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Selangor’s country delights

Tour beam Rashid Hisham putting a finishing touches on a scarecrow in a padi margin in TanjongKarang, Selangor.Tour beam Rashid Hisham putting a finishing touches on a scarecrow in a padi margin in Tanjong
Karang, Selangor.

A homestay programme offers encampment living, tolerable agro-tourism and a whole lot of merriment.

STANDING in knee-high weed underneath a blazing afternoon sun, Rashid Hisham takes a step behind to consult his handiwork on a figure.

“This doesn’t demeanour utterly right. She needs something to make her demeanour some-more ayu (demure),� he says, defeat out a white headscarf from a bag of garments and throwing it over a scarecrow’s coconut head.

“Ah, we need a lady to tie this on her. I’m not really good during it,� a 53-year-old confesses with a grin.

If there is one thing to learn from this man, it is that scarecrows are meant to keep a birds away, though they should not shock people.

We are in a padi margin in an halcyon encampment tucked divided in Tanjong Karang, Selangor, where a United Federation of Travel Agents’ Association (UFTAA) association        delegates have collected to try their hands during harvesting rice with normal hand-held harvesting tools.

Rashid, a debate beam with Agrotourism Sungai Sireh, says he feels positively during home in a rice fields. Padi planting and harvesting is his specialty, and he mostly brings visitors to a area.

As it is padi-harvesting season, a representatives are shown a process of hand-threshing after their padi margin expedition, that concerned violence sheaves of rice stalks opposite a tough aspect to apart a grains from a stalks.

On this post-congress familiarisation outing hosted by Tourism Selangor, they are given a pile-up march on a community’s enlightenment and farming lifestyle – a hide rise into what visitors to a Agrotourism Homestay Sungai Sireh can design to knowledge during their stay.

Despite it being their initial time, a few of a representatives infer rather skilful during ketupat-weaving as well.

The United Federation of Travel Agents’ Association (UFTAA) association delegateswere taught how to wobble ketupat during a Agrotourism Homestay Sungai Sireh.— ROUWEN LIN/The StarThe United Federation of Travel Agents’ Association (UFTAA) association delegates
were taught how to wobble ketupat during a Agrotourism Homestay Sungai Sireh.
— ROUWEN LIN/The Star

The common rice plant, common as it is here, is a newness to many of them and they are utterly gay to reap a fruits of their labour. Placing a few stalks of rice delicately into her bag, Nevin Ozkan from Northern Cyprus says she intends to move them home to her grandchildren.

“I would like to uncover them these rice stalks as it is zero they have seen before. Back in Cyprus, we don’t have padi fields like we do here,� she says.

Ahmed Nor Osman from Somalia describes a rice harvesting knowledge as “very nice, really interesting.�

Wiping a persperate from his brow, he says, “But we didn’t design it to be so prohibited here; it is customarily like in Somalia.�

All for one

Launched in Apr 1995, a homestay programme is a community-based agrotourism project. The categorical operation site is located in Sungai Sireh, though there are several other beside villages involved.

Sixty homes have taken on a purpose of horde family to visitors, and a series is flourishing by a day. Full house is offering (there are opposite packages available) and visitors can join in a daily activities of a encampment for a generation of their stay.

Global Environment Centre (GEC) comparison biodiversity officer, Nagarajan Rengasamy, explains that GEC is collaborating with a homestay folks to assistance rise eco-tourism and agro-tourism products and programmes.

“We also advise on how to make use of resources in a tolerable way,� he says.

Depending on a time of year, visitors can attend in opposite encampment activities, including fishing, kayaking or fruit picking.

“We infrequently move a visitors to a padi fields to locate eels with their unclothed hands. These eels den in a soothing mud, make a hole in it, and afterwards live in it. Some tourists are a bit distressed about regulating their hands, so we give them a fishing rod,� relates Nagarajan.

And throwing a eel is customarily half a fun; a cooking and eating after that creates adult a other half!

