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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 28 (Bernama) — Destination Resorts and Hotels (DRH) is set to lure more international business travellers and tourists to Malaysia with its exciting developments that are expected to elevate the business tourism landscape in the region.
In a statement issued today, DRH said it has participated in the Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo (AIME), which was held in Melbourne, Australia recently, to reinforce its standing as a leader in the business and introduce its meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) and leisure offerings that cater to a wide range of tourists.
“We understand that we must have an edge over our competitors as the MICE industry is growing so rapidly that it is now even more dynamic compared to years ago.
“From business travellers and delegates, leisure holiday makers and golf aficionados to families and honeymooners, all our destinations will draw visitors of different interests and provide a new level of excitement and experience, including creating value for event organisers for every event held at our destinations,” said Managing Director Nadziruddin Basri.
DRH, a master planner, investor and developer of destination resorts in the country, is currently developing several premium business destinations in Johor that will elevate the MICE offerings in the region.
One of DRH’s main developments is Desaru Coast which is poised to be the region’s first luxury integrated destination.
Desaru Coast spans over 3,900 acres of land along a 17 kilometre beach fronting the magnificent South China Sea and will be developed in three phases with the Phase 1 of Desaru Coast due for completion in 2015.
DRH said the multi-billion dollar destination resort will boast a state-of-the-art MICE venue, the Desaru Convention Centre, which could accommodate up to 1,000 persons.
Also in the state of Johor, another key development under DRH’s portfolio is the Little Red Cube in Puteri Harbour, the luxury waterfront development in Nusajaya, Johor, which houses an internationally renowned hotel brand, Traders Hotel, and a family-oriented theme park.
In addition, DRH is developing LEGOLAND Hotel Malaysia in Nusajaya, Johor, which is scheduled to open its doors in 2014, which will be the first LEGO-themed hotel in Asia and the fourth in the world.
PUTRAJAYA, Feb 28 (Bernama) — Malaysia and Thailand signed a Cross-Border Agreement today to replace the ‘Traffic Across the Boundary Between the Malay States and Thailand’ which was signed in Bangkok on June 24 1940.
The agreement was signed in conjunction with Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s visit to Malaysia.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the new agreement enhanced security and facilitated cross-border movements between the two countries.
“The agreement clarifies that only the states bordering the countries will be eligible for Border Passes,” he said in a statement, here Thursday.
The entry points agreed upon in Kedah were Bukit Kayu Hitam, Kota Putra, Durian Burung, Kuah Langkawi, Telok Ewa Langkawi, Kuala Kedah, Jetty Harbour Park Langkawi, in Kelantan (Rantau Panjang, Pengkalan Kubor, Bukit Bunga), in Perak (Bukit Berapit) and Perlis (Padang Besar, Wang Kelian and Kuala Perlis).
While in Thailand there are the Tamalung Seaport and Wangprachan Immigration Checkpoints in Satun; Sadoa, Padang Besar, Songkhla Seaport and Ban Brakop Immigration Checkpoints in Songkhla; Betong in Yala; Su-ngai Golok, Takbai and Ban Bukheta in Narathiwat; and Pattani Seaport in Pattani.
Hishammuddin said the border passes were valid for a year with not more than 30 days per entry.
“It’s only allowed for visiting relatives, tourism, sports, short-term training, attending seminars, meetings and conferences, or other purposes agreed upon by the authorities,” he said.
He added that travel beyond these agreed points required the countries’ respective international passports.
PETALING JAYA: Penang has made it to a US-based publication’s list of eight great places for foreigners to retire in.
George Town was the only Asian destination to be included with Medellin (Colombia), Dubrovnik (Croatia), Salinas (Ecuador), Bilbao (Spain), Coronado (Panama), Galway (Ireland) and Tlaxcala (Mexico).
Kiplinger, a United States-based personal finance and business forecasting publication, names access to healthcare, the low cost of living as well as the success of the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme as George Town’s main attractions for retirees.
With Malaysia being in the lowest tier in the Global Retirement Index, it said that an American couple could get along extremely well with just RM4,650 a month.
“British colonialism on the cheap,” it said, alluding to the cultural richness of Penang’s capital.
In the article, it highlighted George Town’s charm as a Unesco World Heritage site, intriguing architecture and street food. It noted that English was widely spoken on the island.
Tourism director-general Mirza Mohammad Taiyab Beg was pleased but not surprised with the ranking.
“Malaysia has all the attributes of a popular destination for retirees.”
