Tourism players in Perak were entertained to a dinner-cum-beach party at the Lost World of Tambun recently.
Besides the need to celebrate, the occasion was also to recognise the exemplary services rendered by their employees with the prestigious, “Pride of Workmanship Award” which made its debut that evening.
The 21 winners, selected on merits, received their certificates from the Executive Councillor for Tourism, the Honourable Puan Nolee Ashilin Dato’ Mohd Radzi.
It was indeed a proud moment for them as some, like those in the hospitality industry have been on the frontline for over two decades. They had never expected to be given such recognition considering the job they performed.
“I am simply over the moon,” said one recipient who has been a doorman at one top-notch hotel in Ipoh.
The event was organised by the Perak Tourism Association (PTA). Association President, Hj Mohd Odzman Abdul Kadir, concluded that the participation of major tourism players meant that they were willing to promote the state and to enhance the productivity of the tourism industry.
“PTA is willing to be the liaison and coordinator towards achieving this goal,” he said in his opening remarks. “The association plans to organise two promotional trips this year; one to Singapore and the other to Fukuoka, Japan.”
The two promotional trips were given the green light by Nolee who, in her return speech, pledged financial aid for the association from the state.
Nolee thanked those who had helped organise the recent Ipoh International Waiters’ Race and the organising committee of the Tourism Appreciation Nite. “You’re simply wonderful,” she exclaimed.
The party ended with the crowning of the best dressed male and female guests.
Perak Tourism organised the annual pre-Hari Raya Puasa programme Semarak Ramadan on Sunday, July 28 at Taulang Sekah. Berita Harian, Adabi and Tualang Sekah Community Service Centre were the co-organisers.
At the gotong royong style event, six cauldrons of bubur lambuk, a traditional breaking-fast dish, were cooked and distributed to the public at the nearby Ramadan bazaars.
Tualang Sekah assemblywoman cum State Executive Councillor for Health, Tourism and Culture, Puan Nolee Ashilin Mohammed Radzi said the objective of the event was to help foster good relationship with the local community.
She too hoped that the people would use the local mosque as a one-stop centre for social and religious activities in the future.
Sixty orphans and nearly 160 poor folks received duit raya from Nolee at the end of the function.
June 30 marks the first anniversary of Lenggong Valley’s declaration as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In conjunction with this auspicious day, Tourism Malaysia (Perak) organised a familiarisation trip beginning June 29 to July 1.
The 39 participants were representatives from the media and travel agencies with most from outside of Perak.
The first destination was Lenggong Valley Archeological Gallery, the first prehistoric museum in Malaysia which was opened in 2003. Artifacts and other rocks discovered in the valley are exhibited here, along with replicas of prehistoric human skeletons.
Mohd Shahrin, Director of Department of Natural Heritage, Central Zone briefed the participants on the two-and-a-half year process of gaining UNESCO recognition.
According to him, various stages of works on improving the infrastructure of the sites are in progress. They include fencing, erecting of promotional billboards, signages and interpretation centres.
The following day 4-wheel-drive vehicles were used to traverse the bumpy roads leading to Bukit Bunuh. Evidence show that there was a meteor crash at the site around 1.83 million years ago. Civilisation was predicted to exist long before that according to the tools embedded in the suevite rocks found.
The tour continued to Bukit Sapi, where ashes from an enormous volcanic eruption in Sumatra 75,000 years ago were scattered. Ashes were said to be found as far flung as Pahang, Selangor and Kedah.
A treacherous hike up Gua Gunung Runtuh followed, where Perak Man, the oldest-known human skeleton in Southeast Asia was found in 1990. Carbon-dated at around 11,000 years old, it was the most complete Paleolithic skeleton excavated in Malaysia. He was diagnosed to be suffering from a genetic deformity known as BrachymesophalangiaType A2 and was 40-45 years old when he passed away due to gum disease and infection.
Gua Kajang was next. Located within the Bukit Kepala Gajah limestone complex, human civilization, believed to have existed between 5,000 to 11,000 years ago, was evidenced by pottery, stone tools, food remains and human skeletons found here.
The last day of the trip consisted of a bus tour around the royal town of Kuala Kangsar.
