Sunday, November 23, 2014

Wooing back the Chinese

Tourist from China visiting Putrajaya. - Filepic

The tourism authorities are working hard to win back the Chinese tourists who have dropped in huge numbers since MH370 and the Sabah kidnappings.
It has been a difficult year for tourism in the country. The mysterious disappearance of flight MH370 where two-thirds of its passengers were Chinese nationals and the abduction of a Chinese tourist from a resort in Sabah early this year have made many Chinese tourists stay away out of fear and anger. Despite the setback, Malaysia seems on track to meet its Visit Malaysia Year 2014 (VMY) target of 28mil tourists. Now with the Year of the Festival 2015 around the corner, the country is going all out now to win back Chinese tourists who are a huge and important segment of the tourism industry.
Sounding a little exasperated, Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz says he cannot understand “the thinking of some people”. “We have this thinking that Malaysia is the only country people want to visit in the world! And we want to be so stuck up!” he elaborates.
He points to exciting new tourist destinations in the region such as Timor Leste and Myanmar and other popular destinations like Indonesia and Thailand which are competing toe-to-toe with Malaysia for the tourist dollar.
Nazri is keen to reel in the Chinese tourists who come in huge numbers, love shopping and are big spenders. As an incentive, he is proposing that Chinese tour groups be allowed to enter Malaysia visa free or be exempt from “exorbitant” visa fees for next year.
While the government charges only 80 to 100 yuan or roughly RM50 for a visa, he says, this has been outsourced to private companies who charge 400 yuan to 500 yuan or about RM250 for a visa. “If it’s a family of four, they end up paying RM1,000 for the visas which is too much,” he says.
To prevent possible abuse, he suggests a visa waiver or fee exemption for Chinese tour groups. But there is a hitch. To do this, the Immigration Department would need to give its feedback and based on experience, Nazri says their feedback is “normally negative”. “Their thinking always is that the Chinese will come in, overstay and not leave. I can’t understand their thinking,” he shares.
He contrasts this to how Thailand woos the Chinese – by reacting positively and lifting visa requirements after Chinese arrivals dropped to 2 million tourists during the street protests, military coup and martial law early this year.The Thai strategy worked and brought in 4mil Chinese tourists.
“Why? Because they made it easy for the Chinese to come in. Countries are doing this. And because of this, we lost out to Thailand. We were in the UNWTO’s (World Tourism Organisation) 10 most visited countries list (2012), but this year, we have dropped to 11th place with Thailand beating us to the 10th spot.
For Malaysia, the year 2014 had started well as a preferred destination of Chinese tourists until March 8, when MH370 mysteriously disappeared. Barely a month later, on April 2, Malaysia again received bad press when a 29-year-old Chinese tourist was kidnapped from Singamata Reef Resort in Semporna, Sabah. Chinese tourists started cancelling their Malaysian holidays and their numbers plummeted.
“The number of Chinese tourists plunged by 35% in May and it was a 30% drop in June,” recalls Nazri. Tourism revenue was affected as Chinese tourists rank third after Singaporeans and Indonesians in terms of the money they spend in Malaysia.
Nazri believes the April 2 kidnapping in Sabah had an even bigger impact on the Chinese than the missing MH370. Right after the kidnapping, 35 chartered flights from China to Sabah were immediately cancelled.
In comparison, he says, it is rare for a plane to crash or go missing.
“It is bad luck if that happens. When you take a flight, it is not as if you are exposing yourself to that risk. But when you go to Sabah, you know the kidnappers are so active you are actually exposing yourself to the risk by going there! That is why Chinese tourists are not going to Sabah. They are very much affected by the kidnappings.
“It used to be their favourite destination because of the beach, warm seawater and seafood.”
Early last year, after Sulu gunmen from southern Philippines brutally killed policemen in Semporna and another armed group landed at Kampung Tanduo, Lahad Datu to stake their claim of Sabah which turned violent, the Malaysian authorities set up Esscom (Eastern Sabah Security Command) and a 1700 km Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone) which covers 10 districts, including Semporna, Lahad Datu, Tawau and Kunak.
But Nazri bluntly points out that even with Esscom up and running, there is still a spate of kidnappings in those areas it is supposed to secure.
(Last November, gunmen stormed a resort on Pom Pom island off Semporna, killed a Taiwanese tourist and kidnapped his wife for ransom and held her for a month. In May this year, armed men abducted a 34-year Chinese fish farm manager in Pulau Batik off Lahad Datu, in June armed men seized a fish breeder and his employee in Kunakand in July, gunmen killed a policeman on Pulau Mabul and took another hostage.)
Nazri says because of these kidnappings, he does not want to tell tourists to come to Sabah and assure them that they will be safe there.
“I don’t want to put our guests at risk. But I don’t think we should declare Sabah ‘unsafe’. There are travel advisories from embassies of other countries on it and I think that should be enough. We shouldn’t make it worse by declaring it ‘unsafe’.”
While Chinese nationals are staying away from Sabah, Nazri says, other nationalities are still coming into the state as normal. “So overall, Sabah is still doing well in tourism,” he adds.
Although Chinese nationals are jittery over Sabah, data indicates that they are starting to come back to other states in Malaysia.
Nazri says in August, there was only a 9% drop in Chinese tourists compared to the 35% and 30% drop in May and June. “We are quite confident that by the end of the year, Chinese tourist arrivals will return to normal.” But it took a lot of work to get back to this point.
Nazri says when MH370 disappeared, they pulled out Visit Malaysia tourism advertisements as a sign of respect for the victims’ families who are in pain and suffering.
He says Malaysia put out a news crawler and video on Chinese TV to tell the Chinese how sorry it is over the incident and let them know that Malaysia too shares their grief.
Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board chairman Tan Sri Ng Yen Yen and Tourism Malaysia officers went over to China to meet with the travel agents and tour operators there to explain the situation over the missing plane and commiserate with the Chinese.
Since the frustration and anger towards Malaysia came from first tier cities like Beijing Shanghai and Guangzhou, Nazri says Malaysia’s tourism focus shifted to second tier cities like Wuhan, Tianjin and Chengdu which were not so angry and aggressive.
He points out that Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s visit to China to mark the 40th anniversary of Malaysia-China diplomatic relations in late May helped too because the Chinese premier promised the Malaysian Prime Minister he would get Chinese tourists to go to Malaysia.
Following that, the first of 130 chartered flights from China came to KL, says Nazri, and that lifted the numbers.
To meet VMY’s target of 28 million tourists, he says Malaysia went on a “rampage” to South Asia, Asean, Oceania, Europe, the Middle East and other regions to woo tourists and registered a good increase in numbers. This made up for the loss of Chinese tourists. “We actually recorded a 10% in the number of tourist arrivals to Malaysia compared to 2013,” says Nazri.
For 2015 – the Year of the Festivals – Malaysia is targeting 29.4 million tourists.
“If we can reach 28 million tourists this year without Chinese tourists, can you imagine how many tourists we would have if the Chinese had been coming?” Nazri is still determined to push for free visa or fee-exempt visas for the Chinese.
“Let’s try it just for a year. China is a big market. How on earth are we going to achieve our target of 29.4 million tourists if we don’t welcome the Chinese here? It will be difficult.”
-thestar online.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

