Langkawi to be branded as Monaco of the East

Langkawi to be branded as Monaco of the East

The Malaysian Prime Minister wants to turn Langkawi into a high-end tourist destination to spur numerous multiplier effects for the local economy. In a recent report by Bernama News, Prime Minister Najib Razak wants more effort to be put to turn Langkawi into a high-net-worth tourist destination in the region. Speaking during the Langkawi Tourism Awards 2015 ceremony at the Langkawi International Convention Centre (LICC) here recently, he said efforts to turn Langkawi into the “Monaco of the East” for well-heeled tourists should be done while maintaining its attraction for mass tourism.

The Prime Minister said – “I would like to see Langkawi emerge as the ‘Monaco of the East’ for high net-worth tourists, while maintaining its appeal for mass tourism. I would like to see two-tier development for Langkawi, one for mass tourism and another one for high-net-worth tourists,” he said. He said turning Langkawi to a high-end tourist destination for deep-pocketed tourists would spur numerous multiplier effects for the local economy such as creating high-paying jobs.”

According to the Prime Minister, there are pockets of high-end tourist destinations in Langkawi such as the St Regis luxurious hotel, but the development for that kind of destinations need to be enhanced. Langkawi’s St Regis hotel, known for its luxury rooms and facilities, he said, will open its doors to customers in April next year, bringing along a Michelin-star restaurant to the island which will also be the first Michelin-star restaurant in Langkawi Island.

The Prime Minister was also hopeful that the responsible parties would develop stronger brands for Langkawi, to put the island in the same league as Bali, which is more recognisable among tourists as compared to Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta.

Another one of Langkawi’s plus points that needed to be highlighted to tourists Najib said, was that the island is peaceful, secure and safe from disturbances, which engulfed other tourist destinations in other parts of the world. The Prime Minister cited terrorist attacks suffered by other tourist destinations like what happened in Sharm-el Sheikh in Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia and other places.

“Langkawi should remain peaceful, safe and secure and efforts should be made to maintain it,” he said and in jest added that he hoped that there were no supporters of the so called Islamic State (IS) militants or Daesh terrorists in Langkawi. Najib also hoped the authorities would put in more effort to attract Russian tourists.

Main Image: St.Regis Langkawi Island, image from Starwood Hotels. Story from Bernama News on Langkawi to be branded as Monaco of the East.

Read more

Tourism Malaysia News 7-8 July

Tourism Malaysia News

This roundup of Tourism in Malaysia news is for 7-8 July collected from various online sources.

Taxi industry must buck up or put up with Uber, GrabCar

In a sobering blog entry about the less than satisfactory standards of the local taxi industry, chairman of the Malaysian Tourism and Promotion Board Wee Choo Keong said that unless they buck up in term of service, competitors such as Uber and GrabCar will continue taking a big chunk of their market share.

Wee, a former MP, said, “Until the local taxi industry improves its quality of service, which includes their drivers’ appearance, attitude and taxi conditions, I honestly don’t see services like Uber and GrabCar ‘going away’. After all, many people love it! It’s all about demand and supply.”

He was commenting on the report by the London Cabs portal that placed Malaysian taxi drivers at the top of the list of “10 countries with the worst taxi drivers in the world.” He said this dismal rating would have an adverse effect on tourism and while he personally believed our taxi drivers were not the “worst in the world”, they were admittedly still “quite bad”.

Full Story: Free Malaysia Today.

Ringgit’s dive expected to boost travel to Malaysia

THE Malaysian ringgit hit a fresh low of RM 2.81 against the Singapore dollar on Monday, which could further lift tourist volumes into Singapore’s neighbour. The currency has depreciated to its lowest level against the Sing dollar since 1981, due in part to domestic concerns.

The recent fall in oil prices as well as intensifying political uncertainty in Malaysia over allegations that Prime Minister Najib Razak misappropriated funds are contributing to the ringgit’s latest slump. Conversely, the Sing dollar has remained quite resilient.

“Global sentiment had been weighed by the ‘No’ vote from the weekend Greek referendum and this acted as a depressant for Asian currencies,” said FX strategist at OCBC Bank, Emmanuel Ng. “The Malaysian ringgit had the additional baggage of the negative weekend news flow, resulting in the SGD-MYR pushing higher.”

Full Story: Business Times Singapore.

Sabah Parks director disappointed over unethical behaviour of some dive operators

Sabah Parks will be engaging four dive marshals for Sipadan next month to monitor activities within the diving spots in the area. Its director, Dr Jamili Nais, said that Sabah Parks was also in discussion with environmental non-governmental organisation (NGO)  Reef Check Malaysia regarding the implementation of a certification mechanism for ethical diving, such as the ‘Green Fin’ certification programme.

“I read with concern the social media postings regarding the unethical behaviour of some dive operators and their foreign tourists, handling and harassing marine life such as marine turtles, coral fishes, puffer fish and starfishes,” said Jamili, referring to the several photographs of divers harassing marine life which allegedly took place off Semporna.

Stressing that Sabah Parks would continue with its ethical diving awareness and education programme, he said the recent act that went viral on the social media was uncalled for and that Sabah Parks strongly condemned the unethical behaviour of some visitors harassing marine life within or outside the Park.

Full Story: The Rakyat Post.