“The villagers will uncover them how to make soup with eel. They trust it is a healthful tonic, really profitable for one’s health,� he says.

Most evenings finish with merry-making, finish with dance and strain accompanied by normal low-pitched instruments.

Past and present

According to Nagarajan, some 8.000 visitors participated in a homestay programme final year. Of these, around 2,000 are foreigners, mostly from South Korea, Japan and European countries.

“The irrigation complement in a padi fields are from a days of a Japanese function in a 1940s,� he shares. “So a Japanese in sold have a special seductiveness in entrance to revisit a villages as we are still regulating a same record that they introduced here.�

For visitors who have a means to lapse frequently, a homestay programme offers a tiny inducement out in a fields: an event to guard your crops.

A tiny site in a padi fields has been set aside only for visitors to work on.

“They plant a padi and afterwards can lapse as mostly as they like to check on a swell of a plants,� says Nagarajan.

“Four to 5 months later, it is prepared to be harvested. Some people indeed come behind to collect a rice they planted!�

One of a largest remaining constant areas of peatland in a Peninsula is permitted from these villages. Most of a peat engulf forests in a nation have been logged or degraded, and this peat engulf forest, covering an area of 70,000ha, has been identified as a charge site.

Nagarajan describes a North Selangor peat engulf timberland as “really large – it is a distance of Singapore!�

And lest we consider that encampment vital in a encampment is slight and maybe dull, Nagarajan discloses that surprises are aplenty: customarily final September, around 500 Asian Openbill Storks descended on a padi fields, where they sojourn until today.

These roving birds, customarily found in Sri Lanka, India and Thailand, are not ordinarily seen here.

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MELAKA FESTIVAL 2012 A RESOUNDING SUCCESS

Melaka Art and Performance Festival 2012 a resounding success

Appiah Annan from Ghana performing Sankofa / Photo from melakafestival.com

Sep 28, 2012

MELAKA, Malaysia – The largest and only site specific art and performance festival on a UNESCO World Heritage site ended on a high note today as artists and performers celebrated a successful three-day festival. From September 21-23, Melaka was filled with art installations and performances by more than 50 renowned local and international artists.

Artists from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Australia, France, Ghana, South Korea, Ireland, Brazil, Italy, the Netherlands, Morocco, Canada, Poland, and the USA performed in the streets along St. Paul’s Hill where the asphalt became their canvas.

Running for the fourth year, the Melaka Arts and Performance Festival (MAPFest) is an innovative contemporary festival featuring dance, performance art, visual art, film, and music. The closing of the festival culminated in the gathering of all MAPFest artists and performers as they performed “Eulogy for The Living,” a large-scale performance, which provided a spectacular and soulful finale to the festival. The play was directed by the Founding Creative Director, Tony Yap, accompanied by live music and projections by Khaled Sabsabi.

“We were overwhelmed by the response throughout the festival. These three days has truly shown that Melaka has the potential to be an international hub for arts and performances. We are definitely looking forward for a bigger and better festival next year,” said Andrew Ching, Founder and Producer of the Festival.

As a supporter of the festival, the Malaysia Convention Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) shares the same vision. Zulkefli Sharif, Chief Executive Officer of MyCEB, said, “Our collaboration with MAPFest this year is a successful one as it proves that Malaysia can be a center stage for global events. Melaka, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, was the ideal venue to host such an inspiring showcase of the arts.”

The event attracted over 20,000 attendees, including an estimated 4,000 overseas visitors. Festival goers participated in a dance workshop by Australia’s leading Afrocontemporary dance practitioner, Appiah Annan of Asanti Dance Theatre, as he introduced traditional and contemporary approaches to dance from his motherland, Ghana.

Many people also took part in a forum discussion themed, “Melaka intersections: Living space/museum town” by Associate Professor Cheryl Stock, Director of Postgraduate Studies Creative Industries Faculty of the Queensland University of Technology.

