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Old June 2nd, 2008, 10:03 AM   #181
nazrey
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Medical plan for exco village
Monday June 2, 2008
By ELAN PERUMAL and OH ING YEEN
TheStar

THE exco village at Section 7, Shah Alam, could end up as a major medical tourism attraction in Selangor if a proposal by a private firm gets the approval of the state government.

Under the proposal, the colony with 10 luxurious bungalows would be turned into a medical centre.

It is learnt that the state government was giving a serious consideration to the proposal.

State local government committee chairman Ronnie Liu who confirmed that such a proposal had been received, said the state was considering the viability of the plan.








Health plan: Under the proposal, the exco village
would be used for medical tourism.







Liu said the company wanted to turn the enclave into a medical tourism spot to attract foreigners seeking medical treatment in Selangor.

He added that the company felt it was suitable for those seeking a resort-like environment.

“It will suit the tastes of the rich foreigners due to the attractive landscaping,” he said.

Liu said the proposal covered the use of all 10 bungalows and the clubhouse.

The highly controversial exco village also attracted a lot of attention during the second term of the 12th state assembly sitting that concluded on Monday.

During the sitting, Sekinchan assemblyman Ng Swee Lim had even suggested turning it into a tourist attraction.

Ng asked state tourism committee chairman Elizabeth Wong if there were any plans to promote the village as part of tour packages.

Wong replied that the proposal would be considered.

Retiree Lily Ang, 80, who resides in Section 24, Shah Alam, found the idea of turning the exco village into a major medical tourist attraction a joke.

“Why would they (foreigners) come to Malaysia for medical treatment when they have better medical services and facilities in their own country?

“Plus, there is a shortage of doctors in Malaysia,” she pointed out.

Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam, Selangor president Dr Jacob George was also against the idea and preferred that the exco village to be sold to the highest bidder to recover the losses.

“It doesn't make sense to turn it into a medical tourist attraction.

“There is an abundance of similar projects,” he said.

He added the majority of the people in Selangor wanted the exco village to be sold and the funds used accordingly for other causes, such as community-based projects.
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Old June 6th, 2008, 07:33 AM   #182
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Korea targets more Malaysian tourists
Friday June 6, 2008
By THO XIN YI
TheStar


FOR many, Korea becomes a dream holiday destination after they have watched the popular Korean drama series on television.

Most have probably picked up a phrase or two of the tongue-twisting language (“Annyeong-haseyo!” which means “Good morning”, “Good afternoon” and “Good evening”) while indulging in the picturesque scenery and probably secretly falling in love with the attractive Korean stars.

The Dae Jang Geum (Jewel in the Palace) Theme Park in Yangju, Gyeonggi Province is among the theme parks built at the sites where drama series were filmed.

“Many of the people want to see the places where the series were shot and take a picture,” Korea Tourism Organisation (KTO) director Kim Kee-Hun noted.





Cultural interest: KTO public relations and marketing manager Asthy Tan
explaining the history of the masks, which are worn by the Koreans when
they perform the mask dance.




Last year, 83,049 Malaysians visited Korea, and most of them favoured the East Gate Market and Everland amusement park in Seoul, according to the statistics provided by KTO.

“Everland is the seventh largest theme park in the world. It is decorated with beautiful blooms and offers adventure rides such as the roller-coaster. There is also a water park,” said Kim.

Renowned also for its fashion, Korea is a shopping heaven for all.

“East Gate Market, West Gate Market, Myung Dong and Itaewon are some of the famous shopping destinations for clothes and accessories,” Kim said, adding that Myung Dong was similar to Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur.

Itaewon is a convenient tourist spot for Muslims as it houses a mosque and many halal restaurants.

Apart from the different scenic and sensual attractions Korea offers during its four seasons, the cultural performances are not to be missed either.

Nanta, Jump and Break Out are comedic performances incorporating percussion music, martial arts and dance.

Food-wise, the royal palace cuisine, bulgogi (beef), bibimbap (rice with mixed vegetable) and ginseng chicken soup are some of the must-try items.

According to Kim, KTO is targeting 100,000 Malaysian visitors to Korean next year, and is going all out to attract the people's attention with an advertising campaign starting in July.

Its office in Wisma Goldhill, which was opened in Dec 2004, will soon be relocated to Mid Valley City.

The new office will comprise an exhibition area to display interesting items such as the traditional Korean costume Hanbok and miniature displays of Korean food, a library and an event room to show Korean movies and host Korean cooking demonstrations, among other things.

“The whole idea is to invite more Malaysians to drop by our cosy office to learn more about Korean culture and tourism,” said Kim. For more information, call 03-2072 2515 or visit http://www.tour2korea.com/.
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Old June 8th, 2008, 08:47 AM   #183
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Call to develop Pulau Pisang for eco-tourism
NST Online » Local News, 2008/06/08

PONTIAN: There are plans to develop Pulau Pisang into an eco-tourism destination as well as a proposal to return the operation of the lighthouse to Malaysia.

