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AirAsia to resume KL-Kuantan route from Oct 28 : September 17, 2018

KUANTAN: Low-cost carrier AirAsia will resume its direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Kuantan starting next month after a seven-year hiatus.

The inaugural Airbus A320 flight is scheduled to depart from Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) at 7.05am for a 50 minute trip to Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Airport here on Oct 28. The return flight is scheduled at 8.20am the same day.

A Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd source said AirAsia’s return to service the route brings an end to the long wait for an alternative option for travellers as currently Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is the sole airline servicing the route.

“AirAsia will be flying to Kuantan daily in the morning and there are plans to introduce a second flight to serve the same route in the evening hours between 6pm and 8pm(klia2-Kuantan-klia2). However, there has yet to be confirmation on the evening flights but it could be just a matter of time.

“AirAsia has decided to resume the route with daily flights in and out of Kuantan from Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Airport and providing the evening flights will certainly offer more travel options for people,” said the source.

The source confirmed that AirAsia will setup a ticketing information booth at the Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Airport here early next month and an official welcome event will be held when the inaugural flight arrives at the airport here on Oct 28.

Meanwhile a Pahang Tourism board spokesman described AirAsia’s return here as timely saying the year-end school holidays in November will allow travellers to start making plans to visit tourist destinations in Pahang.

“Tour operators can take advantage of the cheap flight tickets to offer more tour and leisure packages at a low price. It is certainly going to create more excitement in the state capital,” he said.

AirAsia first opened up the route from the then low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) to Kuantan in June 2008 until 2011 and later Firefly, and Malindo Airlines also joined in to service the route.

However, currently only MAS and Firefly serve the Kuala Lumpur-Kuantan route while Scoot, a Singaporean low-cost airline owned by Singapore Airlines, is servicing the Singapore-Kuantan route, and vice-versa.

Once described as less profitable route, things have changed over the years here especially with the presence of the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park, new holiday resorts and tourist attractions which is now expected to create a positive impact to the state.

Last month, AirAsia chief executive officer Riad Asmat was reported saying that the low-cost airline will start flights to Kuantan on Oct 28 and it will mark AirAsia’s presence in all the main airports in the country.

Assemblyman calls for Cameron Highland's vehicle restriction to address congestion : September 11, 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: Chronic traffic jams at Cameron Highlands, especially during the holiday period sees the need for restricted vehicle access to the tourist spot. Tanah Rata state assemblyman, Chiong Yoke Kong said the four-day holiday period had resulted in a chronic traffic jam in the hill station. He said tourists flocking the hill station by vehicles have seen traffic coming to a standstill from Ringlet to the Blue Valley. A short distance of one to three kilometres would require three to four hours to reach the respective destinations, he added.

He said three additional main roads connecting Cameron Highlands had been built over the last 20 years. These are namely the Jalan Ringlet-Sungai Koyan which connects Raub, Ringlet and Sungai Koyan; Jalan Simpang Pulai-Cameron Highlands and Jalan Gua Musang-Cameron Highlands. “These roads had made it very convenient for tourists to come to Cameron Highlands from the West Coast, East Coast and Pahang, hence the substantial increase of a number of tourists throughout the 20 years which is evident by the statistics in 2017 that has recorded 750,000 tourists in 2017.

“Based on traffic reports by many traffic apps, an average of more than ten thousand cars coming to Cameron Highlands is recorded every day during long holidays,” said the Dapsy national political education director in a statement. He added that despite four roads connecting the hill station, only one main road was available inside Cameron Highlands area.

In addition, he said the district does not have enough parking lots and thus is unable to accommodate 10,000 cars, he said. “The unplanned and disorganised development by the local and state government has created several traffic bottlenecks in Cameron Highlands,” said Chiong. He said local authorities had been lax in enforcing the law against vendors and tourists who park illegally.

Chiong proposed the Cameron Highlands District Council to utilise the entrances at Blue Valley and Ringlet, and can cooperate with the Perak state government to build parking lots at Tapah and Simpang Pulai which are at foothills. This is in order to implement vehicle restrictions and provide feeder services such as small buses that bring tourists to Cameron Highlands.

He said restricting entry of vehicles into tourist attractions is a common traffic control measure in many countries. Chiod said for example in China, traffic categories had been classified and there are feeder services to lead tourists’ vehicles to their connected parking spots.

Experiencing Orang Asli lifestyle at Batek Jungle Hut : August 23, 2018

JERANTUT: Fancy staying at huts built by Orang Asli in Taman Negara? The huts, which are made of tree branches and bamboo, are similar to the ones used by the Batek, a nomadic tribe which still largely survive by hunting and collecting jungle products. Since it opened late last year, Batek Jungle Hut in Dedari, Kuala Tahan, here, has been popular with foreign tourists. The community-based ecotourism initiative, which features eight huts, has attracted tourists from places such as Denmark and Holland.

