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PETALING JAYA: The Kuala Lumpur City Centre’s (KLCC) collection of superlatives is growing with the launch of the Four Seasons Place tomorrow. Sited on just slightly more than 1 hectare, the new addition to that area is set to change the city’s skyline. The iconic brand, synonymous with luxury and prestige, will launch its Malaysian chapter tomorrow.
Located beside the Petronas Twin Towers and fronting Jalan Ampang, the hotel, serviced residence and retail concept will occupy 1.4 million sq ft of space, of which about 238,000 sq ft, or 20%, is expected to be allocated for luxurious retail, a source said.
The 65-storey Four Season Place will be the second highest building in the KLCC vicinity after the 88-storey high Petronas Twin Towers. Menara Maxis, which is adjacent to it, is 49 storeys high. The serviced residences, marketed by property portals at between RM2,500 and RM2,800 per sq ft, will also be among the highest on a per sq ft basis in the Klang Valley.
The new design will be launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. It will be the first Four Seasons Place in South-East Asia, and the third in the world.
Ong currently owns Four Seasons resorts in Bali, Singapore and the Maldives, via his controlling stake in Singapore-based Hotel Properties Ltd while Syed Yusof, or JoJo as he is fondly known, has carved his name and fortune via his ventures in property and the entertainment industry.
He has brought in international artistes such as Michael Jackson, Kenny G, Ricky Martin and Linkin Park to Malaysia via his company Jojo Entertainment. He is also a close confidant of the Selangor Sultan and handles the business interest of the royalty. Both of them own six hotels in the country under the Concorde Hotels & Resorts and Casa Del Mar banner (in Langkawi). Also under their wings are the Hard Rock Café and Planet Hollywood chain of restaurants.
The Four Seasons Place was first approved in 2007, but the development was shelved when worsening economic conditions triggered a global meltdown in the financial world, coupled with the project going back to the drawing board.
It was reported that the gross development value of the project may exceed RM2.5bil.
(SOURCES: THE STAR, 29 JANUARY 2013, TUESDAY)
RAUB, Jan 28 (Bernama) — The Federal Government has approved a RM15 million allocation to implement 29 tourism projects in Raub this year, said Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.
She said, the projects included the upgrading of public transport stands, Raub taxi services, Raub lake garden and homestay programmes.
“Previously, the ministry conducted several projects, such as upgrading of tourism facilities in the district, which included putting up decorative lights on trees around town, improving Kampung Gali Hilir and Sungai Pusu homestays, and improving tourism facilities in Jeram Besu and the water sports centre in Kampung Batu Malim,” she said.
Dr Ng was speaking at the handing-over of the town buses and taxi terminal upgrading project to the Raub district council here Monday.
The Raub member of parliament said, efforts to improve tourism facilities in the district were one of the government’s moves in promoting the tourism industry in the district, in line with Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2014 promotional campaign.
An exclusive interview with Malaysian Minister of Tourism Dato Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen during the ASEAN Travel Forum by Luc CitrinotJanuary 31, 2013 on 11:58 pm | In News Section | Comments Off
Malaysia will host ATF 2014 in Kuching, Sarawak. Why did your Ministry choose this destination?
Ng Yen Yen- ATF was already hosted in Kuala Lumpur and in Langkawi, showing two different aspects of our tourism product, an urban sophisticated experience and an island experience. We want this time to show an exotic relaxing and pristine destination. Sarawak is close to nature and works also as a model for community-related tourism. The State offers many natural sites of exceptional beauty which stand under the UNESCO World Heritage list such as Mulu caves. We finally also acknowledge the efforts of Sarawak to become an important tourist player. Infrastructures have been developed over the last decade with a recent International Convention Centre offering now state-of-the-art facilities.
Culture and heritage have gained in importance in your promotional efforts. What are the new products you would like to see emphasized?
Ng Yen Yen- I want to let people know more about our aboriginal culture. Just to start with the various ethnics around the country. Do you know that Malaysia records officially 147 ethnic groups, many of them being unique for the Island of Borneo, in the States of Sabah and Sarawak? I really want to show our original culture, what we term as “asli” in Malay language. I also want to bring tourists to Carey Island, south of Port Klang and not to far from Kuala Lumpur. It is still home of Mah-Meri, an aborigine tribe creating extraordinary sculptures.
How about heritage in common with other countries?