He added that the warm tropical climate and low living costs were key.
(SOURCES: THE STAR – 25 FEB 2013, MONDAY)
PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia is the best place for Muslims around the world to come for a holiday, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said.
“We are proud to say Malaysia is a world leader in catering to the needs of Muslim tourists.
“We are successful in this niche travel market, thanks to our facilities and the diverse holiday packages tailored to Muslim needs.
“These include packages offering Ramadan bazaars, Quran recitals and circumcision packages carried out together with homestay programmes,” she said at a press conference here yesterday.
The media event was to announce the World Islamic Tourism Mart Malaysia International Tourism Exchange (WITM-MITE 2013) that will be held at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur from June 6 to June 9.
Present were Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA)president Datuk Mohd Khalid Harun and My Events International groupchief executive officer Shahul Hameed Shaik Dawood, representing the organisers.
Dr Ng quoted a recent report by Singapore-based Muslim travel consultancy group Crescentrating that rated Malaysia as the world’s top Muslim-friendly holiday destination.
The survey put Malaysia ahead of Egypt, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Singapore.
The study ranked countries on how well they cater to the growing number of Muslim holidaymakers seeking halal food and services.
It used criteria that included the level of safety in a country, the ease of access to halal food and prayer facilities, and whether hotels cater to the needs of Muslim guests.
On a scale of one to 10, Malaysia came up tops with a grade of 8.3 among 50 nations surveyed.
The survey, released last month, reported that Malaysia is one of the few countries where a traveller can find a prayer place in almost every location be it a shopping mall or the airport.
The study also reported that spending by Muslim tourists is growing faster than the global rate and is forecast to reach US$192bil (RM672bil) a year by 2020, up from US$126bil (RM441bil) in 2011.
Dr Ng said about 21.7% of tourist arrivals in Malaysia, or 5.44 million, had originated from Muslim countries.
“Muslims make up about 1.6 billion of the world population and they are now world travellers,” she said.
On the WITM-MITE 2013 event, Dr Ng said it was expected to draw some 20,000 visitors.
She said participants from at least 25 countries had registered for the event.
Dr Ng also launched the tourism calendar of events and festivals for 2013-2014, which can be downloaded from the websites of the ministry and Tourism Malaysia.
The print version of the calendar is available at all Tourism Malaysia offices and tourist information centres nationwide.
(SOURCES: THE STAR, 22 FEBUARY 2013, FRIDAY)
PUTRAJAYA, Feb 21 (Bernama) — The first edition of World Islamic Tourism Mart-Malaysia International Tourism Exchange (WITM-MITE 2013) will anchorMalaysia as world’s best Islamic tourism exhibition mart, said Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.
She said buyers from 30 countries and 200 seller organisations were expected to participate at the four-day event beginning June 6, at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur.
She said 25 countries had confirmed participation in the event.
“Malaysia, as the best destination for Muslim tourists and the ninth most travelled country in the world, we must use this to anchor ourselves for Islamic events and exhibition,” she said at a press conference after the soft launch of WITM-MITE 2013 here Thursday.
The WITM-MITE 2013 will feature various global tourism ministries, national tourism organisations, travel trade operators, tour agencies, hoteliers and a wide array of related industries supporting local and foreign partners.
(SOURCES: BERNAMA – 22 FEB 2013, FRIDAY)
SINGAPORE: Malaysia and Singapore have agreed to build a high-speed rail link between the city state and Kuala lumpur.
The link will cut travelling time between the two destinations to just 90 minutes, from the hours it now takes by rail and road.
The two countries also agreed on a rapid transit system linking Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit system with Johor Baru.
Both Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his counterpart Lee Hsien Loong described the speed-link project as a “game changer” .
“This project will change the way we do business, look at each other and interact,” said Najib.
“We hope to meet the 2020 deadline for the project,” he told a joint press conference after the annual leaders retreat here.
The two mass “people mover” projects are part of multi-billion ringgit business deals between the two countries.
These include a wellness project at Nusajaya in Johor and a mixed development project between Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd and the Singapore Government investment arm Temasek in Danga Bay worth RM8.1bil.
Najib said the high-speed rail link would be built via public-private partnership with strong government participation.
“It will be on the basis of private sector funding with the government providing structural support and participation.”
Lee said the project would make it faster to travel between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore by rail than by air, including waiting time.
He recalled that Najib mooted the idea of the link at a meeting some months ago and he felt that it was a good idea.