MAPFest 2012 was directed by Tony Yap, in his capacity as the Founding Creative Director. He was one of the principle performers with IRAA Theatre (1989-1996) and has worked extensively in Australia and overseas including the Agamemnon Festival Colline Torinese, Italy, and The Trojan Woman, Vienna International Art Festival. As the founding Artistic Director of Mixed Company (now The Tony Yap Company) in 1993, he has made a commitment to the exploration and creation of an individual dance theatre language that is informed by psycho-physical research, Asian shamanistic trance dance, butoh, voice, and visual design.

MAPFest 2012 is produced by Arts Performance Festival Melaka Sdn Bhd and is supported by Tourism Malaysia, the Melaka State government, together with the efforts of E-Plus Entertainment, Mercatus Plus Malaysia, Badan Warisan Malaysia, Kingdom of the Netherlands, the French and The Netherlands Embassies, the Australian government, the Australian High Commission, Australia Malaysia Institute, Multicultural Arts Victoria, the Embassy of France, The Tony Yap Company, Nyoba Kan, Simone Lourey, and William Randall.

Source: melakafestival.com

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MELAKA FEST STARTS TOMORROW

Email    Print 20 September 2012 | last updated at 10:34PM

Taking arts to Malacca streets

THE largest and only site specific art and performance festival on a Unesco heritage site returns to Malacca for the fourth time from tomorrow to Sunday.

The Mapfest 2012 team

The Melaka Art And Performance Festival or Mapfest 2012, held daily at 10am, has performances by more than 50 local and international artistes from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Australia, France, Ghana, South Korea, Ireland, Brazil, Italy, the Netherlands, Morocco, Canada, Poland and the United States.
They will perform on the streets along St Paul’s Hill and the asphalt will become their canvas.

Mapfest 2012 draws from Malacca’s famous heritage sites to create a space for contemporary culture and artistic practice. It will have components such as Cerita Pendek (Short Stories) 1 and 2, visual arts, discussions and workshops.
Cerita Pendek brings together dance, music and performances from all participating artistes in short works over two nights at St Paul’s Church.

On Sunday night, they will all perform Eulogy For The Living, a spectacular finale directed by Tony Yap and accompanied by live music, and projections by Khaled Sabsabi.
Producer Andrew Ching says: “The festival provides an avenue for up-coming performers to showcase their talents and collaborate with international artistes.”

Festival supporter the Malaysia Convention And Exhibition Bureau chief executive officer Zulkefli Sharif says that as a heritage site, Malacca has always been a popular tourist attraction and the festival enhances its offerings.

 
The event is set to attract more than 4,000 international attendees who can join a dance workshop by Australia’s leading dancer Appiah Annan of Asanti Dance Theatre who will introduce traditional and contemporary approaches to dance from his motherland, Ghana.

Mapfest 2012 is produced by Arts And Performance Festival Melaka and is supported by the Tourism Ministry, E-Plus Entertainment, Mercatus Plus, Badan Warisan Malaysia and the governments of the Netherlands, Australia and France among others.

Admission is free.

Details at www.melakafestival.com.
 

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Overall expansion of traveller arrivals Malaysia

Malaysia accessible an altogether expansion of +1.2% traveller arrivals with 9,438,592 tourists for a initial 5 months of 2012 as compared to 9,323,827 for a same duration final year, according to a Tourism Minister, Dato’ Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen. ASEAN shred still contributed a largest series of tourists to Malaysia with 73.4% of a sum arrivals. The certain expansion come from Indonesia (+19.3%), Philippines (+41.7%), Vietnam (+35.2%), Myanmar (+6.9%) and Laos (+19.9%). Other critical on-going middle and prolonged transport markets embody Saudi Arabia (+50.7%), China (+34.1%), Japan (30.6%), Russia (25.8%), Kazakhstan (25.2%), Denmark (14.4%) and India (+7.8%).