More Retail Therapy, Anyone?

Tourism Malaysia shopping campaign
KUALA LUMPUR, NOVEMBER 2014: Do you know that the mall was originally created to be a community centre where people would come together for shopping, cultural activities and social interaction? Well it is safe to say that the ubiquitous mall has achieved and even surpassed those early expectations. Our favourite mall gets us out of the harsh weather, be it hot or cold and has everything that we need to relax, shop, eat and in some cases, do some training to keep fit.  

A good mall is all about location and offerings – established merchants, good restaurants, eateries and that special something that makes one mall different from another. Although many people go to a mall to shop, others see the shopping centre as an activity hub and expect to be entertained when they meet up with friends and family at these places. Combining relaxing entertainment with physical entertainment like a sports arena, a skating rink or an in-door garden provides people with options to choose from and this is usually regarded as one of the top qualities of a good shopping mall.   

Nowadays, it is very common to come across areas which have been developed with a combination of hotels, malls, restaurants, offices, stores and residential units to form their own communities. In a country like Malaysia, where traffic jams are prevalent and parking spaces limited, people prefer to shop in one location without having to drive all over town. 

There are more than 350 shopping malls in Malaysia at present, with well over 120 malls in greater Kuala Lumpur itself, many of them concentrated in the Bukit Bintang area. Some of these malls attract over 3 million visitors a month - proof that apart from eating, Malaysians love to shop. 

Malaysians are in for a retail overdrive with the opening of new malls in and around Malaysia beginning with Quill City Mall in October 2014 and IOI City Mall Putrajaya in 20 November this year.   

Quill City Retail Mall is a 7-storey lifestyle mall encompassing a net area of 770,000 sq. ft. of retail space. Located along Jalan Sultan Ismail, it has more than 320 trendy lifestyle stores, an exciting entertainment hub and an exclusive Kid Zone spread across its spacious area. The best feature of the mall comes in the form of its sky alfresco dining, the first of its kind in Kuala Lumpur. The dining area has an organically shaped roof consisting of multi-coloured glass and opaque panels that allow for maximum daylight and fantastic views of the surrounding area.

