Soualiga Newsday Focus


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Soualiga Newsday Focus (1361)

Dominican Republic Golf Show returning to Casa de Campo

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - Following 2014's successful inaugural event, the Golf Travel Exchange for Dominican Republic will again be bringing together golf tourism leaders in the Caribbean.

The 2015 event is slated for September 5-10 and will again take place at the upscale Casa de Campo Resort in La Romana.

The resort features luxury accommodations and three championship courses.

Golf tour operators, sports media, golf course directors, hoteliers, and DMC's will have the opportunity to network and do business.

"Based on the overwhelming positive response and attendance of the 2014 Golf Travel Exchange, we are thrilled to be able to bring it back for a second year and continue to promote our world-class courses like Teeth of the Dog, Dye Fore, Punta Espada and more," said Teddy De Lara, director of the DR Golf Travel Exchange.

Attendees will also be able to participate in a golf tournament at the on-site Dye Fore golf course.

The Travel Exchange is again endorsed by Dominican Republic's Ministry of Tourism, the National Association of Hotels & Restaurants and the London based International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO).

IAGTO president Peter Walton is also expected to attend again this year.


Children face ‘new generation’ of crises, UNICEF warns launching record $3 billion appeal

INTERNATIONAL – The United Nations today launched its biggest ever humanitarian appeal to fund globe-spanning responses to emergencies and threats “stalking children in ways never before seen” and putting them in extraordinary danger of violence, hunger, disease and abuse.

The $3.1 billionHumanitarian Action for Children 2015appeal is $1 billion larger than last year’s requirements and aims to reach 62 million children at risk in 71 countries around the world from increasingly complex and destructive conflicts, natural disasters and other threats, including the Ebola epidemic.

“Children across the world are facing a new generation of humanitarian crises,”saidAfshan Khan, Director of Emergency Programmes for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). “Whether in the headlines or hidden from view, emergencies sparked by social fracture, climate change and disease are stalking children in ways we have never seen before.”

A total of $903 million from the appeal will be directed to the regional response to the conflict in Syria, protecting children at risk and delivering life-saving assistance like immunisations, safe water and sanitation, and education. Ms. Khan said the lives of children in Syria were “torn apart” by war there.

“For the past four years, these children have been witnessing violence and death daily and have been missing out on the very basics in life,” said Ms. Khan. “This appeal will help secure a future for not only the children of Syria but all children around the world who are impacted by humanitarian crises.”

Conflicts in Ukraine and Nigeria have also caused humanitarian crises and displacement, requiring almost $60 million in funding through the appeal, while “hugely underfunded and forgotten crises,” including Afghanistan, which received only 35 per cent of the resources required in 2014, the occupied Palestinian territorty, which received only 23 per cent, and Niger, which got just 35 per cent, are also targeted by the new appeal.

UNICEF is also trying to accelerate its work in the heart of Ebola-affected communities and has appealed for $500 million in order to do so. The money will be used to scale up efforts to rapidly isolate and treat every case, prevent further outbreaks, and continue to promote healthy behaviours to prevent the spread of the disease. The goal for 2015 is to get to zero cases and support the revitalisation of basic social services.

The 71 countries targeted by the appeal are highlighted because of the scale of the crises, the urgency of their impact on children.

“This appeal will reach the most vulnerable children, wherever they are,” emphasized Ms. Khan. “Where a child is born should not determine his or her destiny.”

She also discussed how funds raised will help UNICEF in its work with partners to prepare countries for future disasters by reinforcing national systems and equipping communities to help themselves.

“We must get vital services and care to children in acute need now, to provide the building blocks that will allow them to create peaceful futures,” she said. “This is not just about immediate humanitarian action as these short-term investments will have long-term gains.”


FACT SHEET: Fostering a Cleaner and More Sustainable Energy Future in the Caribbean

CARIBBEAN/WASHINGTON DC - In follow-up to the launch of the Caribbean Energy Security Initiative (CESI) in June 2014, the Vice President, Secretary of Energy Moniz, other senior Administration officials, Caribbean Heads of Government, multilateral development banks, and other international partners participated in the Caribbean Energy Security Summit January 26 in Washington, D.C. to work together in support of Caribbean energy security.

