Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Flying car spreads its wings in Slovakia

BRATISLAVA: Mankind’s primordial dream of flight is taking off with a new twist as a Slovak prototype of a flying car spreads its wings.

Inspired by the dreamy books about flying by French authors Jules Verne and Antoine de Saint Exupery, Slovak designer and engineer Stefan Klein has been honing his flying machine since the early 1990s.     
“I got the idea to start working on a vehicle of the future at university, but honestly, who hasn’t dreamt of flying while being stuck in the traffic?”  Klein told AFP.
“Flying’s in my blood — my grandfather and my father flew ultra-light  aircrafts and I got my pilot’s license before I was old enough to drive a car,”  said Klein, who has designed cars for BMW, Volkswagen and Audi and now teaches  at the Bratislava-based Academy of Fine Arts and Design.
His elegant blue-and-white vehicle for two is six metres (20 feet) long so it fits neatly in a parking space or a garage and tanks up at any filling station. But once it reaches an airport it can unfold its wings within seconds becoming a plane.
Dubbed “the world’s prettiest and best-designed airborne automobile so far” by US aviation magazine Flying and Inhabitat.com design, an innovation website, the Aeromobil also has the distinction of originating in Slovakia, the world’s largest per-capita car producer.
“So far there have been about twenty attempts to manufacture a flying car around the globe,” the president of the Slovak Ultra Light Aviation Federation,  Milan Ciba, told AFP.
“Among them, Aeromobil appears very viable,” he said.
Other models include the US-based Terrafugia’s “Transition” flying car  expected to be launched on the market within a year, while the helicopter-type  Dutch PAL-V gyrocopter could go on sale in this year.
Klein’s dream took to the skies in September when he piloted the Aeromobil during its first wobbly test flight.
Once airborne, it can reach a top speed of 200km/h (124 mph) and travel as  far as 700 km (430 miles), consuming 15 litres (4 gallons) of petrol per hour.
“A combination of a car and a plane will always lose against the competition when we start comparing energy consumption,” Jan Lesinsky from the Slovak University of Technology told AFP.
But would-be users could glide by long lines and security checks at airports, saving time on medium-distance journeys.
Klein and his team are currently working on the next generation of Aeromobil that will go into production in a few months and hopefully receive Slovak Ultra Light Aircraft Certification (SFUL).
“Would-be users would have to follow the legislation already in place for ultra light aircraft,” SFUL president Federation Milan Ciba told AFP.
“Pilot/drivers will need to have both a driver’s and pilot’s licence with at least 25 flying hours,” he added.
An enthusiastic pilot himself, Klein remains down to earth when looking to the future.
“I don’t expect Aeromobil to go into mass production, it will always be an alternative means of transport,” Klein said.
“It can, however, be very interesting for countries with vast areas lacking infrastructure like Russia, China or Australia,” he added.
Flying cars will most likely take off among pilots licensed for ultra-light aircraft, says Ciba.
“It would make their lives so much easier — they would be able to park  their car/aircraft at home, drive to the airport, take off, land and drive to  their destination without switching vehicles,” he muses.--AFP
This photo taken on December 17, 2013 shows Slovak engineer Stefan Klein posing with his car models in Bratislava, Slovakia. AFP PHOTO

Source: NST, 21 Jan 2014

'Boost tourism together'

ASEAN COOPERATION: Ensure region remains world's top tourist destination, says Najib

 KUCHING: ASEAN countries need to strategise their way forward and implement measures to ensure that Southeast Asia remains the world's most-preferred tourist destination, says   Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib  Razak.
He said member states could reap benefits through strategic thrusts put in place and that there was much to gain from the tourism industry, adding that Asean needed to position itself ahead of its anticipated growth.
"Tourism is widely acknowledged as a star industry and one of the fastest-growing economic sectors in the world. Its stellar performance globally is evident from the landmark milestones achieved, notably, the surpassing of the one-billion mark in worldwide international tourist arrivals and tourist spending exceeding US$1 trillion (RM3.3 trillion) for the first time in 2012. The industry generated 235 million jobs worldwide in 2012."
He said this in his opening speech at the 33rd Asean Tourism Forum here yesterday.
Present were Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, tourism ministers from Asean countries and 2,000 delegates. The forum is held from Jan 16 until Friday.
Najib said inbound tourists to Southeast Asian countries were projected to register at 5.1 per cent annually, higher than the global average annual growth rate of 3.3 per cent from 2010 to 2030. In the same region, tourist arrivals are projected to increase from 69.9 million in 2010 to 187 million in 2030, raising the global market share from 7.4 per cent to 10.3 per cent in the same period.
"It is imperative to strategise our way forward and implement measures to ensure that Southeast Asia remains the world's most-preferred tourist destination," said Najib, noting that the theme "Asean -- Advancing Tourism Together" was apt as it reinforced Asean's commitment to work together to achieve the goals of the Asean Tourism Strategic Plan (2011-2015).
"Advancing tourism together supports the realisation of the Asean mission of 'One Vision, One Identity, One Community' by 2015. Towards this end, measures that have been undertaken include the signing of the Asean Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Tourism Professionals, which comes into effect next year."
The Asean Promotional Chapter for Tourism and the tagline "Southeast Asia, Feel the Warmth" also strengthen joint efforts to raise the region's profile as a tourist destination.
Earlier, in a joint statement read by Nazri, the Asean tourism ministers commended the progress made in facilitating the free flow of services and skilled labour of tourism professionals within the region through the implementation of the mutual recognition arrangement.
On the aftermath of the earthquake and super typhoon in the Philippines, the ministers agreed to encourage the immediate implementation of frameworks, approaches and parameters on climate change and tourism.

