Wednesday, March 31, 2010
By Ollie Quiniquini
In a year when travel markets suffered massive hits, online bookings actually grew for GDSs.
Amadeus saw online travel agent bookings grow 119 per cent last year, over 2008. Amadeus Asia-Pacific president David Brett said: “This growth has not come at the expense of travel agents who still maintain a critical role since many travellers need the type of value-added services that cannot be fulfilled online.”
The online travel segment performed just as strongly for Abacus International. President and CEO, Robert Bailey, said online bookings increased by more than 15 per cent in 2009, despite the global economic downturn. He believes growth for this segment would accelerate by 20 per cent this year.
Bailey said: “Higher Internet penetration and rising incomes from the emerging markets will bring forth an increased dependence on (the online) channel for travel consumption.”Citing PhocusWright fore-casts of a 20 to 30 per cent increase in online bookings this year, Abacus International vice president channel management Patrick Lai said Taiwan, South Korea and India were among the fastest-growing markets for online growth.
Bailey added that the GDS managed to make further inroads last year in the online segment of markets such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and China.Travelport figures were not available at press time but president and managing director Asia-Pacific, Simon Nowroz, said many online travel agents (OTAs) achieved double-digit growth last year as “customers, particularly leisure travellers, sought to cut costs and search for low fares and competitive hotel rates”.
According to Nowroz, Asia-Pacific online travel is now worth almost US$30 billion annually, with OTAs holding approximately 43 per cent of this business.“This year, we should not be surprised if more OTAs establish themselves, particularly supporting niche customer segments,” said Nowroz.With the online space growing in importance, GDSs are concentrating on providing online solutions for travel agents. Last month, Abacus launched the newest version of Abacus WebStart, which integrates with Abacus FareX net fares solution and allows online payment.
Travel agents across Asia have ranked the online channel as one of the top items in their 2010 wish list. Responses for the Abacus Asia Travel Sentiment Survey indicate that market players are gradually shifting to embrace the online platform as one of their core revenue streams in the new decade.Of the travel agencies that do not have an online business component at present, 71.3 per cent intend to develop one.
More than half of these respondents said their website will be ready within the next six months.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
MALACCA TOURISM ASSOCIATION
No. 199A Taman Melaka Raya, Bandar Hilir, 75000 Melaka, Malaysia. Tel: 06-2848234 Fax: 06-2833315/06-2818408
email: firstname.lastname@example.org website: www.malaccatourism.com
COMMITTEE MEMBERS OF MALACCA TOURISM
ASSOCIATION ( 2010 – 2012)
Immediate Past President :
Datuk Seet Tiang Chye Restoran Ole Sayang Sdn. Bhd
198-199, Taman Melaka Raya, 75000 Melaka.
Tel. No : 06-2831966 Fax No:06-2833315
H/P No: 012-6811848
Mdm. Madelina Kuah Wey Lee, BKT, PJK Kenzar Travel & Tours Sdn. Bhd.
No. 113-A, Jalan TMR 24, Taman Melaka Raya, 75000 Melaka.
Tel. No : 06-2811133 Fax No:06-2811122
H/P No: 019-6657221
Encik Sazali Sabri Seri Malaysia Melaka Hotel
Lebuh Ayer Keroh, Melaka, 75760 Melaka
Tel. No: 06-2328464 Fax: 06-2328470
H/P: 012 2315685
Encik Simon Buenaventura, BKT, PBM Straits Meridian Hotel
No. 1, Jalan Malinja, Taman Malinja, Bukit
Baru, 75150 Melaka.
Tel. No : 06-2841166 Fax No:06-2830030
H/P No: 012-6547710
Tuan Hj A.P. Moidu B.T. Abu Bakar,PJK Syarikat Abdul
No. 36, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock , 75200 Melaka.
Tel. No : 06-2823633 Fax No:06-2823627
H/P No: 012-6285419
Mr. Gunabalan A/L V.G. Balmic Management Services & Enterprise
Balasubramanian 828H, Taman Kerjasama, Jalan Zamrud 1
Tel. No: 06-3311220 Fax No:06-3344715
H/P No: 012-6050446
Mr. Francis Lim Mahkota Medical Centre Sdn. Bhd.
No.3, Mahkota Melaka, Jalan Merdeka
Tel. No: 06-2852888 Fax No:06-2812399
H/P No: 012-3859112
Encik Salman Hj Salim Akademi Pelancongan Melaka Sdn Bhd
Aras 1, Bangunan Mahkamah Majstret MBMB
Jalan Tun Sri Lanang, 75150 Melaka
Tel. No: 06-2869960 Fax No:06-2869961
H/P No: 012-7232280
Puan Latifah Mohd Abdul Wahab LMN Travel & Tours Sdn Bhd
61-2, Jalan BPM 1, Taman Bukit Piatu Mutiara
Tel. No: 06-2860399 Fax No:06-2860397
H/P No: 017-6927917
Encik Bharat Kantilal Malacca Straits Hotel
No.27, Jalan Chan Koon Cheng (Off Jalan Parameswara)
Tel. No: 06-2861888 Fax No:06-2921199
H/P No: 012-2231199
Puan Irene Huang Cheng Ho Cultural Museum Sdn Bhd
51, Lorong Hang Jebat, 75200 Melaka
Tel. No: 06-2831135 Fax No:06-2831132
H/P No: 012-6811771
Executive Secretary :
Miss Cheong Fay Fong Persatuan Pelancongan Negeri Melaka
No.199A, Taman Melaka Raya
Tel: 06-2848234 Fax: 06-2818408
H/P No. 017-6813901
KURSUS ETIKA TELEFON : At Straits Meridian Hotel, Melaka was organized by Persatuan Pelancongan Negeri Melaka (MTA), Hotel Straits Meridan and Akademi Pelancongan Melaka
The association is pleased to inform that MTA had subsidised half of the cost of the fee i.e. RM20.00 each for our members which was limited to 20 paxs and was on a first come , first serve basis.
