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“Johor tourism has (in the past) been very much dependent on coastal and island tourism, eco-tourism as well as its culture and heritage. We now have Iskandar Malaysia transforming the tourism industry in Johor with its family entertainment concept and high value products,” he added.
Za’nal said with the opening of international theme parks such as Legoland Malaysia and upscale shopping complexes like Johor Premium Outlets, Iskandar Malaysia has attracted droves of local and foreign tourists to the southern part of Johor.
“The Puteri Harbour Family Theme Park featuring entertainment characters such as Hello Kitty, Barney and LAT’s Place theme restaurant will be operational before year end. These will add to the theme attractions in Iskandar Malaysia and see more families coming here,” he disclosed.
The 76-acre Legoland Malaysia, which opened to more than 10,000 visitors on Sept 15, will open its Legoland Water Park in the second half of 2013 followed by Legoland Hotel Park in 2014.
Khazanah Nasional Bhd is the prime mover of Iskandar Malaysia, which is targeted to secure cumulative investment of RM383 billion, over a 20-year period until 2025.
The southern development corridor has received cumulative investment commitment of RM95.45 billion between 2006 and June 2012, with the figure expected to hit RM100 billion by year end.
Expressing optimism on tourist arrivals to Johor, Za’nal said the numbers would surge this year, thanks to Iskandar Malaysia, and noted that the state has been recording a steady increase in tourists from about 3.5 million in 2009 to 3.6 million and 3.7 million respectively in 2010 and 2011.
The number of visitors to Johor rose by 22 per cent to 10.31 million in the January-June 2012 period from 8.28 million in the same period last year.
Za’nal said the positive effects of the increased visitor arrivals has resulted in greater business and job opportunities, thus making Johor better off economically.
In addition, he said Iskandar Malaysia also promoted educational and learning experience through its theme park attractions, adding that they help to drive family tourism and complement other projects.
They include spurring edu-tourism through various educational institutions in Iskandar Malaysia that cater to students of different age groups. For instance, Marlborough College Malaysia and Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia have built the momentum to attract students from various parts of Malaysia and neighbouring countries.
“There will be several more notable foreign universities coming to Iskandar Malaysia. As such, it will be cheaper for foreign students to study in EduCity than to go to a far-away country since the cost of living is much lower here,” said Za’nal.
EduCity is also home to institutions such as the University of Southampton Malaysia, University of Reading Malaysia, Netherlands Maritime Institute of Technology, Raffles University Iskandar and Singapore Management Development Institute which are opening in the next year or two.
To complement the students’ needs, EduCity will also have an international students village, a stadium and sports complex.
On health tourism, Za’nal said the opening of the 82-bed Columbia Asia Hospital in Nusajaya coupled with several more specialist hospitals being developed at the Afiat Healthpark could help promote Iskandar Malaysia as a world class healthcare centre for foreign and local patients.
The 300-bed Gleneagles Medini Hospital together with a 150-suite medical office block is expected to be opened by 2015. To be built in phases, the hospital will also have a rehabilitation centre, nursing home and hospital residency.
Meanwhile, the managing director of SN Vacation Sdn Bhd, Sharifah Nur’aini Al-Edros, said travel agencies were now customising their travel packages to include Legoland Malaysia, noting that theme park attractions and the completed development in the Kota Iskandar state administrative centre would also help boost tourism in Johor.
She felt that they can now market packages at overseas travel fairs to showcase international-class attractions like Legoland Malaysia and the Puteri Harbour Family Theme Park featuring Hello Kitty.
Other than theme parks, Sharifah Nur’aini said this was also a good time to promote Johor’s rich culture and traditional cuisine such as laksa Johor, mee rebus and otak-otak.
Ecotourism is increasingly popular in Malaysia with tourists visiting the country’s preserved rainforest, appreciating the flora & fauna on display. More than half of Malaysia’s 329,758 sq km surface is covered by tropical rainforests that host an array of exotic and protected plants and animals.
An unrivalled taste of exotic Southeast Asia comes to Britain this autumn as the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) goes public with new plant treasures from its research and conservation collections, for the launch of a Malaysian Glasshouse Trail on Tuesday, October 9. Realised thanks to support from Tourism Malaysia and the ongoing efforts of Professor Stephen Blackmore, the Regius Keeper of RBGE, the innovative attraction includes species not previously seen on public display, as well as fresh audience interpretation of many plants native to the region and prized for their cultural and commercial uses.