Pontian Member of Parliament Ahmad Maslan said the redevelopment of Pulau Pisang would start with the building of a jetty and a surau, which already has a RM50,000 allocation.

An islander has donated a piece of land for the surau near the lighthouse.

Ahmad Maslan said he would also propose to the State Government and the Iskandar Malaysia Development Authority for the island to be promoted to investors and tourists.

"The island is just outside the boundaries of Iskandar Malaysia. They may be interested in extending their investment here as well," he said.

"Tourists would want to enjoy the untouched beauty of Pulau Pisang while activities like motivational seminars would be suitable for corporate organisations."

On the lighthouse issue, he said Malaysia needed to renegotiate the agreement that allowed Singapore to operate it.

"The basis of the agreement was that Singapore wanted to control the lighthouse to guide ships plying the Malacca Straits.

"But there is little relevance to this now as ships now rely on Global Positioning System technology for navigation," he said.

"Even if the lighthouse is still relevant, its control should be returned to Malaysia as we are capable of running it."

On May 25, Ahmad Maslan had called on the government to develop Pulau Pisang to avoid it facing the same fate as Pedra Branca as both have Singapore-controlled lighthouse with no development by Malaysia.
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Old June 12th, 2008, 06:49 AM   #184
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Malaysia’s tourist arrivals dropping
by Asia PulseAdvertisement

Malaysia welcomed 1,819,689 tourists in March 2008, down 4.5 per cent from the same month last year, Tourism Malaysia said on Thursday.

For the first three months of this year, Malaysia´s tourist arrivals edged up 1.2 per cent to 5,342,291 from 5,280,094 for the same period in 2007. In a statement, Tourism Malaysia said Singapore retained its position as the biggest tourist market for Malaysia with 882,787 Singaporeans visiting the country in March 2008. Others in the top ten list are Indonesia (185,537), Thailand (115,868), China (85,542), Brunei (70,829), Japan (40,318), India (39,621), United Kingdom (34,407), Australia (33,500) and the Philippines (30,515).

Most major markets also recorded double digit growth in March 2008. They are Russia (50.8%), Canada (47.5%), South Africa (45.9%), Indonesia (43.6%), the Netherlands (42.6%), New Zealand (40.1%), France (36.0%), Germany (31.7%), the United Kingdom (30.4%), China (including Hong Kong & Macau) (27.8%), Cambodia (19.8%), India (19.3%), Australia (18.9%), the Philippines (12.3%), and South Korea (10.1%).

The top ten tourist generating markets from January to March 2008 were Singapore (2,620,880), Indonesia (510,847), Thailand (351,049), China (including Hong Kong & Macau) (258, 374), Brunei (215,558), India (116,991), Japan (111,959), Australia (100,811), the United Kingdom (96,569) and the Philippines (83,276).
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Old June 14th, 2008, 07:51 PM   #185
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Sabah set to become economic, tourism hub
By Jaswinder Kaur Published: 2008/06/14
BusinessTimes

SABAH is poised to turn into a trade, investment and tourism gateway for Southeast Asia, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman says.

He said the state's economic potential was growing by the day, adding that projects under the 18-year Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) will boost investment opportunities.

"The state will make sure that costs of doing business are kept low by improving the logistics network, which is an important component in attracting local and foreign investors," he said at the launch of Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd's new branch in Kota Kinabalu yesterday.

"We have a lot of economic growth potential, including in agriculture which can lead to the exploration of food production and high-value crops for the export market. We are currently the highest producer of palm oil globally," he said.

Musa, who is also Sabah Finance Minister, said opportunities are also available in gas processing, petroleum refineries, wood based industries and agro-industries.

He said projects, including those planned under the SDC, will change the economic landscape and will help reduce the incidence of poverty in a consistent manner.

He also said prospects are bright for Bank Islam to offer Islamic banking services to customers in Sabah, and called on the institution to continue providing fresh and consumer friendly products.

Bank Islam managing director Datuk Zukri Samat said the bank is playing a role in the development of a range of activities in Sabah, including shipping, vehicle assembly, supermarkets and wood-based industries.

He said through its upgraded branch, Bank Islam remains committed in supporting the Sabah state government in its effort to develop the state.

Zukri said the bank has already taken proactive steps to reduce the burden of its customers by allowing them to not pay home loan instalments for two months at the end of the year.

"This 'payment holiday' that we have in place to ease the burden of customers who have a lot of expenses at the end of the year, is one of the innovative products that we have on offer and which is even more relevant now when prudent spending is the order of the day with the hike in fuel prices," he said.
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Old June 16th, 2008, 09:18 AM   #186
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Once in a blue moon, a good article comes along...

