Sabah Tourism Board building to celebrate 100th anniversary this Saturday


MO,13/3/2018, KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Tourism building located at Gaya Street, here and which had survived World War II, will celebrate its 100th year anniversary this Friday. The building, opened by British North Borneo Charter Company Governor A.C. Pearson in 1918, was formerly a printing office before it became a Post Office between 1936 and 1986. In 1989, the Sabah Government restored the building and it became the Sabah Tourism Promotion Corporation until today.

The corporation moved into the building in 1990 and continued with its dunction even after it was rebranded as Sabah Tourism Board until today. Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said the once-in-a-lifetime occasion will feature a good mix of local resources coming together to mark the celebration. The event will be held at the building location and stretching as far as the end of Gaya Street for the ‘Night @ Gaya Street’, for food outlets, food trucks and vendors to operate till wee hours of that day.

“It is very rare to witness a centenary anniversary of a structure such as this one, as Jesselton (now Kota Kinabalu) was almost in ruins during the war. “Today it is one of the 24 heritage sites gazetted in Sabah. We hope our next generation will conserve and learn to love our history.” added Joniston. During the celebration, the North Borneo History Society will feature a virtual reality booth for public to ‘experience’ Jesselton in the past.

The event will also feature a 100 metres long cake co-hosted by Sabah Tourism and Shangri-la’s Tanjung Aru Resort for all who attend. Besides that, the first ever 3D projection mapping showcasing the history of the building will be projected and produced by Sabah Animation Creative Content Centre.


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Nazri Aziz: Tourism Tax collection will be split 50-50 between state and federal governments

nazri aziz

MO,12/3/2018, KUALA LUMPUR: Half of the tourism tax imposed will go to the state where it is collected, says Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz. “I am pleased to announce that the Government will now distribute RM5 out of the RM10 collected to every state,” said the Tourism and Culture Minister. He added that the distribution of the tax would now be just as it is now based on the amount collected by each state.

Nazri was answering a question by Anthony Loke (DAP-Seremban) in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday (March 12). Currently, RM1 out of every RM10 collected in tourism tax per room per night is returned to state governments. Nazri also said that state governments could now use that allocation for tourism, and promote the state more aggressively, organising more tourism activities, develop human capital as well as for the maintenance of small-scale tourism projects.

Replying an earlier question, Nazri said that the Government had collected RM39,975,634 in tourism tax from Sept 1 to Dec 31 last year. He added that Kuala Lumpur, Sabah, Penang, Pahang and Johor were among the highest contributors to the tax since it was introduced.

Kuala Lumpur contributed the highest tax at RM16,625,258, followed by Sabah (RM4,530,628), Penang (RM3,881,655), Pahang (RM3,473,803), and Johor (RM2,716,739).


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Sarawak’s tourism sector needs to capitalise on digital tech — Abang Johari


MO,9/3/2018, KUCHING: Sarawak’s tourism sector, along with others, will have to capitalise on digital technology to boost industry competitiveness, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg. He said as the digital economy was the way forward for Sarawak to leapfrog towards a developed state status and high-income economy by 2030, the sector needed to look seriously at digital marketing strategies, online reputation and use of social media and mobile phones.

“It is also vital for the corporate sector to facilitate and create a platform for Sarawak to share information, cross inspiring, explore business opportunities and create bilateral trades with ASEAN and other countries in the region.

“The ASEAN-China Entrepreneurs Association (ACEA) Digital Tourism Forum today can be a platform for Sarawak to start a smart partnership among the ASEAN and greater ASEAN region in promoting digital tourism for mutual growth and benefits,” he said at the launching of ACEA Digital Tourism Forum here today.

His text speech was read by Sarawak Minister of Tourism, Art, Culture, Youth and Sport, Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah. “Sarawak is rich in natural resources and there are still a lot of potentials waiting to be explored and developed. As a result, through the Travel App that will be launched later, I believe it will help to boost the local tourism industry,” said Abang Johari.

He also pointed out that tourism was an upcoming economic sector which the Sarawak state government was training its focus and emphasis on.

“In 2017, Sarawak recorded 4.86 million visitor arrivals with a total spending of RM8.59 billion that accounted for 7.9% of its gross domestic product (GDP). “We anticipate that tourist arrivals will continue to increase and we have set a target of 5.25 million arrivals for 2018. ASEAN countries being our neighbours continue to be our source of visitors which accounted for 48.98% or 2.38 million arrivals in 2017,” he said.