Source : NST, 21 Jan 2014

Najib: ASEAN tourism outlook 'even brighter' than global average

KUCHING: While the outlook for tourism at the global level is bright, the growth potential of tourism in ASEAN countries is even brighter, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Monday.

“Inbound tourists to Southeast Asia region is projected to register an increase of 5.1% per annum, which is higher than the global average annual growth rate of 3.3% for the period of 2010 to 2030,” Najib said while officially launching the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2014 (ATF).

Najib cited a study by United Nation World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), which projected that collectively, tourist arrivals to Southeast Asia will increase from 69.9 million in 2010 to 187 million in 2030.

“This reflects the dynamism and attractiveness of ASEAN countries as a tourist region,” said Najib.

He said international tourist arrivals, on the other hand, are expected to increase from 940 million in 2010 to 1.8 billion in 2030. This accounts for an expansion in market size of 900 million international tourists in 2030.

“Tourism is widely acknowledge as a star industry and one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world,” he said, highlighting the surpassing of the 1 billion mark in the world-wide international tourist arrivals and overall tourist receipts exceeding US$1 trillion for the first time in 2002.

Najib said that ASEAN countries are on track to deliver the outcomes of the key strategic trusts, developing experiential and innovative regional tourism products, implementing creating marketing and investment strategies, improving the quality of human resources, service and facilities as well as enhancing travel facilitation and ASEAN connectivity.

He added advancing tourism together makes it necessary to engage travel agents from respective countries to develop multi-country tour packages such as the UNESCO 1-2-3 heritage tour which covers three UNESCO world heritage sites, Melaka, Penang in Malaysia and Borodubur in Indonesia.

Aside from that, Najib also said tourism is also vital for the socio-cultural benefits as it promotes people to people connectivity- one of the key strategies towards achieving the ASEAN Community by 2015.

“Travelling brings people into contact with each other, while offering enjoyable and learning experiences for tourists. This fosters greater understanding and builds friendship between local communities and people from diverse backgrounds, lifestyles, culture and heritage. It also contributes towards peace, stability and solidarity, which are the basic building blocks for the tourism industry to flourish.

The ATF, in its 33rd year, involves the tourism industry sectors of the 10 member nations of ASEAN.

Tourism ministers and officials annually discuss, review and strategise ways to continuously promote ASEAN as the world’s top travel destination.

Exhibitors and buyers and trade visitors also meet to for the Travel Exchange (TRAVEX) for the selling and buying of tourism products.  

Source : Astro Awani, 21 Jan 2014

Asean needs to strategise to maintain position as world's top tourist destination: PM

KUCHING: Asean countries need to strategise their way forward and implement measures to ensure that Southeast Asia would remain the world's most preferred tourist destination, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said here tonight.

He said tourist arrivals to Southeast Asia was projected to increase from 69.9 million in 2010 to 187 million in 2030.
"The increase in tourist arrivals will raise the global market share from 7.4 per cent in 2010 to 10.3 per cent in 2030. This reflects the dynamism of the attractiveness of Asean countries as a tourist region," he said in his speech to declare open the 33rd Asean Tourism Forum.
He said the theme, "Asean - Advancing Tourism Together", chosen for the forum was appropriate and timely as it reinforced the member states' commitment to work hand in hand to achieve the vision and goals of the Asean Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP) 2011-2015.
"We are on track to deliver the outcomes of the key strategic thrusts, namely developing experiential and innovative regional tourism products, implementing creative marketing and investment strategies, improving the quality of human resources, services and facilities, and enhancing travel facilitation and Asean connectivity," he said.
 Najib said Malaysia had collaborated with the relevant agencies in implementing the Asean Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) and conducted programmes nationwide to heighten public awareness on Asean's tourism objectives.
As a result, he said, Asean member states would reap the economic efficiencies from this free movement of skilled labour and professionals in tourism within the region.
"Additionally, the establishment of the Asean Promotional Chapter for Tourism (APCT) and creation of the Asean tagline, 'Southeast Asia, Feel the Warmth' have strengthened the joint tourism promotion activities among Asean member states," he said.
Najib said the APCT and the tagline had also raised the profile and value proposition of Southeast Asia as a tourist destination.
"To ensure long-term growth and sustainability of the tourism industry, the principles of responsible tourism need to be adhered to by all stakeholders, industry players and tourists," he added.
At the event, the pime minister also launched a coffee table book titled, "The Magical Gardens of Asean". Bernama

Source : NST, 21 Jan 2014

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Hollande's Love Affair : Paris's Latest Tourist Attraction