According to Ahmad Kamarudin Yusoff, Director of Tourism Malaysia (Perak), the trip was necessary in order to show travel agents and media representatives what Lenggong Valley has to offer so they can better promote it.
“We hope to develop educational holiday packages to attract both local and foreign tourists, as part of the strategy for Visit Malaysia 2014,” he said.
The Sayong Riverfront in Kuala Kangsar is set to be a one-stop centre for tourists visiting Kuala Kangsar. This was announced by the newly-appointed Minister for Tourism and Culture, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz during a visit to the touristic spot recently.
The objective, according to the minister, is to promote the Sayong Riverfront as a centre for the exhibition of Perak’s handicrafts, culture and food, and to provide much-needed exposure for the state’s nascent homestay industry.
“This effort goes to show that economic potentials offered by the tourism industry can be exploited for the benefit of all,” he said in his opening remarks when launching the Visit Malaysia Year 2014 mini carnival held at the spot recently. “It can be developed positively provided the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship are being embraced.”
The minister said that RM30.2 million had been allotted to Perak under the Tenth Malaysian Plan to develop 38 touristic projects in the state.
Nazri visited Kellie’s Castle in Batu Gajah the following day to see the progress of works to improve the iconic building, which is a major tourist draw to the state. He complimented the Public Works Department for ensuring that the RM5 million allocated for upgrading works is being well spent. The on-going project which began in September 2011, involves the upgrading of public toilets, building of a mini theatre, a square and the renovation of the building’s interior.
Present during the minister’s visit was the Executive Councillor for Health, Tourism and Culture, Nolee Ashilin bt Dato’ Mohammad Radzi.
This is the tagline of the recent Tourism Perak – sponsored seminar, or a more pleasant alternative, retreat, held at the Swiss Garden Golf Resort and Spa in Damai Laut, Lumut. The remoteness of the holiday resort, located on an elevated promontory overlooking Pangkor Island, lends credence to it being classified a retreat.
Once inside, guests have little access with the outside world as getting to Sitiawan, the nearest town requires a bumpy ride along a winding road that runs for over 20 kilometres amidst a lush tropical jungle interspersed with oil palm and fast-disappearing rubber trees.
So a respite lasting three days and two nights is a retreat in every sense of the word. However, defining the word “retreat” is of no consequence if the significance of the meeting of tourism players in Perak is lost in transition.
The primary objective of the seminar was to get all those involved in the state tourism industry to sit together, deliberate over pressing issues and come up with some workable solutions to address problems affecting the industry, per se.
“It’s not about reinventing the wheel,” said one rather disinterested participant. He was right. As far as my memory takes me, this must be the umpteenth time I have attended a seminar or forum or retreat on tourism. Therefore, the word holds no special meaning to those who have been exposed to the subject.
“It’s not the form that matters but the substance,” uttered another. His rankling was not without reasons. Obviously, he was riled by the lackadaisical attitude of those entrusted with the implementation of resolutions passed and adopted during past meetings. The nagging question on the minds of the hundred-odd participants who had gathered at the resort’s spacious ballroom that Sunday evening was whether the ostentatious retreat would go the way of previous get-togethers – all talk but no action.
I was a little skeptical but acceded nonetheless. To me it was the infusion of new blood that prompted me to sit out and listen. On the podium was the newly-minted Executive Councillor for Health, Tourism and Culture, Ms Nolee Ashilin Dato’ Mohd Radzi, the assemblywoman for Tualang Sekah.
She is like a breath of fresh air. Coming from a family of politicians and a father who once held the same portfolio under Tan Sri Ramli Ngah Talib, youthful Nolee has the panache, the wherewithal and the desire to see things through. She exhibited her flair by playing some catchy video clips on tourism. It caught the audience’s attention. She knew what she was talking about. We were thrilled.
Being young and blessed with a solid academic grounding, Nolee seems the right candidate for the hot seat. I have no qualms about her credentials. She has an honours degree in accounting and finance from one of the top twenty universities in the United Kingdom, Manchester Metropolitan University. She also holds a master’s degree in business management from Edith Cowen University, Perth, Australia.
