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KUALA LUMPUR, March 11 (Bernama) — Asian accommodations are amongst the most optimistic about their business prospects in 2013, says travel site, TripAdvisor.
The finding arose from a survey conducted on its behalf by an independent research firm, StrategyOne, and involving more than 35,000 travelers and accommodations globally.
In a statement Monday, TripAdvisor said the report showed 73 per cent of Malaysian travellers planning to increase their travel spend this year, which is well above the Asia regional average of 49 per cent.
“Accommodations in Asia are able to look back at last year with satisfaction, as 79 per cent of the over 1,600 accommodations in the region surveyed for the “TripBarometer” survey, reported that 2012 was economically successful for them.
“In fact, 24 per cent of the accommodation owners went so far as to describe 2012 as very profitable,” it added.
TripAdvisor said the findings reported that Asia is in a strong position compared to other regions, and accommodation owners in Asia are amongst the most bullish in the world, with 72 per cent stating they are optimistic about their probability this year, which is slightly above the global average of 68 per cent.
Travellers from the Middle East (75 per cent) and South America (58 per cent also plan to spend notably more on travel this year and globally, 50 per cent of travellers expect their travel spend to go up this year.
“The TripBarometer reveals that 69 per cent of travellers globally use travel review websites when researching and planning their trips.
“It revealed useful insights into what global travellers are planning and shone a light on areas where accommodation providers can do more to meet guests’ expectations,” said President, TripAdvisor for Business, Christine Petersen.
She said with travellers choosing digital channels for their travel planning and research, traditional word of mouth has been amplified and online booking has become the norm across the globe.
“The next logical step is mobile, especially considering that travellers in some emerging markets are bypassing desktops and getting online for the first time using mobile devices,” she added.
KUALA LUMPUR, March 11 (Bernama) — The Asean aviation market will grow significantly in the next few years following the development of ‘open skies’ policies in various regions of South-East Asia, an analyst said.
Frost & Sullivan Asia-Pacific, aerospace & defence, consulting analyst, Neil Dave, said considerable increases in infrastructure investment and planned policies will boost air travel and growth.
“Consumers will look to benefit from increased choice of destinations, routes and greater affordability with rising standards of living and cost savings passed down from airlines due to improved efficiency and profit maximisation,” he said in a statement Monday.
Dave said the demand for a well-knit air travel infrastructure system and the increasing demand for low-cost travel were the main drivers for the implementation of ‘open skies’ policies in the region.
However, the implementation of these policies may adversely affect aviation growth, especially in countries with a developing aviation industry, he said.
“Stiff competition from mature, foreign players may eventually squeeze out smaller players from a developing aviation industry leading to loss of aviation-related jobs,” he said.
Dave said India and China had been experiencing rapid growth in air transport services and domestic aviation infrastructure and were major competitors in the market.
He said other Asean countries will be forced to improve their air transport services across the region to stay competitive.
“The current lack of infrastructure in developing Asean countries to support the change in policy may lead to overcapacity of airports,” he said.
In the long run, Frost & Sullivan predicted that the implementation of ‘open skies’ policies will bring about real and spill-over benefits to various industries.
“The ‘open skies’ agreements will look to boost economic and trade growth,” it said.
BERLIN, March 11 (Bernama) — White sandy beaches, warm and sunny climate all-year round and a hospitable environment.
With such varied but picturesque landscapes, among others, Malaysia’s irresistible offerings are after the heart of European holidaymakers.
Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab said he had discerned a “new trend” among Europeans who, having visited the same beaches of southern European countries and the Mediterranean, were now eager to explore new destinations with different cultures and traditions.
He told Bernama this on the sidelines of Malaysia’s participation at the International Tourism Exchange of Berlin, billed the world’s largest travel trade fair, where Tourism Malaysia strongly promoted Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2014.
“Visit Malaysia Year 2014 was announced some months back but we’re now announcing it here to the world before a public that has very strong awareness of global markets,” Mirza said at the Malaysian pavilion set up at the tourism show.