IOI City Mall is a brand new lifestyle and entertainment mall located in Putrajaya. It consists of four levels of retail space, encompassing 1.4 million sq. ft. of net lettable area. Once opened, IOI City Mall will have over 350 specialty stores, restaurants and eateries. Its anchor tenants include Golden Screen Cinema, Parkson and HomePro. The best feature of the mall is the Olympic size skating rink and indoor entertainment park called “District 21”.   
There are several malls set to open in the first quarter of 2015, i.e. Sunway Putra Mall and Sunway Velocity in Kuala Lumpur. Sunway Putra Mall is part of an integrated development comprising Sunway Putra Tower (offices), Sunway Putra Hotel and Serviced Apartments. Located opposite the Putra World Trade Centre, the mall comprises 580,000 sq. ft. of retail space providing shoppers, especially those living around Taman Duta and Kenny Hills, with six levels of shopping and dining experience. 

Sunway Velocity Mall is located near Jalan Cochrane and not unlike its sister mall, the Sunway Putra Mall, will also consist of offices and hotel components. The feature concept of the mall will be a thematic retail area - an Asian Avenue offering South Korean, Japanese and other Asian goods and services. Both Sunway Putra Mall and Sunway Velocity Shopping Mall will not have an anchor departmental store but instead, have eight to ten mini-anchor tenants including a supermarket, a cosmetics hall, a home improvement store, a food court and a cineplex.   

Expected too, in the next two years are three self-contained mixed developments of hotels, offices, residential and retail areas i.e. Empire City in Damansara, MyTownKL and KL Gateway in the Bangsar South area. Shoppers can expect every one of these developments to offer the best mix in retail, dining and leisure to hit Kuala Lumpur’s ever growing shopping landscape.   

-Tourism Malaysia.

MAS Wins Airline Of The Year Award At KLIA Awards 2013

SEPANG, Nov 21 (Bernama) -- The Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) won the Service Excellence award while Malaysia Airlines (MAS) took the Airline of the Year (Passenger) award at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) Awards 2013 here Friday night.

The Airline of the Year - Cargo award went to MASkargo.

Dunkin Donuts Main Terminal Building KLIA won the F&B Outlet of the Year - Highest Growth Percentage in Sales award, while Jonker Walk Main Terminal Building KLIA took home the Overall F&B Outlet of the Year award and Celcom Axiata Bhd Main Terminal Building KLIA garnered the Service Outlet of the Year award.

Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abd Aziz Kaprawi, who presented the awards, said in his speech on behalf of Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai that the government has allocated over RM1 billion to further promote the aviation industry this year.

For 2015, some RM210 million has been allocated to further improve the runway at Lahad Datu Airport to enable high capacity aircraft to land, as well as to increase the quality of rural air services in Sabah and Sarawak through maintenance and lease of new aircraft, he added.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Airports Chairman Tan Sri Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah in his speech said Malaysia Airports expects lower growth in passenger traffic than anticipated earlier in the year.

"The industry was faced with two very unfortunate incidents, and as a result, the travel market to Malaysia particularly from China and Europe has been severely affected. "This will have a corresponding effect on our revenue and hence profits for the year," he added.

The KLIA Awards, introduced in 2006, honour Malaysia Airports partners who have shown exceptional performance in areas such as passenger movement, growth, sales, international recognition and service.

Other winners of the KLIA Awards 2013 include Korean Air for Foreign Airline of the Year - Cargo, Indonesia AirAsia (Foreign Airline of the Year - Passenger), AirAsia (Low Cost Airline of the Year) and Turkish Airline (Promising New Foreign Airline of the Year).


550 Programmes Drawn Up For Malaysian Festival Year

MELAKA, Nov 21 (Bernama) -- More than 500 programmes at the state level and 50 mega events at the national level have been drawn up for the Malaysia Year of Festival (MyFest) next year to woo foreign tourists into the country.

The Secretary-General of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Datuk Dr Ong Hong Peng, said the campaign played an important role in efforts to achieve the target of 29.4 million tourist arrivals and a revenue of RM89 billion next year.

"The programmes and activities drawn up for the whole of next year are expected to continue to boost the national tourism industry and maintain Malaysia's position as a major tourist destination in the world," he said at a press conference, here Friday.