The lady is a pedigree, a thoroughbred. But like a rough diamond it requires polishing. Nolee’s willingness to listen to the woes of one very aggrieved tour agent from Pangkor Island provides a likeable preview of things to come. My only hope is she will rise to the occasion as Visit Malaysia Year 2014 is less than six months away. There is plenty to be done and getting things done the right way is no mean task. It requires the support of all, especially the staff of Tourism Perak which she heads.
Although my presence at the seminar was merely to listen and to report I got into the thick of the action, nonetheless. Preserving heritage buildings, antiquated machineries, traditions and cultures was one of the subjects for discussion.
The monstrous tin dredge idling on a man-made lake in Tanjung Tualang and nicknamed TT5 (Tanjung Tualang 5) was the focus of our attention. Neglected and left to rot in the unforgiving tropical sun, TT5 is on the verge of sinking into the murky waters unless works to rehabilitate it are taken. Its touristic potentials, unfortunately, are being overlooked by its stakeholders. If nothing is done this “indomitable legacy of the tin era” will end at the bottom of the lake.
Cross selling TT5 with the lacklustre herbal garden, the over-indulged Kellie’s Castle, the tasty prawn dishes of Tanjung Tualang and the breathtaking vistas of Kinta Nature Park is one way to promote heritage-rich Perak to the world. These iconic features, fortunately, are found along the Simpang Pulai-Batu Gajah-Tanjung Tualang road.
Yang Berhormat Nolee, we have made our intentions known. The ball is now in your court.
Every year, thousands of youths from Perak are sent overseas, on exchange programmes or invited to participate in international programmes. And many also leave Perak to pursue their tertiary education.Participants of exchange or invitational programmes have to undergo pre-departure preparations which help them to better understand Perak, to equip them with sufficient knowledge about our culture and traditions, about popular tourist spots and things that we associate with Perak. Thus they will be better prepared for their upcoming role as ‘ambassadors’ of Perak.
By Nolee Ashilin Radzi State Executive Councillor for Tourism, Health and Culture
While the various tourism agencies and players in the industry in Perak are doing their utmost to promote the state as one of the ultimate tourist destinations of Malaysia, many people are still unsure whether our “Discover Perak” campaign is successful or not. Just like what they did with Visit Perak Year (VPY) 2012.
Many fail to understand that it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that “Discover Perak” is a success. And Perak will be a must-visit destination when tourists make a trip to Malaysia. Surely, the state has more than enough world-class attractions that would interest any discerning traveller.
Lest we forget, we have the Royal Belum forest that is older than even the Amazonian jungles and Lenggong Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, just to name a few.
The one factor in the success of “Discover Perak” isn’t the number of gems that we have to offer visitors but the mentality of Perakeans, and the sense of pride that one should have for his or her home state. If we are proud of Perak we definitely want as many people as possible to know about the state that we call home.
There is no denying that whenever we are away from home, we are considered ‘ambassadors’ of the state. This is especially true for the younger generation, especially those who are sent out of the state to pursue their tertiary education, whether within Malaysia or abroad. Their role is great and responsibility, heavy, though they may not realise this yet.
So, why not invest a little time to inculcate the love for Perak in these youngsters before they leave for greener pastures? Word of mouth and recommendations from friends carry a lot more weight than mere advertising.
To make this change in attitude and perception, let us begin now, beginning with ourselves, by instilling a sense of pride for Perak in our children.
Organised by the Ipoh City Council is the Sister City Exchange Programme between Ipoh and Fukuoka, Japan, where students here are sent to Fukuoka biennially. Participants are hosted by local families in Fukuoka where they get to share the culture and knowledge of Ipoh with their foster parents.
As part of the preparation for their trip, participants have to undergo traditional dance training classes and are taken on a tour of the city to enable them to brief their Japanese friends and host family in Fukuoka about Ipoh.
Also under the Council’s ambit is the Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention Mission Project, where students in Ipoh are invited to visit Fukuoka.
Selected to participate in the 2002 mission was Faizah binti Zubair. Only 11 years old at that time, and now 22, Faizah remembers learning two traditional dances, with seven other participants, for their cultural performance during the convention. They did not fail to promote Ipoh whenever the chance arose and were a big hit with the curious delegates from Fukuoka and other international cities.
