Malaysia Travel Guide

ITB ASIA, Another Successful Outing For Sarawak Partners

ITB ASIA, Another Successful Outing For Sarawak Partners

Singapore, Thursday – Sarawak tourism team presently in Singapore for a destination promotion scored another business success today, the second day of the ITB Asia outing held at the Marina Bay Sands Exhibition centre here.

Business appointments set earlier by the fair organiser has made Sarawak travel partners on their feet for the past two days with back-to-back meetings with  their international partners who showed interest in emerging destinations like Sarawak.

Yvonne Saman of the Marian Boutique Lodging House, a first timer for the business outing was excited and expressed satisfaction with the buyers’ quality she met during the business meetings.

‘We received positive feedback from buyers from India, China, Sri Lanka and Indonesia about the destination and our latest property in Kuching has been a hit for these buyers, she said.

Ahsweein Narayanan of Amogha Tours Travel Sdn Bhd, Kuching, also a new kid on the block, is pushing religious packages featuring Hindu, Buddhist and Taoist temples tours in Kuching besides promoting medical and corporate tours for Sarawak.

Meanwhile, Hannah Choo, Director of Sales of CPH Travel has kind words for the fair which she has attended over the years and adding that that they will return to participate next year.

Sarawak Tourism Board’s booth was a hive of business activity today and hoping that the final day tomorrow will see good return for the 11 industry partners attending the fair.

The Sarawak travel industry were represented by seven travel agents and two hotels, a venue provider – Borneo Convention Centre Kuching and Sarawak Convention Bureau.

From January to August this year, the Singapore arrivals has increased by 1.53% with arrivals totalling 25,922 visitors.

ITB Asia Singapore

Picture shows the happy faces of the Sarawak team led by Benedict Jimbau, Director of Marketing (eighth from left).

Issued by:

Communications Unit
T: +6 082-423600  F: +6 082-416700
E: [email protected]

Tourism Malaysia

Selangor’s rustic delights

Tour guide Rashid Hisham putting the finishing touches on a scarecrow in a padi field in TanjongKarang, Selangor.Tour guide Rashid Hisham putting the finishing touches on a scarecrow in a padi field in Tanjong
Karang, Selangor.

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

STANDING in knee-high grass under the blazing afternoon sun, Rashid Hisham takes a step back to survey his handiwork on the figure.

“This doesn’t look quite right. She needs something to make her look more ayu (demure),� he says, whipping out a white headscarf from a bag of clothes and throwing it over the scarecrow’s coconut head.

“Ah, I need a woman to tie this on her. I’m not very good at it,� the 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 the birds away, but they should not scare people.

We are in a padi field in an idyllic village tucked away in Tanjong Karang, Selangor, where the United Federation of Travel Agents’ Association (UFTAA) congress        delegates have gathered to try their hands at harvesting rice with traditional hand-held harvesting tools.

Rashid, a tour guide with Agrotourism Sungai Sireh, says he feels absolutely at home in the rice fields. Padi planting and harvesting is his specialty, and he often brings visitors to the area.

As it is padi-harvesting season, the delegates are shown a method of hand-threshing after their padi field expedition, which involved beating sheaves of rice stalks against a hard surface to separate the grains from the stalks.

On this post-congress familiarisation excursion hosted by Tourism Selangor, they are given a crash course on the community’s culture and rural lifestyle – a sneak peak into what visitors to the Agrotourism Homestay Sungai Sireh can expect to experience during their stay.

Despite it being their first time, a few of the delegates prove rather adept at ketupat-weaving as well.

The United Federation of Travel Agents’ Association (UFTAA) congress delegateswere taught how to weave ketupat at the Agrotourism Homestay Sungai Sireh.— ROUWEN LIN/The StarThe United Federation of Travel Agents’ Association (UFTAA) congress delegates
were taught how to weave ketupat at the Agrotourism Homestay Sungai Sireh.

The humble rice plant, common as it is here, is a novelty to many of them and they are quite delighted to reap the fruits of their labour. Placing a few stalks of rice carefully into her bag, Nevin Ozkan from Northern Cyprus says she intends to bring them home to her grandchildren.

“I would like to show them these rice stalks as it is nothing they have seen before. Back in Cyprus, we don’t have padi fields like you do here,� she says.

Ahmed Nor Osman from Somalia describes the rice harvesting experience as “very nice, very interesting.�

Wiping the sweat from his brow, he says, “But I didn’t expect it to be so hot here; it is just like in Somalia.�

All for one

Launched in April 1995, the homestay programme is a community-based agrotourism project. The main operation site is located in Sungai Sireh, but there are several other neighbouring villages involved.