Earlier, he gave a briefing on MyFest 2015 to more than 900 tourism industry activists in the state, which was also attended by the Director-General of Tourism Malaysia, Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab and the Deputy State Executive Councillor for Tourism, River, Beach and Island Development Datuk Ghazale Muhamad.

Ong said Myfest 2015 was part of the Malaysian Tourism Transformation Plan to attract 36 million tourists and generate revenue totalling RM168 billion by 2020.

He said the MyFest 2015 campaign, with the theme 'Endless Celebrations', featured the uniqueness of the faces of Malaysia through the festivals, cultures, traditional heritage of the various ethnic groups, beauty of the cities and the delicacy of the foods of the various communities.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Tesco, Parkson, Major Tenants At New Putrajaya IOI City Mall

IOI City Mall facebook
PUTRAJAYA, Nov 20 (Bernama) -- Tesco Hypermarket is the anchor tenant at the newly opened IOI City Mall here.

Parkson Departmental Store is the other major tenant at the mall launched by Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister, Datuk Seri Hasan Malek Thursday.

According to Tesco Stores (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd in a statement, the outlet is its 51st. "The 4,000 square meter store uses the 'Food First' concept, where food products make up 80 per cent of the available range," it added.

It said customers would be able to enjoy a brand new range of premium imports and locally-sourced favourites, from best cuts of Australian meats, a good range of organic spices to MyGAP (Malaysian Good Agricultural Practices) certified fish, fruits and vegetables.

Meanwhile, Parkson Corporation Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Toh Peng Koon in his speech at the launch said it was the second Parkson store in Putrajaya and the 40th nationwide. "This new shopping destination is spread over three floors and carries more than 370 local, Asian and international brands, with about 30, that are either new or exclusive to Parkson," he added.


Malaysia Airlines Announces Charter Flights To Christmas Island

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 (Bernama) -- Malaysia Airlines Charter Services Thursday announced a charter service between Kuala Lumpur and Christmas Island.

The charter service is scheduled to operate beginning Dec 13, 2014 until Jan 31, 2015, using a B737-800 aircraft with a seating capacity of 156. Flight MH8484 will depart Kuala Lumpur at 10.10 am and arrive Christmas Island at 11.50 am. The return flight MH8485 will depart Christmas Island at 12.40 pm and arrive Kuala Lumpur at 4.20 pm.

The contract was inked by Malaysia Airlines' Vice President of Haj and Charter, Yazid Mohamed and Director of Christmas Island Air, Gee Foo. "Christmas Island is best known for its amazing tropical rainforest overlooking the scenic coastline that has become the habitat for variety of bird species and millions of red crabs.

"We are honoured to be collaborating with Christmas Island Air again this year as the available inbound flights will also encourage travellers from Christmas Island to visit Malaysia," Yazid said. With this collaboration, Yazid hoped that the company would provide seamless travel solution with the best travelling experience to customers.

"During this time, it is the unique annual red crab migration season during which millions of red crabs will move from the forest to the ocean coast to mate as well as spawn," Gee Foo said. "With this charter, it will enable tourists from Malaysia to fly direct from Kuala Lumpur to Christmas Island instead of flying via Perth to experience this unique migration.

"The island also boasts rare and unusual birds as well as fantastic fishing and diving experience. We also take this opportunity to promote the islanders to visit Malaysia during this season," Gee Foo added.

Bookings can be made via email to or phone 61 8 94933066.


MAHA 2014 & HPPNK @ MAEPS Serdang ( 20~30 November 2014 )

Malaysia Your Diving Paradise @ DEMA Show 2014 - Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

-Tourism Malaysia.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Nationwide Roadshows Organised To Promote MyFest 2015

PUTRAJAYA, 19 November 2014: The Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia (MOTAC) and Tourism Malaysia are organising a series of nationwide engagement sessions with tourism industry players and stakeholders in the country to promote the Malaysia Year of Festivals (MyFest) 2015. 

The nationwide roadshow covers all 14 states in the Peninsular Malaysia including FT Labuan, Sabah and Sarawak. It began on 21 October 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, which involved those from the Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, and, Selangor territories. The roadshow will end on 16 December 2014 in Sarawak.

During the roadshows, high-ranking officials from both MOTAC and Tourism Malaysia present the vision, targets, branding and promotional activities of MyFest 2015 for effective implementation; while providing the opportunity to meet up to share ideas and garner feedback. It is also attended by the respective state tourism EXCOs and officials.

