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  • Malaysians opt for local break this school holiday

    Petaling Jaya, MALAYSIA — Hooray! hooray! it’s a holi-holiday. Boney M got it right when they sang about “well, I’m game; fun is the thing I’m after”.

    Since the start of school holidays last week, Malaysians appear undeterred by the fact that they have to let their wallets have a say in their holiday plans. Instead of flying off to faraway places, many holidaymakers are opting for road trips.  Read More

  • City Hall launches KL Pass to boost tourism

    To give tourists more reasons to visit and to stay on in Kuala Lumpur, City Hall has launched the KL Pass. The integrated tourist pass covers tourist attractions, retail outlets, food and beverage outlets, and soon, public transport, in the city.

    Mayor Datuk Mhd Mohd Amin Nordin Abdul Aziz said the pass was important in letting tourists know what the city had to offer.  “Even an additional night’s stay in the city will bring a substantial increase in tourism revenue for multiple sectors that are directly and indirectly connected to tourism in Kuala Lumpur,” he said.

    Amin said the pass would have standard features at par with those of similar passes for cities such as Paris, London and New York. “In recent years, Kuala Lumpur has received many accolades and the recognition of international sources for achievements in tourism,” he said, adding that it was important for Kuala Lumpur to continually grow, develop and introduce and enhance tourist products, facilities and services.

    Amin also said that with the depreciation of the ringgit, Malaysia stood to benefit from more tourists visiting Malaysia. “People from the UK (United Kingdom) and the US (United States of America) would get more value when they visit Malaysia. Their currency is very high, so they will be able to take advantage of that,” he said.

    Amin also said that demonstrations such as Bersih 4 and the Red Shirt Rally could deter tourists from visiting Kuala Lumpur. “When one party has a demonstration, then the other would also want to have one. It’s better not to have any,” he said.

    Meridian Tourist Access Sdn Bhd managing director Farouk Nurish said the KL Pass came with a free 140-page guidebook. “The guidebook is packed with information on where to use the KL Pass as well as useful information and tips for visitors,” he said.

    Farouk said the MyKL Pass catering to locals would be available at the end of the year. “The smart-chip based system that is employed has the capacity to even store digital money and we hope in the future to introduce the KL Pass Purse for tourists to conveniently and safely explore the city and shop and dine without carrying a lot of cash,” he said.

    Farouk said the KL Pass system was developed at a cost of  RM1.2 million and RM1 million more could be spent on further development and promotion. “We will also add more outlets and attractions in the near future,” he said, adding that the conservative estimate was to sell 20,000 cards in the first year.

    KL Pass is produced and managed by Meridian Tourist Access through the endorsement of City Hall and Tourism Malaysia. The pass comes in six variants for adults and children.

    For adults, the one-day pass with a purse value of RM185 is priced at RM165;  three-day and six-day passes with a purse value of RM525, at RM395; and three-day and six-day passes with a purse value of RM1,025, at RM625. For children, the one-day pass with a purse value of RM140 is priced at RM125;  three-day and six-day passes with a purse value of RM415, at RM325; and three-day and six-day passes with a purse value of RM740, at RM515.

  • Malaysia tops Thomson Reuters State of Global Islamic Economy 2015/2016

    For the second consecutive year, Malaysia has been declared as the country with most developed Islamic economy for travel sector in a report released by Thomson Reuters on 28 September 2015.

    The report through its “Halal Travel Indicator” ranked Malaysia on top of the travel industry with a score of 86 based on four metric categories : Supply drivers relative to country size (inbound Muslim tourists), governance (Halal-friendly ecosystem), awareness (number of related news articles and events) and social (travel sectors contribution to employment.

    Behind Malaysia are UAE, Singapore, Thailand and Jordan. Turkey, ranked 3rd last year has slipped to 7th.

    The report’s indicator evaluates countries’ health and development of its Muslim market travel ecosystem as part of the overall aggregate of Global Islamic Economy (GIE) Indicator. It does not focus on the overall size and growth trajectory of a country’s tourism sector; instead it evaluates countries on relative strengths of the ecosystem they have for the development of this particular sector.

    In its global overview, the report highlighted that the Muslim outbound tourism expenditure was recorded at USD142 billion in 2014, 11% of the global tourism industry, an increase of 6.3% and third largest source of travel compared to China and USA. The number is reported potentially will reach USD233 by 2020. The GCC market, although accounting for only 3% of the total number of Muslim tourists, is actually dominating with USD37 tourism expenditure collectively.

    Malaysia also tops the report’s Halal and Islamic finance sectors but lost its pharmaceutical & cosmetics top rank last year to Singapore. Other sectors include media recreation which went to Singapore and China took the top spot for fashion.

    The report was jointly produced by Thomson and Reuters with Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIDEC) ahead of the Global Islamic Economy Summit (GIS) 2015, a biennial conference in Dubai that congregates the largest players of Islamic economy globally.

    Director General of ITC, Zulkifly Md Said will be joining the parallel session on tourism on the second day of the Summit as a panelist on the topic “Travel Venture and Success” to be moderated by CEO of Singapore’s CrescentRating, Fazal Bahardeen.

  • Passenger Travel In July Increases 6.8 Pct Year-on-year

    Passenger travel on international markets in July increased 6.8 per cent, compared with the same month last year, reflecting an upward bias due to the timing of Ramadan.

    International Air Transport Association (IATA) said travel classes reflected the impact of Ramadan which fell only partly in July this year but took place mostly in July 2014. In a statement, it said the holy month tends to see subdued demand for air travel.

    Premium class travel rose 8.5 per cent in July, year-on-year, and economy travel was up 6.6 per cent.

    IATA said the economy class travel had experienced stronger growth so far this year, supported by lower fares over recent months.  “Growth in premium international travel has been relatively slower due to weakness in business travel demand drivers, with global business confidence being dragged down by emerging markets,” it said.

    IATA said the Far East region had seen slow growth for the second consecutive month, which could be early signs of weakness in air travel demand following months of sluggish economic performance in some parts of Asia.

    Although improvements in the Eurozone economy have translated into stronger demand for travel over the recent months, IATA said weakness in emerging markets could counter this positive trend.

  • Three New Airlines to Service Hawaii

    Hawaii Tourism Authority on Thursday made it official, announcing that three new airlines are starting service to the islands in the coming months.

    One we already knew – Virgin America will have two routes from San Francisco to Hawaii. One will be to Honolulu starting in November and the other to Maul starting in December.

    The other two airlines cater to a growing Asian tourism boon in visiting Hawaii. Budget carrier AirAsia X will fly from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Japan to Honolulu, while Jin Air will fly from Seoul, South Korea to Honolulu.

    “They’re coming to Hawaii which is a good thing, because that will help with bringing visitors to Hawaii that couldn’t afford to come before. The competition is good as well,” Randy Baldemor, COO, Hawaii Tourism Authority, told KHON. “It’s going to bring thousands and thousands of seats into Honolulu and also from a different vantage point. They’re low-cost carriers so the cost of the seats is actually going to be lower than travelers may see now.”

    AirAsiaX and Jin Air will both begin service by year’s end.

    Aviation expert Peter Forman told the television station he doesn’t expect much in the way of cheaper air fares, however, once the initial introductory specials are over.

    “I think what you’re going to find is that it’s hard for a new entrant to really drive prices down much because the existing carriers are already flying big airplanes and they’re offering very efficient travel so there isn’t really a lot of margin to cut,” Forman said.

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