Mula nya baca tajuk kot-kot ada new tourist attraction in Paris.. rupanya cerita pasal Hollande's love affair. Semua dah biasa dengar tentang the Lourve, Eiffel Tower and Sacre Coeur.. yang terbaru tempat kediaman Presiden Perancis di Rue de Cirque..
First, consider that some human activities, although universal, tend to be linked more closely with specific cultures.
François Hollande
François Hollande, beleaguered by the economy and love Photo: Wikimedia
Take the art of love and the French, for example. So what do you think is the tourist attraction of the moment in Paris? Not the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower or Sacre Coeur.
It’s an apartment on the Rue de Cirque, not far from the Élysée Palace, home of the country’s president. That address houses the “love nest” where President François Hollande reportedly conducted “secret” meetings with the film star Julie Gayet.
The alleged scene of a presidential love affair, the story originally broken by the gossip magazine Closer has been making headlines around the globe and distracting Hollande’s already beleaguered government.
Despite the economic troubles plaguing France, which have tanked his ratings, Hollande has always found time for amour. The start of his mandate was filled with speculation around the love triangle he was living with Ségolène Royal – his former companion of several decades, mother of his four children and former presidential candidate – and the younger Valérie Trierweiler, a journalist working for Paris Match magazine and for whom he left Royal, and who until now has acted as the de facto but unofficial first lady of France.
At the moment – and to the chagrin of many French who consider the love nest episode “ridicule,” according to the daily Libération, and are asking for “a separation of bed and state” – love is in the news even more than the economic program that the president unveiled Tuesday before the world’s media.
And the presidential soap opera gets more involved, according to the U.K.’s Daily Mail, following a claim posted on “the Twitter account of the lereel.fr website, and said to have come from a source close to Hollande, that Gayet, the 41-year-old actress…is reported to be four months pregnant.”
During the press conference Tuesday, facing the media for the first time since the scandal broke, Hollande “refused to answer whether…Trierweiler is still France’s First Lady, but said he would clarify her status before his trip to Washington next month. He acknowledged he was going through a difficult period in his private life,” the Mail reported.
As a consequence, since last Friday the building at 20 Rue de Cirque has become “the latest fashionable place to have…pictures taken in Paris” by locals and tourists alike, according to the Mail. So much so that the owner of the apartment has threatened to call the police due to the public disturbance caused by the too-numerous visitors at all hours every day. None of the neighbors is happy with the building’s unexpected popularity, nor with it being called “the circus at the Rue de Circus.”
As if all this weren’t enough for Hollande, the apartment happens to be indirectly related to the Corsican mafia, which the president’s security team didn’t seem to realize – as they also failed to notice the paparazzi spying and taking pictures of the apartment from a nearby rented flat.
According to Closer, the president was driven there on a scooter by his most trusted bodyguard, who turned up the following morning with croissants.
The apartment reportedly belongs to a retired tradesman and Biarritz resident, Pierre Discazeaux, said to be furious over the situation. Rumors of mafia links were triggered by the appearance of the name Michel Ferracci on the flat’s mailbox. Last November, Ferracci was given an 18-month suspended sentence in connection with a major inquiry into money laundering by the Corsican mafia.

The apartment was loaned to Gayet by her actress friend Emmanuelle Hauck, the ex-wife of Ferracci who was actually renting it. She had lived with another Corsican with links to the mafia, François Masini, who was killed in Corsica last May.

Source : www.forbes.com, Jan 15, 2014

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Pangkor islanders are ready to welcome tourists for VMY 2014

Three foreign tourists walking into Pangkor island’s main jetty.
Three foreign tourists walking into Pangkor island’s main jetty.

WHILE the authorities are going all out to attract tourists to Pangkor island for Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2014, locals are ready to extend visitors a warm welcome.
Housewife Rugayah Mat-Ali, 48, said she looked forward to seeing more tourists on the island.
“Their presence would make the usually quiet fishing village more lively.
“Even though I am not involved in the tourism industry, I will do all I can to make tourists feel at home during their stay here,” she told The Star when met at the island’s jetty recently.
Rugayah said the VMY 2014 campaign was a good start for the locals and authorities to preserve the natural environment in Pangkor.
“I noticed that more cleaners have been employed to regularly maintain the cleanliness of popular beaches like Teluk Nipah,” she said.
Tourists shopping for dried fish and squid in a shop on Pangkor island.
Tourists shopping for dried fish and squid in a shop on Pangkor island.
Watersports service provider Mohd Johari Mohd Ali, 46, said Pangkor folk were a friendly community and would do their best to assist tourists in need.
“Though we might not speak their languages, we could still explain to them through gestures and simple English words,” he said.
“We hope tourists would be impressed with Pangkor, so that they could return to tell their friends and family the beauty of the island,” he said.
Housewife Misah Yahaya, 35, said tourists would not need to worry about travelling around the island, as transport services were abundant.
“Affordable van services are available for tourists to get from one place to another,” she said.
Meanwhile, foreign tourists The Star interviewed expressed that they were in love with not just the island but the people as well.
Visit Malaysia Year 2014 posters introducing tourist destinations in other states are put up at Pangkor island's main jetty.
Where to go: Visit Malaysia Year 2014 posters introducing tourist destinations in other states have been put up at Pangkor island’s main jetty.
One of them was 22-year-old Abdul Azeez, who revisited Pangkor after his first trip to the island about a year ago.
Abdul, who hails from Baghdad, Iraq, said he was astonished by the beauty of the island and decided to bring his brother and a cousin over.
“We made Pangkor one of the stops in our trip in Malaysia before heading to Kuala Lumpur.
“Our four-day stay here was just as enjoyable as my last travelling experience here,” he said, adding that they spent hours swimming in the seas and took part in fishing activities.
The staff at the hotel where they stayed were hospitable, he said, adding that the locals they met were also helpful.
Concurring with Abdul, British tourist Margaret Smith, 35, said the locals were friendly and were always ready to provide them with useful advice.
“For instance, they would advise us which shops to go to for the best local snacks and fresh grilled fish in Pangkor,” she said.
Smith said she would recommend her friends and family to visit in the future.
Outgoing Tourism Malaysia Perak director Ahmad Kamarudin Yusoff said they would step up efforts to draw more foreign tourists to Pangkor.
“Television commercials would be screened and brochures distributed more aggressively through our 40 promotional offices in various European and Asean countries.
“We will also work closely with public relations agencies worldwide to promote events such as the Pesta Laut Pangkor Lumut,” he said.
Ahmad Kamarudin said they would organise more familiarisation trips for foreign journalists so that they could promote Pangkor through their respective medium.
Ibrahim Seddiqi Talib, who will be replacing Ahmad Kamarudin as the new state Tourism Malaysia director, said they were targeting over 400,000 domestic and international tourists in Pangkor for this year.
“We hope to tap into the market of beach lovers.
“Beaches and islands are the top pick of about 40% of foreign tourists, and we believe Pangkor has the potential to attract them,” he said.
The actual figure for last year, Ibrahim Seddiqi said, had yet to be released but was estimated at nearly 400,000.