— Bernama

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CM: Melaka folk rightful recipients of tourism award


MO,4/3/2018, MELAKA: The Prime Minister’s Tourism Award belongs to the people of Melaka for making the state a prime holiday destination. Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron , who received the individual category trophy from Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz during the 20th Malaysia Tourism Awards 2016/2017 in Putrajaya on Feb 28, thanked Malaccans and the mass media.

“I couldn’t have achieved this by myself and should thank all, right from the hoteliers to traders at the iconic Pahlawan, Jonker Walk and Little India, as well as the media for making me a proud Chief Minister,” he said. The awards honour industry players for their significant contributions towards the country’s tourism. Apart from Idris, hotelier Billy Leong of Settlement Hotel was among the 52 award recipients. His hotel was awarded the best in four-star hotel city category.

Idris said it was not “a walk in the park” when he began pushing his agenda to make Melaka a top tourist destination five years ago. “My subordinates couldn’t accept my way of changing the lackadaisical attitude … I was even branded an arrogant leader for introducing the slogan ‘Don’t Mess with Melaka’. “They resorted to mudslinging, but I was unfazed, and over the years the perception changed when 16.28 million tourists visited Melaka in 2016 and 16.79 million in 2017, with 20 million targeted for this year.”

Idris said tourists write to his office praising how tidy Melaka is and how happy they are with the facilities. The Chief Minister also received the title “Tourism Guru” from a Penang-based lifestyle and travel magazine last year and one more is expected to be awarded to him next Wednesday. Idris said Melaka was now one of the main tourist destinations in Malaysia, with the majority of tourists coming from China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and Taiwan.

Among the awards Melaka received last year were The World’s Trendiest Holiday Destination by The British Post, The Most Visited City In Malaysia After Kuala Lumpur (Recognition by Federal Government) and Top 10 Best Desti­nation Must Visit in Asia By Lonely


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Yong Peng, Ayer Hitam to get RM1mil to boost tourism


MO,2/3/2018, YONG PENG: A sum of RM1mil has been allocated to develop and boost tourism in the Yong Peng and Ayer Hitam new villages, said Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong. The announcement added to the upbeat mood as residents cheered and eagerly whipped out their hand phones to record the fireworks display during the Chinese New Year celebrations at the pedestrian-only Yong Peng Street yesterday.

The fund would be used to improve facilities and put up better signs for visitors. “Definitely we have to increase the numbers by another 20%, to 250,000, which I think is achievable for Yong Peng,” said Dr Wee, the Ayer Hitam MP.He was accompanied by Ayer Hitam MCA chief Ling Tian Soon. The RM1mil, split evenly between the two towns, is part of a RM10mil allocation from the Government for 20 new villages announced last year.

The amount is to be released this year. “Other villages to benefit from the fund include Paloh, which is almost 100 years old, and Bekok which is unique and frequented by Singaporeans,” said Dr Wee. The fund would also be used to develop selected new villages in Pahang, Perak, Negri Sembilan, Kedah and Selangor. Residents also cheered when Dr Wee informed them of the recent statement by China’s ambassador to Malaysia, Bai Tian, that China is willing to buy more palm oil.

“We need to continue working hard to turn Yong Peng into a famous place in its own right, so that we can proudly tell others, that ‘I am from Yong Peng!’ Dr Wee told the crowd. In between, local acts and student bodies staged performances ranging from Chinese orchestra music and lion dances to Mandarin songs.

With today being the last day of Chinese New Year – Chap Goh Mei, which is regarded as Chinese Valentine’s Day – event organisers had put up a pool for the traditional orange-throwing event for singles to look for a match, as well as a “lover’s bridge” for couples to take photos.


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Nazri lauds tourism industry players at awards


MO,1/3/2018, PUTRAJAYA: The 20th edition of the Malaysia Tourism Awards, here, today, saw industry players and captains lauded for their significant contributions towards the country’s tourism sector. Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said the awards serves to acknowledge industry and media partners for their outstanding contribution and efforts throughout 2016 and 2017.

“These were two challenging years which saw rising regional competition and limited resources, yet it was heartwarming to see all industry players come together to overcome the situation,” he said during his speech at the event in Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC), here, today.

Also present were Malacca chief minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron, Sabah’s Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun, Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Seri Mirza Mohammad Taiyab and Tourism Malaysia Board chairman Datuk Siew Ka Wei among others. Mohamed Nazri further said that the ministry is constantly seeking new ways to improve all our tourism offerings.

“In this regard, I wish to make special mention of two new categories of awards in this edition, namely ‘Best Entertainment Spot’ and Best Airline’ to acknowledge the private sector’s efforts in fulfilling the goals of Tourism National Key Economic Areas (NKEA) and the Malaysia Tourism Transformation Plan (MTTP). “I am pleased to inform that we received a total of 665 local and international nominations this time.

