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Thursday, May 18, 2017

#Myanmar, (Burma) registers more tourist arrivals

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Tourists coming to Myanmar during the first months of this year have increased by 22 percent over the same period of last year, according to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.
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 “We got more than 600,000 international visitors at the end of February, the number of which was greater than the same period in 2016,” U Myint Htwe, director from the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism told The Myanmar Times.

However, the overall tourist arrivals last year were only 2.9 million, a decline of 38pc in comparison to the 4.68 million visitors in 2015, according to a new system of collecting data by the ministry, which did not include day trippers with border passes.


“The previous system counted visitors coming through international border checkpoints. But this year’s figures were systematically categorized into tourists, business travelers, day trippers,” according to U Ohn Maung, Union Minister for Hotels and Tourism, who made this comment at the recently held ASEAN Tourism Forum in Singapore.  

“However, the overall tourism outlooks are very good, despite the 38pc decline due to a different way of counting foreign visitors,” Ma Hnin Hlwar Kyaw Win, sales manager from Myanmar Tourism Services Company told The Myanmar Times. She said that few visitors to Myanmar are coming from Russia and Japan but tourists from other countries have increased.
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Source - mmtimes
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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

#Indonesia - Gunung Padang to have tourist train next year

More and more tourists are visiting Gunung Padang megalithic site in Cianjur regency, West Java.
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 A train service to Gunung Padang megalithic site in Cianjur regency, West Java, is set to be provided by the local administration following the increasing number of tourists visiting the destination.
"We will increase the number of tourists to Gunung Padang by providing [a tourist] train that stops by at Lampegan station. From there, visitors can hop on vehicles that will take them to the site," said Cianjur Deputy Regent Herman Suherman on Sunday as quoted by tempo.co, adding that the service would be an affordable one and was slated for launch next year. 
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Tourists are currently using the Siliwangi train service that travels from Cianjur to Sukabumi to visit Gunung Padang. To reach the destination from Lampegan station, they reportedly have to pay for an ojek (motorcycle taxi) that could cost up to Rp 100,000 (US$7.5), since public transportation is not yet available. 
Some supporting facilities are presently being developed by the government at the location, including a rest area in Lampegan and an alternative road to Gunung Padang. 
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Source - TheJakartaPost
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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Myanmar - Mrauk-U still struggling to woo tourists

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Mrauk-U, a town surrounded by hills in northern Rakhine State, is known as the ‘Stone City’. It was given the name because its 14th-century pagodas are made of stone.
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Mrauk-U is home to 1552 ancient stone pagodas – historic structures that are still standing strong today, owing to the wisdom of the old Rakhine kings who ordered them to be built from stone that can withstand the weather on top of the hills.
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“These pagodas are over 800 years old, but younger than those in Bagan in the Mandalay Region that were built in the 11th century,” local hotelier U Hla Myint from the Mrauk-U Princess Hotel said.
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Although Mrauk-U’s pagodas are similar to Bagan’s pagodas in being located close to residential areas, giving the location huge tourism potential, Mrauk-U has not attained international stardom like Bagan.
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Mrauk-U’s tourist arrival numbers are still much lower. While Bagan recorded 280,000 tourists in 2016, Mrauk-U only managed to hit 4000 the whole of last year.
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Hoteliers said the reason for the poor numbers was the instability affecting Rakhine, even in areas far from Mrauk-U, since 2012.
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Since the crisis that brought political instability, the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism imposed an order prohibiting hotels from accepting guests without official permission.
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Foreign ministries abroad also notified their citizens of the danger in Rakhine and discouraged them from visiting the state.
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Tourism in Mrauk-U has not been able to recover since then, even though the town is more developed, better connected, and even has an airport in the pipeline.
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Rakhine Hoteliers Association member Daw Ohnmar Khin said travellers needed to be informed that Mrauk-U was safe.
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 She said there should be more familiarisation trips organised with the collaboration of hotels and tour companies.
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“For Mrauk-U’s tourism growth, we need political stability. But we also need to get the right information out to let people know that Mrauk-U is a safe place to visit.
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“Not everyone knows about us so we need better promotion. We need to help travel agents bring visitors here,” she said.
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Mrauk-U has several prominent heritage sites such as the palace, Shit-thaung (80,000 Buddha images) Pagoda, Htukkanthein Pagoda, Koe-thaung (90,000 Buddha images) Pagoda and Laungbanpyauk Pagoda.
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In the Chin ethnic villages in Mrauk-U, visitors can meet women who have kept the tradition of having tattoos on their faces. For beautiful sceneries, tourists can visit the Laymro River that has water so clear the stones on the river bed can be seen.
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In 1996, local authorities first applied to UNESCO to get Mrauk-U’s archaeological zone recognised as a world heritage site, but were unsuccessful.
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The Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library of Mrauk-U is now trying again, with a team of experts conducting surveying work such as 3D mapping of the ancient architectural and cultural site, to draft a new application.
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There had been some conservation challenges when work was carried out to restore some of the ancient pagodas in Mrauk-U.
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One example was the the loss of the Shit-thaung Pagoda’s heritage value when conservation was not properly done.
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There were also concerns by nearby locals that they would be forced to move if the sites became UNESCO world heritage sites, Mrauk-U guide association chair U Kyaw Hla Maung said.
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“The people are worried about possible relocation. The authorities should talk to them and hear their views and suggestions before proceeding.
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“Do it like what State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi suggested for Bagan. Then they can also educate the people and help them understand why the UNESCO listing is a good thing,” he said.
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U Hla Myint said tourism would bring prosperity to the locals, who could sell crafts and find jobs in tourism-related businesses.
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Source - The Myanmar Times
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Monday, April 3, 2017