Tourism and Culture Ministry Pahang office general manager Datuk Idros Yahya said visitors got to learn about the culture, language, and traditions of the community. He said the Batek settlement near Sungai Tembeling was a major crowd-puller. Visitors, he said, enjoyed watching the tribesmen make fire without matches and use blowpipes. “The Batek villagers in Kuala Tahan were told about the proposal last year. Some of them found the idea interesting and took up the challenge to prepare the huts. They were assisted by various agencies, tour agents, and other villagers,” said Idros.

“The eight river-facing huts and separate bathrooms and toilets are solar-powered. The roofs are made of woven Nipah leaves. Tourists have the opportunity to try boiled tapioca and other food. “Each hut can accommodate four people. Guests pay less than RM50 per night. Many seem to enjoy their stay. “Visitors can hike to Bukit Dedari and explore the nearby jungle with the Batek community. They can buy rattan bangles and other products sold by the community.” Some 1,000 members of the Batek tribe live in Taman Negara.

Aim for zero accident in eco-tourism sector - Niosh : August 28, 2018

JERANTUT: Eco-tourism industry players have been encouraged to implement the “Vision Zero” concept in a move to help reduce the number of accidents among its workers and tourists. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said: “Vision Zero” focuses on finding solutions that can help prevent accidents and deaths from occurring at the workplace.

“Those involved in the eco-tourism sector are also exposed to various danger. Jobs such as boat operators, mountain and tour guides has its risks so we want them to always be on their toes and never take things for granted especially concerning safety. “Achieving zero accident is everyone’s dream but this vision is more focused on preventing accidents from occurring. We want to ensure everyone is aware on ways they could avoid a mishap from happening just like the saying “prevention is better than cure,” he said after opening a dialogue on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) in the Tourism Sector at Mutiara Taman Negara Eco Park Resort here, today.

The one-day programme, jointly organized by NIOSH and Tourism Pahang, saw the participation of more than 60 representatives from various government agencies and tour operators in Kuala Tahan and Taman Negara. Also present were Tourism Pahang Senior Manager for Promotion Kamaruddin Ibrahim, NIOSH Executive Secretary Mej (Rtd) Hanif Maidin and NIOSH Business and Marketing Department Manager Mohd Husin Abd Salam. At the event, Lee also presented 100 life jackets from Tourism Pahang to tour and boat operators in Kuala Tahan and Taman Negara. Lee said NIOSH is now actively promoting Vision Zero for all sectors including tourism in line with the global initiative led by the International Social Security Association (ISSA).

“If those involved in the tourism sector are willing to change for the better, I believe that the sector can be among the first to implement the Vision Zero initiative,” he said. He said incidents that resulted from injuries or deaths in the tourism sector could tarnish the country’s image and affect those involved in the industry.“For example, incidents such as drowning in recreational areas, a mishap resulted by a capsized boat or tour bus plunging into a ravine will only create fear among tourists,” he said. He urged the relevant agencies to improve the law enforcement aspects to help safeguard the welfare of tourism workers and tourists.

Cancelling ECRL setback for people in east coast states : August 22, 2018

KUANTAN: The decision to cancel the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project is seen as a major blow to the east coast states in terms of transforming the economic landscape and the livelihood of the people. State Tourism, Environment, Plantations, and Biotechnology Committee chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Sharkar Shamsuddin said the move to call off the project which was once described as a “game changer” would certainly hamper development in the East Coast states. The five-term Lanchang assemblyman said he was upset that the Pakatan Harapan(PH) member of parliament did not fight for the people’s welfare and defend the ECRL project which will certainly offer greater connectivity and drastically shorten travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Kelantan.

“The elected representatives should have fought for the future of their constituents but sadly they do not seem to share the aspiration of those living in the east coast. “Now with the project canceled. the states on the east coast will be certainly left behind in terms of development with nothing to look forward,” he said when contacted today. He added the project could have been canceled because the ECRL would pass through Pahang, Terengganu, and Kelantan, and all three states did not belong to Pakatan Harapan.

“During the previous government, we (Barisan Nasional) never sidelined Penang and Selangor (which were then ruled by the opposition) from enjoying economic growth and development,” he said. Yesterday, Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, who was on a five-day official visit to China, announced the cancellation of the ECRL and construction of two gas pipelines in Sabah, saying the projects could not go on due to Malaysia’s financial woes. Meanwhile, State MCA chairman Datuk Hoh Khai Mun said the people were disappointed by the decision as many were looking forward to ECRL as it offered an alternative mode of transport. He said the people in Bentong where one of the stations were currently being built were upset by the decision as many were hoping to secure jobs with the ECRL.

“Several ECRL recruitment programmes have been held at various locations over the last few months. So what is going to happen to the aspiring job-seekers? I am not sure what will happen to the piece of land which was cleared for the Bentong ECRL station near the Karak Highway,” he said. Meanwhile, State Pas deputy commissioner Andansura Rabu described the move to cancel ECRL as “premature” since the Regent of Pahang Tengku Mahkota Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah had approved the Federal Government’s move to review the cost of the project.

“Even Tengku Abdullah when opening the state assembly sitting recently hoped ECRL would still be built to create more economic growth. It is a major project and works have we have to think about the compensation that has to be paid to the relevant parties,” he said, adding discussions and consultations should have been held to find another option instead of canceling it.


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