Sixty homes have taken on the role of host family to visitors, and the number is growing by the day. Full board is offered (there are different packages available) and visitors can join in the daily activities of the community for the duration of their stay.

Global Environment Centre (GEC) senior biodiversity officer, Nagarajan Rengasamy, explains that GEC is collaborating with the homestay folks to help develop eco-tourism and agro-tourism products and programmes.

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

Depending on the time of year, visitors can participate in different community activities, including fishing, kayaking or fruit picking.

“We sometimes bring the visitors to the padi fields to catch eels with their bare hands. These eels burrow in the soft mud, make a hole in it, and then live in it. Some tourists are a bit apprehensive about using their hands, so we give them a fishing rod,� relates Nagarajan.

And catching the eel is only half the fun; the cooking and eating after that makes up the other half!

“The villagers will show them how to make soup with eel. They believe it is a nutritious tonic, very beneficial for one’s health,� he says.

Most evenings end with merry-making, complete with dance and song accompanied by traditional musical instruments.

Past and present

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

“The irrigation system in the padi fields are from the days of the Japanese occupation in the 1940s,� he shares. “So the Japanese in particular have a special interest in coming to visit the villages as we are still using the same technology that they introduced here.�

For visitors who have the means to return frequently, the homestay programme offers a little incentive out in the fields: an opportunity to monitor your crops.

A small site in the padi fields has been set aside solely for visitors to work on.

“They plant the padi and then can return as often as they like to check on the progress of the plants,� says Nagarajan.

“Four to five months later, it is ready to be harvested. Some people actually come back to harvest the rice they planted!�

One of the largest remaining contiguous areas of peatland in the Peninsula is accessible from these villages. Most of the peat swamp forests in the country have been logged or degraded, and this peat swamp forest, covering an area of 70,000ha, has been identified as a conservation site.

Nagarajan describes the North Selangor peat swamp forest as “really big – it is the size of Singapore!�

And lest you think that community living in the village is routine and perhaps dull, Nagarajan discloses that surprises are aplenty: just last September, around 500 Asian Openbill Storks descended upon the padi fields, where they remain until today.

These migratory birds, usually found in Sri Lanka, India and Thailand, are not commonly seen here.

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Tourism Malaysia

Maldives Hotel & Trade Exhibition 2011

The much anticipated Maldives Hotel and Trade Exhibition is here again. The MHTE held annually in country is the Maldives’ largest exhibition featuring a wide range of trading products and services from different trading companies drawn from tourism industry both locally and internationally. Maldives Hotel and Trade Exhibition (MHTE) is the official Exhibition of Maldives National Chamber of Commerce and Industry .

The history of this event goes way back to seven years ago when it was started to give a common platform for the tourism sector and other local and international exhibit their products and services. Within the seven years the event has come of age and it now draws participants from far and wide in South East Asian countries such as Singapore, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.

This year’s exhibition event will once again, see the convergence of over fifty companies interacting with two to three thousand trade professionals drawn from all sectors of the trade industry.

For more information, please visit:

Tourism Malaysia

Life Sdn Bhd 7: Refugees

October 23, 2011 at 2:00 pm

How does it feel like to not be able to see your family or friends ever again? To be evicted from your own country even though no crime was committed? This is what it means to be a refugee. As defined by the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (UNCHR) of 1951, a refugee is defined as a person who ‘owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country‘. Some refugees live a normal and comfortable life in their new homes, others do not fare so well. One common thing that all refugees share is their love for their own country.

Life Sdn Bhd 7: Refugees

In collaboration with UNCHR, The Actors Studio presents Life Sdn Bhd 7: REFUGEES, the seventh Life Sdn Bhd series that has been receiving great response from the public. This series will feature seven courageous men and women from Myanmar, Somalia and Sri Lanka, who will share their honest and compelling stories of their lives as refugees in Malaysia. Though they may have lost everything, these refugees, like the other many refugees seeking shelter in Malaysia, show an incredible courage and perseverance to remain steadfast and positive in their will to survive.

Joining the refugees on stage is Deborah Henry, who is a refugee rights advocate, and Susheela Balasundaram of UNCHR, together with singer-songwriters Ariff Akhir and Ian Chow. The Life Sdn Bhd 7: REFUGEES series will be held from 26th till 29th October at 8.30 pm AND 30th October at 3.00 pm. Tickets are priced at RM 33 for adults and RM 23 for students and TAS card holders. Viewers attending the preview night on 26th October will be charged a flat rate of RM 23 per entry. For more information, call The Actors Studio at 03 2142 2009 / 2143 2009 or log on to the website here.

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