Wednesday, October 22, 2014

MyFEST 2015 Targets 29.4 Million Visitors

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 21 (Bernama) -- The Malaysia Year of Festival (MyFEST) 2015 targets the arrival of 29.4 million tourists with revenue of RM89 billion expected.

Tourism and Culture Ministry deputy secretary-general Rashidi Hasbullah said the target was achievable if the tourism and culture industry players cooperated with the government for the success of the MyFEST 2015 campaign. He said the ministry had outlined several specific national missions in efforts to make the campaign a success.

"The missions include displaying the MyFEST 2015 logo in events and programmes, holding marketing and promotional drives, innovative offerings from the hoteliers, enhancing quality and services, maintaining cleanliness of tourism destinations, and upgrading and developing innovative tourism products."

Rashidi said this at the MyFEST 2015 briefing session with tourism industry players, here, Tuesday. He said so far, more than 50 main events had been planned, out of the total of almost 200 events nationwide for 2015.

The festival, themed 'Endless Celebrations', showcases the unique facets of Malaysia including its ethnicity, culture, heritage, beauty of its cities and gastronomic delights.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

DRIVE M7 Aspar Team excited ahead of hectic home round for main sponsors

Spanish team and its riders Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama looking forward to home round for Malaysian energy drink manufacturer DRIVE M7

It may not be the longest track on the MotoGP calendar since the return of Silverstone but its 5.543km of tarmac certainly presents one of the most difficult challenges for the teams and riders. The Sepang International Circuit this weekend plays host to the seventeenth and penultimate round of the 2014 season and with the title already wrapped up in favour of Honda's Marc Marquez the chase is on for second place between Yamaha team-mates Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi. After two straight wins for the Spaniard it was the Italian who triumphed last time out in Australia and there are just eight points between them with 50 still up for grabs. 

Excitement has been building for this race in the DRIVE M7 Aspar Team garage for some weeks now, as the Spanish outfit prepare to represent main sponsor DRIVE M7 in their home round. The riders could hardly be in better shape coming into this race having both scored top ten finishes at Phillip Island a few days ago, with Hiroshi Aoyama confirming his form as one of the most consistent performers in MotoGP at the moment and Nicky Hayden reaching something like peak fitness after his long recovery from wrist surgery. The target for both riders is to score strong results again on Sunday in front of the local support.
Nicky Hayden: “Sepang is an awesome circuit – long, wide and with some really interesting sections. I like it a lot but the weather always plays a big part and it can vary dramatically from one session to another. That makes it hard to find the limit of the grip, plus Sepang has a lot of different kinds of corners so you need a good set-up to be able to ride fast and safe. But it's a great track and an interesting challenge for us. The Malaysian Grand Prix is also the home race for our main sponsor so I am sure we will have a lot of support there and hopefully we can pay them back with a strong weekend.” 
Hiroshi Aoyama: “It was be a special Grand Prix for us this weekend at Sepang because our main sponsor is Malaysian so it will be like a home race. The first two races of the flyaways have been very productive for us so we go to Malaysia in good spirits and with high hopes for the race. Sepang is a very demanding circuit, both for its characteristics and for the suffocating conditions we usually get there, but it is also my favourite track so I am looking forward to riding this weekend. We have been doing a great job in this last part of the season and we have reached a very high level of performance now so I am sure we can continue this with another strong showing on Sunday. We finished eighth in Australia and I would love to do even better in Malaysia.”

Asian Tour Cast for CIMB Classic Revealed

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (20 October 2014) - Asian Tour hotshots David Lipsky of the United States and India’s Anirban Lahiri will spearhead a strong line-up of Asian Tour stars at the US$7 million CIMB Classic from October 30 to November 2, 2014.

Lipsky and Lahiri, who currently occupy the top-two spots on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, will be amongst the leading 10 players from the region’s premier Tour who will go head-to-head with the PGA TOUR stars at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC). 

Korean-American Lipsky, the current Merit leader, won his second Asian Tour title in Switzerland in September and he is now setting his sights on the prestigious CIMB Classic trophy, which was won by Ryan Moore of the United States last year. 

A victory at the CIMB Classic, which comes with a handsome winner’s purse of US$1.26 million, will put the 26-year-old in prime position to be crowned as the newest Asian Tour number one. 