The Summit highlighted ongoing efforts under the CESI, including support for improved governance, enhanced access to finance, and increased donor coordination. Caribbean leaders highlighted goals for their energy sectors and discussed how the United States and other partners can better support the Caribbean in pursuit of alternative sources of energy. Caribbean leaders agreed to pursue comprehensive energy diversification programs, including actions to facilitate the introduction of cleaner forms of energy.  

The World Bank presented a proposal to create a Caribbean Energy Investment Network to improve coordination and communication among development partners and to empower Caribbean nations to direct and align external support with their own national goals. Governments and multilateral development partners welcomed the proposal as an initial step to a build upon existing efforts to improve the effectiveness of donor-supported energy programs.

At the Summit, co-hosted by the Department of State, the Council of the Americas, and the Atlantic Council, partner countries discussed comprehensive energy diversification strategies, such as the U.S.-Grenada pilot program that was launched in September, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries on August 27, 2014. This program is based on a model that was successfully implemented in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) and Hawaii and that seeks to identify tailored, comprehensive energy solutions for island jurisdictions.

The United States’ Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) will intensify its focus on developing clean energy projects in the Caribbean. OPIC and the Department of State have identified a team with specific responsibility for identifying and arranging financing for Caribbean projects. OPIC announced January 26 it will disburse the first tranche of approximately $43 million in financing for Blue Mountain Renewables’ 34 MW wind project in Jamaica. When construction begins in June, this project will be a tangible example of public and private sectors in both countries working in harmony—and nearly $90 million of investment in Jamaica’s economy, which also will ease Jamaica’s dependence on fossil fuels. 

Additional U.S. Assistance to Promote a Cleaner more Secure Energy Future in the Caribbean:

The U.S. government continues to deepen its technical assistance and capacity building programs to the Caribbean under the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) initiative and other mechanisms:

Improving Governance: The U.S. Department of State is supporting technical assistance in Saint Kitts and Nevis to support development of their geothermal resources. Work includes competitive procurement processes, electrical system analysis, environmental review, project management, and technical and commercial island interconnection studies. Under the Haiti Energy Policy and Utility Partnership Program, funded by USAID, the U.S. Energy Association is supporting power sector reform in El Salvador, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.

Facilitating Development of Cleaner Energy Sources: Through the Department of State-funded Caribbean Sustainable Energy Capacity Building Project, the Organization of American States (OAS) is providing project development support to Caribbean governments and utilities for sustainable energy projects. The U.S. Department of Interior, together with State, is working with Jamaica to facilitate commercial renewable energy on public lands. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Improved Cooking Technology Project in Haiti resulted in more than 50,000 biomass and LPG stoves sold to reduce charcoal use and is encouraging the widespread adoption of this technology. The OAS, with Department of State funding, is assisting Trinidad and Tobago in the Closed Loop Cycle Production project to promote cleaner production methods among small businesses.

Developing Collaborative Networks on Clean Energy:  The Department of Energy, in partnership with the Government of the United States Virgin Islands and Caribbean-Central American Action, will host the Caribbean Clean Energy Technology Symposium March 24-27, 2015 in St. Thomas, USVI. The Symposium will be the first in a series of regional stakeholder engagements to formulate concrete goals, sharing best practices, and addressing implementation strategies for clean energy adoption. Working Groups will create networks to address Caribbean clean energy issues, including energy education, efficiency, renewable energy and electricity diversification, and climate change. Based on the USVI experience, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will publish an Energy Transition: Islands Playbook that will facilitate the implementation of CESI elements in a specific island setting with a focus on improving energy security, boosting economic growth, and advancing environmental sustainability across the region. 

Financing Clean Energy Projects: USAID will support a multi-year regional Caribbean program to promote energy efficiency and integration of renewables into island energy grids. The Jamaica Clean Energy Program, which will be the largest portion of the overall effort, aims to establish the pre-conditions for clean energy development, optimize renewable energy integration, and accelerate private-sector clean energy investment. In the Eastern Caribbean, USAID’s support will emphasize the development of new financial tools for energy efficiency and renewables with a particular focus on the hotel and tourism sectors.