This is taken from Orange County Register's travel section. The OC Reg is a local daily in Orange County (duh?), California, a neighboring county to Los Angeles County to the south, but north of San Diego County. It is an suburban/urbanized collection of many incorporated cities of which one of them being the home of Disneyland -- Anaheim. Other main cities in the county are Santa Ana (pop. 450k), Irvine (pop. 200k), with a county-total of 3.1 million.

Rarely is there a write-up about Malaysia in our local papers. It's usually France, the Carribean, Mexico, Italy or other places popular with the Americans that gets the attention. So this is something of a surprise when I opened the papers. Here you go...

Sunday, June 15, 2008
Penang Island just off Malaysia is a diner's paradise
Street hawkers provide a nightly movable feast on the island off Malaysia.
By CAROL PUCCI
The Seattle Times
Comments 0| Recommend 0

There's fresh crab, live from the tank, and bowls of miniature clams ready to pop out of their shells for sautéing in a spicy sauce with garlic and lime.

The air smells of roasted duck and skewers of charcoal-grilled chicken. One stall sells herbal soup; another grills seafood on a stick.

Welcome to the Red Garden Food Paradise, my neighborhood hawkers center.

"Hello Dolly" plays on the boom box. We hear it from our hotel room next door. Might as well stop by.

Claim one of the white-plastic tables and take note of the number on the side. Then go from stall to stall, giving the cook your table number and ordering in small, medium or large portions – clams, the oyster omelet, fried rice, stuffed eggplant, chicken satay.

Sit down and put in your drink order to the guy in the red shirt in charge of cleaning off the tables. Try the lime juice spiked with a sour plum to wash away the heat. Then wait for your food to arrive. Pay when it does – maybe the equivalent of $10 to $12 for everything, including beer.

Malaysians seem to be constantly eating. Miss the street food in Penang, the island off Malaysia's west coast known as the cultural and culinary melting pot of Southeast Asia, and you miss a nightly movable feast that takes place on street corners and outdoor food courts like this one called hawkers centers.

Books have been written about Penang's hawkers. Most started out as traveling pushcart vendors hawking their food from portable kitchens with stoves powered by gas canisters.

Lately things became more organized with licensed vendors operating permanent stalls in centers such as Red Garden, where hygiene standards are high.

Malaysia is officially a Muslim country, but the crowds who come out nightly to eat mirror Penang's diverse population, a fusion of ethnic Malays, with roots in Indonesia; Chinese and Indians who joined British colonialists in transforming the island into a center for the spice trade, and later tin and rubber.

A walk though the compact streets of the old port city of Georgetown is literally a religious experience, with Hindu temples and Chinese temples, mosques and Christian churches within blocks of one another.

When it comes to food, locals come together to seek out their favorite hawkers for the best Chinese coconut tarts; Nasi kandar, Indian Muslim fare; or laksa, a Malay noodle soup of fish, tamarind juice, pineapple and mint.

"Penang is food paradise," a local man who was born here told me. Perhaps he's biased, but there is a long list of foods to sample.

Red Garden is a fairly new center with a fun atmosphere, but it's geared more toward tourists from the surrounding hotels than purists.

Real foodies would probably be happier at a local spot such as New Lane Hawkers Centre – crowded and chaotic – with tasty duck-meat noodle soup ($1) and wet spring rolls (also $1) stuffed with tofu and turnip.

Eating this way is an easy way for tourists to meet locals. My favorite for this became the bright and clean Esplanade Food Centre on the seafront at Fort Cornwallis in the old British colonial district.

Malay Muslim families and students from a nearby school gather here in the late afternoons for snacks and drinks.

When I asked one family if they minded if I took their picture, they invited us to sit down with them and sample their Singapore duck.

Following a self-guided tour of traditional craft and food purveyors mapped out in a brochure published by Penang Heritage Trust, we walked along Lebuh Chulia, nicknamed "Lonely Planet Street" for the small hotels that cater to backpackers, and found the Kimguan Coffee Factory.

Ong Kok Weng, the owner, wasn't in, but his helpers were there mixing up a batch of beans to which they add sesame seeds, margarine, salt and sugar.

A few blocks away in Little India, we found Bala Murugan's drink shop, where we went mornings for 25-cent cups of the Tarik, or "pulled tea" sweetened with condensed milk, and nasi lemak, triangle-shaped packets of banana leaves stuffed with rice, coconut and fish.

Penang has many good restaurants, and when we wanted to escape the heat and crowds, we sometimes combined a meal in air-conditioned comfort with a street stop for tea or dessert after.

Our first night in town, as yet uninitiated to hawker-style eating, we wandered through the crowded Gurney Drive food stalls on the seafront, but ended up eating at a big, noisy indoor/outdoor Chinese restaurant called the Bali Hai Seafood Market.

Beer arrived in an ice bucket like expensive Champagne, and we settled in our seats at a picnic table decorated like a beach hut with a thatched awning and twinkling lights.