“I think anyone in my position will look forward to the CIMB Classic. If I do win the CIMB Classic, it will be impossible for anyone to catch me on the Order of Merit,” smiled Lipsky, who finished tied 44th in his CIMB Classic debut in 2012. 

“It is a good week to compete against some of the best players in the world. Two years ago I didn’t play as well as I wanted to but I’m pretty comfortable playing at the KLGCC. Every year you are trying to be better and I’ve been trying to improve and build my game,” he said. 

For Lahiri, the CIMB Classic will be an opportunity to give Lipsky a run for his money on the Order of Merit. He is also aiming for a CIMB double after winning his fourth Asian Tour title at the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters in April courtesy of an eagle on the 72nd hole. 

“The CIMB Classic is obviously one event which is very important because the money counts towards the Order of Merit. It was nice to finish top-10 at KLGCC earlier this year. Obviously that will help with my confidence. I’m going to feel a bit more comfortable there,” said Lahiri. 

A string of solid performances by the 27-year-old Lahiri has put him in good stead to challenge for the CIMB Classic title and fulfil his ambitions of playing on the PGA TOUR. 

“The CIMB Classic is a great opportunity and a door which you must try to push open if you want to play on the PGA TOUR. I think I’m playing well enough to threaten and challenge for the title. I have to focus and keep playing well,” said Lahiri. 

The other Asian Tour qualifiers, based on the leading available 10 players from the Order of Merit, include Filipino veteran Antonio Lascuna, Jason Knutzon of the United States, Thailand’s Prom Meesawat and Englishman Steve Lewton. 

Filipino Angelo Que earned a prized spot in the fifth edition of the CIMB Classic after finishing second in the Hong Kong Open on Sunday. Two-time Asian Tour winner Rikard Karlberg of Sweden, exciting Korean talent Baek Seuk-hyun and Cameron Smith of Australia will also feature in the elite field. 

Que, a three-time Asian Tour winner, surprised even himself after securing a spot in the CIMB Classic. He was in 40th position on the Merit rankings but made a huge leap to sixth place courtesy of his runner-up result last week. 

“I wasn’t even thinking about getting into the CIMB Classic because I was so low on the Order of Merit. Then suddenly I’m in the CIMB Classic and that’s great. Now I get to keep my Asian Tour card and play in this great event,” said Que. 

The bubbly 43-year-old Lascuna was delighted to be part of the exciting line-up in the CIMB Classic. He has enjoyed a superb season so far where he has three runner-up results and missed only one cut in 10 appearances on the Asian Tour. 

“I’m very happy because it was my goal to try and qualify for the CIMB Classic. I’ve played in two World Cups of Golf before and now I’m playing in another big event. I’m excited and I hope that I can do well,” said ever-smiling Lascuna. 

This year, CIMB Classic will again feature a top-class field which includes Ryder Cup stars Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia and current FedExCup champion Billy Horschel. 

MotoGP Demo Run @ Putra Square, Putrajaya, Malaysia ( 22 October 2014 )

-Aspar Team facebook.

Follow The TTA During Deepavali & Awal Muharram Holidays

PLUS Malaysia Berhad (PLUS) expects traffic on the North-South Expressway (NSE) to increase due to the Deepavali and Awal Muharram holiday. As such, those planning to use the NSE during the upcoming holiday and weekend are advised to follow the PLUS Travel Time Advisory (TTA) schedule for a smoother journey.
The TTA, which was issued during the previous festive seasons and peak days has helped to facilitate smoother traffic flow on the highways. As such, those planning to travel on the NSE starting today until 26 October are advised to follow the TTA.
TTA is a staggered travelling schedule for various destinations along the North-South Expressway. It is part of PLUS’ strategies to distribute the traffic and reduce traffic congestion on the mainline, rest areas and toll plazas.
PLUS also advises the public to contact the toll free PLUSLine 1800 88 0000, follow the PLUSTrafik Twitter service or downloaded PLUS Mobile Application through their smartphones or tablets for the latest traffic updates on the highways.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Top-tier PGA TOUR line-up for CIMB Classic

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (October 19, 2014) - CIMB Group announced today the confirmed list of PGA TOUR players who will tee off at this year’s CIMB Classic at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club from 30 October – 2 November.

