning of next year.

The current flag-off rate for Malaysian taxis is RM3, with 10 sen charged for every subsequent 100m. The last review was in 2009.

The real problem with the taxi service is not so much of the fare, rather not using the fare meter by taxi drivers. Negotiations need to be carried out before jumping into the taxi and in some cases drivers will refuse to take passenger to areas where it is unlikely he will get a return passenger.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


The Government has agreed to allocate RM250mil to deepen the Sungai Besut estuary to boost fishing and tourism industries here.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had approved the allocation Monday, expected to be implemented early next year.

This announcement came at the right time  and in the midst of Kuala Besut by-election. Many things can be said at this time to win votes. But one has to be realistic about this and consider if that amount of money can be put to better use.

As we all know the sleepy hollow of Kuala Besut need better tourism facilities as it is the staging point for tours to the many islands around Pulau Perhentian.

The project to deepen the estuary of Sungai Besut, which had long been requested, at can be better carried out by ensuring that  logging and other environmental issues be solved upstream.

The government can also consider awarding a contract to a sand miner  who will be allowed to deepen the estuary and sell the sand to a suitable buyer. This will enable a alotted sum of RM250mil be used to facilitate fishermen and tourists in other more meaningful ways.

Saturday, July 13, 2013


The Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents (MATTA) is planning an Extraordinary General Meeting to resolve a dispute at its annual general meeting (AGM) held last week, reported The Star a few days ago.

Some parties were not satisfied with the association's 38th AGM’s election process held on June 29 at PWTC.said the outgoing Hon Treasurer Razali Mohd Sham, who lost his bid for the Presidency.

“We’re investigating complaints and the election  is a normal procedure,” he said, adding that there was a “flaw” in the process.

MATTA’s executive council would have met on Wednesday to discuss the issue. He said the subject of MATTA’s AGM was still on hold pending “verification”, adding that fresh elections were likely to be held.

He said that there was also a dispute involving the accounts of one of MATTA’s chapters.
According to a June 14 notice on its website, the MATTA AGM was supposed to have, aside from discussing previous AGM minutes, deliberated on matters on its executive council for the 2013-2015 period.
It also sought to appoint a firm of chartered accountants as external auditors.

In an entry on the MATTA website, president Datuk Mohd Khalid Harun said he would be stepping down after four years in office.This is something he has to do as the ocnstitution of MATTA does not allow a person to hold office more than two terms. Datuk Khalid would love to stay on if he could.

He would assume the association’s Immediate Past President post and continue to be in MATTA’s executive council and be ready to answer questions which were not allowed to be raised during the AGM.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


The Islamic fasting month of Ramadan is a 30-day timeout from the stress and pressure of daily life. 

The value of fasting in some shape or form is recognised in Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and other religions. Health & wellness practitioners know it can be just as beneficial as yoga, ayurveda, meditation and massage therapies. 

Indeed, if done right, a 30-day fast is the ultimate opportunity to destress and detox as well as refresh, rebuild, replenish, rejuvenate, rethink, restructure and review life as a whole. 

Want to know more? Imtiaz Muqbil, the Executive Editor of Travel Impact Newswire, is happy to share some enlightening thoughts and experiences. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Sunday, July 7, 2013


For some of us it is important to know when is Ramadan in order that we can plan special tours for groups during this holy month..

Ramadan in 2013 will start on Tuesday, the 9th of July and will continue for 30 days until Wednesday, the 7th of August.

Based on sightability of the new moon in Malaysia Ramadan will start a day later - on Wednesday, the 10th of July.

It is important to note that in the Muslim calander, a holiday begins on the sunset of the previous day, so observing Muslims will celebrate Ramadan on the sunset of Monday, the 8th of July.

Although Ramadan is always on the same day of the Islamic calendar, the date on the Gregorian calendar varies from year to year, since the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar and the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar. This difference means Ramadan moves in the Gregorian calendar approximately 11 days every year. The date of Ramadan may also vary from country to country depending on whether the moon has been sighted or not.

The dates provided are based on the dates adopted by the Fiqh Council of Malaysia for the celebration of Ramadan. Note that these dates are based on astronomical calculations to affirm each date, and not on the actual sighting of the moon with the naked eyes. This approach is accepted by many, but is still being hotly debated.

In Malaysia Ramadan packages are still confined to "majlis berbuka puasa". Hotels are offering special buka puasa packages which ae very popular especially at the tail end of the month.

In Indonesia hotels offer special room packages in the month of Ramadan which include buka puasa and sahur.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Friday, July 5, 2013


Great news for people traveling out of Subang airport. Community airline Firefly has taken delivery of the first of 20 ATR72-600 turboprop aircraft it ordered last December, bringing the total number of aircraft in its fleet to 13. The other 12 aircraft in the Firefly fleet are the 70-seater ATR72-500s.
The ATR72-600s will be delivered in phases within the next five to six years. Besides the 20 confirmed orders, Firefly has an option to acquire 16 more of the ATR72-600s.
Firefly chief executive officer Ignatius Ong received the aircraft from ATR chief executive officer Filippo Bagnato in a simple ceremony here.