Sensing that we were a little unsure about the menu, our waiter invited us to "tour the aquarium."

We watched as a boy in shorts climbed atop the fish tanks, and scooped out crab and geoduck clams with a net.

We selected a small fish for two. The waiter wrote down our order in Chinese. "How spicy?" he asked. "Not very." He recommended that we order it steamed with plums and ginger. It arrived on a platter topped with fresh, steamed vegetables. For around $25 for two with beer, it was more than we could eat and one of the best meals of the trip.

Searching for dessert later, we stopped at an Indian cafe a few doors down.

The Pakistani owner waved us in. He hoped we'd order dinner, of course, but all we wanted was the honey ice cream we saw advertised on his sign board.

What we got was a thin pancake filled with warm bananas and topped with ice cream drizzled with honey.

Heaven.

Contact the writer: [email protected]
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Old June 19th, 2008, 08:40 AM   #187
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New ferry service connects PD to Sumatra
Thursday June 19, 2008
By C.S. NATHAN
TheStar

A NEW ferry service from Port Dickson in Negri Sembilan to the Indonesian town of Bagan Siapi-Api was launched recently aimed at promoting the tourism and health industries.

Situated in the province of Rokan Hilir, Sumatra, Bagan Siapi-Api is a less than four-hour boat ride across the Malacca Straits.

Once a bustling fishing port, the township is home to a majority ethnic Chinese population who settled in the area in the late 1800s.

Ferry operator PD Marine Services Sdn Bhd chairman Yaacob Hussin said the new route would attract more visitors to the state.

“We also want to promote our medical industry as Port Dickson has been declared a wellness zone. They can also study here as there are several institutions of higher learning in Negri Sembilan.

“Some 30 visitors from Bagan Siapi-Api accompanied us back after our maiden trip there. They were quite happy with the reception they received after visiting some hospitals and colleges here.

“Those who can afford better quality medical treatment often make the trip down to Singapore. Why not come here instead?” he said.

Yaacob also said that the opening of the new route would allow locals to visit this little Indonesian town that has quaint traditions.

“The Chinese community there have at least four annual festivals, the largest being the Go Cap Lak or bakar tongkang festival where a specially constructed fishing vessel is set on fire.

“The symbolic ritual attracts visitors from as far as Taiwan, Hong Kong, Canada and Australia,” he said.

Residents heading to Jakarta, who used to travel long hours to Pekan Baru to catch a flight, have an option to travel via Port Dickson and vice-versa for international tourists headed to Bagan Siapi-Api.

Bagan Siapi-Api mayor H. Annas Maamum said the authorities there would also intensify efforts to upgrade the town’s facilities and infrastructure available to accommodate more tourists.

“We have also embarked on projects to preserve the history of the area,” he said.

The town, which won an award for being one of the cleanest in the country, has an estimated population of about 40,000.

Neat low-rises that line the streets are not only home to the townsfolk but also to swallows, highly-prized for their nests.

Currently, the ferry service to Bagan Siapi-Api runs thrice weekly costing RM125 for a one-way trip and RM230 for a return journey.
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Old June 21st, 2008, 08:19 PM   #188
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The Saudis are coming

If the Arabian News is to be believed, we are Asia's number one city!

Quote:
Asia’s number one city

by ArabianBusiness.com staff writer on Monday, 16 June 2008

Kuala Lumpur is a Gulf traveller summer favourite so agents should now persuade clients to visit the Malaysian city year-round.

Boasting luxury hotels with offerings tailored to their needs, awe-inspiring sights to rival those of the GCC's showiest cities, lush green parks to balance the dry desert sands and bargains to satisfy the most ardent shopaholic, it's no surprise that Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur sales manager Mukhriz Ma'arof calls the city the "number one destination for Middle East travellers".

"Initially they only came in summer - June, July and August - but now it's starting to be year-round," he says.

Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board director for UAE, Gulf and Iran, Tuan Razali Tuan Omar, also claims Malaysia is the destination most visited by Middle East travellers.

"It's a good Muslim country so Middle East travellers feel like they are at home. The numbers are increasing year on year, and in 2007 they increased by approximately 30% from the GCC region," he says.

Leisure travellers - mostly families - travel to KL during the summer months according to Omar, with 50% of the yearly total visiting in August.

Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur general manager Jonas A Schuermann has also noticed an increase in year-round sales, noting that he has seen more business coming from honeymooners travelling from the GCC, as well as corporate business from travellers working in the Islamic banking field.

Shangri-La's Ma'arof adds that incentive groups from Saudi Arabia are visiting "during the first few months of the year".

The reasons for the city's popularity are manifold, with Schuermann listing easy access through Malaysia's gateway Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and the fact that GCC citizens don't require a visa to travel to the country.