The list includes 2012 FedExCup champion Brandt Snedeker, 2013 PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner, 20-time PGA TOUR winner Davis Love III, as well as six other Major winners. Along with Dufner and Love, other Major winners in the field are Mike Weir (2003 Masters), Stewart Cink (2009 Open Championship), and South Africans Retief Goosen (2004 & 2009 US Opens), Trevor Immelman (2008 Masters), Louis Oosthuizen (2010 Open Championship) and Charl Schwartzel (2011 Masters).

Also included in the field are up and coming players who have recently broken through the global scene – newly named PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year Chesson Hadley from USA and Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz from Mexico. They join a previously announced cast of international stars including reigning FedExCup champion Billy Horschel, World No. 3 Sergio Garcia, US Ryder Cup team top scorer Patrick Reed, Hideki Matsuyama and Ryo Ishikawa from Japan, Chinese teenage phenom Guan Tianlang, as well as Lee Westood from England.

In total, the field includes 42 players who have won a total of 142 PGA TOUR events including nine Major championships and five PLAYERS Championships. In addition, 23 players have won 148 other events worldwide.

“Five years on, the CIMB Classic has matured into a staple event in the global golf calendar. We're happy with the tournament’s sustainable appeal and the depth and diversity of this year’s field,” said Effendy Shahul Hamid, Group Chief Marketing & Communications Officer of CIMB Group.

“This is wonderful news for Malaysia and speaks volumes about the country's ability to stage world class sporting events. We now look forward to a great tournament at the end of the month,” added Effendy.

Well-known for winning the 2013 PGA Championship at Oak Hill and his light hearted off-course demeanor, Jason Dufner qualified for the 2013-14 FedExCup Playoffs, but a neck injury caused him to miss the end of the season. Sidelined for most of the year, Dufner still managed four top-10 finishes and is currently ranked No. 31 in the world. This will be Dufner’s third CIMB Classic, he finished T10 and T16 in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

Since his rookie year in 2007, Brandt Snedeker has posted at least five top-10s a season on the PGA TOUR before 2013-14. Snedeker has 6 PGA TOUR victories including the 2012 TOUR Championship by Coca Cola which earned him the FedExCup that year. This will mark Snedeker’s second time competing in the CIMB Classic, the Tennessee native finished T13 in 2011.

20-time PGA TOUR winner Davis Love III will be making his CIMB Classic debut and teeing off in Malaysia for the first time. With an illustrious career spanning almost three decades, Love has played six Ryder Cups, six Presidents Cups and spent 457 weeks in the top-10 of the Official World Golf Rankings. Love has won THE PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass twice, along with one Major title via the 1997 PGA Championship.

The CIMB Classic, which is also co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Professional Golf Association of Malaysia is part of the season-long PGA TOUR FedExCup competition. The top-10 on the Asian Tour Order of Merit as at 20 October 2014 will qualify for the tournament, along with the highest world-ranked Malaysian.

Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix @ Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia ( 24~26 October 2014 )

The 2014 Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix will be the 24th consecutive year motorcycle racing’s premier class competes in Malaysia. It will be held from 24-26 October 2014.

Malaysia and motorcycle racing have a long connection. As far back as the 1960’s we were already hosting events with world-class machinery and riders.
Throughout the years, there have been numerous winners in Malaysia across the various classes of bikes (Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP) but they have all shared a common trait, being among the best riders in their classes. The list is studded with multiple world champions and some of them have completed a triple crown of wins in all categories.
With bigger impact this year, Malaysia will be having five (5) national riders competing in MotoGP. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Ongetta-AirAsia Racing Team), Amirul Hafiq Azmi (SIC-Ajo Racing Team) and Hafiza Rofa (Wildcard Rider) are rivals for Moto3 category while Azlan Shah (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) and Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) are contenders in Moto2 category.
Don’t miss out to watch the battle of champions racing their way to Sepang this 24~26 October.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Japanese Runner Wins 28th International Mount Kinabalu Climbathon
KUNDASANG, Oct 18 (Bernama) -- Last year's first runner-up in the Mount Kinabalu Climbathon - Summit Race of the men's category, Dai Matsumoto of Japan emerged victorious in this year's 28th edition of the race.

The 31-year-old professional runner clocked 4'11:25 seconds to beat last year's champion Daved Simpat, 32, from Malaysia who had to settle in second place after finishing the race in 4'19:53s seconds. Matsumoto said he used Daved's winning time of 4'12:29s last year as his bench mark and motivation to prepare for this year's Climbathon.