Indonesia - Sumba preparing to host sandalwood horse parade, 'tenun ikat' festival

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Sumba in East Nusa Tenggara is set to host an international festival that will highlight sandalwood horses and tenun ikat (traditional woven fabrics).
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Slated to kick off in May, kompas.com has reported that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo will attend the event, which will feature a parade of thousands of horses and a tenun ikat exhibition.
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 The parade will begin in Waingapu in East Sumba regency, then continue to Waibakul in Central Sumba regency, Waikabubak in West Sumba regency and end in Tambolaka in Southwest Sumba regency. Meanwhile, the exhibition will be held across all regencies and will involve both local administrations and residents.
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East Nusa Tenggara Creative Economy and Tourism Agency head Marius Ardu Kelamu said the event aimed to promote the island’s landscape and cultural beauty.
“The festival will help create the island’s brand and promote to the world that sandalwood horses originate from Sumba,” he said.
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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Tour de Lombok Mandalika to welcome international cyclists

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The 2017 Tour de Lombok Mandalika is set to run from April 13-16.
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Located in West Nusa Tenggara, the race will begin and end in Central Lombok.
Divided into four stages, the route will pass through Lombok's premier cultural and tourist attractions.
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The province’s head of tourism, Lalu M. Faozal, said the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) had granted a license for the Tour de Lombok Mandalika.
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During a press conference on Thursday at Dharmawangsa Hotel in South Jakarta, Lalu said the event would involve three national teams and 17 international teams.
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Throughout the event, the cyclists will stay in Mataram, Central Lombok.
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The organizers have teamed up with the local police to ensure the safety of the event.
Meanwhile, West Nusa Tenggara Deputy Governor Moh. Amin offered his appreciation for the event.
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“Every event helps to support the hospitality industry in West Nusa Tenggara. [The 2017 Tour de Lombok Mandalika] will help to promote tourist destinations in the province ,” he said. 
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Source - TheJakartaPost
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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Lombok to welcome thousands of cruise passengers in 2017

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The tourism industry in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), is looking forward to welcoming for 24 cruise ships expected to make fast on the island this year and bring in thousands of tourists through the Lembar seaport.
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The shipping companies behind the 24 vessels had confirmed the planned stops in Lombok, NTB Tourism Agency head Lalu Muhammad Faozal said, adding that the number marked an in...

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Miss Malaysia World stripped of title

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Petaling Jaya - In an unprecedented move, Miss Malaysia World has revoked the title of the current holder.

Tatiana Kumar Nandha has been stripped of her crown for what the organisation calls “offensive” comments online. The announcement was made via the organisation’s Instagram account (@miss_world_malaysia) on Monday.
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The post, signed in the name of former national director Datuk Anna Lin, stated that Tatiana, 18, had breached the code of conduct and contract.
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First runner-up Shweta Sekhon, 19, was named as the new Miss Malaysia World 2016/17.
When contacted, Lin said that Tatiana and her family had made several offensive posts on both the Internet and social media regarding the Miss Malaysia World organisation.
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“There are certain formalities, and she has also breached one involving an important sponsor. This has led to the contract being terminated,” added Lin, who is currently in London.
Tatiana was crowned Miss Malaysia World 2016/17 in August last year. She represented Malaysia on the world stage in the finals in December in Maryland, the United States.
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Lin was the national director and official licensee for Miss Malaysia World from 2013 to 2016. She had announced that she was stepping down from her role as of January this year, with the reason that her term had ended.
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Tatiana’s father, Kumar Nandha, confirmed that she had been served a legal letter about the termination through email on March 3. “She has done nothing wrong,” Kumar said over the phone but declined to comment further.
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Source; TheNation