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency has provided grant funding for three projects in the Dominican Republic that will support the development of clean energy:  a feasibility study and pilot project to assess the viability of modular electric generators, technical assistance to analyze new smart grid options and technologies for improving system reliability, and technical assistance to develop financial tools for commercial users to acquire solar photovoltaic power systems for self-generation.

Increasing Energy Efficiency: DOE, OPIC, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are developing the Caribbean Hotel Energy Efficiency and Renewables (CHEER) Program. CHEER will provide technical assistance, training, and attractive financing to hotels that commit to reduce their energy and water footprints through efficiency and renewable technology solutions. Through the Department of State’s Sustainable Communities in the Caribbean and Central America project, the OAS is promoting clean energy and efficiency in Antigua and Barbuda and the Dominican Republic.

Expanding Access to Electricity, Information and Technology: USAID is working to rehabilitate a 4MW power plant in Northern Haiti. The Peace Corps, together with the Department of State, is increasing access to environmentally friendly energy technologies as well as educating communities on conservation, climate mitigation, and adaptation, in countries where it is present. DOE is providing technical support to the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs to design and carry out a Caribbean-wide Regional Energy Research Center. The Department of State, through the OAS, is catalyzing regional technical cooperation on renewable energy, air quality and greenhouse gas measurements through the Inter-American Metrology System. 


'We are being tested again,' Ban warns as UN marks 70 years since Auschwitz liberation

INTERNATIONAL – Seventy years ago today, January 27, allied forces liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau, the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp, United NationsSecretary-GeneralBan Ki-moon said, urging renewed vigilance to eradicate the deep roots of hatred as anti-Semitic attacks continue and vulnerable communities around the world bury their dead while living in fear of further violence.

“More than a million inmates, primarily Jews, were brutally and systematically killed in the place where the Nazis introduced the monstrous concept of 'industrialized murder.' Among the other victims were non-Jewish Poles, political prisoners, Soviet prisoners of war, Sinti and Roma, homosexuals, disabled persons and Jehovah's witnesses,” Mr. Bansaidin his remarks on the day.

“Unprecedented in human history, this mass killing was motivated by the perverse, race-based ideology of the Nazis, who sought to track down and kill every last Jew and any others they considered to be inferior,” added the Secretary-General.

TheInternational Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaustis marked every year on 27 January, the date on which Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated in 1945. This year's observance, on the theme 'Liberty, Life and the Legacy of the Holocaust Survivors', coincides with two milestone events: the 70th anniversary of the Second World War's end and the founding of the UN.

“Humankind united to overcome the Nazi menace. Today, we are being tested again. Minorities everywhere often face bigotry. Sectarian tensions and other forms of intolerance are on the rise,” Mr. Ban emphasized as he pledged the commitment of the UN to protecting the vulnerable, promoting fundamental human rights and upholding the freedom, dignity and worth of every person.

The overall mission of the United Nations was shaped by the tragedy of the Second World War and the Holocaust, the Secretary-General explained. Both the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights enshrine the principles of human rights for all peoples around the world.

“The violence and bias we see every day are stark reminders of the distance still to travel in upholding human rights, preventing genocide and defending our common humanity. We must redouble our efforts to eradicate the deep roots of hatred and intolerance. People everywhere must unite to stop the cycles of discord and build a world of inclusion and mutual respect,” Mr. Ban declared.

For the past decade, the Holocaust and the UN Outreach Programme has mobilized students and educators around the world to help us achieve these goals, the UN chief said. “We are grateful to our many partners including Holocaust survivors who have contributed to this work, which spanned 42 countries in the past year alone.”

This year'seventsinclude the annual ceremony, exhibits, a film screening, discussions and a special exhibit that recognizes the work of the Holocaust and the UN Outreach Programme since its creation 10 years ago by the UN General Assembly.

With UN Headquarters closed today due to inclement weather, the annual General Assembly commemoration of the International Day has been rescheduled for Wednesday, 28 January. The event will feature remarks from, among others, the Secretary-General, Israel's President Reuven Rivlin, a Holocaust survivor, and a Soviet Army veteran. Mr. Avner Shalev, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate, will deliver the keynote address. Grammy-award winning violinist Miri Ben-Ari and The Jewish Chapel Choir of the United States Military Academy at West Point are set to perform.