The schedule of the meeting sessions are as follows:-
State                                                      Date
Kuala Lumpur/Putrajaya & Selangor     21 October 2014
Negeri Sembilan                                 28 October 2014
Labuan                                            11 November 2014
Johor                                               13 November 2014
Kelantan                                          18 November 2014
Terengganu                                     19 November 2014
Melaka                                            21 November 2014
Pahang                                           25 November 2014
Perlis                                               02 December 2014
Perak                                              03 December 2014
Penang                                            04 December 2014
Sabah                                             08 December 2014
Kedah                                             11 December 2014
Sarawak                                          16 December 2014

For more information, kindly contact Unit Komunikasi Korporat, Kementerian Pelancongan dan Kebudayaan Malaysia at +603 8891 7190.
-Tourism Malaysia.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Celebrate 2014 In Dazzling Style At The 1Malaysia Year-End Sale 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, 15 NOVEMBER 2014: As 2014 marches to its finale, what comes to mind are long awaited vacations and festivities. What better way to rev-up your holiday plans than to shop at the 1Malaysia Year-End Sale. 2014. Get ready to be blown away by surprise bargains and promotions at glitzy malls or exotic open-air markets, whichever tickles your fancy. Spoilt for choices is what shopping enjoyment is all about. While taking a break, come indulge in the interesting line-up of fashion and entertainment events too.   

Klang Valley Highlights  

Pavilion Kuala Lumpur Strategically located at the heart of Bukit Bintang, this seven storey mall offers lavish, high end shopping, beauty and dining. Be ready for unexpected discount surprises at the mall’s ‘Sale Surprise’ when you shop at one of the city’s most exclusive retail hang outs. Explore popular outlets like Beauty Hall, Couture Pavillion, Fashion Avenue, Tokyo Street as well as the Dining Loft.

Known as the regular shopper’s delight, Sogo offers assorted options for those on budget shopping. A Christmas lucky dip is waiting to be won by the first 150 customers of the day with purchases worth RM200 (S Card Member) or RM250 (non members) in a single receipt. For the ladies, there is an RM10 Cosmetics rebate coupon for every RM100 spent on a single Cosmetics or Fragrance Brand.

If you have heard the Christmas carol, “let it snow, let it snow”, and wish for a glimpse of it in tropical KL, catch the mall’s snowing shows beginning mid December.

Avenue K Located opposite Suria KLCC, Avenue K is a modern take on American malls. Looking for something different? Spend RM50 and above in a single receipt at any outlet to participate in the iKiosk interactive games and win daily prizes. 

Want to have a chance at a lucky draw? Spend RM300 and above in max two (2) receipts at any outlet between 10 Nov and 24 Dec to be eligible for the Grand Finale Lucky Draw!

Berjaya Times Square This is a popular shopping mall amongst KL-ites, tourists and kids. For shoppers with children towing along, the recommended first stop is the Largest Christmas Tree Replica at the Ground floor central area. Snap a memorable family picture before heading over to the Toy Extravaganza, a magical land behind the Christmas Tree. Free admission for children and the young at heart. 

Central Market Central Market is Malaysia’s landmark for culture and heritage. Apart from being an arts and craft haven, it offers many holiday activities for kids. At the Annexe Gallery, they get to participate in batik painting, henna drawing, caricature and ‘mengkuang’ weaving. Colouring contests and the popular Upin & Ipin mascot appearance are bound to create excitement and holiday cheer for the young ones too.

For adults, a Batik Reward Special is offered. Spend a min of RM150 on batik products to redeem a RM20 meal voucher, valid at all participating outlets. Savour Nyonya cuisine, indulge at a fish spa or experience painting your own batik piece.
Sungei Wang PlazaThis mall is famous for well discounted offerings and has a variety of retail stores and electronic stores. For Groupon promotions, Sungei Wang Plaza Cash Vouchers worth RM50 can be purchased online for RM25. Beauty definitely comes in all shapes, sizes and curves. Come and see plus-sized beauties of 80 kgs and above battle for the Miss Jumbo Queen title. It is the only plus-sized pageant in Malaysia! 

The new-year countdown is to be celebrated with the full works. Bring friends to the Street Party Countdown and usher in 2015 with a BANG as street buskers, dancers, percussionists & fire eaters fill the night with colours and music.  

1Utama Shopping Centre
This mall offers different shopping themes; look out for a junior promotion where a RM100 receipt enables participation in a fabulous contest. Get a free children’s bedroom makeover and prizes worth up to RM15,000!

For the holiday traveller, travel luggage, accessories and winter clothing are discounted up to 70%. Tech- savvy individuals can look forward to the Macity Roadshow with its promotions on fancy Apple products like iPhone, iPad, Mac Book & accessories.

Sunway Pyramid Swing by this mega shopping mall for various festive offerings, and don’t forget to take pictures of the extravagant concourse décor themed ‘Hoopful Christmas’. 