The aircraft was ferried home out of Toulouse-Blagnac Airport yesterday. The flight will make four stops - three night stops in Greece, Oman and Maldives and one refuelling stop in Bahrain - before arriving Subang Airport on Sunday evening. The new aircraft will begin operations on July 12 to Johor Baru.
Ong said the new aircraft is part of Firefly's growth and expansion plan “as well as our continuous effort to serve our customers better”. “Our exclusive ATR72 fleet has allowed us to develop a unique high frequency network out of Subang, Penang and Johor Baru. The ATR aircraft are unrivalled in terms if passenger comfort and environmentally friendliness. This will further improve guests' experience."
The wholly-owned subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines currently operates out of Subang and Penang, connecting secondary destinations within the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand growth triangle as well as providing air linkages between Malaysia and Singapore.

Thursday, July 4, 2013


Finally the long awaited news has arrived, a change in MATTA leadership. The travel industry is delighted to hear that HAMZAH Rahmat was elected president at the recently concluded 38th annual general meeting of the Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents (MATTA) last weekend. Hamzah is not a new kid on the block but had some years of experience in MATTA and we hope he will not inherit the bad habits of the old guard..

But having Jeffri Sulaiman as his deputy may cause some concern amongst members who wants to see a cleaner and transparent MATTA management. Jeffri has been a part and parcel of the old guard known to have discriminate some members and even have interpreted the constitution to suit their whims and fancy.There have y cases of abuse of power and financial mismanagement.
According to MATTA constitution, Hamzah will hold the post of president-in-waiting until the handover meeting, which must be called within four weeks from the date of the annual general meeting.
In his maiden press statement, Hamzah said: “During my tenure, I will ensure there is regular dialogue with other tourism-related associations towards strengthening the tourism industry, proactively engage members at all levels (by) listen(ing) to their needs and champion(ing) their causes to uphold the constitution at all times, to realign our policies, to manage our resources properly and transparently for the ultimate benefit of our members.”
Hamzah was the former secretary-general of MATTA and Jeffri was the vice president-outbound.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


The city of Melaka  is not yet a mecca for tourists. Can this happen someday ?

 The Portugese, the Dutch and the British have come, seen and conquered. When will the rest of the world be here.

The next set of notable tourists were in buses who came down from Singapore to see Jongker Street and accidentally  managed to terminally vandalise a prominent local resident, one Encik Mahmud who claimed that he was the Sultan.

The newly appointed Chief Minister wants to re-invented tourism for Melaka and he has to be very careful here.

The news coverage of this simple act of closing Jongker Street promoted the tourist trade for the City. People would come from far and wide to visit Melaka, and Jongker Street vendors proceeded to rip them off by selling them cheap trinkets ( made in China )that they could attach to their anoraks to prove that they had been here.

Tourism continued to thrive here until a certain claimant to the Melaka Sultante decided that enough was enough. Basically, for several hundred years, all these tourists had been taking the gold leaf that was used to wrap their Kit Kat bars and sticking it on this big box in the Chinese temple in the area.  The tourist trade in old city of Melaka will be finished some day if conservation is not carried out continuosly.

Loads of time passed and the tourist trade have begun to pick up. This was helped by the former Chief Minister who came here as a tourist and wanted to build a railway line from Tampin to Melaka Sentral, that was notable in that it had the first railway tunnel and truly cho-cho in motion.

We were told that the new Chief Minister wants to pedestrianised the city to enable the tourists to walk about more freely. This is a GOOD THING. Keep up the good work.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Jonker street as described by most travel writers as  a very attractive place in Melaka and a must visit area of the historical importance to visit at any time of the day..  There is more happening on the street on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at night but is not quite busy throughout the day as well since Melaka was awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO in 2008.

Now the streets are lined with souvenir shops selling goods not indigenous of Melaka,in addition to the traditional restaurants that have staked claim here for decades.  Foods and drinks found here that are worth trying include; Hai Nan coffee, cendol, laksa, and so on are recommended.

The problem is really about traffic congestion and is not pedestrian friendly.

It is therefore deemed proper that the Melaka government has decided to part close the area to solve this problem. In fact the place is better off as a pedestrian mall and no more cars or vehicles should be allowed into the area. The local government should also consider not allowing traffic into the heritage areas. They should only allow tourists be dropped off at certain areas nearby.

Monday, July 1, 2013


Last  Sunday, some 100 traders from the affected Jongker Street night market held a walkabout protest along Jonker Street to voice their unhappiness at the state’s decision to close the street to ease traffic congestion.. These are traders selling souvenir items which has no tourism value for Melaka as they are made in China or Hongkong.

 The Tourism Ministry has meanwhile urged the Malacca state government to reconsider its decision to close the Jonker Street night market, in light of its significance to the tourism industry.

“I would certainly want to see Jonker Street remain,” said its minister Datuk Seri Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz.

The Minister went on to say“What is Malacca without tourism?”

Nazri should also comment on the dumping of China and Hongkong goods along Jongker street. Is this good for our tourism industry.

The recent announcement by Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Wira Idris Haron on the closing of the Jonker Street night market has its merit if it is to scale down the sale of stupid tourism souvenir items from China and Hongkong.

The night market, which operates on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, comprises some 300 traders and has become an international tourist attraction since its opening 13 years ago.

That the decision to open the street on weekends was due to the numerous complains over traffic congestion in the area.