“Certainly, this exceeded our expectations,” he said. During the event Mohamed Nazri also presented four special awards including the Minister’s Award (individual) to Asian Overland Services Group managing director Anthony Wong and (organisation) to The Haven, Ipoh. Idris also received the Prime Minister’s Award (individual) from Mohamed Nazri while Sunway Group garnered the Prime Minister’s Award (organisation).

The four special awards were presented to two individuals and two organisations following a personal selection by Prime Minister and the Tourism and Culture Minister for their exceptional contributions and positions in the industry. Among the winners of the awards include Cathay Dragon for best international airline and AirAsia for both best international and local route winner respectively.

Thanking the industry leaders both local and foreign for their contribution to the nation’s tourism industry, Mohamed Nazri expressed hope that they will continue to express their spirit for innovation and desire to achieve outstanding levels of quality in service and products. “I know that your job was not an easy one. “After a few years as the minister, I am well-acquainted with our tourism industry players.

“I can attest that all of them deserve to be recognised for their collective efforts and passion towards the industry. “This is crucial as we are set to achieve the ambitious goals for both arrivals and income to make Visit Malaysia 2020 a resounding success,” he said. He also thanked Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak for his support for Visit Malaysia 2020 as well as his commitment towards tourism, demonstrated in all the policies he has formulated to ensure a vibrant and thriving industry.

The awards, held once every two years recognises and honours local and International tourism industry players for outstanding and innovative products and services. It also acts as an incentive for participants to strive for the highest level of professionalism and quality in both products and services. This edition of the awards puts forth 14 categories and 52 sub-categories with 665 nominations submitted for contention.


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Suspension bridge to boost Terengganu tourism – ECERDC


MO,1/3/2018, KUALA TERENGGANU: The people of Terengganu await yet another success story – the first combined bascule and suspension bridge in the country that is expected to be ready by the end of this year. Taking inspiration from the London Tower Bridge in England, the yet-to-be-named bridge has been under construction since 2014 over Sungai Terengganu in the heart of this coastal town of Kuala Terengganu.

The bridge, comprising the main route of the bridge, four towers, and two ‘sky bridges’, is about 70 per cent complete, and is set to become another landmark and tourist attraction in the city. The good news was shared by East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) chief executive officer Datuk Seri Jebasingam Issace John in an exclusive interview with Bernama.

ECERDC is developing the entire Kuala Terengganu City Centre or KTCC project at an estimated cost of RM5 billion, which includes the construction of the bridge. Jebasingam said the bridge would transform the landscape of the city and become the focal point of the tourism sector not only for the state but the entire East Coast region. The strategic location of the bridge in the city centre will also shorten the travel time from the city to the Sultan Mahmud Airport in Kuala Nerus from 30 minutes to just 10.

“From the business perspective, so far the project has attracted RM33 billion in private investment, and is expected to create 40,000 jobs. “KTCC is one of the strategic projects for tourism as Terengganu is poised to become the tourism gateway for the East Coast. KTCC alone is expected to draw some RM5 billion in new investments in the property and real estate sector. He said there would be a gallery at the bridge for the public to enjoy the sights of the city, and restaurants and shops would be located near the sky bridges.

“Visitors will also certainly look forward to seeing the bridge being raised and lowered, and we have plans to do this twice or thrice a day depending on the traffic situation. “Just like the London Tower Bridge, where visitors can see the raising and lowering of the bridge. It will be an exciting phenomenon for visitors,” he said, adding that he was confident the number of tourist arrivals in Terengganu would increase once the bridge went into operation.

Jebasingam said fishermen and shipping companies would also benefit from the project, and their vessels would now be able to pass under the raised bridge. He said there would be no environmental impact from the construction of the bridge, and that a detailed two-year study had been conducted to ensure the protection of the ecosystem at the river mouth.

“Whatever project we do, we do it in a sustainable manner. In the context of the KTCC, we’ve done the EIA (environmental impact assessment), and all the mitigation measures are in place. “We work with the DID (Department of Irrigation and Drainage) for the hydraulic aspects of the project,” he said.

— Bernama

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My Beautiful Cherating’ to put fading beach back on tourism map

MO,22/2/2018, KUANTAN: The newly-unveiled “My Beautiful Cherating” programme is set to give the Cherating beach here a new lease on life. The programme was born out of concerns among traders and resort operators here over falling visitor numbers in the last few years. Together, they engaged the services of an event consultant to draft a long-term plan to rejuvenate the beach and boost visitor numbers.