He noted that Germany was one of Malaysia’s major markets, with about 131,000 German tourists visiting the Southeast Asian country last year.
Malaysia Airlines operates five flights a week to Frankfurt, besides the four weekly flights that Lufthansa operates to Kuala Lumpur via Bangkok.
Mirza said the introduction of the new A380 aircraft by the Malaysian carrier, with much larger seating capacity, would accommodate larger number of travellers and also push tourism traffic to Malaysia.
He also alluded to a recent survey naming Malaysia as one of the eight best destinations for retirees.
“Retirees will find Malaysia an attractive destination because it offers the benefits of a modern healthcare system, affordable housing and other living requisites. Equally important is the fact that senior citizens are treated with great respect by Malaysians,” noted the director-general.
Malaysia also organised a gala dinner Thursday night where guests included travel and tour operators, friends of Malaysia and Malaysians living in Germany.
A pre-recorded televised message from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was played at the event, inviting those present and others to visit Malaysia located in the heart of Southeast Asia.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Ambassador to Berlin Datuk Ibrahim Abdullah said, this was Malaysia’s 39th year of participation at the Berlin ITB show.
Describing Malaysia as a “place where luxury is affordable”, he also pointed out that its capital, Kuala Lumpur, was ranked the fourth best shopping city in the world by CNN Travel.
By Manik Mehta
KUALA LUMPUR, March 11 (Bernama) — Starwood Hotels and Resort, a world renowned luxury hotel group, is set to open its sixth hotel brand, Aloft, in Malaysia.
The Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral, located at the KL Sentral here, will open on March 22.
Paolo Campillo, General Manager of Aloft Kuala Lumpur, said the 482-room hotel, will be the first Aloft hotel in Malaysia and Southeast Asia.
“It will also be the largest Aloft hotel in the world,” he told Bernama.
The announcement on the Aloft was made by Chuck Abbott, Regional Vice President of Starwood Southeast Asia, at the recent “Starwood Asia Pacific Social Networking” event.
Campillo said two Aloft hotels will be built in Indonesia next and added that the brand is targeted at the Gen-Y segment.
Starwood has nine hotel brands globally. In Malaysia, Starwood has at present five hotel brands, the Le Meridien, The Luxury Collection, Westin, Four Points, and Sheraton.
Campillo said two other Starwood brands, the St Regis and W Hotels, will start operations in Malaysia in 2014 and 2016, respectively. The ninth Starwood brand is the “Element”.
Meanwhile, when asked how Malaysia can enhance its tourism and hospitality industry, Abbott said Malaysia is known for its natural beauty and beaches.
“The key is also to get more direct flights into Malaysia and have better connectivity to other areas, whether by train, bus, or plane,” he noted.
He said it is important for Malaysia to be competitive, since it is vying for the tourism traffic with Indonesia, Thailand, and Singapore.
Abbott said it is also important for Malaysia to improve infrastructure to ensure sustainable growth in the hospitality and tourism industry alongside other related industries.
Commenting on the social networking event held in conjunction with Starwood Asia Pacific’s Recruitment Day, he said the event was aimed at attracting talent in the industry to fill 5,000 jobs.
The vacancies have surfaced as a result of the Starwood expansion project that will last until 2016.
He said the event was a unique recruitment drive as the company wanted to set itself apart from other hotel groups.
By Azzah Mohamad & Ismail Amsyar Mohd Said
KUALA LUMPUR, March 11 (Bernama) — Domestic tourism plays a major role in the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Fair, the much-awaited event for Malaysian travellers, said its president, Datuk Mohd Khalid Harun.
Therefore, the three-day, 35th MATTA Fair which begins this Friday, offers a variety of domestic tourism packages, besides international packages.
“This time, MATTA Fair will have a total of 1,100 booths filling up 25,000 square metres of space at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC). The Matta Fair gets bigger and bigger every year, with more emphasis on domestic tourism,” said Mohd Khalid.