He adds: "value for money in Kuala Lumpur is fantastic as the money goes a very long way compared to other countries in Asia, and obviously the US and Europe.

We also do a lot for our Middle Eastern guests in terms of menus and we now have a total of three permanently employed Middle Eastern colleagues, so language is not an issue.

During summer Ma'arof boosts the number of Arabic-speaking staff to 10. Meanwhile, the entire menu at the Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur is Halal-certified and every year the hotel invites chefs from hotels in either Saudi Arabia or the UAE to KL to cook in the hotel's kitchen and work with its catering staff to produce Arabic-centric menus.

"This year we will also set up tents and shisas by the pool for the Middle East guests," adds Schuermann.

Ma'arof says the best way for agents to learn about KL and his property is to visit the city and "stay in touch" with what the Malaysian capital has to offer. We have three people within the hotel dedicated to the Middle East market, including myself.

He also stresses that because Ramadan falls earlier this year, agents should note that Muslim clients will be travelling to KL earlier than usual this summer.

"We think that they will start coming in mid-June, compared to early July last year, going home at the end of August rather than mid-September," explains Schuermann.

"This year, from a timing point of view, we think there will be a bit of a shift. If you also look at school holidays in the bigger markets, such as KSA, they start a little bit earlier and they have three-and-a-half months this year so we're really trying to capture that market based on school holidays.

Shopping and sights

The Petronas Twin Towers and the 421-metre Menara Kuala Lumpur or KL Tower - are "very romantic spots" according to Shangri-La's Ma'arof with both offering panoramic views of Kuala Lumpur and are perhaps its most famous sights.

"We have been promoting Kuala Lumpur for 10 years already and a lot of people from the Middle East have come to Kuala Lumpur - KL Tower is the landmark they know," says Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board's Omar.

While those looking for nature can find a host of attractions such as KL Lake Gardens, a Bird Park, Butterfly Park, Deer Park, an Orchid Garden and a Hibiscus Garden.

"The main appeal of Kuala Lumpur though is the shopping," says Omar. Famous shopping areas include Kuala Lumpur City Centre next to the Twin Towers for designer and high street goods, Chinatown (Petaling Street) for back street bargains and the art deco Central Market for souvenirs and handicrafts.

"The city is also a family destination and we have many facilities for families such as theme parks, so when a Middle Eastern family comes to Kuala Lumpur the mother can go shopping and the father can take his children to see the attractions," adds Omar.

New market trends

Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board is now trying to sell Kuala Lumpur as a gateway into Malaysia, somewhere where Middle East travellers can base themselves while exploring the rest of the country.

"While the number of Middle East travellers to Kuala Lumpur will surely increase, we want them to experience one or two nights outside of the city - on the east coast, for example," says Omar.

Mandarin Oriental's Schuermann says people do come to visit Kuala Lumpur and then go on to Langkarwi, Borneo or Penang afterwards, but shopping and food are aspects of the city's appeal that will keep Middle East travellers returning: "We are also aiming at the ex-pat market - guests who will come for long-weekends and during Ramadan when it gets a bit quieter here," he adds.

But the market with the biggest potential according to Schuermann is medical tourism, especially now the Prince Court Medical Centre has opened its doors: "The new hospital is no more than 10 minutes from our hotel and it's owned by Pertronis and operated by the University of Vienna in Austria.

It is specialising in medical tourism, cardio screenings and cosmetic surgery and it's really doing a fantastic job," he says. "You can go to medical facilities in Thailand or Singapore, but they're big, whereas this is smaller and very affordable.

It's been open now for eight months and the fact that it is run and operated by the University of Vienna really gives it a lot of credibility as well."

Click here to visit the original site.
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Old June 23rd, 2008, 04:13 PM   #189
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Fraser’s Hill grows as place for bird watching
Monday June 23, 2008
TheStar

KUANTAN: Efforts taken to promote bird watching in Fraser’s Hill by the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) and Fraser’s Hill Development Corporation (PKBF) have made the highland area a premier place for the activity.

According to PKBF general manager Hanafiah Abdul Talib, Fraser’s Hill had often been referred to as a first-class bird-watching destination in the region as it was home to more than 250 species of birds.

“Many migratory species, that fly here from places as far as Siberia and islands north of Japan, come to Fraser’s Hill in November and December each year.

“They come here to seek new feeding grounds and escape the freezing winter up north,” he said here recently.

He said these birds stayed around Fraser’s Hill for several months before migrating southwards to Australia and New Zealand.

It was also known that many rare and endangered species were often sighted in the highland and among them were the wreathed hornbills and rhinoceros hornbills, Hanafiah said.

On efforts to promote bird watching, Hanafiah said that MNS and PKBF held their 21st international bird race last weekend at Fraser’s Hill.

“It was the brainchild of the Selangor Bird Group of MNS and PKBF and the first competition was held in 1988 with five teams participating.

