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Goodbye Encik Johanif Director of Tourism Malaysia Sarawak

Encik Johanif receiving gift.


  The board of director for Tourism Malaysia Sarawak Encik Johanif bin Mohammad Ali will be leaving for New York on the 25th January 2013. He has been serving the Tourism Malaysia Sarawak since year 2008 until 2012.


  In his statement during his speech, his main goal was not only to promote Sarawak alone but he is looking at new business prospect in New York. He did mention the percentage of international tourists coming over to Sarawak was more. His new aim in New York was also to introduce Sarawak more to the people in New York besides his other tasks to promote Malaysia as a whole.


  One of his notable successes as the State Director, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board Sarawak Office, was organizing the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) board of directors’ conference in year 2009. The event was    attended by a total of 100 delegates from all different nations in Asia region. The objective for PATA which was established in the early 1950’s served its purposed to promote mostly Asian region. 


Encik Johanif also sat on the Sarawak Convention Bureau as the Board of directors for four years.


  He even urged the Sarawak government to make full use of our treasures and natural resources in Sarawak to turn it into a potential marketing tool to attract more tourists.


  “With its natural products, we must now find a way to market them the right way. The industry players must have the ability to modify our local products to become major tourist products of choice,” he commented.


  He mentioned that Sarawak can learn a thing or two by observing Melaka. Melaka does not have a much resources to begin with but they somehow managed to do it and turn it into tourists’ attractions by being creative.


“Despite not having many natural resources that could be turned into local tourist attractions, Melaka is very resourceful. They are able to create attractive packages for their tourism.”


 Johanif hoped that the tour operators in Sarawak do not rely too much on the government to do the job. Instead, they need to be creative in marketing and promoting their products and services.


 “They must be able to constantly think of new products that could attract more tourists to the state and country. Creativity is one way that this industry could develop further,” he added.


  He added the reason why Sarawak especially, tends to get very low visitors from New York was due to air connectivity.


  “Without it, it is difficult for our tourism industry. For example, the American market is much matured; meaning price plays an important role. Tourists will look for the best and most attractive ones.”


  “We stress on product uniqueness. For Sarawak, the products are its culture, nature and adventure,” said Johanif.


   To overcome the air connectivity issue, Tourism Malaysia has developed a smart partnership with international airlines.


   Johanif’s successor will be Sallahudin Mohd Ariffin and will be taking his position as the Tourism Malaysia Sarawak Director in February 2013.


   Those who attended his farewell party held at Damai on the 28th December 2012 were Dato’ James Dawos, Sarawak Cruise River, The Star, Savvy Media and Borneo Island Big Bikers Club. There were a total number of 50 people who attended his farewell party.


   Light refreshments consist of Nasi Briyani, Rendang Beef, Bee Hoon, assorted cupcakes and cookies.


Mouth watery Nasi Briyani, Noodles and Rendang

  Simple activities such as karaoke from both emcees made his farewell party even livelier and simple quizzes with mystery prizes were given away to the crowds.


  Mr Johanif, you have our best wishes. Do the best and have a great pleasant journey all the way in New York. We also hoped to see you coming back to Kuching once in a while for a visit whenever you have the chance.



Is Balikpapan City in Indonesia only Known for Oil and Gas?

Photo Credits Goes To: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Balikpapan_4.jpg

Located on the East side of Kalimantan, Balikpapan is a city that is well-known for industry such as oil, mining, gas, and timber. But some never heard of it. There are quite a handful of people thinking Balikpapan is a place where there are a lot of factories and social status is off poor economics state. Well, is that true?


The answer to it is the opposite of what one may think of. Balikpapan, an archipelago with the size of a total 639, 031 in population is a beautiful island located on the west side of Kalimantan. The fact is, although Balikpapan is well known for its iconic oil and gas industries; and it became a very popular tourist attraction.


In Balikpapan, there are several multinational companies’ have turned their base of operation to Balikpapan itself as a business centre. Even one of the roads here is named after their iconic industries, such as Jalan Minyak which means The Oil Street.


Due to the multinational companies, Balikpapan is transforming into a place whereby the island itself will soon be filled with different ethnics and cultures. The diverse ethnicities and cultures is what made Balikpapan a place that is worth to visit and stop by. Be it for personal business trip, family trip, or even a couple retreats as a grandeur holiday spots.


There are many things to do here in Baikpapan once you made your landing at the Sepinggan International Airport.


First of all there is the Klandasan market. The Klandasan market is where you get see local fresh fruits and vegetables are sale directly from the farm. Everything you see is fresh and green.


The Vegetable Garden Inpres will be a great spot to stop by. This is the place whereby you can actually buy gifts and handicrafts. And if you do happen to be wearing any jewellery with you during your visit at Balikpapan, then you have come to the right place. They offer services such as helping you to wash away your faded gold or silver. And if you are planning to purchase any of them this place alone offers you the best price in town.