Total profits by tourists from Jan to May 2012 rose by +1.9%, generating RM21.8 billion to a country’s income as compared to RM21.4 billion in 2011. The tourists’ per capita output for that duration is estimated during RM 2,309 an boost of 0.7% as compared to RM 2,294 in 2011.

The apportion combined that in line with a Malaysia Tourism Transformation Plan 2020 towards achieving 36 million traveller and 168billion in profits by 2020, it is critical for Malaysia to change a concentration on flourishing produce per traveller rather than to rest heavily on expansion in traveller arrivals. “To attract a aloft produce segment, we will need to raise connectivity to pivotal priority markets.” For a start, Tourism Malaysia works to boost moody frequencies to 6 priority countries namely China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and Taiwan besides building an air-rights allocation horizon to promote fit expansion of these pivotal routes and others.

One of a many successful programs that have been identified by a Ministry to rise farming formed tourism is a Homestay Program. The tourism module accessible a poignant boost with 38.4% of occupancy rate compared to 24.9% for a same duration final year. A sum of 133,689 tourists visited a homestay from Jan to May 2012 of that 110,322 were domestic tourists and a rest 23,367 were foreigners. This is a 70.7% boost compared to a same duration final year where we usually perceived 78,333 tourists. Tourist profits from homestay module for a initial 5 months of 2012 also proliferated to RM 7,376,446.50 (+53.1%) compared to RM4, 817,158.30 in Jan to May 2011. Increased spending by these tourists has wild a farming economy. The homestay tourism module has speedy internal communities to be a partial of farming formed tourism while progressing their traditions and identities.

Recognized as one of a National Key Economic Areas, a tourism attention stays as one of a vital writer to Gross National Income, unfamiliar sell gain and employment. In 2011, tourism ranked seventh (7th) largest writer with a GNI sum of USD12.3billion and a third (3rd) largest unfamiliar sell earner after production and palm oil. The Malaysian tourism attention in 2010 supposing 1.8 million jobs (15.9%, share of practice in tourism to sum employment). Amongst a 12 Entry Point Projects are avocation giveaway shopping, oppulance tourism, installation KLCC–Bukit Bintang area as a colourful selling precinct, improving business tourism and augmenting a supply of 4 5 star hotel rooms, etc.

The commission on traveller selling accessible from Jan to May 2012 shows 32.3% (RM7.04 billion) of a sum traveller receipts. This is an boost compared to 30% final year. The covered walkway joining Bukit Bintang and KLCC finished early this year to promote selling has shown a certain impact.

To attract high produce tourists, we need peculiarity 4 5 star hotel rooms. Currently there are 59,804 4 5 star hotel bedrooms accessible in Malaysia. By 2020, 37,000 additional 4 5 star hotel bedrooms are required. The Ministry of Tourism targets to boost 3000 4 5 star hotel bedrooms in Malaysia as during finish 2012. Currently 71% of a aim is achieved with 2,123 bedrooms completed. The government’s liberalization policies and remunerative taxation incentives have resulted in domestic and unfamiliar investments on liberality resources opposite Malaysia.

Malaysia has premised itself as a universe category end for Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE). The Malaysia Convention Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) successfully cumulative 33 vital events via Jan to May 2012, attracting sum representatives of 50,770 and generating an estimated mercantile impact of RM499.9 mil. The International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Rankings 2011 ranked Kuala Lumpur series 21 in a universe and series 5 in Asia Pacific. Malaysia ranked series 29 in a universe and series 7 in Asia Pacific.

Domestic tourism is also another critical partial of Malaysia’s tourism industry. The series of domestic tourists in 2011 increasing 15.7% (45,731,000 as compared with 39,539,000 in 2010). In 2011, a spending by domestic tourists was RM27.0 billion, induction a 13.9% boost as opposite RM23.7 billion spent in 2010. This is a success of a “Cuti Cuti 1Malaysia” Campaign.