More Indonesian visitors expected in Malaysia after Hari Raya

Malaysian inbound tour agencies are projecting a rise in post-Hari Raya business from the Indonesian market. Agencies that TTG Asia e-Daily interviewed predicted business to be better than last year, with the weakened ringgit driving demand. Pent-up demand is also fuelling travel, as some had held back their plans to holiday last year due to Indonesia’s general election.

Nanda Kumar, managing director of Hidden Asia Travel Tours, said he is anticipating a 10 per cent increase in business events travel to Malaysia this year, with five bookings already confirmed. He expects a pick-up in leisure family travel as well, with Genting, Kuala Lumpur and Legoland Malaysia in Johor Bahru being favourite destinations.

Arokia Das, senior manager, Luxury Tours Malaysia, said: “This year, post-Raya will definitely be stronger than last year. We expect leisure business to increase by at least 35 per cent year-on-year during the Lebaran holiday and MICE by at least 18 per cent post-Raya.

Full Story: TTG Asia.

Malaysia aims for 10% increase in medical tourists in 2015

The Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) is working hard to increase medical tourism industry revenue. The Health Ministry says that medical tourism contributed RM730 million in revenue in 2014,and they want to increase this by 10% in 2015.

In Malaysia Penang gets most medical tourists, with the other key regions being Kuala Lumpur and Melaka. Johor state claims 27,500 medical tourists in 2012, 31,000 in 2013 and 33,700 in 2014 based on the number of patients, and this does not include chaperones, family members and visiting friends and relatives. Singaporeans are able to use their Central Provident Fund savings and insurance at hospitals, contributing to the rise in medical tourism. The Health Ministry wants more private hospitals to join MHTC. Numerous promotional efforts are being undertaken by MHTC.

Full Story: International Medical Travel Journal.

Sabah Handicraft Targets RM250,000 In Sales Revenue

The Sabah branch of the Malaysian Handicraft Development Corporation targets RM250,000 in collection from the sales of 69 entrepreneurs during the 18 days of Colourful Aidilfitri Craft Promotion. State Tourism, Culture and Environment assistant minister, Datuk Kamarlin Ombi said the target exceeds last year’s sales by RM130,574.90.

“The promotion is being hosted for the third time in conjunction with the forthcoming Aidilfitri celebrations comprising 64 entrepreneurs from Sabah, four from Sarawak and one from the Peninsula,” he said at a press conference in conjunction with the state-level event at Lintasan Deasoka.

Full Story: Bernama News.

Johor Hotel Industry Urged To Promote Local Food, Culture To Attract More Tourists

The hotel industry has been urged to intensify efforts to promote local food and culture in order to attract more tourists. State Tourism, Trade and Consumer Affairs chairman, Datuk Tee Siew Kiong said this was because the hotel industry was the right platform to introduce local cuisine, culture and food. “Johor features a wide range of cuisine, food and a unique culture which can attract local and international tourists. Most tourists who enjoy local food here will definitely come back,” he told reporters at the launch of ‘Citarasa Kampung Kita’ at a hotel, here, yesterday.

According to Tee, 6.42 million people visited the state last year, exceeding the original target of 4.9 million people. He was confident that active promotion by hotel operators in the state can increase tourist arrivals this year too, particularly in conjunction with the Malaysia Year of Festivals (MyFest) 2015. The ‘Citarasa Kampung Kita’ programme will allow the state to showcase its culinary prowess and dishes like ‘otak-otak’, ‘mi bandung Muar’, Johor laksa and ‘nasi briyani gam’. The programme can also realise the strategic cooperation between the government and the private sector, to spice up the country’s tourism industry. – Bernama.

Mt Kinabalu to reopen to climbers this September

Mount Kinabalu is expected to be reopened to climbers in early September, said Sabah Minister for Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun. The mountain, which stands at 4,095 metres, was closed to climbers following an earthquake in the state on June 5 that claimed the lives of 18 people comprising climbers and mountain guides. Masidi said, however, the number of people on the mountain at any one time would be reduce by about half, from 192 to about 90, in the early stages of its reopening to climbers.

“The safety of climbers is of utmost priority. We do not want to take a risk by maintaining the number as in the past,” he told reporters after handing over contributions to the victims of the June 5 earthquake. The earthquake, of magnitude 5.9, caused rocks and boulders to tumble from the mountain, killing the 18 people, and damaged property in the district of Ranau and surrounding areas. – Bernama.

Malaysia Airlines axes Brisbane flights, trims Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth

Qantas partner Malaysia Airlines will cease flying from its Kuala Lumpur hub to Brisbane this year, and also looks to be reducing its services to Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

Brisbane – Malaysia Airlines will axe its daily Brisbane (MH134/135) service from August 9.

Sydney will see flights reduced from triple-daily to double-daily as the airline drops MH143 from August 3 and return leg MH142 from August 4. These were same flights suspended earlier this month as Malaysia Airlines’ A380s temporarily appeared on Sydney flights.

Melbourne is also cut from three flights to two each day, dropping MH147 from August 2 and KL-bound MH146 from August 3.

Adelaide will be trimmed back to four flights a week with the cancellation of MH136 to Kuala Lumpur on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays from August 10 and MH139 home to Adelaide on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays from August 9.

Perth’s five-times-weekly flights (MH126/127) have also been removed from sale on the airline’s website beyond August 15, while the city’s daily MH124/125 flights remain untouched.

A Malaysia Airlines spokesperson confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that its Brisbane flights were on the chopping block, but is yet to advise whether the changes observed on its Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth routes are temporary or permanent.

Full Story: Australian Business Traveller.

Read more