Source : The Star Online, 11 Jan 2014

Railway tourism packages add colour to VMY2014

KUALA LUMPUR: Three new railway tourism packages are among the attractions of Visit Malaysia Year 2014.

Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said today these packages offered tourists a leisurely rail trip to various parts of peninsular Malaysia on the trains of Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) Berhad. 
They were the 'Day-Trip by Rail', 'North and East-bound Homestay by Rail' and 'Resplendence Resort by Rail', packages, besides the 'Experience Malaysia Homestay Packages by Rail' launched in 2010. 
"Promoting railway tourism is a way of enriching the experience for both domestic and international tourists to discover Malaysia comprehensively via train. 
"Realising that this is a fairly new sector, introduced in 2010, and has great potential to be promoted further, the ministry has engaged in a smart partnership with the Railway Tourism Association Malaysia (RTAM) to further develop this sector," he said when launching the programme here. 
Besides promoting railway tourism, RTAM would also participate in the effort to promote heritage and culture, especially homestays, as well as sites and structures which have been gazetted by the National Heritage Department, he said.  -- BERNAMA 

Source : Railway tourism packages add colour to VMY2014 - Latest - New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/latest/railway-tourism-packages-add-colour-to-vmy2014-1.459406#ixzz2q3nsNPUU

10 Jan 2014.

AirAsia clarifies use of wheelchairs at airports

From source : www.theborneopost.com , 9 Jan 2014

Dear Editor,

WE refer to the letter written by A Concerned Citizen in the Letters to the Editor section, published by The Borneo Post on Sunday, Jan 5 2014, with the headline ‘Exorbitant fees for usage of wheelchairs at airports’.

AirAsia would like to clarify that usage of wheelchair on all AirAsia flights is complimentary for all disabled guests (OKU). Disabled guests only need to key in their OKU / disability card number during the online flight booking process and present the actual card upon check-in at the airport. They will be fully assisted from the wheelchair counter to the aircraft, and the ambulift will be used to board the disabled guest.

We also work closely with the Malaysian Council for Rehabilitation, Persatuan Mobiliti Selangor & Kuala Lumpur, Department of Social Welfare of the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development; as well as YMCA and Damai Disabled Person Association Malaysia to provide training to our staff to continuously improve our service level to disabled guests.

The wheelchair service is also available for pre-booking at AirAsia’s website for non-disabled guests who might require it. This service is at a minimal RM30 one way when pre-booked online.
To pre-book the wheelchair service, guests are required to select ‘YES’ at the option menu at the bottom of the flight selection page on our website, which will then be listed under ‘Add-ons’ in the ‘Traveller details’ page. It is available up to 4 hours prior to departure via our booking channels.

Non-disabled guests who require the usage of wheelchairs without pre-booking online will be charged RM60 for a single usage. This fee includes the cost of additional manpower which is required to manage the service.

AirAsia Berhad

AirAsia wins Asia’s Best Managed Company two years in a row

Aireen (right) receiving the ‘Best Managed company in Asia for the Airlines & Aviation sector’ certificate from Euromoney Magazine Asia Regional head; Marcus H Langston.
KUCHING: International magazine Euromoney has once again named AirAsia Bhd (AirAsia) as the winner of the ‘Best Managed Company in Asia for the Airlines and Aviation Sector’, for Euromoney’s ‘Best Managed and Governed Companies – Asia Poll 2014’.

AirAsia was the winner of the same accolade in 2013, a tribute to the company’s focus on integration and expansion and excellent corporate foresight of the aviation industry.

The poll is based on replies received from a total of 93 of the leading equity analysts at the largest investment banks and research houses in the Asia Pacific region nominating a total of 214 different companies.

Analysts were asked to name which companies were the most impressive across a number of factors including; management accessibility, accounting transparency and corporate governance procedures amongst others.
Analysts praised AirAsia for its leading role in promoting transparent communication to investors, citing that “the company has a clear strategy and good visibility”.