“Now, it has become an important annual get-together for bird watchers and nature lovers worldwide,” he added.

The event was featured in bird-watcher maps all over the world, he said.

On the event being called a bird race, Hanafiah said it was a race where teams of three competed in searching, identifying and recording different species of birds within a stipulated time.

Among the objectives were the promotion of Fraser’s Hill as a top bird-watching destination, encourage bird watching as an academic and healthy outdoor activity and creating awareness on the rich flora and fauna in the highland, he added.

“It is important to protect Fraser’s Hill as a bird sanctuary and as part of the country’s rich natural heritage,” he said.

Hanafiah expressed surprise that cash was not the main attraction of the participants and they seemed to prefer prizes in kind such as bird books, binoculars, digital cameras, bush gear and field tents.

For more information, call PKBF at 09-517 1623/1624, e-mail [email protected] or [email protected] or visit the website at www.pkbf.org.my or www.pkbf.pahangtourism.org.my
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Old June 25th, 2008, 07:27 AM   #190
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wow, never knew that the Prince Court Hospital is run by University of Vienna! the expension should be done fast as we can have UoV's branch of medical study in KL...
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Old June 25th, 2008, 08:45 AM   #191
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Malaysia tumpuan Arab Saudi

Jeddah, 24 Jun - Kira-kira 4.0 juta rakyat Arab Saudi dijangka bercuti ke pelbagai destinasi di luar negara terutama Malaysia pada musim panas ini, demikian menurut akhbar terkemuka Arab Asharqalawsat hari ini.

Menurut akhbar itu, pelancong Arab Saudi dianggarkan berbelanja 22 bilion Riyal Saudi (RM19.15 bilion) untuk membeli tiket bagi tujuan itu.

Laporan itu yang memetik Pengerusi Al Tayyar Group Nasser Al Tayyar, menyatakan bahawa kebanyakan mereka telah membuat tempahan untuk bercuti di Malaysia sebagai destinasi utama diikuti Mesir, Itali dan Perancis.

"Tempahan agak ketara untuk negara Turki dan Amerika Syarikat yang dianggap destinasi murah berbanding Malaysia, tetapi disebabkan proses mendapatkan visa yang agak sukar, kebanyakan mereka memilih Malaysia," katanya.
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Old June 26th, 2008, 05:26 AM   #192
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Resorts World wins two awards


KUALA LUMPUR: Resorts World Bhd bagged two awards at the 15th World Travel Awards gala ceremony held in Shanghai last Thursday.

Its flagship Genting Highlands Resorts won the Asia's Leading Casino Resort award for the fourth year in a row. It was also named the Asia's Leading Family Resort.


Lee Choong Yan (centre) receiving one of the awards from World Travel Awards president Graham Cooke (left) and Miss World 2007 Zhang Zi Lin

“We are grateful and proud to be recognised by our industry peers and professionals from over 160 countries,'' its president Lee Choong Yan said in a statement yesterday.

Dubbed by the Wall Street Journal as the Oscars of the travel industry, the World Travel Awards is regarded as one of the accolades a travel organisation can achieve.

The statement said Genting Highlands Resort, with its myriad attractions ranging from casino to theme parks, plus international shows and concerts, was a positive contributor to the tourism industry of Malaysia.
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Old June 26th, 2008, 10:11 AM   #193
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Total Of 24.6 Mln Tourists Expected By 2010


KUALA LUMPUR, June 26 (Bernama) -- A total of 24.6 million tourists are targeted to arrival by 2010 with receipts of RM59.4 billion compared with 21 million with receipts of RM46.1 billion last year.

Earnings from education tourism are expected to touch RM2 billion by 2010.

The government also aims to increase health tourism earnings to RM1 billion, said the Economic Planning Unit of the Prime Ministers Department said in its mid-term review of the Ninth Malaysia Plan (2006-2010) today.

Per capita expenditure of tourist is targeted at RM2,417 as compared with RM2,198 in 2007, it added.

-- BERNAMA
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Old June 27th, 2008, 04:27 PM   #194
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Big tourism plans for Penang
Friday June 27, 2008
By ANDREA FILMER
TheStar

BEING the point man for Penang’s tourism industry is a daunting job, but state Tourism, Culture, Arts and Heritage Committee chairman Danny Law Heng Kiang has big plans for the future.

Having just passed his 100 days in office, Law is aware that the people are looking for progress and fast implementation of projects.

“Since March 8, I’ve received about 50 proposals from private companies who are interested in embarking on tourism projects in the state.

“Since all of them are private initiatives, they don’t need the funds and in some cases, even the land, from the state government to see their projects through,” Law said.

He said Penang was now studying projects, which include an eco-tourism resort in Teluk Bahang and a 16ha Penang Darling Harbour in Batu Maung.