"1 MALAYSIA , MELAKA MAJU 2010”
PERSATUAN PELANCONGAN NEGERI MELAKA
DATUK SEET TIANG CHYE
Pls click on the link below to appreciate the luxury of animated
advertising and protocol From THE TIMES ONLINE LUXX:
The LIFE STYLE Column is particularly interesting ,
You would need to click on the Top Right picture to get the Video running :)
Monday, March 29, 2010
If you go through life free of bad habits, you won't live forever, but it will feel like it.
- - - - - - - - - - - -By D.A. Blyler
It all starts one quiet afternoon at the brew-pub.
I'm sitting with my associate Bobby, enjoying a pint of the house ale, when Stephen Covey (author of "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People") suddenly appears on the bar television.
I can't quite describe the level of annoyance that the bald business guru brings to a room of gentle drinkers, trying to enjoy themselves while the rest of the populace is at work, but a sudden wail from a man in the far corner, similar to that of a small dog yanked forcefully by the tail, alerts everyone that something is terribly wrong. In a matter of moments all eyes are fixed in distress upon the television.
Soon customers with clenched fists start to share horror stories of managers who force-fed Covey's book to them. And of group leaders who scurried around the office pasting up signs like: "Synergy!" or "Be Proactive!" or "What would Covey do in your situation?"
Rage and desperation had finally forced our fellow drinkers to leave their professions and find solace in the thick, rich ales fermented by the pub's microbrewery.
Bobby and I are amazed. Having spent 10 years carving out lives as professional grad students, we've been oblivious to the rising tide of worker despair. I remember seeing a Covey infomercial several months back; it seemed harmless enough. Watching employees become automatons spouting Covey's catch phrases at every opportunity was the funniest thing I had seen on television in quite a while.
But now, as the man in the corner begins weeping, Bobby and I realize that larger issues are at hand.
Covey is no business guru, but rather the result of a world gone awry -- the world of work made worthless. Gone are the large expense accounts. Gone are the smoke breaks and three martini lunches. Gone are the innocent office flirtations. Good lord, who would want to work in an environment like that?
I slam my fist on the table. "We need a book about the 7 Vices of Highly Creative People before the whole country ends up in a straitjacket!" Bobby agrees enthusiastically, grabs a stack of napkins and begins writing. All the years we've spent studying history and literature are finally paying off. It isn't easy. But after six hours and five pitchers we finish the job. The pub closes so we gather the napkins and head for a late-night bar to celebrate. It isn't quite a book, but what the hell. We have better things to do than write another damn self-help book.
Vice one: Be a drinker
Winston Churchill, a great fan of the martini, once said that it must always be remembered that he has taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of him. For Churchill, like many other great drinkers, alcohol was a tool used to feed creativity and social discourse. For others, like Ernest Hemingway, alcohol was a way to place the mind on a different plane after writing all day at a desk. This is what old Papa had to say:
I have drunk since I was 15 and few things have given me more pleasure. When you work all day with your head and know you must again work the next day, what else can change your ideas and make them run on a different plane like whiskey?
Some people might say that this is to use alcohol as a crutch, but that's always been the case. Mark Twain, who drank from morning until night, would periodically abstain from drink and smoke just to silence the critics who said he was a slave to his vices. And on his feistier days, he would give them a severe tongue-lashing. "You can't get to old age by another man's road!" he'd scream. "My vices protect me but they would assassinate you!" His critics would then shuffle away to their 12-step programs and the organizing of their sock drawers.
To be a drinker means, of course, to be social. Sure, it's all right to drink by oneself on occasion. But because the highly creative live so often in the private world of ideas, they also need to mingle with their friends at a good party.
That's why F. Scott Fitzgerald threw his fantastic "Gatsbyesque" parties on Long Island, inviting such other besotted artists as Gloria Swanson, Sherwood Anderson, John Dos Passos and Dorothy Parker. Remember, though, that when entertaining the highly creative some ground rules need to be set. Fitzgerald's were posted at the entrance to his home in Great Neck:
"Visitors are requested not to break down doors in search of liquor, even when authorized to do so by the host and hostess ... Weekend guests are respectfully notified that the invitation to stay over Monday issued by the host-hostess during the small hours of Sunday morning must not be taken seriously".
It's always good to think ahead.
Lastly, something should be said for the occasional weekend bender, that is as long as your head is in the right place. If a person is suppressing problems or going through severe emotional distress, alcohol can bring out bad tendencies ... like singing karaoke. But if you're secure with yourself, the occasional bender can be a rather helpful mystical experience. As Henry James once wrote, "Sobriety diminishes, discriminates and says no, while drunkenness expands, unites and says yes!"