Analysts also noted that “AirAsia senior management continues to demonstrate prudent gearing, transparency, good governance and clear articulation of strategy.”

Aireen Omar, chief executive officer of AirAsia said, “This is an excellent start for us in 2014, being the recipient of one of the highest accolades in the industry from Euromoney.

“This achievement reflects our commitment to ensure utmost transparency and good governance in our business, in order to preserve the confidence of our stakeholders and investors.

“Total confidence and unshaken credibility is vital in our quest to expand the business and extend our reach across the region and beyond.”

This is the 15th annual ranking of the Best Managed and Governed Companies in Asia that Euromoney has published and is seen as the benchmark survey of the opinions of equity analysts in the region.

Clive Horwood, editor of Euromoney Magazine, said, “The continuing prominence of Asia in global markets has created new growth opportunities for Asian companies.

“Through our annual survey, leading analysts covering Asia across all sectors have rewarded well governed institutions for sound financials and transparent relations with an increasingly wider investor pool.”

Source & Photo : www.theborneopost.com, 11 Jan 2014 

Thursday, 9 January 2014

AirAsia to cut costs by 7 per cent: Tony Fernandes, CEO

CHENNAI: Malaysia-based low cost air carrier AirAsia today indicated cutting
costs in 2014 up to seven per cent, a top official said today.

"2014 is about cutting cost. We think we will cut costs by seven per cent," Air Asia Bhd Group CEO Tony Fernandes wrote on micro-blogging site 'Twitter'.

"Ancillary income will rise and margins will rise," he said.
Fernandes, who is in Frankfurt for a roadshow, said, the load factor for the airline was 91 per cent in December.

"(Air) fares can go lower than they are now. Load factor for December was a whopping 91 per cent", he said.

He said the strategy for 2014 was by "lower costs. higher ancillary through services and the Emirates project".

"I love competition. Will provide some huge competition to full service airlines. Watch us in 2014. Cutting loads of cost," he said.
Source : http://businesstoday.intoday.in

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Chinese netizens plan to travel in 2014: survey

Chinese netizens intend to travel in 2014, with 51 percent of 3,000 people surveyed planning to take three trips or more this year, according to an online survey by Ctrip.com, a Chinese online tourist service company.

Some 95 percent of respondents said they would either increase or keep their budget the same for trips this year. A third of them plan to spend at least 10,000 yuan (1,639 US dollars) on a trip, according to the survey.

The majority of respondents said they intend to travel during the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday, which begins on Jan. 31, and the National Day holiday, which begins on Oct. 1.

Ctrip.com conducted the survey in December, and received feedback from over 30 Chinese cities.

According to the survey, Sanya in Hainan Island, Lijiang in Yunnan Province and Jiuzhaigou in Sichuan Province top domestic travel destinations.

Thailand, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan are favorite overseas destinations for 2014.

The survey also found that more tourists are choosing not to travel in groups.

Figures from the World Tourism Organization showed that the number of international trips by Chinese tourists grew to 83 million in 2012 from 10 million in 2000.

China's spending on travel abroad totaled 102 billion US dollars in 2012, making the country the largest contributor to the tourism industry worldwide, according to the organization.

Source : www.globaltimes.cn 5th Jan 2014

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Brahim's partners Japan's ANA Holdings to expand halal in-flight catering

KUALA LUMPUR: Brahim's Holdings Bhd has signed an agreement with ANA Holdings Inc (ANA) to produce halal Japanese cuisine for in-flight catering in Japan.
The collaboration would also pave the way for a joint venture halal flight kitchen in Narita and Haneda Airports in Tokyo. 
"The objective of the agreement is to form a strategic business alliance and business collaboration to explore ways and draw on the inherent synergies of the respective parties," Brahim's said in a filing to Bursa Malaysia on Tuesday.
With the agreement, both parties anticipate to gain new market share in halal flight catering, increase distribution and positioning in the Asia Pacific region to tap the halal food market in both countries, as well as, other parts of Asia.

Source :  The Star, 7 Dec 2014

Sunday, 5 January 2014

MAS, AirAsia bakal terjejas?

KUALA LUMPUR 3 Jan. - Malaysia Airlines (MAS) dan AirAsia masing-masing dijangka kehilangan tujuh dan lapan peratus penguasaan pasaran bagi laluan Kuala Lumpur-India kepada syarikat penerbangan baharu, Malindo Air bermula akhir Mac depan.

Menurut laporan oleh Pusat Penerbangan Asia Pasifik (CAPA) hari ini, keadaan itu dijangka berlaku apabila Malindo Air memulakan operasi sebanyak 23 penerbangan seminggu bagi laluan tersebut.
Sejumlah 23 penerbangan seminggu itu menyamai kapasiti 4,140 tempat duduk bagi laluan sehala Kuala Lumpur-India atau 15 peratus daripada keseluruhan tempat duduk yang disediakan oleh pelbagai syarikat penerbangan.

Lebih buruk lagi kepada MAS, Malindo Air telah mendapat kebenaran yang diperuntukan kepada syarikat Malaysia, untuk laluan ke Delhi dan Mumbai, sekali gus memecahkan monopoli MAS yang menyediakan laluan ke dua destinasi tersebut sejak awal 2012.