You need some relaxation? No worries. The beach is just nearby. Police Beach Kemala is a great spot for you to just sit down, relax and enjoy the sunrise or sunset.

Picture above is the Balikpapan preserved forest.


Feeling a little bit adventurous? Well, there is the Preserve Forest Wein River though. You will be walking along with nature. It is 10,000 hectares of preserve forests with endangered wild animals such as the orang-utan, honey bears, and the proboscis monkey. You will get to see plants such as the Semar and the very popular Ginger Pouch. This place here is a good start for you to take away your minds away from work and stress of your life


Picture above: Time to feed the crocs at the Barnacle Crocodile.


Just in case if you’re bored on spending money and having that nature walk. You might want to try the Crocodile Barnacle. You eventually get to feed those reptiles at the price of Rp. 10,000 per head. After having that long walk around Balikpapan, and if you are hungry, try out the exotic crocodile satay meat here. But if you are an animal lover, then enjoy the sights of other animals such as the elephants, monkeys, turtles and racoons.


The iconic mega structure of oil refinery in Balikpapan is what makes Balikpapan well known as the oil town as well. The place is not open to public but from a distance, you are able to see the many buildings of oil refinery within that area.


Although Balikpapan is known as the oil town, yet still there are other things to look around. Whether or not it is an oil town or a tourist attraction, it is for you to decide once you visited the place and see it for your own self. Or it can be both as the town itself is more than meets the eye.


For more flight details, you can check it out here, http://www.maswings.com.my/



Balikpapan-the hidden treasure of East Kalimantan


There's good news for everyone who is itching to go to fly off to a new exciting destination, Balikpapan in East Kallimantan! MasWings is now offering three weekly direct flights from Kuching and Kota Kinabalu to Balikpapan’s Sepinggan International Airport, the second busiest airport in Borneo, starting from 1st February 2013. So hurry up and don’t miss this opportunity to fly and try out MasWings newest destination.


Balikpapan in Indonesia is in the country’s province of East Kalimantan. Balikpapan in Indonesia is well known for its booming oil industry. Several multinational oil companies use Balikpapan in Indonesia as their base of operation within the region. Apart from being known as the oil town of East Kalimantan, there are many interesting places and fun things you can you can do in Balikpapan, the second largest city in East Kalimantan.


The wonderful city of Balikpapan has a population of over 600, 000 people. With just the right size of population, Balikpapan is neither too big nor too small and thus you’ll never feel as if it’s either too crowded or too small. As a seaport city, Balikpapan Indonesia is very close to the sea. You’d really have to come here yourself to see the beautiful beaches that Balikpapan has to offer.

The warm and friendly inhabitants of Balikpapan, comprising of a mixture of natives and people from all over Indonesia coming here working in the oil industry is one compelling reason for you for you to discover the beauty and charm of Balikpapan.




Once you’ve here in Balikpapan you must be wondering what place you should be visiting in this East Kalimantan city? Well, Balikpapan boasts several interesting places that will surely captivate you during your visit here. For starters, you can visit several of the most well known markets in Balikpapan. To experience a slice of traditional life in Balikpapan you can pay a visit to Klandasan Market within the city. This government-organised traditional market is in Jalan Sudirman. You can browse through the various fresh produce such as fruits, crabs, fish and lobster on display here.


Are you interested in bringing back a souvenir as a memento of your visit here in Balikpapan? You can find lots of beautiful local handicrafts and jewelleries at the Garden Inpres Market, which is famous amongst the tourists visiting here. The gemstones on sale here are amongst the cheapest in Indonesia since Balikpapan is very close to where these gemstones are mined. What better way can you find to impress the folks back home than to bring some glittering gemstones back? The well-made handicraft from the local Dayak tribe also on sale here are also no less impressive. You’ll spend hours browsing through the arrays of impressive wares on offer at the Garden Inpres Market.


As Balikpapan is a seaport, it obvious that it has a beach where you can stroll along and watch the beautiful sunset and the waves crashing on the shore. Kemala Beach is in Jalan Sudirman right in the city. So, you don’t have to wander far away to get to the beach. How more convenient can you get from this?

As Balikpapan has a number of expats executives either working in the oil industries or flying in out of the city frequently, the range of hotel accommodations here are impressive. The oil industry in Balikpapan really does this city a lot of good when it comes to accommodation. Be rest assured you’ll definitely find your stay here a very comfortable one.


MasWings operates its flights weekly from Kuching and Kota Kinabalu to Balikpapan on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. With these three new flights per-week commencing on 1st February, why don’t you try out Balikpapan and discover this unique hidden treasure of East Kalimantan soon? Who knows, you might even want to come back here for a repeat visit!


Tags: Maswings | Balikpapan | Klandasan Market | Garden Inpres Market | Kemala Beach | Jalan Sudirman | Kuching Sarawak | East Kalimantan | Kalimantan | Indonesia | Visit Balikpapan | Balikpapan Indonesia | Borneo |