He said this in a joint press conference with Tourism Malaysia, Malaysia Airlines and Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) at KL Sentral here today.
Elaborating on domestic tourism, Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab said a survey for 2011 found that the percentage of Malaysians travelling within the country and to international destination was about the same.
Tourism Malaysia’s survey showed that in 2011, Malaysians made a total of 131 million trips within the country, and this generated RM42 billion.
“If we divide the number of trips to 27 million Malaysian population, this means each Malaysian made four to five trips within Malaysia in 2011,” he added.
Malaysia Airlines regional senior vice-president (Malaysia and Asean) Muzammil Mohamad said the airlines offered airfares with discounts of up to 47 per cent off normal market fares for domestic travel.
“In addition, our holidays marketing arm, MasHolidays, offers many types of holiday packages for both Malaysian domestic, as well as international destinations,” he said, adding that flights to Sabah operated as usual.
WITH the launch of the Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2014 campaign in January and growing air links from Kuala Lumpur to major European gateways, Tourism Malaysia is now stepping up promotional efforts in Europe.
Through the VMY campaign, Tourism Malaysia hopes to grow European inbound segment to 50 per cent of total arrivals from the market trio – Europe, the US and Australia – which currently comprise about 10 per cent of total arrivals into Malaysia, according to director-general, Mirza Mohammad Taiyab.
He added: “The European market is important as they are long-stay visitors. The average (European)tourist spends 10.3 days in the country, travelling outside the cities to visit longhouses and homestays, and providing additional income to rural communities.”
But the VYM campaign needs a more targeted approach in Europe, Mirza pointed out. “We have to reach out to individual segments and specialist tour operators. For example, to promote Formula One in Malaysia, we have to go to (consultants) and media specialising in motorsports.”
Malaysia Airlines’ recent entry into the oneworld alliance will also help the carrier attain a wider reach in Europe through partner airlines, said Mirza.
Fu Kei Cheong, general manager, Reliance Sightseeing, agreed: “Air capacity is most crucial in growing arrivals from Europe. Tourism Malaysia should have joint marketing promotions and co-branding activities with Singapore and Thailand, which have a lot more air capacity.”
Richard Vuilleumier, managing director, Panorama Tours Malaysia, said: “Malaysia has to have consistent media exposure in Europe. We should highlight that public transportation in Kuala Lumpur has improved and travellers can use trains and monorail services.
“Malaysia should come up with more nation-wide annual sales to entice shoppers from Europe. Compared to the high prices of goods in Singapore, many travellers would prefer shopping in Malaysia.”
S PUVANESWARY, REPORTING FROM ITB BERLIN, MARCH 8, 2012
PETALING JAYA: Events in Lahad Datu have had a negative impact on tourism, with hotels and tour agencies receiving cancellations from holidaymakers.
MATTA Sabah chapter chairman K.L. Tan hoped tourists would defer their holiday plans instead of cancelling their bookings.
“Several foreign countries have advised their citizens to avoid coming here (to Sabah) without taking into account that the intrusion occurred only in a remote area,” he said.
Tan noted that businesses had been affected due to the unfounded rumours and even staff members had gone missing while on duty, leading to temporary shutdowns.
“Local tour operators play an important role in disseminating accurate information to overseastourists and should organise trips to show that the situation is under control,“ he said.
Among the tour operators doing this is Ooi Chin Hock, who believes Sabah’s attractions will overcome the negative impact of the intrusion.
“There may be people who are still too afraid to visit other places in Sabah but for many, it is business as usual,” he said.
Hoteliers are also pulling their weight to help improve the situation by assisting tourists reschedule their plans.
Sepilok Jungle Resort director Johnny Lim said hotels and other businesses were operating as usual.
“We are currently diverting tourists, who are already in Sandakan, to do tours elsewhere instead of heading to Kinabatangan,” he said.