“Malaysia is recognised as a hugely species-diverse country and RBGE is playing a key role in the documentation and conservation of the vast array of plants found there“, explained Dr Peter Wilkie, a tropical botanist who specialises in plants endemic to that part of the world. “By collecting and researching plants from the region scientists and horticulturists are developing better understanding of how the various species interact with the wider environment. Ultimately, this facilitates improved conservation initiatives in the native habitats“.
Head of Interpretation, Alan Bennell, added it had been an inspirational project to cultivate: “RBGE not only holds the world’s largest display of tender Vireya rhododendrons, it is also home to particularly diverse collections of African violets (Gesneriaceae), gingers (Zingiberaceae) and begonias (Begoniaceae), to name just four groups represented in Malaysia. Therefore, it makes absolute sense that we should work with Tourism Malaysia to allow the general public an insight into its amazing botanical treasures. Perhaps they may even be inspired to visit this beautiful country“.
As well as bringing out new plants from RBGE’s research glasshouses into public display, fresh forms of interpretation, including a Malaysian market stall, have been created to bring into context the true diversity of the country’s plant life.
Ecotourism is increasingly popular in Malaysia with tourists visiting the country’s preserved rainforest, appreciating the flora & fauna on display. More than half of Malaysia’s 329,758 sq km surface is covered by tropical rainforests that host an array of exotic and protected plants and animals. Amongst the many great sites include Perdana Botanical Garden, Hibiscus Garden and Orchid Garden, Putrajaya Botanical Garden, Cameron Highlands, Secret Garden-Petaling Jaya and theDanum Valley Conservation Area in Borneo, recently visited by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Dato’ Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen, Minister of Tourism, Malaysia, who has been central to the inception of the trail, said she believed the partnership was a uniquely special way allowing British residents – and tourists visiting Edinburgh – a clearer insight into the magnificent natural resources of this vast multicultural land and further strengthening relationships and reciprocal tourism between Scotland and Malaysia.
“Malaysians are known to be warm and friendly, the country’s geography is as diverse as its culture, as recently witnessed by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their tour of Malaysia, which included the Danum Valley Conservation Area’s rainforest and gardens“, she commented. “This means we have splendidly extreme contrasts, from the cool hideaways of the highlands that roll down to warm sandy beaches and rich, humid, mangroves. The new display at Edinburgh presents this landscape in an exciting new way. In the longer term, perhaps it may even encourage more people from Britain to visit Malaysia and experience our magical country first hand.”
（Sources: www.traveldailynews.asia, 12 OCT 2012, FRI）
BEIJING, Oct 11 (Bernama) — The World Marketing Summit 2013 (WMS 2013) is expected to attract 300 top Chinese corporations to create a marketing network with Malaysia.
Malaysia will host the Second WMS 2013 at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre from March 8-10, 2013.
The event will also be a platform for Malaysian entrepreneurs to network with international participants who come from diverse backgrounds and industries.
The selection process to identify the companies qualified to participate in the WMS 2013 is still underway.
Organising Chairman cum Katchi Group Sdn Bhd Chief Executive Officer, Dr Marceline Lemarie said here today, the focus is not only on companies which are profitable.
They should, she added, also contribute to the eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which calls for making a difference in business and displaying compassion.
She cited Petronas Nasional Berhad (Petronas), Malaysia’s national oil and gas company whose core business is oil production, but has decided to help the country reduce poverty and provide education aid, which is part of the contribution to the MDGs.
“This is what we call a good company and it needs to be on the global platform,” she said.
Lemarie revealed that the WMS 2013 aims to invite two or three Chinese corporate leaders or icons to be among the 32 speakers from around the world at the event.
“Apart from showcasing the capability of Malaysian entrepreneurs, the WMS 2013 would also be an ideal platform to promote Malaysia’s tourism via the ‘Visit Malaysia Year 2013/14′,” she said.
She did not rule out offering special packages to the Chinese delegates to help them discover Malaysia’s uniqueness.
“Instead of just staying three days for the summit, we will propose to them (China delegates) to stay longer, maybe ten days,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Ambassador to China, Datuk Iskandar Sarudin, said the event would further enhance ties between Malaysia and China.