Ng Yen Yen- We already started to work with other countries on heritage tours long time ago. We launched two years ago the 1-2-3 heritage sites to visit, linking Melaka, Penang and Yogyakarta. We look now to link p our two UNESCO heritage cities of Penang and Melaka with Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Luang Prabang in Laos. I really think that ASEAN is a great opportunity to create multi-countries heritage tours. The region is a breed of different cultures, ethnics, religions which is reflected in arts, cuisine and customs. They are more areas to be highlighted in terms of multi-country heritage tourism and we continue to explore them.
2014 will be a new Visit Year Malaysia. How will it be different from previous similar events?
Ng Yen Yen- We seriously take this task at heart and want this time to bundle all the nation’s forces behind the Visit Year. We launched the preparation of Visit Year Malaysia 2014 early this month with a big event where our Prime Minister himself exhorted all Malaysians to stand all together and show their best in terms of hospitality and sense of welcome. We want to infuse this sense of pride to all of us and be a perfect host for all of our guests. The endorsement of our Prime Minister is an encouragement to everyone to improve himself to truly welcome our tourists. It goes from immigration and customs officers to taxi drivers, sales assistants in shops and of course people in the streets. I know for example that our taxis have gained a bad reputation for their lack of service and courtesy. We tackled seriously this issue with a training program under the scheme of creating taxi tourism ambassadors. Some 4,000 taxis of Kuala Lumpur and its surrounding have already received this training. We will pursue our efforts to further improve tourists’ experience in our country.
(SOURCES: TRAVEL NEWS DAILY, 24 JANUARY 2013, THURSDAY)
VIENTIANE: Efforts are in the pipeline to correct the imbalance between Malaysian tourist arrivals and tourism receipts, Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab said here.
The opening of the new low-cost carrier terminal, known as Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2), and the expansion of air linkages into the country could contribute to addressing the issue, he said.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Malaysia was the ninth most-visited country in the world in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
However, when it came to international tourism receipts, UNWTO ranked Malaysia on 14th spot in 2010 and 2011.
Malaysia recorded 24.7 million tourist arrivals and RM58.3 billion in tourism revenue in 2011. Data for tourist arrivals and tourism receipts for 2012 are not available yet.
Mirza told Bernama on the sidelines of the Asean Tourism Forum here that shorter duration of stay and tourists’ choices for more competitive activities were the two factors that had contributed to the low tourism receipts.
He said international tourists coming to Malaysia consisted of 10 per cent from long-haul arrivals; 30 per cent, medium-haul; and 60 per cent, short-haul; with an average duration of stay of 4.6 days at the moment.
“With such a scenario, we cannot expect tourists from short-haul countries like Singapore to stay in Malaysia for two weeks. We need more long-haul tourists, for example from the United States and Europe, to stay longer during their visits,” he said.
Basically, the longer tourists stay, the more they spend on accommodation, transportation, food and activities.
Mirza said the opening of KLIA2, which is scheduled for completion in May, could attract more tourists as it can accommodate 45 million passengers a year. KLIA, located next to KLIA2, can accommodate 25 million passengers a year.
The resumption of flights between Kuala Lumpur and Paris by Malaysia Airlines, scheduled for March, and the introduction of flights between Kuala Lumpur and Paris by Air France in April could bring in more long-haul tourists, he said.
Furthermore, he said, MAS’ plan in ordering new aircraft and reviewing its long-haul routes could contribute to the arrival of more long-haul tourists.
He said the factor of MAS joining other airline alliances would also add more tourists, especially from the long- and medium-haul arrivals.
The new Malaysia-Indonesia low-cost airline, Malindo Airways, which would take off in March, would also increase the momentum for tourist arrivals, he said.
Mirza also said that the opening of new luxury hotels, such as Grand Hyatt KL (2012), the Majestic Hotel KL (2012), St Regis (2014), The Regent (2015) and Four Seasons Place KL (2015), could enhance further the country’s tourism receipts, especially from tourists who were after luxury tourism.
Apart from that, the fast-growing economy in the Asia-Pacific region as well as the creation of the Asean Community by 2015, which allows easier mobility in the region, would further increase tourist arrivals and receipts for Malaysia.
On Tourism Malaysia, he said, efforts would be made to enhance promotional activities at all levels in attracting more tourists, especially during Visit Malaysia Year 2014.
“All these may change the tourist arrivals-receipt imbalance we have experienced in the past,” he said.
The tourism industry in Malaysia has provided 1.8 million jobs and contributed RM168 billion to the national gross income.