On the rapid transit system, Lee said the two countries had 12 months to decide on whether to build a bridge or an undersea tunnel between the two countries.
Later the two leaders unveiled the Marina One project, which is in the heart of Singapore’s new central business district undertaken by M+S Pte Ltd, a company owned 60:40 by Khazanah Holdings Bhd and Temasek.
They were also updated on the integrated development DUO joint venture. The two projects have a gross development value of S$11bil (RM26.4bil).
The leaders lauded the excellent progress in relations between the two countries since the Points of Agreement was settled in 2010.
In a three page statement, they agreed to intensify existing cooperation and explore new ways to leverage on the complementarities between Singapore and Iskandar, just across the island republic.
They agreed among others to look into the feasibility of a third road link between the two countries in the long term, and establishing new ferry terminal and Customs, Immigration and Quarantine facilities at Puteri Harbour in Johor this year.
(SOURCES: THE STAR – 20 FEB 2013, WEDNESDAY)
NUSAJAYA, Feb 19 (Bernama) — Afiniti Medini and Avira wellness projects in Medini Iskandar Malaysia will become the iconic landmark projects that will not only benefit Malaysians and Singaporeans but also reflect the growing stronger bilateral ties between the two neighbours, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said today.
Describing the projects as the beginning of a significant increase in investments from Singapore, Najib said that with the support of the Singapore government, the private sector in the republic would respond positively towards relocating their investments or making new investments in IskandarMalaysia.
“During our bilateral discussions this morning, we stressed on the importance of the industrial working group to meet on regular basis to encourage investors from Singapore to relocate investment here as well as for new investments to take place here in Iskandar.
“Iskandar has many attractions as you know. The success of Iskandar had exceeded the regional plan and I am confident that with the support of the Singapore government, the private sector will respond very positively,” he told a joint media conference with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong after the ground-breaking for the two projects.
Lee said the Malaysian government had shown a lot of commitment and drive in developing Iskandar Malaysia where a lot of investment have come in including a significant amount of the investments from Singapore.
“I believe there is a lot of potential because from Singapore’s point of view we are developing. At the same time, there are a lot of spillovers of what Singapore companies want to expand or companies which want to come to Singapore but can’t quite fit in Singapore and I think Iskandar offers prime opportunities for them,” he said.
“As long as the Malaysian government link-up Iskandar with Singapore, there could be good prospects from Singapore’s point of view. We are very happy that it is going to succeed,” he said.
He hoped that the wellness development project would become an “oasis” to the people not only from Malaysia and Singapore but also from all over the region to recharge their “batteries” to enjoy and to absorb the spirit of wellness.
Afiniti Medini, an urban wellness project, will be a regional destination for families, tourists and professionals looking to combine wellness, retail and hospitality experiences as well as corporate training needs in a holistic package.
Avira, a resort wellness project, will provide residents an alternative to the hectic lifestyle in busy cities where they enjoy a retreat-like lifestyle all year-round, surrounded by tranquility and lush greenery, with wellness at the heart of the 85 hectares development.
The Afiniti Medini involves a RM300 million investment while Avira entails RM350 million.
Afiniti Medini is developed by Pulau Indah Ventures Sdn Bhd, a 50:50 joint venture between Khazanah Nasional and Temasek while Avira is developed by Nuri Merdu Sdn Bhd, a 50:50 joint venture between Pulau Indah Ventures and Eastern & Oriental Bhd.
(SOURCES: BERNAMA – 20 FEB 2013, WEDNESDAY)
BANGKOK, Feb 19 (Bernama) – The Thailand Office of Tourism Malaysia has won the Best Booth Display Award at the 12th Thai International Travel Fair, here.
The Thai Travel Agents Association Vice-President for Activity, Kriangphon Piyaekchai, presented the award to Tourism Malaysia Thailand Office Director Iskandar Mirza Mohd Yusof, recently.
The design of Tourism Malaysia’s booth was inspired by an Islamic architecture of a mosque with the red hibiscus and Malaysian floral emblem painting, according to a Tourism Malaysia statement.
The roof was shaped as a “songkok”, or Malay cap, with photos of popular destinations and tourism products in Malaysia such as Melaka, Penang, Sabah, shopping, theme parks and foods, making it the most outstanding one among other national tourism organizations.
In attracting Thais to visit Malaysia especially during the Visit Malaysia Year 2014 campaign and a glimpse of Malaysian culture, Tourism Malaysia had invited the Aswara percussion group to perform daily at the main stage during the four-day fair that started on Feb 14.