Dreaming of a new car for the New Year? Wait no more -- spend RM200 in a single receipt* (RM100 for HSBC Cardholders) and you could just be the FIRST in Malaysia to drive home the all-new Mazda2!

Habib Jewels Malaysia’s premier jeweller, Habib is offering up to 70% discount on diamond and gemstone jewelleries. Trade in at best rates in town and the shopper who spends RM500 on a single receipt will be given a glowing gift!     

Beyond Klang Valley  
1st Avenue Penang
Come on over CIMB Shoppers! Get a complimentary Crabtree & Evelyn gift set when you spend RM700 and above in max two (2) combined receipts on CIMB credit or debit cards at any outlet. As for tourist incentives, receive a ‘Buy 1 FREE 1’ Starbucks beverage voucher when you spend RM100 and above in max two (2) combined receipts at any outlet. Present the Tourist Privilege Passport at any participating outlet in 1st Avenue and get an exclusive offer, including a Tourist Pocket Map. Don’t forget the Luggage Fair featuring world class brands and the Esprit Warehouse Sale with discounts of up to 80%.
The Christmas spirit is celebrated with shows like the Christmas Puppet Show as well as Clown Dance and Christmas Wonderland. 

Gurney Plaza A free European holiday is definitely something worth considering. Check out the Gurney Plaza 13th Anniversary Shopping Contest. Spend RM350 and above (max two/2 combined same day receipts) at any outlet in Gurney Plaza and stand a chance to win a trip to Imperial Europe (Munich- Regensburg-Prague- Bratislava-Budapest-Gyor-Vienna-Salzburg).

HSBC Credit Card holders are entitled to double entries with the same amount spent.

For the Shiseido Exclusive Gift Redemption, spend RM600 and above in a single receipt at any outlet at Gurney Plaza to receive a Shiseido ULTIMUNE 10-Day Trial worth RM220 and a quick facial massage using ULTIMUNE. 

Queensbay MallQueensbay Mall’s Mini Model Search is back in search of the most adorable and stylish kids aged 5 to 12. If you have cute little ones, make sure to sign up fast.

Bookmark the “Timeless Swiss” Contest and stand a chance to win a share of more than RM33,000 worth of prizes including a 5D4N Swiss holiday for two (2), TAG Heuer and Longines watches as well as five (5) Crabtree & Evelyn Gift Sets, when you spend RM100 in a single receipt.

There’s a reason why early birds catch the fattest worms -- likewise, be the smart shopper and grab the best in time for the Christmas and New Year celebrations. Have a retail party in one of Asia’s hottest shopping venues!  
-Tourism Malaysia.

WAITGC 2014 Grand Final Arrives In Melaka

KUALA LUMPUR, 18 Nov 2014 After six challenging qualifying rounds, the Grand Final of the World Amateur Inter-Team Golf Championship (WAITGC) has finally arrived at the Tiara Melaka Golf & Country Club, Melaka.

The Grand Final, which started today until 20 November, sees the participation of 30 teams, with 12 teams from Brunei, 9 teams from Australia, 2 teams each from Japan and Indonesia, 1 team each from China and Singapore and 3 teams from Malaysia.

The Tiara Melaka Golf & Country Club, which is designed by renowned golf course architects Nelson-Wright-Haworth, has three nine-hole layouts – Lake, Meadow and Woodland – and a clubhouse boasting a full range of facilities. Sculpted from approximately 360 acres of pristine land, golfers can tee off alongside towering stands of trees and play across natural lakes. Its undulating fairways are aesthetically pleasing as many holes are set upon natural slopes, tilts and slants. The golf course offers a variety of challenges, from easy holes to those that place a high demand on accurate and precise shots. 

This is the 21st edition of WAITGC, billed as the only amateur golf circuit in the world organised by a country’s Tourism Board. This year’s WAITGC has attracted a total of 131 teams from Australia, Brunei, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore. They participated in six qualifying rounds, which were held in various golf courses in the country, from March to October 2014. 

To golfers, the tournament is more than just a gateway for them to compete against golfers from other countries, or to test their talent and skills and conquer some of the best fairways and greens in the country; it is also a perfect holiday package, where they get to visit some of the country’s best tourist attractions.

Golf tourism has been identified as one of the key priority sectors to increase the nation’s tourism contribution to the economy, and has in fact been underscored in the country’s Economic Transformation Programme (ETP). Last year, golf tourism receipts amounted to RM304 million compared to RM296 million in 2012. This year, Malaysia aims to push that figure to RM310 million. 