"I tested myself to run faster than Daved's finish time last year. I trained at Mount Fuji but the trail here is the toughest compared to other tracks in the world," he said when met by reporters after reaching the finish line here today.

He also clocked 2'17:29s to reach the summit behind Nepal's Hom Lal Shrestha (2'14:06s), but ahead of Daved (2'18:50s)

Meanwhile, Daved said he did not train enough for this year's race due to exhaustion after clinching gold in the Suunto Lantau 2 Peaks 21km race in Hong Kong on Oct 5. "I only trained twice after the race in Hong Kong. Although I'm a bit disappointed with my finish time, I'm still happy that I finished among the top," said the Mount Kinabalu porter.

First time participant Shrestha, 33, who finished the race third exactly three minutes behind Daved, dubbed the trail "dangerous", but was happy with his achievement. The Nepalese army personnel who took part in the Climbathon at his own expense said he hoped to take part in the competition next year.

Meanwhile, New Zealand's Ruth Charlotte Croft, 25, clinched her second win in the women's category and improved her time of 5'24:28s set last year by clocking 5:01.39s to win the race. Claire Louise Milsom Price, 45, from Great Britain finished second in 5'37:52s ahead of Malaysia's Danny @ Kuilin Gongot, 47, who finished the race in 6'00:20s.

The summit race, which covers 33km, was introduced last year when the summit course was revived due to popular demand by elite runners after the trail to the summit was scrapped in 2012.

The summit race also introduced a new trail that started from the Kinabalu Park to Low's Peak, the highest peak of Mount Kinabalu at 4,095.2 metres, and descend 1,334.9 metres midway of the mountain at Layang-Layang Hut, passing Mesilau Nature Resort and ending at Kundasang town.

The champion bagged RM8,000 in cash, while first and second runner-up were awarded RM6,000 and RM4,000 respectively.


Feel The Serge - CIMB Classic 2014 ( 30 October ~ 2 November 2014 )

-CIMB Classic facebook.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Unesco's Mission, Commitment Continue To Inspire Malaysia - Muhyiddin

photo: MOTAC facebook
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 18 (Bernama) -- Malaysia has always been and will continue to be inspired by the mission and commitment of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) to ensure sustainable development, eradicate poverty, promote inter-cultural dialogue and build peace, said Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

The deputy prime minister said Malaysia was committed to and would persevere in upholding Unesco's competencies and principles.

Reiterating the country's intention to be on the Unesco Executive Board for the 2015-2019 term, Muhyiddin said the year 2015 served as an important platform for Malaysia to be involved directly with the implementation of Unesco's post-2015 agenda.

"We believe in diversity as strength, and with the amalgamation of the global diversity, we believe that Malaysia can and will add its strength as a pillar of stability and reason for the betterment of the human race," he said when launching the Malaysia Unesco Day at Dataran Merdeka here, Saturday. Also present was Prof Dr Hubert Gijzen, director of the Unesco regional office in Jakarta.

The two-day Unesco Day, carrying the theme "Our Heritage, World Heritage", is organised by the Tourism and Culture Ministry in collaboration with the Malaysian National Commission for Unesco (MNCU).

Muhyiddin, who is the president of MNCU, said the government had approved several projects early this year under the Malaysian Funds-in-Trust (MFiT), and two of the projects were already being implemented.

"Further to my announcement on the Unesco Day 2013 celebration in Melaka, that Malaysia has been listed as one of the donor countries through the Malaysia-Unesco Cooperation Programme (MUCP), with the signing of the agreement on the establishment of the MFiT on April 5 last year. "The implementation of projects under the MFiT MUCP has opened a new chapter to help strengthen further the close Malaysia-Unesco ties, and enhance the visibility of Malaysia as a member of Unesco," he said.

At the event, Gijzen handed over to Muhyiddin the instrument recognising the Crocker Range in Sabah as a World Biosphere Reserve under the 'Man and the Biosphere' programme of Unesco.

Muhyiddin said the Crocker Range was the second site in the country to have been accorded such recognition, following Tasik Chini in Pahang in 2009.

"This shows the seriousness of the country in creating a balance between environmental preservation and development through the sustainable development approach. "As a member state of the MAB International Coordinating Council (MAB-ICC) up to 2017, Malaysia is definitely more committed to promoting harmony in nature, consistent with the MAB goal of a sustainability-based relationship between communities and the environment," he said.


