As we reach the midpoint of 2019, there seems to be much uncertainty looming ahead, from the global economic slowdown and US-China trade war to the effects of climate change. On the homefront, the Malaysian government is getting ready to implement the international departure tax on travellers leaving the country by air (MYR20 to ASEAN countries and MYR40 to other countries), while at the same time having around six months to prepare for Visit Malaysia Year 2020. Reactions have been mixed; some parties say that in the beginning it would affect outbound travel but eventually normalise once travellers are accustomed to it, while others argue that it would affect Malaysia’s tourism performance in the long run. There is no denying that the imposition of the departure tax will increase the cost of travel, therefore it is the hope of all stakeholders that the government handles this issue wisely, be transparent in how the money collected is spent, and respond accordingly if the tax were to negatively affect Malaysia’s appeal as a leading value-for-money destination, particularly among travelling families and those who come to the country for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE), because maintaining Malaysia’s tourism competitiveness in terms of pricing, especially in these uncertain times, is key.

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But to us travel junkies, nothing will stop us travelling internationally, with or without the departure tax, notably within the ASEAN region. One such destination is Davao (page 72), which is the gateway to Mount Apo and the island of Mindanao. Another option is to take the cruise on Genting Dream (page 68) from Singapore to Phuket and back. Those who intend to travel further should consider Qatar, especially now that the cutting-edge Jean Novel-designed National Museum of Qatar has opened its doors. Otherwise, focusing on Malaysian destinations and attractions can be equally enriching too, for instance Selangor’s crafts (page 48) and bucolic Hulu Langat district (page 52); Northern Peninsular Malaysia by public transport (page 58); Kenyir Lake (page 62); Sarawak (page 74); Melaka (page 92); and Negeri Sembilan (page 102). For accommodations, travellers will find that Sunway Putra Hotel (page 120); Alila Bangsar (page 122); Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur (page 125); Hotel de Art (page 128); and Casugria Boutique Residence Melaka (page 130) all possess their own characteristics that make for memorable stay.

Hope you will find the articles within this issue useful. See you in the next issue, and may you remain safe wherever you are heading…

JUHAN KAMARUDDIN @ JEREMY KHALIL
Email your comments to jeremy@gayatravel.com.my


Cover Illustration by Mohd Nor Adli Ahmad Jaffar

Gaya Travel Magazine Issue 14.2

Front Cover Issue 14.2 – Travel No Matter What

DEPARTMENTS
Page 14. Editorial Jottings

GAYA SPECIAL FEATURE
Page 2. QATAR Tourism
Page 4. The New National Museum of Qatar Now Open to the Public
Page 16. Qatar Airways Unveiling Seven New Upcoming Destinations and its Enhanced Economy Class Product
Page 18. Malaysia Airports Niaga Rebrands ERAMAN to be Bigger, Better and Bolder
Page 56. DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Penang Celebrates First Anniversary
Page 66. PADAT
Page 74. With Sarawak More to Discover Campaign 2019/2020 Selected Sarawakian Destinations
Page 92. Melaka: Revisited

GAYATRAVELLER
Page 23. A Beginner’s Guide to Seoul

GAYA DINE & CAFE
Page 32. Embarking on an Exquisite Epicurean Journey at Kogetsu

GAYA TECH
Page 34. Huawei Mate 20 Pro, Just What Travellers Need

GAYA INTERVIEW
Page 36. Mr Franck Loison, GM of Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara
Page 40. YB Datuk Rozman bin Datuk Haji Isli – Connecting Labuan to the World
Page 44. Mr Mahathir bin Abdul Hamid, Director of Tourism, Culture and Arts, Labuan Corporation – Putting Labuan on Traveller’s Maps

DESTINATIONS
Page 48. Treasuring Selangor’s Crafting Heritage
Page 52. Will Travel for Food ETW8 – Eat Travel Write 8.0
Page 58. Exploring Northern Part of Malaysia using Public Transport
Page 62. Grand Kenyir
Page 68. Getting My Dream Realised on Genting Dream
Page 72. Ang ganda mo, Mindanao!
Page 108. Dogheh Kito Teghojah Nismilan!

HOTELS & RESORTS
Page 120. Sunway Putra Hotel: Unmatched Convenience
Page 122. Alila Bangsar #DaretobeDifferent
Page 125. Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur – Deluxe Staycation Personified
Page 128. Sleeping with de Art
Page 130. Becoming One with the Heritage at Casugria Boutique Residence

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