Tourism Malaysia also promoted Legoland Malaysia and Puteri Harbour Family Theme Park, both in Nusajaya.
More than 1,000 participants comprising national tourism organisations, airlines, travel agents, hotels and resorts participated in the annual event.
(SOURCES: BERNAMA – 20 FEB 2013, WEDNESDAY)
PETALING JAYA: The Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) is one of the world’s most comfortable airports for people to sleep in.
A website known as “The Guide to Sleeping in Airports” has picked KLIA as the fifth best airport in the world with travellers praising its cushioned seats, friendly staff and free WiFi.
“Airport sleepers like KLIA’s long benches, reclining rest chairs and showers,” the website said, citing 18,190 poll responses collected last year covering dozens of airports.
Many reviewers appeared unwilling to pay for a hotel room or were simply waiting in transit.
“Staff were very friendly and no one bothered me. It’s even better than a hotel as you only have to walk a few steps from your bed for a fresh teh tarik,” wrote a user only known as Gipsy.
Another traveller, known only as “pensations”, gave tips on how to survive at the main terminal.
“I slept on the long seats at the back of the fifth floor. Some are facing the glass wall and away from the counters, giving you some privacy,” he wrote.
There were also tips on using the airport’s gyms, lounges and even a day spa in KLIA’s vicinity.
Travellers were reminded to arm themselves with sleeping masks, pillows and blankets for maximum comfort.
One previous passenger, Claire Bong, 31, spoke of how she roamed about KLIA for 15 hours in 2005 while waiting for a transit flight from Perth, Australia to Ipoh.
“I had just graduated and didn’t want to spend money on a hotel,” she said, adding that she had reached KLIA at around 10pm.
She found a secluded corner, held on to her luggage and brought out a book for company.
Bong also entertained herself with the free Internet kiosks and watched airplanes fly by.
“I was very lucky. No one disturbed me at all,” she said.
Other respondents in the survey advised people to stay away from the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal, telling them to take a 20km bus ride to KLIA if they wanted a good nap.
LCCT, the survey claimed, was a “boring nightmare”.
(SOURCES: THE STAR, 15 FEB 2013, FRIDAY)
By PATRICK LEE
TRANSFORMATION: It wants to shed its serious image and be a vibrant and lively city for residents and tourists
PUTRAJAYA: SINCE it first joined the Federal Territories in February 2001, Putrajaya has been known for its commanding presence as the administrative centre of the Federal Government.
However, Putrajaya is looking to shed its image as a quiet and serious administrative centre.
It is set to be transformed into a vibrant and lively city to attract more visitors.
Putrajaya Corporation (PPJ) president Tan Sri Aseh Che Mat said the grand task would be tackled through events and activities that could enliven the city.
“The bulk of our working population are civil servants who have been observing the norm, with fixed working hours and leaving the city void of activity at night and on weekends.
“We are trying to change this by introducing programmes that are geared to lighten up the city and bring the residents out to enjoy themselves. This would also attract more people from the surrounding areas,” he said.
PPJ has drawn up a calendar of events that includes the now popular Fun @ PPJ Square, held on the second and fourth Saturdays of every month; Santai @ Dataran Gemilang (Relax at Gemilang Square) held every Sunday, and Kayuhan Ceria @ Putrajaya (Happy Cycling) which has now garnered a big following.
Aseh said the Federal Territories Day would also be celebrated in a big way, with the “Wow! Putrajaya Carnival” from Feb 28 to March 3; Fly the FT Flag Campaign and Competition (Jan 15 to March 15); Kesyukuran, Tahlil and Doa Selamat Ceremony (Jan 31); Water Sports Fest (Feb 15 to 17); Fishing Competition on Feb 1; and World Wetlands Day on Feb 24.
The calendar of events also lists out programmes for every month of the year such as the upcoming 10km Mizuno Wave Run and the 1 million Women Purple Walk next month.
The city has indeed come a long way since it was established in 1995, and more big things are in store for its residents as well as visitors in the near future.
Aseh said other major projects in store for Putrajaya included the opening of the National Cancer Institute this year, and also new commercial areas along the lakeside.
With its peace and serenity, and more colourful activities to liven up the community, as well as the best infrastructure and amenities, Putrajaya is definitely among Malaysia’s best planned city and a great place to call home.
An event during a gathering of youth in Putrajaya in May last year. More events have been planned for the city this year.
（SOURCES: NST – 2 FEB 2013, SATURDAY ）