MotoGP Demo Run @ Putra Square, Putrajaya, Malaysia ( 22 October 2014 )

Mega MotoGP Carnival 2014 promises everything a two-wheel motorsports enthusiast could want - under one roof

18 October 2014, SEPANG  – The ever-popular Mega MotoGP Carnival is back again – this time even bigger and more exciting! Held at the Sepang Circuit from 24 to 26 October 2014 in conjunction with this year’s Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2014, it will once again thrill motorsports fans and their family members of all ages with everything a two-wheel motorsports enthusiast could want, all conveniently under one roof – and with free entry. 

“The Mega MotoGP Carnival has been one of the revelations of the Malaysian MotoGP. It has grown from strength to strength, from more than 60 booths in 2012 to more than 70 in 2013 and this year, the number of booths has further increased, registering more than 80. Additionally this year, this immensely popular two-wheel auto fiesta is seeing 65 vendors from a variety of categories serving up real treats for motorcycling fans with great discounts and promotions up to 70%, some of which are offered exclusively at the Mega MotoGP Carnival,” said Dato’ Razlan Razali, Chief Executive Officer of Sepang International Circuit (SIC). 

The Mega MotoGP Carnival has grown into a massive celebration of all things related to two-wheel racing, attracting over 120,000 visitors last year. It is one of the biggest trade and vending events for MotoGP around the world. It was aptly given the official name of Mega MotoGP Carnival this year, and as its name promises, it will be huge – offering everything under the sun from vendors in categories such as two-wheel automotive manufacturers and distributors, merchandise, accessories and apparel, food and beverage, motorcycle parts and supplies, publishing houses, collectables and much more. 

Major brands and companies that will be participating in the The Mega MotoGP Carnival 2014 include Shell, Dorna, Repsol, Petronas, Eneos, Motul, Benelli Keeway, Kawasaki Ducati, Naza, Boon Siew Honda, BMW Motorrad, KTM CBU, Chear Motor, Hong Leong Yamaha, Suzuki, Modenas, Red Bull and Tourism Malaysia.

For more information on the Mega MotoGP Carnival 2014, please visit or follow the action at

Malaysia Fair @ Ario Otori, Osaka ( 16~19 October 2014 )

Serious Horsch-Power - CIMB Classic 2014 ( 30 October ~ 2 November 2014 )

-CIMB Classic facebook.

Friday, October 17, 2014

252 Participants Compete In 17th Sabah Hospitality Fiesta

Sabah Hospitality Fiesta facebook
KOTA KINABALU, Oct 17 (Bernama) -- A total of 252 participants from various education institutions and members of Malaysian Associations of Hotels (MAH) have registered to compete in the 17th Sabah Hospitality Fiesta (SHF) 2015 next month.

MAH members that are participating include Sabah/Labuan Chapter, Sarawak Chapter and Melaka Chapter. Organising chairman Stanley Lajiun, said this year's total number of registered participants was a marked increase from 176 last year.

"This year, our committee is attempting another charity drive, whereby ten participating hotels and education institutions will come with their own choice of products to sell at their designated stalls on that day from 1pm to 6pm," he told a media briefing at Promenade Hotel here Friday.

Stanley said they targeted a proceed of RM10,000, which would be channelled to the Sabah Cheshire Home as beneficiary of this year's fiesta. He said the event would take place for two days starting Nov 1 at Suria Sabah Shopping Mall and Nov 2 at Kompleks Karamunsing, here.

Themed 'Colourful Scene of Malaysia' the annual event, which is listed as one of Sabah's annual calendar of events, also aims to promote the state's hospitality and tourism industry by strengthening and building relationships among all the stakeholders.


15 Beaches In Malaysia To Be Featured In 101 Best Beaches.Com Asia

PUTRAJAYA, 17 October 2014: The renowned Australian conservationist Brad Farmer along with his photographer and research assistant Jaka Adamic, are visiting Malaysia from 14 to 28 October to inspect, evaluate and document the beautiful beaches in the nation for his new book, 101 Best Beaches.Com Asia.

With advice from Tourism Malaysia, a total of 15 beaches from 10 states have been selected for the two-week long inspection trip. The beaches in West Malaysia are Pantai Desaru in Johor; Pulau Perhentian and Pulau Redang in Terengganu; Pantai Cenang in Pulau Langkawi, Kedah; Pantai Teluk Kemang in Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan; Pantai Juara in Pulau Tioman, Pahang; Pantai Batu Feringghi in Penang; and Pulau Pangkor in Perak.

