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Start with chartered flights, Masidi tells Sabah Air

Sabah Air can start with chartered flights or engage strategic partners prior to running a full-fledged airline due to the complexity involved.
Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun suggested that Sabah Air should begin with chartered flights as it was an easier alternative to get the feel on how to run an airline.

 

His second suggestion, that is to engage strategic partners, will allow the company to run the airline with people with expertise.

 

Masidi was commenting on Sabah Air chairman Datuk Yusoff Mohd Kasim’s recent announcement that Sabah Air was looking at serving regional routes such as to Korea, Japan and Australia.

 

“Although it is a good concept, the process is complicated, starting with buying or leasing an aircraft.

 

“Buying an aircraft is not easy because there are only a few manufacturers in the world – Airbus and Boeing, and the waiting period is five years,” he said in an interview after officiating at a book launch here yesterday.

 

In addition, he said most leased aircraft were used ones.

 

Masidi also cautioned Sabah Air that there were more airlines losing money than making a profit worldwide.

 

For instance, airlines who do make money include Singapore Airlines while those expanding at a very fast rate are Middle Eastern companies such as Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Etihad Airways, he said.

 

The minister meanwhile welcomed Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to have another discussion and find a better solution rather than cutting routes.

 

“I believe tentatively that they have read all the comments in the paper and they are disturbed with the reaction from Sabahans.

 

“I have a reason to believe they may now want to reopen another talk with us in Sabah which I’m more than welcome,” he said.

 

MAS recently announced the suspension of four direct flights from Osaka, Haneda, Seoul and Perth beginning early this year.

 

On travel agents’ reluctance to sell Sabah tour packages in Japan due to the suspension of the route by MAS, Masidi said the previously five hours’ journey from Japan to Kota Kinabalu had increased to 12.5 hours inclusive of waiting due to MAS’s decision.

 

“To me, that is a good reason for MAS to rethink their current strategy,” Masidi said.

 

He pointed out that the Haneda route was a development route, meaning MAS was not expected to make a profit yet.

 

“I’m trying to impress on MAS, let’s work together and develop those routes. You may not make money now, but you will make money in the future.”

 

Masidi added that Sabahans with relatives and children studying in Perth were also unhappy about the suspension, while Koreans did not suffer significant impact as there are four Korean airlines serving the route to Sabah.

 

Source: Borneo Post (by Chok Sim Yee)

Keeping Malaysia green and clean

The 1Malaysia Green, 1Malaysia Clean Campaign or 1MG1MC, was launched on July 18, 2010 by Minister of Tourism, Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen. A brilliant and innovative tourism campaign, the 1MG1MC aims to instil a cleanliness mindset among Malaysians, particularly at tourist spots.

 

It is also to create an awareness of the importance of keeping tourist spots clean and to inculcate in the mind of Malaysians the importance of preserving the beauty and cleanliness of the country.

 

Through campaigns such as 1Malaysia Green, 1Malaysia Clean, the Ministry of Tourism believes it will help the ministry to answer the call by the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

 

The government aims to improve the tourism industry which would provide 2.7 million jobs in the industry by 2015.

 

In ensuring the success of the 1Malaysia Green, 1Malaysia Clean campaign, the Ministry of Tourism has been working closely with four other ministries – Ministry of housing and Local Government, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of education and Ministry of Nature Resources and environment.

 

Apart from collaborating with the ministries, the campaign has also involved several non-governmental organisations, the private sector, Kelab Pelacongan Pelajar and Kuala Lumpur City hall to participate in some of the campaign programmes.

 

To enhance the success of the campaign, the Ministry of Tourism has also launched the www. 1malaysiagreenandclean. com.my website which is an integral part of the campaign. It highlights and addresses issues pertaining to clean or dirty tourist spots.

 

The website enables the public and tourists to upload pictures of any spots, especially tourist areas which are clean or those that need upkeeping.

 

Among the activities and programmes under the 1Malaysia Green and 1Malaysia Clean campaign are:

 

* Plan A Tree project at homestays registered with the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia. This project is to encourage foreign tourists to plant a tree at the homestay before leaving for their country.

 

* “Gotong-royong” activities at tourist spots. l Collaborating with food and drinks associations and hawkers to implement a “Cleanest hawker Stall” competition.

 

* Collaborating with taxi associations and organising a “Cleanest Taxi” contest and ensuring knowledgeable and respectable drivers.

 

* Organising a “Cleanest Mall” competition. l Collaboration with Giant hypermarket to place the 1Malaysia Green, 1Malaysia Clean campaign logo on Giant shopping bags.

 

* A special TV programme for children that will feature “Mr Bin” to emphasise to children the importance of keeping the environment clean.

 

* Collaborating with print and electronic media to publicise the “1Malaysia Green, 1Malaysia Clean” campaign.

 

* Collaborating with highway companies to distribute 1Malaysia Green, 1Malaysia Clean stickers at selected toll plazas and R&R (rest and relax) areas to increase awareness of the campaign.