Vice Two: Begin with a Smoke
In today's climate, smoking might be the most unpopular of all the vices. To say that the furor over its ill effects has reached irrational levels is an understatement. Let's accept the guidance of journalist Fletcher Knebel, who keenly observed as far back as 1961 that smoking is the leading cause of statistics. The fact is that most people who smoke don't die of lung cancer. But all people who don't smoke do die of something. Marlene Dietrich, who had her own special love of cigarettes, put it into proper perspective:
People who quit smoking think that they have made a pact with the devil and believe they will never die. In reality they die from other illnesses: intestinal cancer, stomach cancer, cancer of the pancreas. Cancer forever gropes around for further victims.
So let's not place blame on the lowly cigarette for the infirmities of the world. Yes, smoking has its risks. So does getting out of bed in the morning. But a good smoke is often a lovely affair worth pursuing.
Take the great Spanish filmmaker Luis Bu�uel, an ardent lover of tobacco and life's pleasures. He elevated cigarettes to the level of poetry:
"If alcohol is queen, then tobacco is her consort. It's a fond companion for all occasions, a loyal friend through fair weather and foul. People smoke to celebrate a happy moment or hide a bitter regret. I love to touch the pack in my pocket, open it, savor the feel of the cigarette between my fingers, the paper on my lips, the taste of tobacco on my tongue. I love to watch the flame spurt up, love to watch it come closer and closer, filling me with its warmth".
Makes you want to light one up right now, doesn't it?
Smoking has often been linked with creative genius. For example, French philosopher Albert Camus is well known to have savored his smokes though his lungs were withered by tuberculosis.
And who can imagine Albert Einstein without his pipe, George Burns without his cigar or Jackson Pollock without a cigarette dangling from his lips?
Though a stimulant, smoking has a relaxing influence and allows the mind to empty itself, enabling new thoughts to enter.
Following the wisps of smoke as they leave one's mouth might actually be thought of as a creative exercise or, at the very least, as Oscar Wilde once observed, smoking a cigarette is "a perfect pleasure, because they are exquisite and leave one unsatisfied."
Vice Three: Put Gambling First
Gambling is at the heart of every worthwhile accomplishment in life. Consequently, vice three is essential for the success of your creativity. Instinctively, the highly creative person knows that nothing matters except the throw of the dice. As the French say, "There are two great pleasures in gambling: that of winning and that of losing." Or, in the words of Mark Twain, "There are two times in a man's life when he should [gamble]: when he can't afford it and when he can." These are vital lessons.
The world is full of stories of highly creative people whose success was based on the big gamble. A young Steven Spielberg sneaks into a Hollywood film studio, sets up an office and proceeds to act like an employee, thus beginning the most lucrative directorial career in history. Thirty-year-old Henry Miller moves to Paris with little money and no prospects, determined to become the most talked-about American novelist of his generation, and does. Hugh Hefner boldly walks into the offices of John Baumgarth and acquires the rights to reproduce the photograph of a nude Marilyn Monroe, a little known starlet, for his yet-to-be-published magazine.
Certainly, there are horrifying stories of those who gambled and lost heavily, whose compulsive involvement in games of chance, often played out in the arena of big business, nearly ruined them and scores of others. But it's not until the end of life that we truly know what we've won or lost. French philosopher Denis Diderot summed it up eloquently:
"The world is the house of the strong. I shall not know until the end what I have lost or won in this place, in this vast gambling den where I have spent more than 60 years, dicebox in hand, shaking the dice".
Vice Four: Think Oysters
The hysteria concerning eating habits has nearly reached the grotesque levels granted smoking. Fat or non-fat? Cholesterol free? Salt or no salt? Most eaters, as long as they exercise a modicum of restraint, don't have to worry about dying from their diet. And all those critics who have tried to convince us that food is poison should be taken behind the shed and whipped with a massive slice of uncooked bacon.
Let us bow to the wisdom of the marvelous chef Julia Child, now an octogenarian. When asked about so-called health foods and non-fat products, she gnashed her teeth and stated emphatically that she never would buy such crap, that they have nothing to do with the enjoyment of life.
Make no mistake, the highly creative do enjoy life. Sure, sometimes there is a suicide among the group, and many are often prone to fits of depression. But when they finally decide to stop wallowing in their suffering, they embrace life with passion. And when it comes to food, they want to eat well, and eat properly. In other words, foie gras, fresh asparagus and filet mignon will always win out over a plate of french fries and greasy burgers. At least it will for those who are truly creative and whose imaginations permeate their lifestyles as well as their art.
Something that sadly can't be said of lesser creatives -- Rosie O'Donnell and Tom Arnold come to mind.
Certain foods are frequently associated with highly creative people. None more so than the oyster. The inspiration of this shellfish can be traced throughout the canon of English literature.
From Geoffrey Chaucer to George Bernard Shaw, it reaches its zenith with a tribute by Saki, who wrote, "The oyster is more beautiful than any religion, nothing in Buddhism or Christianity matches its sympathetic unselfishness."
I'm not sure I would describe them in such exalted terms, but I do know I have had more invigorating conversations with writers and painters over a plate or two of fresh oysters than any other food. The elegant bivalves inspire a level of discourse often missing in our quick-meal culture -- yet one that any dining experience should never be without. And for many people there is the added pleasure of oysters being the next best thing to sex. After all, we don't eat for the good of living but the enjoyment of it.