In sequence to grow a tourism industry, efforts have been strong towards enhancing existent tourism products and building new, artistic and innovative tourism products. This enclosed a “1Malaysia International Shoe Festival 2012?, “1Malaysia International Tourism Exchange 2012?, “1Malaysia Contemporary Art Tourism 2012? and a recently resolved “1Malaysia International Tourism Night Floral Parade 2012?.

The Ministry of Tourism’s ‘Malaysia: Truly Asia’ branding is famous worldwide and a United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has ranked Malaysia a ninth many trafficked to end in a world.

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Legoland Malaysia prepared to accept visitors

Legoland Malaysia will open a doors to a open soon, approach brazen of schedule.

Many of us can remember spending hours of a childhood building structures from charming Lego pieces. With a splash of creativity, elementary Lego bricks were deftly built to erect vehicles, buildings and even cities, withdrawal many with lustful memories of a construction toys.

Nonetheless, a initial proclamation in 2008 about a attainment of a Legoland thesis park to a shores elicited reduction than eager responses from some quarters.

Legoland

Beautiful creation: The gates of Legoland Malaysia will strictly open Sept 15.

In fact, a Malaysian Tourist Guide Council primarily voiced beating as a Legoland park was an unknown code in a segment and attention players were awaiting thesis park icons like Disneyland to be set adult in Iskandar instead.

But, after some-more than dual years of changing a minds of sceptics and efforts to attract a public, Legoland Malaysia is prepared to acquire enthusiasts and cynics comparison to take a fun float come Sept 15, 2012.

“We are opening progressing than approaching so that is a good thing,” Legoland Malaysia ubiquitous manager Siegfried Boerst said.

The thesis park was creatively slated to open in 2013.

Legoland Malaysia is a initial Legoland in Asia and a sixth in a world. The 76 hactare thesis park facilities 7 themed areas with some-more than 40 interactive rides, shows and attractions.

Legoland started compelling a pre-opening annual passes late final year and Boerst remarkable that there was outrageous seductiveness in a thesis park from a open as good as trade partners. Much to a pleasure of Boerst, some-more than 45,000 annual passes have been snapped up.

Legoland

Magnificent: A tiny of a Sultan Abdul Samad Building featured in Legoland Malaysia.

“I trust seductiveness will grow with word of mouth quite when we open and people start entrance to knowledge what Legoland has to offer,” Boerst said.

The thesis park is targeting over a million visitors annually in a initial few years and Boerst expects caller numbers to strike 1.8 million by 2020. On average, annual pass holders are approaching to revisit Legoland 4 to 5 times a year.

The bulk of a park’s trade will especially be internal and Singaporean visitors, though skeleton are stirring to pull some-more general tourists.

The expansion in caller numbers, Boerst said, will be upheld by a flourishing tourism attention here.

“We wish to daub into a 40 million tourists a year approaching to come into Malaysia. We wish to be a partial of a attractions for new visitors as well,” he said.

Legoland Malaysia a partial of a tourism landscape

According to Tourism Malaysia, there were 24.7 million available traveller arrivals final year, with tourism profits totalling RM58.3bil. The Malaysia Tourism Plan 2020 is targeting 36 million traveller arrivals and RM168bil in tourism profits by 2020.

Legoland parks typically residence tiny Lego structures built around themes such as Star Wars as good as mini villages with landmarks in a area. Other Legoland parks are located in Denmark, Germany, a UK and a US.

Legoland

Hop on: A sight that runs by a park.

The heart of Legoland Malaysia is Miniland, that facilities several Asian landmarks recreated regulating some-more than 25 million Lego bricks.

Apart from Legoland’s possess features, Boerst believes that adult and entrance attractions circuitously will expostulate visitors to a Iskandar segment and by extension, to Legoland.

“Legoland fits good with a tourism post of Iskandar. There is a good judgment for Iskandar and we are operative with other attractions in a closeness to offer appealing packages,” Boerst said.