“We truly hope that with the co-operation between the two countries, we will be able to extract practical and effective solutions in creating a better world through marketing,” he told a press conference here Thursday.
Iskandar said the WMS 2013 would be an important platform for Chinese corporations and the government, to re-educate the international markets on China’s world-class manufacturing capabilities and its adherence to global safety, care and environmental standards.
He said the event would also play a role in promoting Malaysia as a travel destination.
“Visitors who will be attending the WMS 2013 will get the chance to experience Malaysia’s rich, cultural heritage, and the diversity of the country.”
By Niam Seet Wei
EXPANDING AVIATION INDUSTRY: Construction of the new LCC Terminal in Sepang is ahead of schedule at 62pc
THE construction of the new Low-Cost Carrier (LCC) Terminal, KLIA 2, in Sepang, is ahead of schedule at 62 per cent, the Dewan Rakyat heard yesterday.
Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri (BN-Kudat) said the RM4 billion project is expected to be completed by April next year.
“The aviation industry in our country is expanding, with new airlines coming into the scene and the number of air travellers increasing.
“The construction of this airport will help to accommodate both aspects,” said Rahim when answering a question from Tony Pua (DAP-Petaling Jaya Utara) on the current cost estimate of the airport and the date of its completion.
Pua asked why the cost of construction had increased from the initial RM1.7 billion to the current RM4 billion.
To that, Rahim answered that the increase of cost was due to a revised plan made to accommodate bigger and better facilities and infrastructures at the airport, in line with the increasing number of air travellers.
“The airport, once completed, will have better security and better runway facilities. These requests were made by airlines,” said Rahim.
He added the airport was also expected to cater to some 45 million travellers (in a year) when completed.
“The project has been awarded the AAA status by the Rating Agency of Malaysia (RAM).”
According to Rahim, KLIA 2 would be one of the biggest low cost carrier terminals in the world, upon completion.
The new airport, located just two kilometres from the main Kuala Lumpur International Airport terminal, would be the largest LCC Terminal in the region with a total area of 242,000 square metres.
KLIA 2 will also feature a multi-modal transportation hub for buses, taxis, and Express Rail Link (ERL) train to provide connectivity for passengers and the public.
In addition to the semi-automated baggage handling system, support zones, cargo and in-flight complexes, KLIA2 will also have a 6,000-vehicle parking complex and two to three hotels.
The opening of KLIA 2 will make Malaysia one of the aviation hubs of Southeast Asia.
By V. SHUMAN, ROZANNA LATIFF AND YISWAREE PALANSAMY
（Sources：New Straits Times, 9 October 2012, Tuesday）
NUSAJAYA: The Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios is expected to generate an estimated RM2.2bil in revenue for the local film industry.
Information, Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said the money would help with the development of the local film industry.
“About 5,000 workers are expected to directly benefit from the studios but there will also be plenty of opportunities for related industries to grow as well,” he said.
He was speaking to reporters after visiting the Pinewood site and attending a briefing here yesterday.
Dr Rais said that currently, the cialis s ljes Malaysia (Finas) was also looking at how to encourage foreign investors to produce their movies or television series here.
“We have suggested several incentives for film and television production. Finas is studying the best way to implement tax exemptions and other incentives for both local and international filmmakers,” he said.
He added that the ministry would come up with special guidelines and set up a website for the purpose.
Dr Rais expressed the hope that locals would be able to learn the latest film-making methods with the presence of Pinewood here.
He added that this would help boost the local film industry and promote the country as an attractive film-making destination.
Pinewood is located on a 20ha site and will be the largest independent integrated studio facility in South-East Asia. The studio complex is expected to open next year and will include TV studios, post-production suites, film stages and even a stage with a water tank for productions related to water.
By DESIREE TRESA GASPER
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(Sources：The Star, 4 October 2012, Thursday)
JOHOR BAHARU, Oct 3 (Bernama) — Just weeks following the opening of Asia’s first Legoland in Nusajaya here, local taxi and restaurant operators are pretty excited over the prospects of higher incomes and revenue from the expected rise in tourist arrivals, which will ultimately boost Johor’s economy.
Since it opened its doors on Sept 15, Legoland, a project under Iskandar Malaysia’s development, has attracted more than 10,000 visitors. Iskandar Malaysia has been mapped out by Khazanah Nasional Berhad to help transform Johor into a major economic hub.