Vice Five: Seek Fashion First, Then seek to be Understood
In these days of dressing down and "casual Fridays," it's prudent to remember that the highly creative have always known that communication with words is secondary. When winning friends and influencing people, the primary concern is your attire -- your own peculiar fashion statement.
It is through the impact of this image that both friends and enemies will initially come to know you. What is more gratifying than having everyone stop and stare, wondering why they feel so drab and ineffectual, when you enter a room? If you've got a stylish wardrobe, the battle to be understood is merely a stroll in the park.
One of the inevitable consequences of dressing down is that everyone today looks the same -- and those with designer logos like Hilfiger plastered on their clothes look plain stupid. The highly creative always choose their wardrobes with a more consistent flair. Whether it be Picasso with his striped sailors' tops, which he imagined gave him an eternally boyish edge; or Hugh Hefner with his classic pipe and silk pajamas, which he believed gave him a kind of worldly nonchalance (and could be stripped off quickly when opportunity knocked); the creative spirit picks a style and sticks with it.
Today there is a growing demand for comfort without any regard for style that numbs the mind. Comfort is, at times, a worthwhile consideration. But simply because your clothes aren't comfortable doesn't mean you can't enjoy them. In the days of Mozart, fashion was notoriously uncomfortable. Yet in a letter to his sister he once gushed, "We put on our new clothes and were as beautiful as angels." Sure, he sounds like a twit, but the important point is that the beauty and style of Mozart's wardrobe overshadowed any discomfort.
And it is this attitude that inspired our own Benjamin Franklin to proclaim, "We eat to please ourselves, but dress to please others."
Vice Six: Sex
The sexual appetite and prowess of those possessed by creativity can't be argued. Anecdotes abound regarding the bedroom antics of famous writers, artists and actors. But why is it that sex yields such power over these individuals?
Perhaps Omar Sharif summed it up best when he remarked, "Making love? It's communion with a woman. The bed is our holy table. There I find passion and purification." This sense of purification is extremely important, because such an experience is needed to begin the whole creative process anew, and is a state difficult to achieve now that religious rituals have fallen by the wayside.
The catharsis that comes from this experience often leads highly creative people to pursue several lovers. And many are venomously referred to as philandering Don Juans. But it isn't for lack of affection that a Don Juan goes from woman to woman, as Camus explained: "But rather because he loves them with equal enthusiasm and each time with all himself, that he must repeat this gift and this exploration. Why must one love rarely to love well?"
Richard Burton's lovers would agree. They proclaimed it made no difference if he were with another woman the following week because when he was with them they were his whole world (try finding a woman that understanding these days). But it's not surprising that Burton found so many willing lovers. This is how he described his lovemaking: "When you are with the only woman -- the only one you think there is for that moment -- you must love her and know her body as you would think a great musician would orchestrate a divine theme." (Today most men maneuver themselves the way a line cook orchestrates a three-minute egg.) Consequently, Burton felt that in many ways he was monogamous, because when he was with one woman, he never thought of another. Needless to say, the highly creative are highly creative at rationalizing their behavior.
Lastly, something need be said with regard to the highly creative who are lovers of the same sex. Writer and historian Gore Vidal is quoted famously as stating, "There are no heterosexuals or homosexuals, only homo- or heterosexual acts. Most people are a mixture of impulses." Maybe. But before the days of George Michael and public toilet rendezvous, sex for those driven by a desire for their own gender often took an even more mystical form than heterosexual love. In the mind of American poet Walt Whitman, sex encompassed:
all bodies, souls, meanings, proofs, delicacies, results, promulgations, songs, commands, health, pride, the maternal mystery, the seminal milk, all hopes, benefactions, bestowals, all the passions, loves, beauties, and delights of the earth.
Vice Seven: Abuse the Card
To nurture the previous six vices resources are needed. Because most highly creative people never fully enter the work force, nor make a salary sufficient to their needs, credit is a necessity. Hunter S. Thompson cut to the chase nicely when he declared that the first and most important rule of a writer is: abuse your credit for all it's worth. The highly creative travel an expensive road, and the best way to stay between the yellow lines, or at the very least keep food on your table, is to Abuse the Card. And the larger the debt the better the bet. As the essayist Samuel
Small debts are like a small shot -- they are rattling on every side and can barely be escaped without a wound. Great debts are like a cannon, of loud noise but little danger.
Which must be the reason I feel so safe and secure when my card authorizes another round of drinks for the table.
Don't fear if your creditors come closing in on you.
When the highly creative find themselves in financial straits, they skip town.
For example, in 1891 Mark Twain took a much-deserved vacation in Europe, which lasted nine years, leaving his legion of creditors to antagonize the less fortunate along the banks of the Mississippi. Today, it is even easier to take a long, literary holiday.
And don't forget, bankruptcy is an option always worth considering. In fact, some highly creative people find utter destitution spiritually enriching.
Novelist John Updike once wrote:
Bankruptcy is a sacred state, a condition beyond conditions, as theologians might say, and attempts to investigate it are necessarily obscene, like spiritualism. One only knows that he has passed into it, and lives beyond us, in a condition not ours.
Having nearly reached this "sacred state" several times already, I can't say I would describe it in such lofty terms.
I prefer the more pragmatic view Shakespeare took: "He who dies pays all debt." Or Oscar Wilde's strangely sentimental one, "It is only by not paying one's bills that one can remain in the memory of the commercial classes." For my part, I'm doing all that I can to be remembered for a very long time.