The Puteri Harbour Family Theme Park in Nusajaya is scheduled for a Nov opening with attractions such as Lat’s Place and a Sanrio Hello Kitty Theme Park among other things. Iskandar Malaysia is looking to supplement some-more thesis parks for a segment to boost tourism activity there.

Some have been discerning to indicate out that Legoland is no compare for Singapore’s integrated resorts, that have stronger products to offer. The attractions during a resorts embody Universal Studios Singapore, a casino and a Marine Life Park that support to a far-reaching operation of visitors compared to Legoland’s aim assembly of immature children.

Legoland

Legoland Malaysia indication builders Muhammad Khairul Zainon Noor (left) and Stefan Bentivoglio putting on a final square of a tiny Petronas Twin Towers.

But Boerst believes that Singapore’s resorts are not approach competitors.

“It is always good to have healthy competition, though we trust we can distinction from any other. Legoland’s participation here adds to a whole tourism captivate in this partial of South-East Asia and tourists on longer stays can revisit parks in both countries,” he said.

Additionally, a H2O park and Legoland Hotel are slated to be non-stop in 2013 and 2014 respectively, that would meant some-more integrated offerings for Legoland. This will pull longer-staying visitors and supplement to Legoland’s revenue.

Legoland expects to beget some-more than RM100mil in income in a initial year of operations. This will come from all a attractions in a park, restaurants as good as sell outlets.

“We should see operational distinction in a initial year itself, though to redeem a full investment will count on a long-term expansion of a park that customarily takes about 15 to 20 years,” Boerst said.

The total cost of a thesis park and designed H2O park is RM720mil, that is entirely saved by a Malaysian government, while a construction of a hotel will cost RM190mil.

Boerst said, nonetheless Legoland radically usually manages a park in Malaysia, UK-based Merlin Entertainments Group, a owners and user of a other Legoland parks, will demeanour into appropriation during slightest a 20% interest in Legoland Malaysia relocating forward.

This will boost Merlin’s strech in Asia, that is approaching to be a new stadium for thesis park operators as a North American and European markets mature and caller numbers plateau.

A news by Pricewaterhouse-Coopers foresee Asian thesis park assemblage to grow to 290 million in 2012 from 249 million in 2007, while spending in that duration is approaching to arise from US$6.4bil (RM19.93bil) to US$8.4bil.

Market investigate association Global Industry Analysts Inc estimates that a tellurian thesis parks marketplace could strech US$29.5bil by a year 2015 and US$31.8bil by 2017, charity copiousness of room for expansion in Asia.

Boerst pronounced Legoland might try into other Asian markets and is already in negotiations for a thesis park in South Korea.

Legoland

Sneak peak: A perspective of Miniland

“In Asia, a marketplace is outrageous and it is comparatively untapped. In a past, internal players tend to miss a financial strength and imagination to set adult unequivocally good thesis parks. But a marketplace is prepared for that now,” he said.

He remarkable that a party attention in East Asia quite is not jam-packed and as infrastructure improves and disposable income increases, a segment is branch out to be an critical market.

He combined that Legoland parks did not see most of a slack during a mercantile downturn notwithstanding views that consumers would cut down on convenience pursuits.

“We have seen a good 10% expansion in visitors and sales annually for a whole of a Merlin Group. we am certain that if everybody focuses on what needs to be finished here, we will see investments flourishing in Iskandar and that can usually be profitable for Legoland Malaysia.

“This is a new marketplace for us so we are optimistic,” he said. – By Joy Lee, Photos by Abdul Rahman Embong
and Kevin Tan

For more, greatfully revisit a Legoland Malaysia central website


Map: Legoland Malaysia


Legoland

Building frenzy

Legoland

Legoland Malaysia on track

Legoland Malaysia

Legoland to showcase iconic buildings

Legoland Malaysia

Paid to play

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