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Mice Asia Net : July 2008
upfront Malaysia airlines, the Sabah Tourism Board, Shangri-La Hotels, and Pacific World Destination East Malaysia recently hosted eight meeting and incentive agents on a familiarisation to Borneo’s northern state of Sabah. Famil participants flew in comfort aboard Malaysia Airline’s business class, transiting briefly in Kuala Lumpur before connecting onto Kota Kinabalu. In Kota Kinabalu the group spent two nights in the new Ocean Wing at the five-star Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort followed by two nights at the Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa. Pacific World Destination East, one of Malaysia’s most experienced and highly regarded DMCs, organised the ground program for the group, giving participants a number of exciting activities including a private nature walk through an orang-utan sanctuary, white-water rafting, a day trip out to Mamutik Island, a visit to the Monsopiad Cultural Village (an excellent offsite dinner option!), and a visit to the new Lok Kawai Wildlife Park – one of Sabah’s newest attractions housing a diverse range of wildlife. Pacific World also hosted participants on one of their newest programs for incentive groups - an Amazing Race-style adventure day which involved teams competing against each other and time constraints to complete a list of fun-filled tasks. Tasks included group batik painting, visiting fishing villages with a boat trip among the mangroves, purchasing a set list of items in a local market, photos with locals and many questions about the local customs and activities! At the end of each day participants were treated to some of Sabah’s finest cuisines including an outdoor hawker-style dinner at Tepi Laut Restaurant and an elegant dinner at Coast Restaurant at Shangri-La Rasa Ria, an entertaining and interactive dinner at Kampung Nelayan Seafood Restaurant and probably the highlight of all, a fantastic Borneo Jungle Theme Dinner at Shangri-La Tanjung Aru. ITB Asia will take place for the first time at Suntec Singapore from October 22 to 24. Organised by Messe Berlin (Singapore) Pte Ltd in conjunction with the Singapore Tourism Board, the event will feature up to 500 exhibiting companies from the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, the Americas, Africa and the Middle East, covering not only the leisure market, but also corporate and MICE travel. It will include exhibition pavilions and tabletop presence for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) providing travel services. Exhibitors from every sector of the industry, including destinations, airlines and airports, hotels and resorts, theme parks and attractions, inbound tour operators, inbound DMCs, cruise lines, spas, venues, other meeting facilities and travel technology companies are all expected to attend. The Sultanate of Oman’s national carrier, Oman Air, which recently expanded its network 14 miceAsia.net into Thailand, now operates five direct flights a week between the Sultanate’s capital, Muscat and Bangkok - one of Asia’s busiest airline hubs. Not only has Oman Air’s international expansion broadened business relations between the Sultanate and Thailand but the carrier’s increased services have also enhanced a vital network for international passengers travelling to the Arabian Gulf. Together with Thai Airways - which offers five weekly direct flights from Bangkok to Muscat - travellers can choose from a total 10 weekly flights from Thailand to the Sultanate. “Oman Air’s strategic move has now spawned one of the fastest growing sectors into Muscat. As a result, the enhanced network is providing the Sultanate with even greater access, which is already recording strong growth through the neighbouring Arabian Gulf hubs of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha,” confirms Mona Tannous, Oman Ministry of Tourism’s Australian Director. Plans are already in progress for Muscat International Airport to undergo a (OMR) 100 million redevelopment, with passenger capacity expected to reach 6.5 million. Additionally, a blueprint for three new airports – Ra’s Al Hadd, Nizwa and Sohar – is now in the pipeline. The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Foundation is calling on the travel industry to support a recovery fund to help rebuild the lives of tourism industry employees in the devastated areas of Myanmar and Sichuan, China. PATA Foundation Board of Trustees Chairman Terry Francis wrote to all PATA members urging them to make donations to the “PATA Foundation Rebuilding Fund” to help speed the recovery process for tourism communities of both destinations. “All of us have been greatly saddened by the tragedy unfolding in Myanmar due to Cyclone Nargis and the earthquake in Sichuan. Many of the victims are part of the travel community - and we need to act quickly to help them,” Mr Francis said. The Fund will