Silverminds Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Roslawati Mohd said the “My Beautiful Cherating” programme aims to place the beach back on the radar as an exciting tourist destination. “The programme has been divided into several stages. Phase One involves the cleaning up of Kampung Budaya Cherating and sprucing up the area. This was carried out last December.

Besides cleaning the beach, volunteers also trimmed trees, planted flowers and repainted certain sections of buildings near the beach.

“In Phase Two, we will be adding more attractions at the beach, including exhibitions on local handicrafts and children-oriented programmes,” she said today. Roslawati said the programme has received strong support from Tourism Pahang, government sectors, private agencies, non-governmental organisations and villagers living in Cherating.

In addition, she said the nearby Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP); and the move by Singapore’s low-cost airline Scoot to offer direct flights between Singapore and Kuantan, will also help bring the beach back to its glory days. “Lately, we have been seeing an increase in visitors from China, which could be mainly due to MCKIP’s presence in Gebeng here; and the new flight route will allow us to hold promotional activities at the Kuantan airport. We are trying to utilise all resources to make the beach popular (again).

“Unlike previously, there are now several new attractions in Cherating, such as windsurfing, firefly watching tours, and river cruise activities which can be a crowd-puller.

“Local entrepreneurs realise that something had to be done to bring (the tourists back),” she added. To ensure that cleanliness is maintained, Koperasi Alam Hijau Perak Bhd (Kohijau-ICycle) is encouraging villagers to participate in a recycling campaign. “Its chairman Professor Dr Richard Ng explained to residents that the campaign is not only about keeping Cherating clean, but about earning rewards in the form of cash and vouchers for maintaining the area’s cleanliness,” Roslawati said, adding that Phase Two will be launched in April.

She said volunteers who helped during the “gotong-royong” programme also participated in traditional games like coconut-bowling, “tapak gajah” (elephant steps using coconut shells) and musical chairs which attracted tourists, including foreigners.


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Time Out London letak Singapura destinasi paling bosan ini balasan Singapore Tourism Board

SINGAPURA: Lembaga Pelancongan Singapura (STB) mempunyai cara tersediri untuk memberi maklum balas terhadap laporan kaji selidik majalah gaya hidup Time Out London yang meletakkan kota itu sebagai antara yang paling bosan di dunia, lapor Reuters.

STB telah membalas laporan itu dengan menghasilkan video yang secara sarkastik mengiyakan bahawa “There is nothing exciting to do.” (Tiada yang mengujakan untuk dilakukan).

Indeks Kehidupan Kota 2018 dalam majalah itu, yang diterbitkan minggu ini, meletakkan Singapura di tangga ke 31 dalam 32 bandar raya, dengan hanya satu tangga di atas Istanbul.

Hasil kaji selidik itu didapatkan daripada maklum balas daripada lebih 15,000 orang.

Chicago mendahului senarai tersebut, diikuti Porto di Portugal dan bandar raya New York, yang mendapat markah tinggi dari aspek makanan, minuman, budaya, kemesraan, kemampuan, kebahagiaan dan kehidupan.

Singapura dipuji kerana perkhidmatan pengangkutan awam dan keselamatannya, namun gagal menarik perhatian dari faktor seni dan budaya.

Hanya 17 peratus responden yang mengulas: “Ada saja sesuatu yang boleh dilihat dan dibuat.”

Bagaimanapun, laporan kaji selidik itu adalah secara rawak, hanya melibatkan 32 buah kota, dan tidak disertai banyak bandar raya utama dunia yang lain.

Secara amnya, ia menunjukkan 32 buah bandar raya itu yang diletakkan dalam satu kelompok. Bagaimanapun, Singapura seperti tidak berpuas hati dengan kedudukan itu.

Sebagai balasan, STB memuat naik video berdurasi 56-saat di laman Facebooknya, dengan dimulakan dengan pengakuan sinikal “Singapore is boring … there is nothing exciting to do.” (Singapura memang bisan… tiada yang menyeronokkan untuk dilakukan).

Dalam video itu, latar tarikan seperti pertunjukan bunga api di tengah kota, Universal Studios Singapore, perlumbaan Formula One, Musium Artscience, serta aktiviti terjunan bungee kendalian AJ Hackett di Pulau Sentosa dipaparkan.

“Ya, Time Out London, kami agak ‘tidak mengujakan’,” kata paparan video itu sambil diteruskan dengan visual pelbagai makanan tempatan, termasuk hidangan ayam bertaraf Michelin yang hanya berharga 2 dolar di Chinatown, bersama kapsyen: “Semuanya mahal.”