Ebola virus disease is decreasing in all three of the most affected countries in West Africa. Ebola still remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern

INTERNATIONAL - The fourth meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the WHO Director-General under the International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005 regarding the Ebola virus disease (EVD, or "Ebola") outbreak in West Africa was conducted with members and advisors of the Emergency Committee earlier in the week of 19 January 2015.

This meeting was convened to review, in accordance with IHR provisions, whether the event continued to constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and, if so, whether this warranted an extension or revision of the three -month date of the expiration of the temporary recommendations, which were first issued on 8 August 2014 and extended on 22 September 2014 and 23 October 2014.

Developments since the Committee's last meeting were reviewed, including the most recent epidemiological situation. The Committee noted that the number of Ebola cases is decreasing in all three of the most affected countries.

Since the previous meeting, three countries have declared the end of Ebola transmission: Spain, the United States of America, and Mali. One case was imported into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK), in a health care worker who returned from Sierra Leone and was asymptomatic on exit screening and during travel; she became ill after arrival in the UK.

The Committee expressed concern that additional measures affecting travel, transport and trade that go beyond the temporary recommendations have been put in place in more than 40 countries.

Current response and preparedness activities were reviewed, as well as recent scaling up of the response. Priorities and strategies for moving towards zero cases were presented.

Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali and UK provided an update on and assessment of the Ebola situation in their countries, including progress towards implementation of the temporary recommendations.

Even though a few cases have occurred outside the three most affected countries, the measures recommended appear to have been helpful in limiting further international spread, including the exportation of disease from the three most affected countries.

It was the unanimous view of the Committee that the event continues to constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. The Committee reviewed the temporary recommendations previously issued and stated that all previous temporary recommendations should remain in effect. The committee provided the following additional advice to the Director-General for her consideration in addressing the Ebola outbreak in accordance with the IHR.

Recommendations for the most affected countries (Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone)

The Committee strongly reiterated the previous temporary recommendation on exit screening and highlighted the value of exit screening in these three countries. Exit screening remains critical for minimizing the risk of exportation of Ebola cases. The three most affected countries should maintain robust exit screening until Ebola transmission is confirmed to have stopped in these countries. The Committee again urged affected countries to provide WHO regularly with the number of people screened at international airports and the outcomes of exit screening. The international community should support a sustainable approach to this exit screening.

Recommendation for countries sharing borders with Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone

These countries should be conducting active surveillance, including in border areas, and engaging in cross-border cooperation, information and asset sharing, and continued vigilance for new cases. National governments should empower local communities that have land crossings at shared national borders to be part of these activities.

Recommendations for all countries

The Committee reaffirmed the need to avoid unnecessary interference with international travel and trade, as specified in Article 2 of the IHR 2005. The Committee noted that more than 40 countries have implemented additional measures, such as quarantine of returning travellers and refusal of entry.

Such measures are impeding the recruitment and return of international responders. They also have harmful effects on local populations by increasing stigma and isolation, and by disrupting livelihoods and economies.

The Committee stressed that, therefore, in accordance with the provisions of Article 43 of the IHR 2005 , any country applying additional measures must do so on the basis of scientific principles and available scientific evidence.

Those countries applying measures that interfere with international travel shall provide to WHO the public health rationale and relevant scientific information for such measures. WHO may request countries to reconsider these measures. This provision is binding on all States Parties.

The Committee emphasized that all countries should enhance their preparedness activities and, in line with their IHR obligations, ensure their capacities to detect, assess and respond to any introduction of Ebola virus disease.

The Committee concluded that the primary emphasis must continue to be on 'getting to zero' Ebola cases, by stopping the transmission of Ebola within the three most affected countries. This action is the most important step for preventing international spread. Complacency is the biggest risk to not getting to zero cases. Continued vigilance is essential.

Based on this advice and the information considered by the Committee, the Director-General accepted the Committee's assessment, and declared that the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone continued to constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. The Director-General endorsed the Committee's advice and issued them as Temporary Recommendations under IHR (2005). The Director-General further reminded all countries of their obligations under the IHR.