In the end, everyone should remember that the highly creative always have expectations of great things. Their accumulated debt should thus be viewed only as an advance on their future earnings. But it's not an easy life. One should never underestimate the amount of distress caused by overzealous creditors. Especially when they bear down on poor debt-ridden artists, for these harassed souls are often the true visionaries of our time, or any time. When approached yet again by one of his many creditors, Lord Byron implored, "It is very iniquitous of you to make me pay my debts. You have no idea the pain it gives one." I feel his pain.
If anyone should still be left unconvinced on the benefits of pursuing these vices, let us remember these sage words of Abraham Lincoln:
"It has been my experience that those with no vices have very few virtues."
Keep that one in mind during the next presidential election. salon.com Feb. 9, 2000
- - - - - - - - - - - -
About the writerD.A. Blyler is the author of two collections of poetry, "Shared Solitude" and "Diary of a Seducer." He is also the author of "The Expatriates," a screenplay and "The Pillars on Horseback," a play. He lives in the Czech Republic.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Malacca. It's a name, like Rangoon, Timbuktu and Mandalay, that evokes the glory days of the British Empire, when chaps went about in pith helmets, swishing malacca canes. A trip to Malacca should definitely involve a steamer, a bullock cart and leather suitcases.
But when I leave the air-conditioned bus, I know I'm in a real hot spot and a humid one at that. I could easily fill a pith helmet with sweat after a short hop down to the Old Town, picking my way beside a busy road along broken footpaths covering deep stormwater drains and stepping around stalls where Indian vendors are threading garlands of flowers with Bollywood music blaring from their stereos.
At the square in front of the 18th-century Dutch Christ Church, a gaggle of trishaws, decorated with plastic flowers, patiently waits for trade. Souvenir stalls sell leather hats, cane backscratchers, wooden foot massagers, flip-flop sandals, sepia photos of old Malacca and kitsch painted kittens.
By now I've worked out there's not a lot to do in Melaka. There is shopping, of course, but Melaka Megamall sells the same stuff you can get anywhere else.
The old Dutch Stadhuys (town hall) is now a museum dedicated to the history of Melaka, which since the 16th century has been ruled by in turn the Portuguese, Dutch, British and Japanese. St Francis Xavier gave Catholicism a toehold here in 1545.
It's lunch and Melaka's food is excellent and cheap. Calanthe Art Cafe serves asam pedas - a clay pot of spicy stingray and vegetables - West Malaysian coffee and a brilliant mango lassi drink (a fruit, milk and yoghurt mix), all for less than $7.
As evening falls I take a break on a warm concrete bench beside the river. A breeze has sprung up, the night is balmy and hundreds of screeching mynah birds roost in floodlit trees. A crescent moon hangs overhead and, from the mosque, the muezzin starts his call to prayer, singing much better than the contestants on Celebrity Karaoke, which flashed across my hotel television earlier. The muezzin doesn't have to read the words to an Alicia Keys number off a jerky teleprompter, though.
The waterfront restaurants fold up their awnings and put out extra chairs on the terraces. Craft stalls appear along the length of Jonkers Street, now closed to cars and opened to pedestrians. A gentleman sips a beer while a large green iguana perches on his shoulder. There are a few surprises in Melaka still; like the sudden opening of the heavens. I can't even shelter in a doorstep for fear of insincere people with their Satanic knots.
But the rain soon passes and my wet shirt is refreshingly cool, like the rest of Melaka.
TRIP NOTES :
Singapore Airlines flies Sydney to Singapore from $1055.90 return. See singaporeair.com.
Konsortium Bus from Singapore to Melaka takes less than four hours and costs from $S72 ($56) return. See easibook.com.
WHERE TO STAY
Hotel Puri, near Jonkers Street, has double rooms from RM120 ($39.60). See hotelpuri.com.
Entrance to all museums listed is RM5 or less. See tourism-melaka.com.
Source: The Sun-Herald
Botswana Debate team Shines in Malaysian, placing 10th out of 80
by Telegraph Reporter
18.03.2010 10:14:11 A
The International Islamic University of Malaysia has emerged as the champions of the second Malaysia Debate Open, which ended last week in Malaysia.
This week long international debating event was hosted by Voice Melaka Debating Society of Multimedia University Melaka in Malaysia. The International Islamic University beat team DITI of the experienced trio Prabha, Rafiq & Dr.Omar in the grand final held in the magnificent Dewan Seri Negeri, Melaka.
The tournament, in its second year, hosted more than 480 participants and 80 teams of 3 participants each in its mission to promote better international understanding both in debating as a demanding extra-curricular, to educate the youth in public-speaking, create an active citizenry, promote critical thinking and English proficiency.
The tournament was conducted in the Asian Parliamentary Style of Debating and comprised of more than 53 university campuses across Malaysia and universities from, Indonesia, Qatar, India, Japan, China and Thailand.
With the help of The Sunday Standard and Native Impressions, the University of Botswana fielded its maiden team of Masego Phoi, Ruth Mulenga and Ummar Kevin Segadimo.
The Botswana team was ranked 10 out of 80 international debate teams and 53 debate institutions.
Ruth Mulenga was placed among the top 20 speakers, a great achievement for team Botswana who were only using the unfamiliar Asian Parliamentary Debating Format for the first time, a 3 on 3 debate style.