Laporan itu menyebut, sehingga akhir 2013, MAS menguasai 53 peratus pasaran dan dijangka merosot kepada 46 peratus, manakala penguasaan AirAsia menurun daripada 43 peratus kepada 35 peratus.

Kedua-dua syarikat penerbangan itu ketika ini menawarkan 66 penerbangan seminggu dan 56 penerbangan seminggu dari Kuala Lumpur-India meliputi enam destinasi di negara Asia Selatan tersebut.

Langkah terbaharu Malindo Air itu sedikit sebanyak menjejaskan perancangan perniagaan MAS dan AirAsia memandangkan sejak dua tahun lalu, kedua-dua syarikat itu meningkatkan kapasiti penerbangan ke India antara 45 peratus hingga 50 peratus.

Bagaimanapun, menurut laporan itu lagi, AirAsia dijangka tidak menerima kesan seburuk MAS memandangkan syarikat itu telah memperkenalkan AirAsia India yang menyediakan penerbangan domestik di seluruh India.

Hal itu dapat membantu kedudukan syarikat penerbangan tambang murah itu menerusi pakej yang lebih baik kepada pengguna yang menggunakan Kuala Lumpur-India dan seterusnya perkhidmatan domestic.

Sumber : Utusan Malaysia, 5 Jan 2014

AirAsia to lower cost, air fares and effect higher ancillary in 2014

Fernandes is of the view that AirAsia's competition would lose the pace as his company going to have very low fares

Group CEO today said that the Airline's target for 2014 would be lower cost, higher through more services and the project.

In his Twitter page, he said, “Excellent day at AirAisa. Excellent management meeting. Everyone geared up for 2014. Cost reduction. Back to the old days. Lower air fares.”

He further said, “Strategy for 2014. Lower costs. Higher Ancillary through more services and the Emirates project. Exciting. I love competition. Will provide some huge competition to full service airlines. Very exciting for passengers”.

Fernandes is of the view that AirAsia's competition would lose the pace as his company going to have very low fares. “I predict some won't last the pace”.

“The two CEOs are planning something big. Very excited. Our Emirates project,” he said, adding that growing the ancillary income would be one of the major. “Watch us in 2014. Cutting loads of cost.”

Source: Business Standard, 3rd Jan 2014

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Malaysia plans to boost Islamic tourism sector, says ministry

->Main Reference for Islamic Tourism in Malaysia : http://itc.gov.my/ 

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 4 — Malaysia aims to attract more tourists from Islamic countries based on the niche market the country has to offer, which will add vibrancy to the Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2014.
Ministry of Tourism and Culture Secretary-General Datuk Ong Hong Peng said the sector recorded about 23 per cent of tourist arrivals from Muslim countries last year, who among others were keen to explore on the Islamic heritage trail and Syariah compliance services.
“Looking at the country’s potentials in Islamic tourism, we project that the arrival of Muslim tourists can rise up to 30 per cent in the long term, and 25 per cent in the short term,” he told a press conference after witnessing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signing ceremony between the International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) and Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC), Ministry of Tourism and Culture, here, today.
At the ceremony, which was also witnessed by IIUM President Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim, IIUM Rector Prof Datuk Seri Zaleha Kamaruddin and its deputy rector for International, Industry and Community Relations Prof Abdul Aziz Berghout as well as ITC Director General Zulkifly Md Said and its Director of Industry Development Yuhaini Yusoff signed the MoU.
Ong said the cooperation could facilitate the government in achieving the target, adding that the sector’s expenditure (Islamic tourism) was reportedly valued at USD 130 billion to the world tourism industry in 2012.
Earlier Tourism and Culture Minister, Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz in a speech text read by Ong indicated that the MoU would provide significant economic returns to the country as well as creating employment opportunities to graduates.
He said the collaboration would also open up opportunities for exchanges of internship and attachment; mobility of staff and students; joint research and publication as well as promotion of Islamic multicultural activities.
Meanwhile, Dr Rais in his remark said it was the university’s hopes that the MoU and the subsequent global excellence programmes planned by the university would complement other initiatives by the government to make Visit Malaysia Year 2014 a great success.
“In addition, the existing university’s global networking is ever ready to collaborate with the government to promote the country especially the religion-cultural as well as artistic and intellectual activities which will further position Malaysia as the world’s leading Islamic referral centre,” he said.
The event today also saw the soft launching of selected IIUM Global Excellence Programmes 2014 which among others include the Global IIUM Alumni Homecoming Week 2014, the formation of the Islamic Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO) Chair for Quranic Script and the International Research, Invention and Innovation Exhibition. — Bernama

Source : themalaymailonline.com & BERNAMA, 4 Jan 2014

Friday, 3 January 2014

Industri penerbangan dijangka pulih

KUALA LUMPUR 2 Jan. - Industri penerbangan dijangka mengalami pemulihan pendapatan pada 2014 dengan pertumbuhan penawaran yang lebih tinggi dan petunjuk hasil masa depan yang positif, demikian menurut Maybank Investment Bank Bhd. (Maybank IB).

Dalam nota penyelidikan hari ini, Maybank IB berkata, pertumbuhan penawaran yang diunjurkan pada 9-10 peratus, iaitu dalam pertumbuhan normal trafik penumpang Malaysia pada kadar lapan peratus setahun.

Nota itu berkata, dinamik penawaran-permintaan yang seimbang akan menyediakan tahap kuasa harga kepada syarikat penerbangan.