As for East Malaysia, Tanjung Datu and Pantai Santubong in Sarawak; Tanjung Aru, Pulau Mantanani, Pulau Sipadan and Pulau Sibuan in Sabah; and Pantai United Nations in Labuan were selected for inspection.

The 101 Best Beaches.Com Asia is a book to understand and promote Asian beaches which are defined as ranging from rivers, lakes, to resort-style beaches. It aims to provide comprehensive and unique experiences to beach enthusiasts all around the world. 

101 Best Beaches.Com Asia is expected to be Asia’s version of the 101 Best Australian Beaches, which is the first authoritative guidebook of beaches in the world and is also supported by Tourism Australia. 

-Tourism Malaysia.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

11th Penang Island Jazz Festival @ The Bayview Beach Resort Gardens, Batu Ferringhi, Penang ( 4~7 December 2014 )

Once again, the Island of Penang comes alive with music with the 11th Edition of The Penang Island Jazz Festival, to be held from 4th to 7th December 2014!
Performers for this year's "Jazz By The Beach" stage (Saturday, 6th and Sunday, 7th December) include Carmen Souza, Crystal Bowersox, Monoswezi, Laila Biali Trio, Jo Yeong Duk Trio, JazzHats & Ray featuring Man Kidal and others.

Supporting musical related activities held during the period of the festival are Workshops, Exhibitions, Sunrise @ TSG, After Hours Jazz Jam, Creative Malaysia Fringe Stages and the "Island Music Forum Sessions". Some of the Speakers for this year's "Island Forum Sessions" include Professor Tony Whyton (Director of the Salford Music Research Research Centre at University Salford UK), Lars Mossefinn (Independent Consultant at 4&more and jazz critic of Dag & Lid) and Victor Kye (Assistant Artistic Director of Jarasum International Jazz Festival, Gwangju World Music Festival and Jarasum Rhythm & BBQ Festival).

The Penang Island Jazz Festival 2014 is supported by Malaysia Major Events, a division of Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau, an agency under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia; Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang (PBA), Penang Global Tourism Sdn. Bhd., British Council, Goethe Institut, KK Jazz Festival, LBS Music World, Roland Asia Pacific, The Guitar Store, JS Music & Little Penang Street Market, with Venue Partners, Bayview Beach Resort, Hard Rock Hotel Penang, ParkRoyal Penang Resort, Tropical Spice Garden; Media Partners, Lifestyle Asia, Rentak Sejuta.
For more information on the Festival activities, visit

A new online portal on tourism safety for South-east Asia

The ASEAN Tourism Security and Safety Resource Centre will be launched next year to provide information on matters concerning disaster management, safety and security.

The online portal, to debut during the ASEAN Tourism Forum held in Naypyidaw in January, will be managed by the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta and will contain standard operating procedures and resources on safety and security such as managing bomb threats, pandemics and natural disasters.

Alexander Kesper, team leader ASEAN – EU Emergency Management Programme, said the materials were a collection of knowledge from ASEAN NTOs and the private sector.

“The information will be available for free on the website to tourism industry players and is meant to be a living project (to be continuously improved upon)."

Explaining that the new ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) brings opportunities as well as risks, Kesper said that when natural disasters occur in one country, it will have an impact on arrivals to other member countries, as South-east Asia is seen as a single region rather than individual countries. Kesper was speaking yesterday at the one-day PATA Hub City Forum in Kuala Lumpur, which discussed the impact of AEC on regional tourism.

AEC2015 will transform the region into a single market and production base and, by 2016, open labour flows of skilled tourism professionals within South-east Asia under the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) on Tourism Professionals initiative. ASEAN authorities, however, are still working on concerns regarding the MRA.

Ong Hong Peng, secretary-general of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture of Malaysia, said a framework has to be put in place before the MRA is introduced.
The MRA comprises 32 job titles under six divisions (housekeeping, front office, food production, F&B services, travel consultants and tour operators) but ASEAN NTOs are still discussing “what levels will be open”, said Ong.

Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, minister of tourism and culture, Malaysia, said in his keynote address: “Measures to enhance the capacity and capability of tourism industry players are being implemented to address the risk of brain drain.”

Meanwhile, the regional secretariat for the implementation of MRA will be established in Indonesia next year.
-TTG Asia.