“There are also proposals for a new marina bay for international cruises to dock, and international standard eco-tourism Asian-style team park with jungle tracking, a crocodile farm and a Cheng Ho Gallery, among many others,” Law said in an interview at his office in Komtar, George Town.

He added that the public would start to see things materialising in the next six months starting with a cable car project and the revamping of Pesta Expo in December.

“We have two options for the cable car project – an RM80mil proposal from Teluk Bahang to Penang Hill and a RM60mil project from Youth Park to Penang Hill.

“We hope to approve and see work start in the next six months,” Law said, adding that Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) reports, extensive research as well as land and buildings consultations had to be done before any project was approved.
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Old June 28th, 2008, 05:33 AM   #195
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KL targets 14 million tourists
By FAZLEENA AZIZ


IN AN effort to brand Kuala Lumpur city centre as the destination for holidays, meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions as well as sporting activities, KL mayor Datuk Ab Hakim Borhan has unveiled the Visit KL logo.

Hakim said the new logo combined a few main iconic elements of KL.

”The logo has the Petronas Twin Towers, KL Tower and Sultan Abdul Samad building with a river that takes us back to the making of the city.

“As for the flowers, they represent the rich diversity of KL folks while the sun adds the shine.

“These icons have been merged in a contemporary manner to give a cheerful impression, especially when we are welcoming tourists.

“This branding of KL as a premier destination in the region is a combined effort between the government, the private sector and city folks.

“It is important for us to love and be proud of our city before convincing the tourists,” said Hakim at the launch on Wednesday.

The Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) will use the logo officially for the next 10 years to promote tourism-related activities and as an endorsement for private sector events.

Hakim also launched the Picture KL photography contest in conjunction with the new logo.

“This competition is held to promote KL through the camera lens. It requires the people to capture the best essence and sights of the city.

“We want to get people to get out and about, and record the happenings and the multiple facets of the city they may not know,” he said.

Hakim added that the photo contest was chosen for its healthy way of creative expression, especially among youth.

The second KL Samrah Festival 2008 was also announced by Hakim.

“Last year, the festival managed to pull in 40,000 visitors, especially from the Middle East, and we expect more this year.

“A total of 245,302 tourists from the Middle East came to Malaysia last year and about 171,711 of them visited KL.

“The total number of tourists to Malaysia last year was 20.8 million, and KL had about 13.5 million who spent about RM33bil.

“For this year, the number of tourists to Malaysia is targeted at 22.5 million. We are expecting 14 million to visit KL, who will spend an estimated RM35bil,” said Hakim.

The festival will be held from July 4 to 27 and will feature performances by artistes from Indonesia and Singapore, including Kumpulan Orkes Gambus Al-Ikhwan, Nizar Ali Alhaddad, Fahmi Makawi, Ferbri Wilyanti, Rizki Amelia, Iqwal Bamajbur and Mustafa Alhadar.

The free concerts will be held at Bintang Walk from 8pm to midnight on July 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26 and 27.

The festival is organised by the KL Tourism Action Council and the DBKL with sponsorship from Celcom (M) Bhd.

The photo competition has three categories – Open, Youth and Junior – with two themes, “KL Sky” and “KL Life/KL Humour”. It will run for 45 days, from June 25 to Aug 15.

The top three winners in the Open category will take home RM5,000, RM3,000 and RM1,500.

In the Youth category, the best three stand a chance to win RM3,000, RM1,500 and RM800.

Junior category winners will take home RM1,500, RM800 and RM500.

For the KL Sky theme, the first prize is RM10,000 followed by RM5,000 and RM3,000 for the second and third placed entries.

Canon cameras will also be given away with the prizes.

Sponsors for the competition are Canon, Soho KL and KL Tower.

The competition is open to all Malaysians, foreign residents and tourists. The prize presentation will be held on Aug 27 in conjunction with the Merdeka Day celebration.

For details on the competition, log on to www.picturekl.com.
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Old June 29th, 2008, 02:11 PM   #196
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Negeri Sembilan Wants Tourists To Stay Than Pass Through
June 28, 2008 10:59 AM

SEREMBAN, June 28 (Bernama) -- The Negeri Sembilan government wants tourism industry players in the state to develop tourism packages to entice tourists to stay in the state rather than pass through to the north or south of the country.

State Tourism, Culture, Arts, Heritage and Malay Customs Committee chairman Mohammad Razi Kail said the tourism industry players should be creative in coming up with tourism packages to attract the tourists to stay in the state.

The state government has targeted for 30 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the state to come from the tourism sector by 2015, he said at a function with the media and tourism industry players here last night.

Mohammad Razi quoted Tourism Malaysia statistics to show that 1.6 million tourists stayed in Negeri Sembilan last year, registering an occupancy rate of 51.2 per cent, much lower than that recorded by the other states and the national rate of 68 per cent.