The best speaker of the tournament was Tasneem from IIUM and the Grand Final Best Speaker was Prabha (DITI).
The event was open to everyone around the globe, including university professors and retired debaters who still wish to debate.
The event was supported by Datuk Seri Mohd Ali bin Mohd Rustam, the Chief Minister of Melaka along with director of various state departments from the Chief Minister’s office.
The Malaysia Debate Open is an annual championship hosted by the debating society of Multimedia University Melaka campus. This year, the Melaka State Government collaborated with the university to be part of the event.
More details can be found on the official website of the 2nd Malaysia Debate Open: www.malaysiadebateopen.com
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Food & Hotel Asia 2010
20 - 23 April 2010 (Tuesday - Friday)
10:00am – 6:00pm (20 – 22 April, Tuesday – Thursday)
10.00am – 4:00pm (23 April, Friday)
Singapore Expo, Halls 2-9
Projected Statistics :
20 - 23 April 2010 (Tuesday - Friday)
Admission is restricted to trade professionals only.
Minors below the age of 16 will not be allowed entry into exhibition halls.
Trade visitors who do not hold complimentary tickets or pre-registration letters will have to pay an admission fee of SGD80 to visit the exhibition.
Visitor badges are non-transferable due to security reasons. You may be asked by security personnel to present proof of identification before entry into the exhibition.
Visitor registration will stop 15 minutes before the closing time during all four days of the exhibition.
All visitors must be in proper business attire. Those in shorts, bermudas, singlets, slippers or sports sandals will not be allowed entry. The Organiser reserves the right to refuse admission to visitors who are not appropriately dressed.
Organiser: Singapore Exhibition Services (SES)
Friday, March 19, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Businesses often ask us if they should use Facebook ads. Many businesses are skeptical about using the ads and question if they will be effective or not. We recommend that businesses do use Facebook ads, but that they do so with clear goals in mind, and that they follow best practices when it comes to designing, targeting, testing, and tracking their ads.
Before using Facebook ads, businesses should understand the advertising platform.
As with any advertising medium, the objective of using Facebooks ads is to increase your business.
Facebook ads have the power to do this, but as their representatives often state, their platform is primarily in demand generation rather than demand fulfillment.
1 In other words Facebook considers itself to be a platform where you can generate interest in your brand – demand generation, which typically happens at the top of the sales funnel. Once consumers have decided to take action, they may conduct more specific searches on Google, which can be used for demand fulfillment.
Facebook ads are used more to stimulate interest in a brand, and engage with customers early in the buying & decsion making cycle. As the Facebook marketing slogan states, ‘Find your customers before they search.’
What are Facebook Ads? Facebook ads appear on the right-hand column of the Facebook pages and are highly targeted to the users’ profiles and interests. Advertisers can easily create ads through their own account, and can set a minimum budget for as low as $1 a day.
You can choose to bid by CPC (cost per click), or by CPM (cost per thousand impressions).
Only three ads may show at a time on a page, and the ads to be displayed are determined by an algorithm that takes into account the ad performance and the bid.
Advertisers can run multiple ads simultaneously, and can set up start and end dates up to 30 days in advance. You can then track the performance of your ads through the Facebook reports and your analytics software. How can my businesses and hotels benefit from using Facebook Ads?
Targeted Messaging :
Facebook compiles personal information from its users’ profiles and interests, and will display your ads to people who match the criteria you specify. This is extremely beneficial for businesses/hotels, because they typically have different segments with different target audiences that will require different ads.
For example, you may want to create an ad to promote weddings at your hotel. You can specify that your ads be shown only to females, who are engaged, between the ages of 20-35, and who live in a specific state, or province.
You could also create ads about your spa, restaurant, or meeting space, and select different demographics for each ad. The targeting options you can choose from include location, age, birthday, sex, keywords, education, workplaces, relationships, interested in men or women, languages, connections, and friends of connections.
Below is a brief description of how these options can help your hotel send targeted messages: Target people in different countries, cities, or states: This option is very useful to hotels. For example, a beach resort that is a short distance from a city may run a summer campaign targeted exclusively to people who live in that city.
You may also want to run an international campaign to promote your hotel to an overseas market. Create ads that will appeal to different age groups: Different types of hotels may appeal to different age groups.
For example, a golf resort may want to target an older demographic than a modern urban hotel. Send people special offers on their birthdays: Create a separate ad with a birthday image and perhaps a special offer.
Target to men or women: Different ads will appeal to different genders. For example, you could create two ads for the same weekend getaway, one that would appeal more to women, and one that would appeal more to men.
Use keywords that match users’ interests:
This is the most important targeting option. When a Facebook user sets up an account, they can reveal a lot of personal information about themselves, including their basic information, where they went to school, and where they work.
There is also a personal profile where users can list their favorite activities, interests, favorite music, favorite TV shows, and favorite books.
As an advertiser, you can select words (keywords) to target, and your ad will be displayed to people who have used that word somewhere in their profile.
For example, if I am creating an ad to promote my restaurant, I would need to think of the words that someone interested in food and dining might include in their profile, such as such as, ‘dining out,’ ‘gourmet food,’ or ‘cooking.’ If I include these words in the keyword section, my ad will be displayed to people who have used these words in their profile.
You should create different versions of your ads to match different profiles. For example, think of the city or town you are in.
Why do people go there? Some go to ski, to see a sports event, to shop, to see the sights, to go to a show, to visit a museum, etc.