"AirAsia dan MAS telah menekankan bahawa mereka akan menggunakan pertumbuhan laluan sedia ada melalui penambahan kekerapan dan akan memperkenalkan hanya beberapa beberapa laluan baharu.

"Ini positif kerana laluan baharu cenderung untuk mempamerkan prestasi lemah dalam fasa awal daripada pertumbuhan dengan hasil yang lemah," katanya.

Maybank IB berkata, gabungan hasil dan kos unit yang lebih rendah akan meningkatkan pendapatan industri kepada anggaran RM652.7 juta, dengan majoriti berpunca daripada pengurangan 76 peratus dalam kerugian MAS, katanya.

Menurut Maybank IB, hasil telah disusun semula ke tahap baharu keseimbangan kerana kemasukan Malindo Air ke dalam pasaran. - BERNAMA

Sumber : Utusan Malaysia, 2 Jan 2013

Pelbagai acara diatur meriahkan TMM 2014

Sasar tarik 28 juta pelancong nikmati keunikan Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur: Pelbagai program dan acara disusun bagi meraikan kehadiran pelancong asing ke negara ini menerusi 37 pintu masuk mulai semalam, sebagai pembuka tirai Tahun Melawat Malaysia (TMM) 2014.

TMM 2014 menyasarkan kedatangan 28 juta pelancong asing dengan sasaran pulangan RM76 billion.
Rekod baru itu dilihat mampu direalisasi berdasarkan keunikan Malaysia sebagai destinasi pelancongan terkemuka dunia, yang terkenal dengan kepelbagaian budaya, etnik, sejarah, makanan dan gedung beli-belah. 

Datuk Bandar Kuala Lumpur, Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib, berkata sasaran 15 juta pelancong asing dan domestik ke ibu kota sempena TMM 2014, mampu dicapai meskipun sambutan ambang tahun baharu dicemari himpunan haram didalangi pihak tertentu.

Produk pelancongan baru

“Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL) akan memperkenalkan produk dan perkhidmatan pelancongan baru pada suku pertama 2014, selain penganjuran acara ‘signature’ bulanan untuk menarik minat pelancong,” katanya selepas melancarkan Kalendar Acara dan Festival 2014, di Stesen Sentral Kuala Lumpur, semalam.
Di Kota Kinabalu, Kementerian Pelancongan, Kebudayaan dan Alam Sekitar Sabah yakin jumlah pelancong mampu mencapai sasaran 3.4 juta, di sebalik insiden pencerobohan pengganas di Lahad Datu, tahun lalu.

Menterinya, Datuk Masidi Manjun, berkata pelbagai program dirangka untuk mencapai sasaran itu termasuk memberi tumpuan kepada usaha menarik lebih ramai pelancong Jepun dan Eropah menerusi pembukaan laluan penerbangan terus dan promosi di negara terbabit.

Di Negeri Sembilan, pembuka tirai TMM 2014 menyajikan kelainan apabila Persatuan Bola Sepak Port Dickson dan Majlis Perbandaran Port Dickson menganjurkan kejohanan bola sepak pantai sepanjang malam di Pantai Saujana, Batu 4, Port Dickson, malam kelmarin.

Kejohanan disifatkan unik itu berlangsung dari detik tengah malam sehingga jam 9 pagi yang membabitkan 72 pasukan dan menarik minat lebih 2,000 peserta serta orang ramai.

Tarikan utama pelancong

Di Kuantan, Festival Muzik Antarabangsa Kuantan yang setaraf dengan Borneo Rainforest Music Festival di Sarawak, bakal menjadi daya penarik utama kedatangan pelancong ke negeri itu.

Sempena pelancaran TMM 2014 semalam, 110 pelancong yang menaiki Penerbangan Malaysia (MAS) dari Kuala Lumpur dan pesawat Firefly dari Singapura, diraikan dengan persembahan kebudayaan di Lapangan Terbang Sultan Ahmad Shah (LTSAS).

Di Kuching, Menteri Muda Pelancongan negeri, Datuk Talip Zulpilip, mengedarkan brosur pakej Inap Desa Rumah Panjang sebagai tarikan pelancong yang tiba di Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Kuching (LTAK).

Inisiatif di bawah Strategi Lautan Biru Kebangsaan (NBOS) itu dilancarkan untuk membangunkan aktiviti pelancongan berasaskan penduduk setempat selain meningkatkan sosio ekonomi masyarakat rumah panjang termasuk Iban, Bidayuh dan Orang Ulu.

Teruja sambutan diberi

Di Langkawi, seramai 150 pelancong dari pelbagai negara termasuk United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Itali, Finland, Sweden, Denmark dan Norway, yang tiba menerusi penerbangan komersial dari Singapura, semalam, menyuarakan hasrat untuk mengunjungi negara ini buat kali kedua.

Mereka yang rata-ratanya pertama kali menjejak kaki ke negara ini, khususnya Langkawi jam 12.15 tengah hari semalam, teruja dengan sambutan meriah yang diterima sejurus tiba di Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Langkawi (LTAL).

Di Kuala Terengganu, kedatangan TMM14 diraikan pengurusan FELDA Residence, dengan mengagihkan cenderahati kepada pengguna jalan raya di hadapan hotel itu.