According to the President of the Johor Baharu-Singapore Taxi Owners Association, Wahab Hashim, the opening of Legoland Malaysia “means that there will be more trips to ferry passengers between the Causeway as the theme park is also a major attraction to Singaporeans.”
“I believe there will be more business for us with Legoland. It will only increase the welfare and well-being of taxi drivers over the long term,” he said.
Wahab said the opening of a new township at Iskandar Malaysia also meant that local and foreign tourists would not bypass Johor Baharu but spend more time and money in the state capital and its surrounding areas, thus boosting the local economy.
“Previously, Johor Baharu served as a transit point and taxis were mainly commuting within the area, But now Johor Baharu has expanded and visitors are talking about going to Kulai, to Nusajaya, to Pasir Gudang. Can you imagine what it means to us as taxi operators?” he asked.
Wahab thanked the government for developing Iskandar Malaysia as there would be more tourists visiting the southern development corridor, which would also benefit the socio-economy of the surrounding towns.
More than 100 Johor taxi drivers who had been selected to serve as “ambassadors” for Johor’s tourist attractions were given a sneak preview of Legoland’s attractions before its opening, said Johor Tourism, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman, Datuk Hoo Seong Chang, adding that it was important that they were aware of the state’s latest tourist attraction.
Another taxi driver in Johor Baharu, who did not want to be named, concurred with Wahab that there would be higher frequencies in taxi services to and fro Legoland as the bulk of tourists would opt for an overnight stay in Johor Baharu, which was a mere 15 minute drive to Nusajaya.
“There will also be higher demand for taxi service within JB going to places such as Holiday Plaza Mall, to Danga Bay, to pasar malams, the museum and so on,” he said, adding that many passengers he had been ferrying of late had been talking enthusiastically about their Legoland experiences.
He noted that taxi drivers no longer had to wait for the long school holidays or festive seasons to earn more as Legoland had shown prospects of being able to attract holidaymakers all-year-round.
Echoing this view, Dev Singh, General Manager of M Suites Hotel, here said the pace of tourism activity in Johor Baharu had picked up in the last two to three years.
Last year, Johor was among five states with significant increases in tourists, as it reported a surge to 4.321 million tourists from 3.310 million tourists in 2010. It aims to attract five million tourists next year.
“In the past, many Singaporeans would by-pass JB and go to Melaka or Kuala Lumpur for their weekend shopping or leisure activities.
“But with the opening of Legoland, it is a different story now as tourists are eager to visit JB. Many hotels in JB are doing good business and reporting high occupancy rates now,” he said.
A chef, who goes by the surname Wong, at the Grand Bayview Seafood Restaurant in Danga Bay, said the opening of Legoland as well as other projects at Iskandar Malaysia had triggered a steady flow of diners to food outlets in Johor Baharu.
“More tourists mean more business for our restaurants. Prior to Legoland, we were busy mostly on weekends. But we are beginning to have more people dining at our restaurants even on weekdays following Legoland’s opening,” he said, noting that Singaporeans accounted for about 50 to 60 per cent of his business.
He was confident that restaurants here, which had also started to have more promotions to cash in on the tourist upswing, would generally do well from now on because there were more things to see and do in Johor to make visitors stay longer.
PUTRAJAYA: The Tourism Ministry has proposed various incentives, including tax exemptions for travel agencies and hotels, to boost the tourism industry.
Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said they had proposed for an exemption to agencies for bringing in a high number of foreign tourists and hotels for carrying out renovations and refurbishments.
She said these incentives would help boost the industry as it was the country’s third largest income contributor to the economy with RM58.5 billion generated last year.
“We hope agencies which bring in over 500 foreign tourists will get tax exemptions.
We also hope hotels will be allowed to apply for exemptions on refurbishments every 10 years,” she said at the launch of the World Tourism Day 2012 in conjunction with the official World Tourism Day celebrations by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation
She also launched the country’s first personalised corporate stamps depicting the country’s various tourism landmarks such as Taman Negara, the Malaysia Tourism Centre and also the country’s culinary fare. She said Malaysia was the world’s ninth most travelled destination.
(Sources: New Straits Times, 28 September 2012, Friday)
PUTRAJAYA: One of the world’s fastest growing economic sectors will take a break today to reflect on building a sustainable future for the industry.