Sandakan’s Sabah Hotel sales and marketing director Anthony Kong said the first week of March was usually busy but cancellations had been pouring in since the intrusion.
SOURCES: THE STAR – 10 MAR 2013, SUN
BOOMING BUSINESS: Festivals set to draw more tourists
KUCHING: THE Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) is expecting a fruitful 2013. Last year, the state recorded 4.7 million tourist arrivals, a 7.2 per cent increase from 2011. Foreign arrivals recorded a 12.4 per cent increase.
STB chairman Datuk Rashid Khan said the Visit Sarawak Year campaign would surely draw more visitors.
“Our main attractions have always been music festivals and major conferences. This year, Sarawak will host the Asean International Film Festival and awards at the end of this month.”
The two main music festivals are the Rainforest World Music Festival from June 28 to 30 and the Miri Jazz Fest on May 10 and 11.
In January, STB was awarded the Hospitality Sales Marketing Association International’s Adrian Awards 2012 in New York.
Rashid also said the media had played an instrumental part in promoting tourism in the state.
This year, STB’s media appreciation luncheon was themed “Healthy Lifestyle”, with an organised bicycle ride for attendees.
By DOREENA NAEG | email@example.com
(SOURCES: NST – 11 MARCH 2013, MONDAY)
KUALA LUMPUR, March 8 (Bernama) — In the face of rising competition in the healthcare business, the lucrative medical tourism industry, could be key to the sustainable long-term growth of KPJ Healthcare Bhd, says RHB Research.
The research unit of RHB Capital said KPJ Healthcare had set an internal target of growing its medicaltourism business to a targeted revenue contribution of 25 per cent by 2020.
“In order to grow the medical tourism business further, KPJ Healthcare intends to focus on transforming three of its existing hospitals into reference centers for oncology treatment.
“These hospitals would be upgraded to include new facilities in oncology and radiotherapy treatment, while an additional nuclear medicine facility would be introduced at the KPJ Johor Specialist hospital in this quarter,” it said in a research note today.
Meanwhile, it said the construction of a new flagship 390-bed hospital in Bandar Dato’ Onn is slated to begin in early-2014, in order to meet the targeted opening by end-2014.
KUCHING, March 8 (Bernama) — The country’s tourism sector’s preparation for the Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2014 will not be affected by the armed intrusion by Sulu militants in Sabah, DeputyTourism Minister Datuk Dr James Dawos said today.
He said his ministry through Tourism Malaysia and other relevant agencies were already on the ground to conduct promotions and marketing initiatives, both at home and overseas, as their VMY strategies were already in place.
“I hope the intrusion crisis can be resolved as soon as possible but it will not affect the tourism sector in Malaysia because tourists visiting the country have many choices,” he told reporters after attending a VMY 2014 briefing and dialogue with the Sarawak state tourism industry players here.
Citing the case of European tourists, who had been advised by their leaders to avoid visiting conflict areas, he said, at present they had chosen to divert to Langkawi, where they could also enjoy many attractions available in Sabah, including coral diving.
He said Sarawak, which targetted tourist arrivals of six million during VMY 2014 was also one of the safest places to visit, with unique selling points that appealed particularly to European tourists.
Last year Sarawak recorded an increase in tourist arrivals of 4 million which generated RM60.6 billion in tourism receipts from RM3.4 million tourists and RM49.5 billion in earnings in 2008, he said.
On the national aspect, Dr Dawos said, VMY 2014 was expected to see an increase of 7.5 percent intourist arrivals of 28.89 million and 16.8 percent in terms of receipts at RM81.89 billion from a projected 26.88 milion tourists and RM70.10 billion in revenue this year.
Last year, Malaysia recorded 25.03 million tourists which brought a total earnings of RM60.56 billion for the country.
A number of tourism development projects had also been put in place to achieve 36 million touristarrivals and RM168 billion tourism receipts by 2020 under the Malaysia’s tourism tranformation programme, Dawos added.