(SOURCES: BERNAMA, 24 JAN, THURSDAY)
VIENTIANE, 25 Jan (Bernama) – Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Ng Yen Yen last night received a plaque as host ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF), the next year.
He received a plaque from the ATF Deputy Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Laos, Chaleune Warinthrasak at International Convention and Exhibition Centre Laos here.
Malaysia will host the 33rd ATF in Kuching, Sarawak from 16 to 23 January 2014.
Yen Yen said that while ASEAN is small, it can be strong in the regional tourism industry, if they are united.
He said ASEAN receive visits of 18 million tourists last year and hope the region will be the region most visited tourist in the world in the future.
VIENTIANE, Jan 24 (Bernama)–The inclusion of Singaporeans in Malaysia’s tourist arrival data is in line with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) guidelines on tourists.
According to the UNWTO, it is stipulated that any foreigner who enters a country through proper entry points is counted as tourist.
The industry has generally, felt that Singaporeans should not be included in the tourist arrivals data as Singapore did not include Malaysians visiting the republic in their tourist arrivals data.
Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab has defended the country’s stand to include Singaporeans in their tourist arrivals data.
What Tourism Malaysia did, did not go against the UNWTO guidelines on tourists which stipulated that any foreigner entering a country, via proper entry points, was a tourist, he said.
Mirza noted that even Thailand counted Malaysians visiting the country as tourists. So did, European countries which counted foreigners from their neighbouring countries as tourists when they visited the countries.
Malaysia recorded 24.7 million tourist arrivals in 2011, with Singaporeans making up the biggest portion of 9.7 million tourists.
“The data is genuine. We did not fabricate or doctor the data as it all conforms with the UNWTO guidelines.
“Malaysia is among the top countries in the region which receives a high number of tourist arrivals,” said Mirza, adding that Malaysia was well connected by land with neighbours such as Singapore, Thailand, Brunei and Indonesia.
There have been many feathers on Malaysia’s tourism cap.
The UNWTO ranked Malaysia as the ninth Most Visited Country in the World in 2011, and CNN’s survey last year, placed Malaysia as the fourth Best Shopping City in the World, after New York, London and Tokyo.
Malaysia is the world’s top Muslim-Friendly Holiday Destination, according to a survey by Crescentrating, Singapore-based Muslim travel consultancy released on Jan 16, 2013.
The country is ranked third for 2013 World’s Top Retirement Havens by Internationalliving.com and takes seventh spot on the top 10 Meetings Destination in Asia Pacific by ICCA.
It was named the World’s Friendliest Country in 2012 by Forbes Online and numbers 12th Most Competitive Economy in the World for Doing Business by the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2013 edition.
It also won the first prize for the UNWTO 2012 Ulysses Award for Innovation in Public Policy and Governance for its Homestay Experience Programme. UNWTO also ranked Malaysia 14th in International Tourism Receipts in 2010 and 2011.
Mirza said Malaysia might not have won so many awards without a proper tourist arrival data.
“We are just a small country but I am proud when I opened the book, we are among the top 10 countries in the world,” he said.
Meanwhile, Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) chief executive officer Zulkefli Sharif said 19 events were secured for the period between 2012 and 2014, with tourist expenditure of RM373 million.
The events include Jennifer Lopez Concert, Kids Golf World Championship, Vijay TV Movie Awards, Tropfest South East Asia, Asia Pacific Cheerleading Championship, World Universities Debating Championship and MuayThai World Championship.
MYCEB was established in 2009 by the tourism ministry as a non-profit organisation to further strengthen Malaysia’s business tourism brand and position for international meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions market.
KUALA LUMPUR: It may be a year away but the Tourism Ministry and Tourism Malaysia are all fired up about wooing 28 million tourists for Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2014.
It will start off with a bang, as 500 drums from the various ethnic groups will be sounded simultaneously when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak launches the promotional campaign for VMY 2014 at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium here at 8.30pm tonight.
The launch is part of a three-day tourism carnival, which kicked off at the stadium yesterday, to create awareness of the economic importance of VMY 2014.
“The curtains for 2013 have just been raised, and all of us at the Tourism Ministry and Tourism Malaysia are meticulously and excitedly preparing for VMY 2014 in a big way,” said minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen in a statement.
She said the launching of the promotional campaign for VMY 2014 signalled the Government’s reinforced promotional and marketing efforts overseas.
“It is also a gentle reminder to every Malaysian of the vital role we need to play at home as host in welcoming the world.