Pengarah Kandungan Digital STB, Terrence Voon, berkata: “Kami menghasilkan respons yang ringan ini untuk menunjukkan kepada umum apa yang Singapura tawarkan.”

Ini bukan pertama kali Singapura ‘terasa’ lalu memberi respons kepada perspektif yang ‘tidak betul’ dan tidak memihak kepada imej negara itu.

Pada April lalu, ia memuat naik gambar-gambar ke media sosial untuk menafikan ketidaktepatan geografi dan fakta seperti yang dipaparkan dalam episod program televisyen terbitan CBS, Criminal Minds, yang mengetengahkan zon ‘lampu merah’ Geylang sebagai ‘sisi gelap di destinasi syurga’.

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Tourism Malaysia terus agresif promosi tapak selaman

81514859603_pulausipadanMO, 29/1/2018, LABUAN: Tourism Malaysia akan terus agresif mempromosikan tapak menyelam yang menarik di negara ini bagi membolehkan lebih ramai penyelam luar mengunjungi Malaysia.

Misi pertama tahun ini adalah ke Rusia, melalui dutanya, Clement Lee, yang dipertanggungjawabkan untuk memberi penerangan mengenai tapak menyelam yang popular dan terkini di Sabah, Sarawak, Labuan dan Semenanjung.

Pengeluar dan pembekal perkhidmatan dalam industri skuba yang terkemuka di Rusia dan antarabangsa serta peminat akua seperti penyelam skuba, penyelam bebas, peminat aktiviti serampang ikan dan jurufoto dasar laut akan berkumpul di bawah satu bumbung sempena pameran tahunan, Moscow Dive Show pada 1-4 Feb.

“Matlamat pameran ini adalah untuk mewujudkan platform komunikasi yang berkesan untuk perniagaan borong dan runcit, pengembangan rangkaian pengedar, jualan langsung barangan dan perkhidmatan serta lokasi pertemuan tahunan bagi komuniti penyelam dasar laut.

“Saya akan memulakan satu lagi misi promosi ke luar negara untuk memberi penerangan pada acara RuDive, pameran pemborong terbesar industri selaman di Rusia yang berlangsung empat hari, turut dihadiri 20 ejen jemputan khas dan ketua kumpulan di seluruh Rusia yang dijadualkan mendengar taklimat kami,” katanya.

Lee, anak jati Labuan, tersenarai dalam International Scuba Diver Hall of Fame pada 2011 dan dilantik sebagai duta Tourism Malaysia bagi segmen selaman bagi 2017-2019, berkata lokasi menyelam di Malaysia setanding dengan tapak selaman skuba yang popular di seluruh dunia.

Beliau berkata dua pengusaha pusat skuba, Lang Tengah Summer Bay Holiday Resort dan Borneo Divers Mabul Resort serta Timbalan Pengarah Tourism Malaysia (Bahagian Pakej) Yasmin Samsuddin akan menyertai delegasi promosi itu.

“Kami menjangkakan banyak aktiviti promosi semasa acara itu dan kami juga akan menghadiri parti Mega Networking anjuran Crocodile Dive Club yang terkenal di Rusia. Ia adalah peluang terbaik bagi kami semua untuk mengenali ejen menyelam yang berpotensi dan kedai barangan skuba,” katanya.

Pada hari terakhir acara itu, Lee juga akan memberi penerangan mengenai tapak skuba dan resort yang menarik di Malaysia.

“Sudah pasti, lokasi menyelam yang popular di Labuan serta penemuan terbaru tapak selaman di Vernon Bank akan saya ketengahkan dalam taklimat saya,” katanya.

Tourism Malaysia juga akan mengadakan cabutan bertuah, menawarkan pakej pelancongan dan menyelam yang ditaja Layang Layang Island Resort serta Borneo Divers and Summer Bay Holidays.

“Para penyelam Rusia benar-benar menyukai Malaysia kerana antaranya kemudahan sambungan udara, rakyat Malaysia yang mesra, kepelbagaian etnik dan budaya serta cuaca panas berbanding Rusia.

“Saya sangat positif kita akan dapat menarik minat penyelam Rusia ke Malaysia,” katanya dan menambah Tourism Malaysia juga menerima maklum balas yang menggalakkan daripada pemborong dan pengusaha pelancongan, apabila ramai yang mahukan maklumat lanjut dan membuat pertanyaan mengenai pakej istimewa ke Malaysia.




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