M’sia one of the world’s best for business tourism

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has been recognised as one of the top 10 best international destinations for business tourism.

The award was bestowed at the Ninth China MICE Industry Golden Chair Awards ceremony in Beijing. (MICE is the acronym for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions.)

Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) chief executive officer Datuk Zulkefli Sharif said the award was testament to the nation’s capabilities and expertise in hosting business events on a global scale.

“It is an achievement to be proud of,” he said in a statement.

Throughout last year, MyCEB hosted many large international conferences, exhibitions, meetings and incentives groups.

“China is one of the top markets for corporate meetings and incentives, contributing 25% of this sector’s arrivals.

“Last year, Malaysia welcomed the Perfect China Incentive & Travel Seminar group that brought in 6,000 participants and the Infinitus Jiyang Overseas Training trip that saw some 4,800 participants,” said Zulkefli.

He added that getting the award in China was particularly meaningful, given the close bilateral ties between the countries.

Last year, MyCEB supported 214 business events – 78 conventions, 112 corporate meetings/incentives and 24 trade exhibitions – in Malaysia.

These events accounted for 108,105 international delegates and raked in RM825mil in visitor expenditure.

They also created an economic impact of RM1.3bil.

The China MICE Industry Golden Chair Awards is an authoritative award granted by MICE Magazine to commend hotels, destinations, airline companies and travel agencies.

Winners of the award are selected by trade reputation and reader feedback, and evaluated by a panel of experts from November 2015 until January 2016.

SOURCE : the star online

Singapore-based Scoot announces entry to Indian market, will launch flights to Chennai and Amritsar

Singapore-based carrier Scoot on Friday announced its entry into the Indian market with flight services to Chennai and Amritsar from next month, making it the fourth airline from the island city-state to establish its presence in the world’s fastest growing aviation market.

The long-haul, low-cost, wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore Airlines would also operate to Jaipur in the later part of the year, its country head Bharati Mahadevan said.

“We are going to start flights from May 24 into India. Chennai and Amritsar are both going to be launched the same day. Services to Jaipur will be launched from October 2, ” Mahadevan told PTI.

“We are a very young airline, just four years old, but have always been interested in the Indian market. Last year, when aircraft deliveries started coming in, we have been eying Indian market. We started the ground work early last year to commence operations here,” he said.

While Chennai will be a daily service, flights to Amritsar and Jaipur will operate three times a week to began with, Mahadevan said, adding that Soot’s India operations will be carried out with Boeing 787 Dreamliner in two class configuration — economy and premium economy.

CEO Campbell Wilson said, “Scoot is excited to bring our proposition of value travel and service to guests in India –
who will soon be able to fly to amazing destinations in our network through the Singapore hub.”

“Our launch in Chennai will complement the SIA Group’s existing services, while Scoot’s new services to Amritsar and Jaipur will bring travellers to the magnificent Golden Temple and the stunning Pink City, enabling guests in Scoot’s network to discover India’s mystique and allure,” he added.

While Chennai and Jaipur will have 335-seater 787-800 aircraft, services to Amritsar will be operated with a 375-seater 787-900, Mahadevan said.

The airline plans to scale up services to Amritsar and Jaipur to four times a week from July 1 and October 28 respectively, he said adding, “we hope to double our operations by 2017 in terms of number of cities.”

Scoot, which has a large part of its operations to Australia and China besides other regions and countries, has also announced special promotional all-inclusive economy class fares for its flights from India, starting as low as USD 64 (Rs 4,250 approx) and USD 179 (Rs 11,900 approx) for ScootBiz to various international destinations.

Besides parent Singapore Airlines, two of its subsidiaries Tiger Air and Silk Air also operate to India at present. SIA also holds 49 per cent stake in Indian full service carrier Vistara, in which Tata Sons is a majority stake holder with 51 per cent.

Once Scoot commences operations to the three cities here, Singapore Airlines group will become the largest international airline group operating into India in terms of destinations (16), Mahadevan said.

“It will also make the group the second largest airline operating out of India in terms of destinations,” he added.