“It is actually you my dear Malaysians who truly are the front-liners in welcoming tourists to our shores and in making their stay here memorable and an enjoyable one,” Dr Ng said.
She encouraged Malaysians to be warm hosts by greeting visitors with a smile, ensuring clean surroundings and toilets as well as offering delicious food and comfortable accommodation.
The tourism carnival is set to be all abuzz with various exhibitions and bazaars, where visitors will be able to learn about the Malaysian tourism industry and how it has performed over the years.
Visitors will also get to know about exciting tourism events such as the 1Malaysia Contemporary Art Tourism Festival, Parks and Gardens, 1Malaysia Green, 1Malaysia Clean and 1Malaysia International Shoe Festival.
One of the highlights of the carnival includes a bicycle and big bikes marquee, set up to promote cycling and biking tourism in the country.
Bike enthusiasts can marvel at a collection of 1,000 super bikes from brands like Harley Davidson, Ducati, BMW and GIVI, as well as custom-made choppers at the booth.
Over 2,000 prizes worth a total of RM450,000 are also up for grabs at the event, including a Chevrolet Orlando as the grand prize.
The winner of the multi-purpose vehicle will be chosen by Najib via a lucky draw.
Other prizes include a Naza Blade 250cc motorcycle worth RM18,000.
Visitors will also stand to win a total of RM13,000 in cash prizes and other gifts in five different competitions organised during the tourism carnival, ranging from karaoke to band competitions.
For those who like to dance, there will be a Gangnam 1Malaysia Truly Asia competition.
Those eager for a getaway may also find their perfect holiday package at the tourism consumer exhibition, which has over 200 booths set up by hotels, travel agents and tourism product operators.
Throughout the three-day event, visitors will be treated to performances by artistes such as Ella, Khatijah Ibrahim, and Azlan and the Typewriter while children can enjoy themselves at a special Kid Zone.
At the 1Malaysia Food Court, visitors will be able to savour mouthwatering local and ethnic dishes from all over the country including yong tau foo, rojak, mee rebus, chicken rice, char kuey teow and nasi lemak.
Free medical check-ups will be provided by the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council and the National Heart Institute at the carnival.
The hosting of VMY 2014 as well as the designation of 2013 as a preparatory year is timely as the Asia-Pacific region has recorded tremendous growth and is poised to have even more in-bound tourists over the next few years.
VMY 2014, to continue over the next two years, will help ensure Malaysia will be at the forefront to receive a huge inflow of tourists and meet its target of attracting 36 million tourists and RM168bil in tourist receipts by 2020.
The tourism carnival is open to the public until tomorrow. Admission is free and is from 10 am.
VMY 2014 is also supported by other ministries and agencies, including the Youth and Sports Ministry, Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Ministry, Higher Education Ministry, and the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry.
Visitors are advised to come early as parking at the stadium is limited.
Visitors can go to Technology Park Malaysia where parking is free. Shuttle services are provided from there for visitors to the carnival.
Alternatively, the public can take a train along the Ampang-Sri Petaling Line to the Bukit Jalil station. Train services to the Bukit Jalil station are available for free today from 6am to midnight.
By YUEN MEIKENG
(SOURCES: THE STAR – 19 JAN 2013, SATURDAY)
KUALA LUMPUR: All Malaysians have a role to play in ensuring foreign tourists here get a tourist-friendly Malaysian experience, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
He said the government targeted to receive 28 million tourists next year under Visit Malaysia 2014, an additional three million to the 25 million foreign tourists received last year.
“Every Malaysian needs to make the success of this campaign a national project and mission, and everyone should show a tourist-friendly attitude to let tourists feel that when they visit Malaysia, they are accepted with polite and friendly treatment from locals,” he said when launching the Visit Malaysia 2014 promotional campaign carnival at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium here Saturday.
Also present were the Prime Minister’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen, Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, and deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit.
Najib noted that despite the promotional work being done by the government ministries and agencies, the best advertisement for the country was the experience of tourists.
“Their sharing of experience to their family and friends back home is what will encourage more people to visit, so we must prepare to give them a Malaysian experience that will leave a lasting impression in their hearts and minds,” he said, adding that Malaysia’s uniqueness rested in its successful combination of Eastern and Western values.
At the launch, the campaign’s theme song, Celebrating 1Malaysia, Truly Asia, was also premiered by Malaysia’s rock queen, Ella. The song will be used worldwide to promote the campaign.