Promoting Tourism Through Culture
Ipoh City Council’s very own cultural troupe, Gema Warisan Budaya MBI, was invited to perform in Medan, Indonesia and the Philippines last year.
Spending four days in Medan and almost two weeks travelling the Philippines from Manila to Davao, Cebu and Makati, Gema Warisan Budaya MBI performed cultural and traditional dances to appreciative audiences.
The programmes, named Acara Seni Budaya Antarabangsa di Kota Medan, Indonesia and Ta Ra Nasa 2012 Tour and Roadshow in the Philippines, were aimed at promoting Perak and Malaysia as a whole.
International Youth Exchange Programmes
Handled by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Malaysia, is the Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Programme (SSEAYP). This annual youth exchange programme is more of a leadership training, whereby the main objective is to forge mutual understanding among participating countries and Japan, the host-cum-sponsor.
Selection is extremely stringent, and only the best-of-the-best youth leaders from the ten ASEAN countries, plus Japan, are sent on board the cruise ship, which sails in ASEAN and Japan waters for 54 days.
It was a once in-a-lifetime opportunity for Megat Hafizal bin Ahmad, who participated in the 37th SSEAYP back in 2010. As one of the 28 members of the Malaysian contingent, and who was subsequently selected as a Youth Leader of the contingent, Megat Hafizal said that besides going through the programmed activities, it was a golden opportunity for him to promote Malaysia, particularly Perak, where he hails from.
The three Pre-Departure Training camps he attended made him a better person in facing whatever situations he encountered on board. He remembers the hours of training he and his colleagues went through, learning the various Malaysian traditional dances, lessons that stood them in good stead, when they had to perform on “cultural nights”.
Megat Hafizal brought with him hundreds of souvenirs to exchange with the other delegates and his host families at the six ports of call. Miniature labu sayong from Kuala Kangsar were among the most popular gifts given out.
For more information log on to the Ministry’s website at www.kbs.gov.my.
Other International Programmes
Elavarasan Thiruchelvam was in Japan for two weeks in 2011, under the AFS Intercultural Programme. He brought with him souvenirs from Perak and promotional materials obtained from the Ipoh Tourist Information Centre for his host families.
The state education department also organises, some in collaboration with the British Council, international programmes such as the International Inspiration Programme and Young Sports Leader Programme. These are excellent opportunities for the young to promote their home state.
Tourism Malaysia (Perak) will employ a new strategy to promote Perak in a big way. It plans to repackage and rebrand the touristic products currently available so they will be more visible to visitors, foreign and local.
Newly-appointed Tourism Malaysia (Perak) Director, Ahmad Kamarudin Yusoff (pic far right) said this at a media briefing recently. “The state’s rich cultural heritage should be highlighted in tandem with its numerous tourist attractions,” he said. “And with Visit Malaysia Year 2014 just around the corner, the time is most appropriate.”
Internet will be the medium to enhance the promotional efforts of Tourism Malaysia (Perak). “To achieve this Internet usage, penetration rate should be improved in order to disseminate information to locals. Information is already available on websites and are sufficient for foreigners but they need to be updated frequently,” he added. “In this context, the collaboration of travel agencies is necessary.”
The agency organised a fishing trip for media representatives and tour operators to Pulau Sembilan recently. Before that was a bicycle ride along a heritage trail in Ipoh. Both received wide media coverage. These activities will be incorporated into a tour package soon for sale to domestic and foreign tourists alike. Tourism Malaysia, according to Kamaruddin, had just finished shooting stills all over Perak. The pictures will be used for promotional purposes.
Kamarudin hoped his overseas experiences will be of use to improve the tourism industry and by extension, the local economy. Present at the briefing was the CEO of Tourism Perak, Hj Musa Dun, the President of Perak Tourism Association, Hj Odzman Abd Kadir and major players in the state tourism industry.
Newly appointed State Executive Councillor for Health, Tourism and Culture, Nolee Ashilin Dato’ Mohammed Radzi hoped that the inaugural Ipoh International Waiters Race would attract many participants. She said this during a press conference held at the Perak State Secretariat Building recently.