WAITGC is Tourism Malaysia’s initiative to promote the country as a top-of-mind golf destination in the region, attracting more than 500 international amateur golfers and spouses annually. Since its debut in 1994, WAITGC has emerged as a well-regarded tournament and one of the highly anticipated golfing events in the region. 

It is played in Strokeplay gross for the gross category and Stableford for the nett and senior category. In each preliminary round, the top three teams in the gross category and the top two teams in the nett category qualify for the all-expense paid WAITGC 2014 Grand Final.

The World Amateur Inter-Team Golf Championship is managed by the Golf Club Managers Association of Malaysia (GCMAM) and sanctioned by the Malaysian Golf Association (MGA). 

-Tourism Malaysia.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Free rides as ‘Hop-On Hop-Off’ starts

Route with a view: The double-decker buses plying the streets of Penang soon after the launch. — GARY CHEN / The Star

GEORGE TOWN: Hundreds of passengers are expected to use the RM11mil “Penang Hop-On Hop-Off” buses daily within six months.
“We will also offer a special fare to MyKad holders of a family of two adults and two children at RM50 from Nov 24 to Dec 31,” said Elang Wah group managing director Azhar Nadzir during the launching ceremony here yesterday.
For MyKad holders, the tickets are RM19 for adults and RM12 for children. Tickets are valid for 24 hours. For non-Malaysians, tickets are priced at RM45 (adults) and RM24 (children above five and below 12).
The company started the ball rolling by offering free bus rides for a week from today. For details, visit
-thestar online.

1Malaysia Year-End Sale Shop, Dine And Unwind

KUALA LUMPUR, 15 Nov 2014 – The nation’s grandest and most exciting sale is back for the year-end holiday and festive season. The 1Malaysia Year-End Sale (1MYES) will be held from 15 November 2014 to 4 January 2015, offering the best in shopping, dining and recreation throughout the country.

The 1MYES 2014 was officially launched today at the National Visual Arts Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, by the Deputy Chairman of Tourism Malaysia Dato’ Maznah Mazlan. Present at the launching ceremony were invited guests comprising tourism industry players, retailers and local media.

It was also attended by 277 participants of Tourism Malaysia’s Mega Fam Programme. They are comprised of international media and travel agents from 26 countries, namely Australia, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, Czech Republic, Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Myanmar, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Yemen. The Mega Fam participants get to see for themselves Malaysia’s vibrant shopping scene and experience the sights and sounds of the country.

Prior to the launching ceremony, the Mega Fam participants attended a Destination Seminar at the Royale Chulan Hotel Kuala Lumpur where they were briefed by Tourism Malaysia, Themed Attractions & Resorts Malaysia, the Kuala Lumpur City Hall, and Express Rail Link (ERL), on the country’s latest tourism developments and offerings. It was followed by a welcome luncheon hosted by the Deputy Director General (Promotion) of Tourism Malaysia Dato’ Haji Azizan Noordin.

On 14 Nov, the Mega Fam participants enjoyed a tour of Kuala Lumpur’s Shopping Trail – the Bukit Bintang-KLCC (BBKLCC) Walk, and also a musical production – Mud: Our Story of Kuala Lumpur at Panggung Bandaraya, as well as Licence to Thrill: A Bond Concert at Istana Budaya.

During the launching ceremony, there was an Arts & Crafts Showcase organised by Karyaneka with demonstrations on songket-making, batik-making using the canting technique, and tekat-making (traditional Malay embroidery), as well as traditional henna tattooing and Malaysian caricatures. There were also performances by local artistes and a designers’ showcase in conjunction with the Kuala Lumpur Fashion Weekend 2014.

The KL Fashion Weekend is being held at the National Visual Arts Gallery from 12 to 16 November. Highlights of the event include the Malaysian batik canting with the famous touch of renowned fashion designer Dame Zandra Rhodes. It is a collaboration with Karyaneka, which marks its first cooperation with an international designer. Karyaneka aims to bring Malaysian products to the international stage and at the same time attract visitors to the KL Fashion Weekend 2014, and also bring them to the 1MYES.

The highlight of this year’s 1MYES is the nationwide sale, which offers in-store surprises, redemptions and gifts, deals and discounts, and year-end school holiday specials for the entire family, as well as Christmas and New Year sales. Besides that, it is also the best time to enjoy Malaysian food – from local street fares to Malaysia Truly Asia’s melting pot of delicacies and east-meets-west gastronomic delights.

The 1MYES is one of the three major sale campaigns in Malaysia, besides the 1Malaysia Grand Prix Sale in March and the 1Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival from June to September. These campaigns have helped boost tourist expenditure in the country and bring numerous benefits to local retailers.