You could create an ad for your hotel that includes an image of a museum in your city, and display it to people who are have expressed an interest in art or in visiting museums. You could take the same ad, and include an image of a famous sports event in your town, and display it to people who are interested in sports, a specific team, or a specific event.
Customize your ads to students of specific universities: Send an ad to students of a specific university, and offer them a special discount for family members.
For example, employees of ‘Compstar Rhode Island’ would be interested in an ad that stated, ‘50% Discount on Weekend Retreat for Compstar, Rhode Island Employees!’
Target wedding ads to couples who are engaged, or offer weekend getaways for married couples: Relationship targeting is very useful to hotels.
You could promote weddings at your hotel to couples who are engaged. You could even go a step further and create a separate ad for the bride-to-be, and another one for the groom-to-be.
With Facebook ads you can also target married couples of various age groups, and offer weekend getaways.
Create ads in different languages: People respond better to ads that are in their own language.
Create ads that will appeal to foreign language speakers and tap into new markets.
Create ads exclusive to your fans with Connection Targeting: Connection targeting allows you to send ads targeted to people who are fans of your page, people who have used your applications, members of any groups you may have, or people who have RSVP’d to one of your events.
Send your connections a special offer, and encourage them to share it with their own network of friends and family. Your connections have already proclaimed their interest in your brand, and they will be happy to engage with you.
You also have the option to exclude your connections from seeing an ad, for example if you are sending an ad to promote your Facebook page, you may not want to send it to people who are already fans of your page.
You can even send ads that target the friends of your connections:One step further than connection targeting, you can also target friends of your connections.
For example, let’s say that Sally is a fan of your hotel Facebook page. When your restaurant/business/hotel sends an ad, you can select the ‘friends of connections’ option, and all of Sally’s friends will receive your ad.
Even more exciting, the ad will also announce that their friend Sally is a fan of your hotel Facebook page. Sally’s friends are more likely to click on your ad because they trust Sally, and they will be curious about your hotel.
Facebook users who fit a specific profile will welcome your ad.
There has been some controversy whether ads should appear on Facebook, because it is mainly a place to socialize, not shop. However, the Facebook ads targeting options allow you to target people who have already proclaimed an interest in things related to your hotel or to travel. For example, they may have expressed an interest in your city, an interest in an activity your city offers, an interest in dining out, or an interest in leisure travel.
These are the people who will see your hotel ads, and they will welcome the opportunity to learn about a special offer at your hotel. Awareness buildingAnother benefit to using Facebook ads is that your ad will gain a lot of exposure, which will build more awareness about your hotel. Every time your ad appears on a page it is called an impression. Even if your ad doesn’t receive many click-throughs, it will still be effective because the impressions will generate awareness.
Facebook ads can affect search behaviorStudies have been conducted that explore the impact of a brand’s exposure in social media on users’ search behavior. One such study, conducted by GroupM, revealed that searchers who engage with social media, especially those exposed to a brand’s influenced social media, are far more likely to search for lower-funnel terms compared to consumers who do not engage with social media.
2 (Lower-funnel terms express action and loyalty including campaign brand terms and brand product terms. Upper-funnel terms express awareness and consideration such as industry relevant terms or general product attributes.) You have less competition (if you advertise now)Facebook ads are still relatively new, and many hotels haven’t figured them out yet, but they will.
Some businesses are afraid to advertise on Facebook because they believe some of the other ads appear spammy or low quality. The flip side of the coin are the large corporations who also advertise on Facebook. If you create a well-designed ad with an attractive image and clever copy, your ad will stand out, and you won’t be competing with hundreds of other hotels.
It is wise to start advertising on Facebook now while you have less competition. Businesses are becoming more aware of the opportunities that Facebook ads present. Tim Kendal, Facebook’s Director of Monetization, stated in a September article from ‘Daily Finance,’ that the number of advertisers on the platform has more than tripled over the past 12 months.
1 FACEBOOK AD TIPS :
Set up a Facebook business pageRegardless of whether you are using Facebook ads or not, you should definitely set up a Facebook page for your Business/restaurant/hotel/services.
Encourage your guests to become fans of your page. Any action a fan takes on your page will go into the news feeds of all their friends’ pages.
For example, if Sally signs up to become a fan of your page, all of her friends will be notified.
They will also be notified if she takes some action on your site, for example if she RSVP’s to an event. You can also create ads to promote your Facebook page where users can sign up to become a fan without even leaving their own page.
Set measurable goals:
Outline your goals. What do you want to achieve from your ads? Once you have identified your goals, you will have something to compare your ad campaign performance to.
Create compelling ads with relevant landing pages:
Create copy and images that will stand out and capture attention. Specify what makes you different from your competition, and have clear calls to action that will tell users what they can do when they arrive at your landing page, i.e. ‘Book Now!’ It is also smart to include a special offer or promotion.
Facebook has outlined some suggested best practices (http://bit.ly/dj9jU) you can follow.
Make sure that your landing page is relevant to your ad, and allows users to follow through on your calls-to-action. You should also change your creative often to keep users’ interest.
Don’t forget to optimize your ads and landing pages with your keywords. Test, Test, Test!As with most online advertising, you can greatly increase the effectiveness of your Facebook ads through testing.
For example, you can send two different ads to the same audience to see which one performs the best. You can test ad copy, imagery, landing pages, and experiment with different targeting options.