“With these destinations, India will be number two market for SIA group in terms of number of destinations after China. And for Scoot, third market after China and Australia,” Mahadevan said.

Interestingly, domestic airlines’ body Federation of Indian Airlines which has Jet Airways, SpiceJet, IndiGo and GoAir as its members, is urging the government not to allow creation of overseas hubs by foreign carriers.

source : indianexpress.com

Tax rebates to boost travel

BANGKOK : Thai Hotels Association says the Thai Cabinet decision to reinstate tax rebates will help to boost the country’s tourism industry.

The Cabinet, on Tuesday, approved economic stimulus measures that kick in for the Songkran Festival, 9 to 17 April, that are designed to spur travel spending through tax rebates over the entire year.

Travellers can deduct up to THB15,000 when they file their tax returns for 2016 based on official invoice and billing for travel related services.

Beach vacationThe Cabinet also agreed to reinstate hotel accommodation as a tax deductible item until the end of this year after the ruling expired 31 December last year. The maximum deduction is also THB15,000 per person.

THA president, Surapong Techaruvichit, told members at an association meeting, on Wednesday, that the new measures allow travellers to deduct both travel and hotels costs as two separate bill items from their annual tax returns.

“Those who spend on hotels and travel during the Songkran Festival will be eligible for two types of tax deduction, including the cost of travel during the festival itself and also for accommodation. Therefore, the maximum tax deduction will be THB30,000 per person for the entire year.”

Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul estimates travel to Thailand during the Songkran holiday could reach 495,000 visits, up 26% from 391,918  last year. It should generate THB8,180 million in revenue, up 34% from THB6,122 million last year.

The average spend should reach THB16,525 per trip and the length of stay 3.12 days, she said.

There are also indicators that during the festival   94 charter, or scheduled charter flights, will wing in travellers from China, South Korea and Russia, she said, adding that 69 special flights will land in Bangkok, 21 in Phuket and four in Krabi with an overall capacity of 21,828 airline seats.

In the domestic market, the minister estimates around 2 million Thais will travel during the festival up 2%, and will generate and estimated THB7,000 million up 3.5%.

The downside is that hundreds of Thai travellers will die in accidents during the notorious seven deadly days of Songkhran and thousands will sustain injuries requiring hospital treatment. It costs the country billions in hospital costs and insurance payouts.

source – ttr weekly

Vietnam: Tourism up12% in January

HANOI, 1 February 2016: Vietnam National Administration of Tourism estimates the country welcomed 805,072 international travellers in January, this year, representing an increase of 12.3% over the same month last year.

South Korea was the top supply market with 149,330 visits improving 28.2%. Other top performers were China, Japan, the United States and Russia.

Thailand’s outbound trips to Vietnam registered ninth of the top 10 markets, recording 24,863 trips, up 30.9%.

inside no 4Neighbouring Cambodia slipped off the top 10 list posting 13,355 trips down 55.4%.

Outside the Asia/Pacific region significant markets include US (fourth), Russia (fifth) and the United Kingdom (10th).

The bulk of arrivals in January (659,394) passed through the two main aviation gateways Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

VNAT updated its data on its website, late last week, sourced from the government statistics office.

This year, VNAT targets 8.5 million foreign visits compared to 7.9 million last year.

VNAT general director, Nguyen Van Tuan, said that tourism should grow by two digits in the first quarter this year.

Top 10 main markets for Vietnam tourism January 2016inside-no-41

More to travel over long weekends

SINGAPORE: Both Malaysia and Singapore will have a series of long weekends this year, which means more people will be taking advantage of the breaks to travel.

There will be eight long weekends (holidays either falling on a Friday or Monday) for Malaysia and six for Singapore.

Tickets for Malaysia-bound buses are already in high demand, despite the three-fold increase in prices during the Chinese New Year period.

According to the Express and Excursion Bus Association, 12 express bus operators had raised fares to between S$90 and S$150 (RM275 and RM460).

Tickets for Feb 5, which is the Friday before the long Chinese New Year weekend, are already sold out, while 80% of the tickets for Feb 6 have been sold, the association said.