This year-end shopping fiesta is also a prelude to the upcoming Malaysia Year of Festivals (MyFEST) 2015. As the curtain closes on Visit Malaysia Year 2014, the country is all geared up for a year of Endless Celebrations under a new national campaign.

MyFEST is expected to help Malaysia to achieve its target of 29.4 million tourist arrivals and RM89 billion in tourist receipts for 2015. Along with Visit Malaysia Year 2014, these tourism campaigns are the key drivers towards achieving the country’s target of 36 million arrivals with RM168 billion in tourist receipts by 2020, based on the Malaysia Tourism Transformation Plan.

• Tourist arrivals to Malaysia in 2013 were 25.7 million – an increase of 2.7% compared to 25 million tourists in 2012. 
• Tourist receipts for 2013 were RM65.4 billion – an increase of 8.1% compared to RM60.6 billion in 2012.
• Shopping is the second biggest share of tourist expenditure after accommodation.
• The retail sector constituted 30.2% of the total tourist expenditure in 2013 against 30.7% in 2012.
• In 2013, tourist expenditure on shopping was RM19.8 billion – an increase of 6.3% compared to RM18.6 billion in 2012.
• Kuala Lumpur was ranked as the 2nd Best Shopping Destination in Asia Pacific by Global Shopper Index in 2012 and the world’s 4th Best Shopping City (after New York, Tokyo and London) by global news network CNN for two consecutive years – 2012 and 2013.
-Tourism Malaysia.

MATTA keeps fingers crossed for visa fee waiver

The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) has welcomed the government's first step towards waiving visa charges to Chinese tourists, whose numbers took a beating this year.

According to Bernama news agency, minister for tourism and culture, Nazri Aziz, said he would propose the visa fee waiver to the prime minister. “Maybe we can try it next year for tour groups from China who visit Malaysia via travel (consultants),” he was quoted as saying.

MATTA president Hamzah Rahmat, said Nazri’s presentation is a good first move and the visa fee waiver would help boost tourist numbers from China.

The association last month called on the government to provide a short visa exemption period aimed at bringing back Chinese visitors

Hamzah added: “However, this initiative should be applied across the board for all foreign tourists visiting Malaysia, in line with UN World Tourism Organization’s call for governments to ease visa restrictions to stimulate travel and promote growth in the tourism sector. Why do we have to charge tourists with visa fees when they are coming here to spend and help the local economy?”

Also looking forward to a visa fee waiver is Winnie Ng, business development manager at Pearl Holiday Travel & Tour. Ng said: “Waiving visa charges to Chinese tourists will help Malaysia compete more effectively with other South-east Asian destinations such as Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia which do not charge a visa fee to Chinese tourists. The inbound market from China is soft so this move will certainly help.

“Year-on-year, our group tours from China are down by 80 per cent and by 50 per cent for FIT.”

The forecast for Chinese arrivals was revised from two million to 1.7 million this year in the aftermath of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which has been missing since March 8A total of 239 passengers and crew were on board, of which 153 were Chinese nationals. 
-TTG Asia.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Over 1,000 Retailers Registered For 1MYES 2014

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 (Bernama) -- Over 1,000 retailers have registered for 1Malaysia Year-End Sale (1MYES) 2014 to offer good bargains and discounts of their products nationwide.

Tourism Malaysia deputy chairman Datuk Maznah Mazlan said the public could enjoy the long year-end holiday with attractive bargains, big discounts and great choices of promotional and recreational activities.

She said the public would enjoy all these for about two months, beginning Nov 15 until Jan 4, next year at selected shopping outlets nationwide. She said this in her speech to officiate 1MYES 2014 at the National Visual Arts Gallery here today.

A total of 277 participants, comprising international media and travel agents from 26 countries, including Australia, Brunei, India and China, also attended the event. The 1MYES 2014 has helped boost tourist expenditure in the country and bring numerous benefits to local retailers, as Visit Malaysia Year 2014 comes to a close.

Meanwhile, Maznah believed multi-racial Malaysia will be tuned to high celebrative mode next year to achieve the Malaysia Year of Festivals (MyFEST) 2015's target. She noted more than 50 events were identified for MyFEST 2015 to achieve its target of 29.4 million tourist arrivals and RM89 billion in tourist receipts for 2015.

In 2013, tourist expenditure on shopping registered RM19.8 billion out of total receipts of RM65.4 billion, indicating that shopping holds the second biggest share of tourist expenditure, making it a lucrative sector of the nation's tourism industry.