A trick of the trade is a tool called Facebook Ads Manager, and it can help you conduct split testing and multivariable testing. It can also help you automatically create thousands of Facebook ads. Start big, narrow downStart out by creating many ads, and then narrow it down to the ads that are most effective.
You may also want to experiment with bidding by cost-per-click and cost per thousand impressions to see which option is most profitable for your ads.
Track your results :
You must monitor your ad campaign’s performance.
With your account, you can analyze data about your click-through-rates, impressions, and average cost-per-click or cost per thousand impressions.
You will start to notice what works well, and what doesn’t, and then you can decide what action you need to take to improve your campaign.
You can also integrate your ads with Google Analytics so you can track conversions on your website.
The best way to learn if Facebook ads are right for your hotel is to give it a try., we believe that Facebook ads are an effective way to build awareness about your hotel, and generate new business.
It is an inexpensive platform to use, and if you test your ads, and follow best practices, you could have a lot of success with Facebook ads.
According to the Facebook statistics, there are more than 350 million active Facebook users. That is a large audience that your hotel could tap into.
The targeting options available, and the popularity of the site, make it a perfect advertising platform.
Start advertising now to get ahead of your competition, and as the Facebook ad slogan states, ‘Find your customers before they search.’
Sunday, March 14, 2010
The Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) announced yesterday the "Malaysia Kitchen for the World 2010" campaign to promote Malaysian restaurants and cuisine in the New York City metropolitan area.
The launch of the Malaysia Kitchen for the World 2010 program is a great opportunity to showcase the amazing flavors of Malaysia," said Christine Chek, owner of Penang Cuisine.
Malaysia Kitchen for the World 2010 program includes:
Website: Located at malaysiakitchennyc.com, the site serves as a hub of information and educational clearing-house on Malaysian restaurants and local campaign events.
Malaysian Restaurant Week: Participating Malaysian restaurants will offer dining specials for one week, April 12-18.
Malaysian Week: In June, New Yorkers can discover Malaysia through an ongoing sampling of Malaysian food and cultural events, in a high-traffic, central location.
Malaysian Food Truck: A traveling truck in Manhattan will offer signature Malaysian dishes from local Malaysian and Malaysian-inspired restaurants.
Chef Education: Educating chefs and other food influencers is key to raising the profile of Malaysian cuisine. The program will enlist Malaysian chefs to offer educational seminars and cooking classes at top cooking schools in the United States.
Press Trips: The campaign supports trips to Malaysia for consumer and trade media and interested U.S. chefs to discover its cuisine and culture firsthand. Destinations include Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Melaka.
Advertising: The program will contain print, online, and broadcast advertising elements.
Media Relations and Restaurant Reviews: A robust media relations campaign will seek to increase coverage of Malaysian cuisine and culture in lifestyle and trade press and increase the frequency and quality of reviews of Malaysian and Malaysian-inspired restaurants .
The Hotel Yearbook ----- A new concept to assure a unique perspective: not only this year’s industry highlights, but next year’s and beyond.
: the article and interview with BLLA Founder, Frances Kiradjian.
The Hotel Yearbook 2010 is a forum where the world’s leading industry experts will share their views and insights on the trends, events and people that they expect will shape the year to Come.
Articles in the Yearbook will look at this year’s hotel business from a variety of different angles:
* Geographic – What will the new year bring in the world’s key geographic markets?
* Industry segment – What kind of developments should we expect to see in 2010 in each of the major segments of the hotel business?
* Functional – What new and exciting ideas will be tried out in the way hotels are marketed, financed, staffed and run? What management tools and trends can we expect to see next year?
* Personalities – Who will be some of the important movers and shakers in the industry next year?
* Companies – Who’s on the move? Who’s worth watching?
The Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association is proud to be a part of the 2010 edition with a special breakout insert on this unique sector of the hospitality industry
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Asia Cruise Association invites agents to be members
Travel agents and tour operators hoping to get in on the action in the fast-growing Asian cruise industry and enhance their cruise product expertise can now join Asia Cruise Association (ACA).
The Singapore-based association, established on October 23, 2008 by Costa Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Silversea and Star Cruises to promote the growth of the Asian cruise industry, has now opened membership to all businesses and organisations involved in the cruise industry.
Travel agents pay a US$100 one-time entrance fee and a US$300 annual fee for associate membership. With these, they get to enjoy two complimentary training modules, in addition to other member benefits such as recognition by cruise lines, publicity on ACA platforms and participation in ACA joint promotion programmes and events, such as forums, dialogues and networking sessions with fellow members and trade partners.
An ACA spokesperson said cruise line members will be encouraged to partner fellow members when appointing business partners or service providers.
To help the trade hone its leisure cruising expertise, ACA plans to organise at least two training sessions for members in the first year and three or four in subsequent years. The training programme will focus on the benefits of cruising, sales and marketing of cruise packages, and cruise product knowledge.A forum for members to discuss market issues is being planned for this year. Participation fees will be announced later.
Other businesses or corporations such as tourism boards, groundhandlers and port authorities can join ACA as an associate member for a US$500 one-time entrance fee and US$3,000 annual fee. Ordinary membership for cruise operators in Asia costs US$5,000 annually on top of a US$1,000 one-time entrance fee. – Karen Yue
Monday, March 8, 2010
Mar 5 - 11, 2010 / No.1602
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