The International Waiters Race originated in France over a century ago and this is the first time that the race will be held in Ipoh on Saturday, June 29 at the Taman D.R. Seenivasagam.
Participants from cities such as Guangzhou, Medan, Hat Yai and Singapore are expected to take part. The race is divided into three categories namely, Classic Tray (open to individual professionals), Sportive Tray (open to quick service waiters and students from hospitality schools and colleges) and Fun Tray (open to the public in the form of a relay team consisting of 2 men and 2 women each). To ensure better control, the number of participants will be capped at a maximum of 250 only.
Fun activities such as ice carving, fruit carving and mock-tail competitions will be held after the prize-giving ceremony. Those interested can visit www.ipohwaitersrace.org for more information.
On a related matter, Nolee hopes to improve on the existing assets of Ipoh and Perak in order to attract more tourists to the state. This includes the upgrading of accessibility between tourist spots and hotels, signage and information dissemination.
She too hopes that a substantial number of the 26 million visitors anticipated for the upcoming Visit Malaysia 2014 will visit Perak.
Tourism Perak will organise a seminar soon to get the right input from all stakeholders.
A gathering of the who’s who in the state tourism industry was held at Syuen Hotel, Ipoh on Wednesday, May 22. The get-together was organised by the Perak Tourism Association (PTA) with the concurrence of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture (Perak) and Tourism Malaysia (Perak).
The primary objective of the meeting, according to Hj Odzman Abd Kadir, President of PTA, was to plan ahead following the appointment of a new executive councillor for tourism after the conclusion of the 13th General Election.
Puan Nolee Ashilin bt Mohd Radzi, state assemblywoman for Tualang Sekah, has been appointed to the hot seat on Saturday, May 18. Nolee, 38, has the advantage of youth on her side. And coming from a family of politicians she definitely has the edge over the rest.
Tourism is the third highest income generator after petroleum and raw commodities. For 2012, the nation collected a staggering sum of RM60.6 billion from tourism. Potential for growth in the tourism sector in Perak is great. However, planning and a lack of dynamism are holding things back. And unless these problems are addressed, the likelihood of a slump becomes apparent.
Most of the points raised by participants were the same. High on the list are poor maintenance of tourist spots, lack of signage and information. These points will be presented to Nolee by PTA as a curtain raiser.
Odzman announced the association-organised activities in the pipeline. The much awaited Ipoh International Waiters Race has now been rescheduled to Sunday, June 29. Of equal importance is the Tourism Appreciation Dinner planned for Friday July 5 to be held at Lost World of Tambun. The dinner is to honour those who have performed well in their respective establishments.
Newly appointed State Executive Councillor for Health, Tourism and Culture, Nolee Ashilin Dato’ Mohammed Radzi hoped that the inaugural Ipoh International Waiters Race would attract many participants.
She said this during a press conference held at the Perak State Secretariat Building on Wednesday, May 29 during which she presented a cheque of RM30,000 from the state through Perak Tourism to the organisers of the race, Perak Tourism Association and Malaysia Association Of Hotels (MAH) Perak Chapter.
The International Waiters Race originated in France over a century ago and this is the first time that the race will be held in Ipoh on Saturday, June 29 at the Taman D.R. Seenivasagam.
Participants from cities such as Guangzhou, Medan, Hatyai and Singapore are expected to take part. The race is divided into three categories namely, Classic Tray (open to individual professionals), Sportive Tray (open to quick service waiters and students from hospitality schools and colleges) and Fun Tray (open to the public in the form of a relay team consisting of 2 men and 2 women each). To ensure better control, the number of participants will be capped at a maximum of 250 only.
Fun activities such as ice carving, fruit carving and mock tail competitions will be held after the prize giving ceremony. Those interested can visit www.ipohwaitersrace.org for more information.
On a related matter, Nolee hoped to improve on the existing assets of Ipoh and Perak in order to attract more tourists to the state. This includes the upgrading of accessibility between tourist spots and hotels, signage and information dissemination.
She too hoped that a substantial number of the 26 million visitors anticipated for the upcoming Visit Malaysia 2014 would visit Perak.
Tourism Perak will organise a seminar soon to get the right inputs from all stakeholders.