Tourism is a multi-billion trade, which represents one in every 12 jobs available globally.
Tourist receipts amount to almost US$3bil (RM9.2bil) daily around the world, according to the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the United Nations agency which oversees policies to promote responsible tourism.
As the the ninth most frequented country in the world for three consecutive years (2009-2011), tourism in Malaysia has contributed RM58.4bil to the cialis generic recommended last year, through the spending of the estimated 24.7 million holidaymakers.
Given the immense amount of business interest in the industry, the UNWTO deserves praise for promoting principles to prolong the longevity of the world’s beautiful places, which in turn gives consumers more attractions and wonders to enjoy for a longer time to come.
The World Tourism Day (WTD) was established in 1980 for such a purpose. Without plans for sustainability, the tourism industry would face great risks, including millions losing their sources of income and Mother Nature threatened with degeneration.
Quality living can only be brought about by responsible custodianship of the earth’s well being.
Recognising the importance of this, the UNWTO has set “Tourism & Sustainable Energy: Powering Sustainable Development” as the theme of this year’s WTD.
Malaysia, which is part of the 155-member states in the global organisation, has voiced its support for a national commemoration of the WTD, which would take place at the Tourism Ministry in Putrajaya.
“Malaysia adopts the best practices in sustainable tourism management and upholds the principle (of a) tourism (industry) that conserves, preserves and protects,” cialis price daily said in a media briefing at her office recently.
She cited several examples showing Malaysia’s commitment to the cause, including the designation of 14.3mil (or 44%) hectares of the country’s total land area as Permanent Reserve Forest, close monitoring of eco-tourism activities, and the careful preservation of the nation’s status as one of the 12 mega bio-diversity countries in the world.
An effort closer to the community includes the two-year-old 1Malaysia Green, 1Malaysia Clean campaign aimed at inculcating an attitude to maintain a clean environment nationwide.
The key event of the WTD celebration will be a day-long panel discussion headed by eco-tourism experts under the theme “Tourism: Powering Sustainable Development and Wealth Creation”.
The ministry will also, for the first time, give out limited edition corporate postage stamps depicting the various facets of Malaysian tourist attractions.
“The tourism industry is listed as a cialis no prescription order under the 10th Malaysia Plan (2011-2015), which has been targeted to expand by drawing 36 million tourist arrivals and tourist receipts totalling RM168bil by 2020,” said Dr Ng.
By LEE YEN MUN
(Sources: The Star, 27 September 2012, Thursday)
JAKARTA, Sept 26 (Bernama) — The tourist arrivals from Indonesia to Malaysia increased by 20 per cent to 1.1 million for the first six months of this year compared to the corresponding period last year.
Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said the strong growth was driven by Indonesia’s economic prosperity and increase in the frequency of flights between Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur.
The introduction of new direct flights from destinations such as Surabaya and Semarang to Kuala Lumpur has also contributed to the increase in tourist arrivals from Indonesia, she said here Tuesday.
Dr Ng is on a visit to promote the “Luxury Malaysia” lifestyle packages to various groups and travel agencies here.
Garuda Indonesia has increased its flight frequency from twice to thrice daily for the Jakarta-Kuala Lumpur route since February while Mandala Air flies twice a day for Jakarta-Kuala Lumpur route since May.
Likewise, AirAsia offers seven times a week service for the Semarang-Kuala Lumpur route since March and four times a day flights for the Surabaya-Kuala Lumpur route since April.
Malaysia Tourism director for Jakarta Nor Aznan Sulaiman said Malaysia hoped to attract 2.2 million tourists from Indonesia this, seven per cent more than last year.
In 2011, tourist arrivals from Indonesia to Malaysia declined by 2.1 million compared to 2.4 million in 2010.
On the “Luxury Malaysia” programme, Dr Ng said a group of 300 Indonesian travellers would be visiting Malaysia under the Fly and Cycle programme at the rate of 100 a month from December to February next year.
The minister said they would check into a five star hotel in Putrajaya for cycling tour along a designated bike route.
“They will be divided into groups of about 30 cyclists, provided with a medical team, mechanics and police escort to ensure their safety,” she said, adding that the package was developed jointly by Tourism Malaysia, Garuda Indonesia, Bike To Work and travel agencies.
By Ahmad Fuad Yahya