-- BERNAMA
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Old June 29th, 2008, 02:12 PM   #197
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Melaka River Beautification Programme Enters Final Phase
June 27, 2008 23:27 PM

MELAKA, June 27 (Bernama) -- The Melaka river beautification programme is now entering its fourth and final phase with a cost of RM90 million to build and upgrade seven bridges on the river, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said.

He said among the bridges which would be reconstructed were Hang Tuah, Kampung Morten and Tan Kim Seng and scheduled for completion in 2010.

"This is to ease the movement of tour boats from the Melaka river mouth to Melaka Sentral, the town's public transportation hub," he told reporters after inspecting the Hang Jebat bridge reconstruction project at Taman Rempah here.

The river beautification programme is modelled after the San Antonio River in the United States.

The programme is divided into four phases namely the construction of wave breaker, a promenade, sewage system as well as landscaping, boat mooring facilities and the installation of lightings.

-- BERNAMA
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Old June 29th, 2008, 02:12 PM   #198
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Yang Dipertuan Agong Officiates Noor Arfa Craft Complex
June 27, 2008 22:39 PM

KUALA TERENGGANU, June 27 (Bernama) -- The Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, today launched the Noor Arfa Craft Complex in Chendering, as Terengganu's new tourist attraction.

The complex, which was opened to the public on Jan 1, was built incorporating the elements of Terengganu's traditional house and had delicate flower sculptures at each of it roof-ends.

Accompanied by the Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Nur Zahirah, Tuanku Mizan also visited the participants of the mentor-mentee training programme organised by the Coordinating Committee of Sultan Mizan Royal Foundation (SMRF) for Craft Heritage, at the complex.

The programme, among others, offers four training modules, namely the art of wood carving, traditional weapon making, brassware decorating and batik printing.

Upon completing the 19-month programme, the trainees will receive a certificate from Universiti Darul Iman.

-- BERNAMA
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Old July 1st, 2008, 04:47 PM   #199
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Tourism Malaysia to continue with hardsell
Tuesday July 1, 2008
By SIMON KHOO
TheStar

FRASER’S HILL: Tourism Malaysia will continue with aggressive promotional activities in countries which provide high tourist arrivals, its deputy director- general (planning) Amiruddin Abu said.

Amiruddin said, despite the cost-cutting measures initiated by the Government, its planned roadshows overseas would not be called off.

“Instead, we will strategise and prioritise our activities to hit the target of 2.5 million foreign visitors this year.

“I was told, so far, there is a 2% increase in foreign tourists arrival compared to the first five months of last year.

“Our target markets are China, Hong Kong, Europe, Australia, Britain, Russia, the Middle East and, of course, Asean countries,” he told Star Metro when met here recently.

Amiruddin said that tourism was a sectors, which had to march on despite an economic recession.

He said they would have to do some re-branding of certain ecotourism products and activities to lure visitors.

“Political stability is still among the main reason for a high influx of foreign visitors.

“Besides, the warm reception of locals, industry players such as hoteliers, tour agents and guides played an important role,” he said.

Citing the Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race as an example, he said the event attracted participation from all over the world.

“This race has been successful in enhancing awareness and appreciation of Fraser's Hill as an attractive eco-tourism destination.

“Last year, 50,128 visitors were recorded at Fraser’s Hill,” he said.

Amiruddin said they were confident the targeted number of tourist arrival would be met by the end of the year.
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Old July 6th, 2008, 12:35 PM   #200
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Sarawak Records More Domestic Tourist Arrivals
July 06, 2008 10:51 AM

SIBU, July 6 (Bernama) -- Sarawak recorded an encouraging 29 per cent increase in domestic tourist arrivals for the first four months of this year.

Sarawak Minister of Urban Development and Tourism Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh said the state received about 430,000 visitors compared to about 400,000 over the same period last year.

However, foreign tourist arrivals had only seen a slight increase, he said when speaking at the grand finale of the week-long Borneo Cultural Festival (BCF), the town's annual and signature tourism event, at the town square here last night.

Wong represented Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud at the event where cultural troupes from Kalimantan in Borneo and Botswana in South Africa were among the performers.

He said the government would intensify its efforts to lure more foreign tourists to the state, noted for its culture, adventure and nature attractions.

On the BCF, he suggested that a special committee be formed to market and promote it overseas and that seminars and workshops on handicraft, music and art be organised alongside to enhance its image.

Wong said he was confident BCF could became a national and, eventually, an international event with constant enhancement over the years.

"The Rainforest World Music festival, at its inception 11 years ago, was a small event attracting only about 1,000 people initially.

"As we, slowly but surely, improved on it, it has became very popular so much so that we have to cap the number of visitors at 24,000 for its entire three-night shows," he said.

Federal Deputy Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Robert Lau Hoi Chew and BCF joint organising chairman Datuk Tiong Thai King were among those present at last night's event.

-- BERNAMA
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