 

* Organising a “Spot the ‘1Malaysia Green, 1Malaysia Clean’ car stickers” competition.

 

Source: The Star

Push for domestic tourism

The Tourism Ministry is planning to promote domestic tourism further and make it a major contributor to the economy, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said. “The importance of domestic tourism cannot be understated as the global tourism market records dip. Last year, the number of domestic tourists totalled 111.5 million, generating RM34.7bil in revenue,” she said.

Citing an example, she said that 75.9 million locals were day-trippers.

She said there had been a lifestyle change among locals after the five-day work week was introduced in 1999 to encourage more Malaysians to travel internally.

“It is also a good indication of the nation’s prosperity and stability,” she told reporters after the launch of the Tourism Cuti-Cuti 1Malaysia Dance Carnival yesterday.

Earlier at the launch of the dance carnival, Prime Minister’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor reminded Malaysians to maintain the nation’s peace and stability.

“Although Malaysia’s peace and stability is a blessing from God, we must work and strive to preserve it,” she said.

The carnival was introduced in 2009 to showcase various ethnic dances to promote Malaysia to foreign tourists.

Source: The Star

Sabah tourism students get raw deal

The government needs to set in place a better education and training system that is capable of satisfying the specific needs of the State’s booming tourism sector. Sabah Tourist Guides Association (STGA), in highlighting this yesterday, said most institutions offering training in tourism in Sabah do not properly screen their students to ensure that they have the qualities needed for the industry.

As a result, most of the students do not even make it into the industry after completing their studies, according to the association’s honorary welfare officer, Marry Ann C Degullacion.

Except for a very small percentage, she said some of the lucky ones who managed to land a job in the field they studied were likely to quit or be fired not long after they started because they lacked the required skills and passion.

“The fact is that education today, like any other industry, is driven by profit. Nothing wrong with that as long as it is not too focused solely on money making.

“It is sad to say but for some of these institutions the students only go as far as their education loan. Once they settled their fees, that is the end for them,” she said.

She was presenting the outcome of a group discussion during the Luncheon Talk between government officers and representatives from major industries here.

Senior officers from leading organizations under the plantation, tourism, oil and gas, agro processing and automotive sectors attended the half-day discussion facilitated by the Department of Skills Development.

A representative from each industry presented the outcome of their respective group discussions, highlighting pressing issues facing their businesses, in particular those concerning the training of skilled workers.

Marry Ann suggested that a special body be set up to monitor job placements of students from tertiary education institutions, to keep watch on both the quality and marketability of the students they produced.

This monitoring body, she stressed, must have a high standard for quality as it would determine the quality of the workers to be sent into the industry.

On another note, she said the authorities also needed to tighten the enforcement of laws governing the tourism industry, especially the tour guide sector.

“Tour guiding has become a cut-throat industry partly due to loose monitoring and enforcement by the authorities.

“There are for instance tour guides who don’t bother about renewing their licenses and make even more money operating illegally as unlicensed guides. On the other hand, there are tour guides who become taxi drivers because they would earn more driving cabs,” she said.

Earlier, she told the dialogue that there was still a need for more qualified tour guides, especially those who are proficient in English and other major foreign languages.

“English speaking guides are still very much lacking to support the industry in Sabah. We are also in need of guides who speak Russian, German and even Indonesian, to name a few,” she said.

In this regard, she suggested that more emphasis should be given on training new tour guides, apart from re-training existing ones and those who had left but wanted to rejoin the profession.

As Sabah is popular for its diving spots, she also suggested dive masters to be trained as qualified tour guides so that they can at least give a more accurate information about the State’s other attractions when visitors ask them.

She also proposed that Sabah should recruit more skilled lifeguards, pointing out that the many resorts and tourism spots in the State do not have sufficient or barely have any of this vital safety personnel at all.

Source: Borneo Post (by Murib Morpi)

Climbathon: Mt Kinabalu International Climbathon – The Adventure Series To Debut In 2012

A new and exciting event called the Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon – The Adventure Series will debut next year to spur Sabah’s tourism industry. State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said the internationally known Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon which produced many strong climbers from Malaysia and across the globe ends this year.

He said this is done to provide a wider range of tourism products in the state through recreational activities and not just sports.

“This event will be replaced by a new and more challenging series called the Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon – The Adventure Series, which is 23 kilometres compared to the 21 kilometres previously.

“We will begin the event next year when the tracks are fully completed and participants no longer need to race to the peak of Mount Kinabalu,” he told reporters after attending a presentation ceremony, here Friday.

Celcom presented a RM30,000 sponsorship for the Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon taking place on Oct 22 and 23.

Masidi said the new route has long been used by local residents but needed to be improved for the safety and comfort of participants.

“The new route will cross through several villages in Kundasang. It starts at Dewan Taman Kinabalu and then into Timpohon, Masilou and other villages around Mount Kinabalu.

“Participants will also be able to enjoy the beautiful scenery of villages there,” he said.

The ministry also plans to make the event an annual affair.

Source: Bernama