Earlier, Dr Ng said the campaign was already garnering attention as there were 56.3 million online searches on Visit Malaysia 2014.
The launch was part of a three-day carnival, which ends today. The carnival presents a variety of events, including music and dance competitions, performances by popular artistes Datuk Khadijah Ibrahim, Jimmy Palikat and Azlan and the Typewriter, and lucky draws with over 2000 prizes.
Visitors can also buy holiday packages from over 200 booths manned by hotels, tour agents and tourism product operators at the carnival, besides learning more about local tourism programs like the Malaysia Homestay program and the 1Malaysia International Shoe Festival.
By LOSHANA K SHAGAR
(SOURCES: THE STAR – 20 JAN 2013, SUNDAY)
KUALA LUMPUR, 19 Jan (Bernama) — Menteri Pelancongan Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen berharap semua rakyat Malaysia bersedia memberi imej positif kepada pelancong bagi membantu menjayakan Tahun Melawat Malaysia 2014.
Beliau berkata 2013 dipilih sebagai tahun promosi, dan inisiatif itu adalah bagi memastikan 28 juta rakyat Malaysia bersedia untuk menyambut pelancong dengan sikap yang baik, selain pemandu teksi memberi perkhidmatan terbaik.
Katanya, rakyat Malaysia boleh menjadi penyumbang penting kepada kejayaan dan sasaran negara untuk menarik lebih ramai pelancong pada 2014.
“Kempen ini adalah permulaan yang proaktif dalam memastikan rakyat Malaysia bersedia untuk bersama-sama menjayakan tahun melawat Malaysia,” katanya ketika berucap pada majlis pelancaran kempen promosi Tahun Melawat Malaysia 2014 oleh Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak di Stadium Bukit Jalil.
Turut hadir isteri Perdana Menteri Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Menteri Penerangan Komunikasi dan Kebudayaan Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim dan Menteri Dalam Negeri Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.
Dr Ng juga berkata kempen promosi itu tidak mungkin berjaya tanpa sokongan padu semua agensi kerajaan, badan bukan kerajaan dan penggiat industri pelancongan.
SINGAPORE, Jan 18 (Bernama) — Malaysia has been ranked first among the top 10 Halal friendly holiday destinations in the Crescentrating’s Halal Friendly Travel (CRaHFT) Ranking 2013 under the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) category.
The survey for the ranking, which now in its third year, was conducted by a Singapore-based, Crescentrating Pte Ltd, the pioneer and world leader in the development of Halal-friendly travel.
The ranking for the countries was based on its view of it being a good holiday destination for 2013 and the level of Halal food availability, prayer facilities and Halal friendly accommodation at the main tourist spots of the destination.
Crescentrating chief executive officer, Fazal Bahardeen said the top 10 Halal friendly holiday destinations were divided in two categories namely OIC and non-OIC destinations.
“Malaysia also remains the top destination for Muslim holiday makers. It is still the best place to enjoy your holiday and at the same time be completely worry free when it comes to finding Halal food and prayer places almost everywhere,” he told Bernama.
Fazal said Malaysia was followed by Egypt, UAE and Turkey, which are great holiday destinations and Muslim travellers would definitely feel comfortable finding Halal food and other Halal friendly services and facilities.
He said Saudi Arabia was followed by Indonesia, as countries with huge potential in attracting the Muslim travellers.
“Indonesia has recently focused on making it easier to locate halal restaurants and other services for Muslim visitors. Morocco, Jordan, Brunei and Qatar make up the remaining destinations in our top 10.
“Each of them offering a unique experience while catering to the Muslim traveller’s needs,” he noted.
For the top 10 non-OIC destinations, Fazal disclosed that Singapore was top on the list in this category this year.
He said accessibility of Halal food at the main tourist hotspots in Singapore were even comparable to some of the OIC destinations.
Singapore is followed by Bosnia & Herzegovina, which is emerging as a popular destination for Muslim travellers.
“Thailand and South Africa are next on the list,” he said.
Fazal said both these destinations had strong Halal certification bodies, hence making it easier for visitors to find Halal certified food outlets while holidaying there.
He said India, UK, Sri Lanka, Australia, Germany and Hong Kong made up the top 10 in this category.
Although these destinations cater to the needs of Muslim travellers in parts of the destinations, Fazal said accessibility of Halal food and prayer places were still not that straightforward in these destinations.
By Tengku Noor Shansiah Tengku Abdullah