Di Melaka, ketibaan 250 pelancong yang menaiki feri dari Dumai, Indonesia ke negeri itu disambut meriah sebagai simbolik bermulanya TMM2014 sejurus tiba di jeti Kompleks Imigresen, Kastam, Kuarantin dan Keselamatan (ICQS) Kota Melaka di Sungai Melaka.

Sumber : Berita Harian, 2 Jan 2014

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Hari pertama TMM 2014, lebih 3,500 pelancong tiba

PELABUHAN KLANG - Sekumpulan 3,571 pelancong asing yang menaiki kapal pelancongan Mariner of The Seas tiba di Port Klang Cruise Centre, di Pulau Indah, di sini hari ini.
Ketibaan mereka pada hari pertama Tahun Melawat Malaysia 2014 itu disambut meriah dengan persembahan tarian tradisional oleh Persatuan Kebudayaan Seri Pekan dan pertunjukan silat daripada Tourism Selangor Sdn Bhd.
Pengarah Bahagian Pembangunan Industri Tourism Malaysia, Saidi Bundan yang mengetuai sambutan itu memberitahu pemberita Pelabuhan Klang merupakan persinggahan pertama kapal mewah dari Singapura itu di negara ini sebelum meneruskan pelayaran ke Pulau Pinang esok dan seterusnya ke Langkawi.
Bagi aktiviti pada hari ini para pelancong yang datang dari Eropah, Afrika, Hong Kong, Jepun itu akan dibawa bersiar-siar, membeli-belah dan menikmati makanan tempatan di sekitar Kuala Lumpur dan Selangor, katanya.
"Kita berharap ini akan menjadi titik tolak untuk peningkatan jumlah pelancong ke negara ini sempena Visit Malaysia Year (Tahun Melawat Malaysia) 2014," katanya.
Menurut kenyataan media Tourism Malaysia jumlah ketibaan kapal pelancongan di negara ini meningkat daripada 287 pada 2010 kepada 338 pada 2012.

Untuk tempoh Januari hingga Oktober tahun lepas jumlah ketibaan kapal pelancongan yang singgah di negara ini ialah 352. - Bernama

Sumber : Sinar Harian, 1 Jan 2014

'Public transport vital for tourism'

VISIT MALAYSIA YEAR 2014: New website also launched to provide information on places of interest in country

SEPANG: A MORE systematic public transport structure is needed to accommodate Visit Malaysia Year 2014 (VMY 2014), which aims to draw 28 million foreigners.
Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said a better public transport system was crucial as it was a vital aspect in the tourism industry.
"This is why proper measures and efforts should be put in place to ensure that public transportation is at an optimal level.
"We need to improve its quality through better offers and services to attract more foreign tourists."
Nazri said this during a press conference after launching the Matta-VMY 2014 programme at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA ) here yesterday.
He said the ministry had forged strong cooperation between public transport authorities and Matta (Malaysian Association Of Tours And Travel Agents) to resolve related issues.
Present were Matta president Hamzah Rahmat and Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad managing director Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad Abdul Majid
Nazri also launched the www.discovermalaysia.com.my website that caters to tourists who need information about the country's attractions.
He lauded Matta for assisting the ministry in making VMY 2014 a successful campaign.
When asked about last night's anti-government rally in Kuala Lumpur, he said the organisers should not hold such activities during a celebration as it spoiled the enjoyment of others.
He said the country would benefit if protesters rallied at a more appropriate time.
"Then we can show foreigners our healthy democracy where people can protest and not be arrested."
In Ipoh, Perak's tourism industry has set a target of attracting more than five million tourists in conjunction with VMY 2014.
Perak Tourism chief executive officer Aida Hazlyn Hassan said the state had initiated wide-ranging promotional strategies over the last several months to draw more tourists.
Aida highlighted efforts to directly target the vast European and Singaporean tourism markets.
"Working together with Tourism Malaysia, we took part in October's Travel Malaysia event in Singapore as well as November's World Travel Market in London.
"Approaching these markets can boost the state' tourism industry as we will be able to directly promote the state's many attractions."
She said the recent launch of a state tourism website, social media pages and a mobile application launched in September allowed users to find more information on Perak attractions.
"A Tourism Perak video titled Discover Perak will highlight the state's culinary attractions.
"We hope this will be aired on programmes such as Astro's Asian Food Channel in the near future."
Some 37 events have been planned for the 2014 tourism calendar, in addition to smaller events by local authorities and agencies. Other events will attract tourists to the Royal Belum Rainforest and Pangkor island.
In Kuala Terengganu, Bernama reported that the state, after having registered four million tourist arrivals during Visit Terengganu Year 2013, wants to attract five million tourists during VMY 2014.
State Tourism and Culture Committee chairman Datuk Mohd Jidin Shafee said the state expected 35 per cent of the tourist arrivals to be from abroad.
"We are prepared for the influx of tourists. We have 9,729 rooms to accommodate the five million tourists in a year," he said after officiating at the pre-launch of VMY 2014 here.
Jidin said the state had drawn up 22 r national and international activities for next year.
Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz placing the Visit Malaysia Year 2014 sticker on a vehicle after launching the Matta-VMY 2014 programme at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport yesterday. At right is Matta president Hamzah Rahmat. Pic by Mohd Fadli Hamzah


Source : NST online, 1 Jan 2014