The Director-General thanked the Committee members and advisors for their advice and requested their reassessment of this situation within three months or earlier should circumstances require.


A Very High Impact Major Winter Storm Will Impact the US East Coast from Philadelphia & New York City through New England through Tuesday Night

US EAST COAST - A very high impact major winter storm is just getting started across the Mid-Atlantic States into the New York City metro area. Snow will spread into New England this afternoon into this evening; however, the worst part of this storm is expected from tonight through Tuesday.

he heavy snow is then expected to gradually wind down on Tuesday night. This is a storm where the snow will be measured in feet, especially from New York City and Long Island through southern New England.

Combine this with the strong winds that are expected and you have a crippling blizzard which will bring travel to a standstill tonight through Tuesday and Tuesday night across much of New England, eastern and south eastern New York, eastern Pennsylvania and much of New Jersey.

The maximum snow accumulations of 30 inches are expected across north eastern Connecticut, northern Rhode Island and central and eastern Massachusetts. 20 to 30 inches of snow accumulation are likely across all of southern New England, south eastern New York, Long Island and northern New Jersey.

If you live in or have family, friends or colleagues in the path of this winter storm, please do not travel tonight or on Tuesday as roads will be impassable; in fact, some roads may still be impassable even on Wednesday and Thursday due to the deep snow and even deeper snow drifts.

In addition, all airports in the north eastern United States will likely be closed for an extended period of time from tonight through at least Tuesday and even Wednesday. If you are headed to the store to stock up for this storm today, buy enough food and supplies to last you 2 to even 3 days.

In addition to the heavy snow and blizzard conditions, hurricane force winds and 30 foot seas are possible across the coastal and offshore New England and Nova Scotia waters as well as across the coastal and offshore waters from Long Island to Virginia.

These very strong winds and very high seas are likely to lead to coastal flooding along the coast of eastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and Long Island. This coastal flooding may be severe enough to flood shore roads and basements of homes along the immediate coast during the early Tuesday morning high tide. Severe beach erosion is also expected during both high tides on Tuesday along the coasts of eastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and Long Island. (Crown Weather Services)



CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina -The Divi Vacation Club has launched, and this new points-based club offers members access to premier destinations in the Caribbean and worldwide travel opportunities.  The Divi Vacation Club began enrolling members in January.  

The featured Caribbean properties include Divi ArubaPhoenix Beach Resort, Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort and Divi Dutch Village Beach Resort on Aruba; Divi Southwinds Beach Resort on Barbados; Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino on Bonaire and Divi Little Bay Beach Resort on St. Maarten. These resorts, known as Divi Club Destinations, feature a range of vacation experiences, from modern high-rise hotels, to intimate beachside settings, to top dive resorts.

In addition to the Divi Club Destinations, members can vacation in more than 80 countries through the Divi Exchange Network, which partners with Interval International®to access hundreds of resorts around the world.   

"The Divi Vacation Club offers more travel flexibility than traditional vacation ownership, allowing club members to travel where they want, when they want and how they want, based on the amount of points they wish to spend," says Marco Galaverna, presidentof Divi Management Group. "With Pure Points, the currency used to book vacations, our members only spend the points they need depending on the season, resort, accommodation size and length of stay." The Divi Vacation Club also helps members save money on theirtravel, insuring that their yearly vacation costs will remain stable and affordable for years to come.   

The new club's website ( also premiered in January, outlining club program details as well as providing access for current members to explore destinations, make reservations, research points balances and make payments. For more information on Divi Vacation Club membership, visitwww.divivacationclub.comor call a sales center on Aruba:1-800-257-4943/1-919-883-4699or on St. Maarten:1-877-349-0560/1-919-338-2750.


Jamaica kicks off sports tourism initiative – Jamaica Sport

JAMAICA - Jamaica has officially unveiled Jamaica Sport - a new initiative to develop the island as a major sports tourism destination.

Leveraging its success in world sport, notably the sprint prowess of Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Jamaica aims to boost tourist arrivals with a regular calendar of major sporting events.

"As a country, we are well-known for our rich sporting legacy, whether for our remarkable successes or our indomitable spirit, especially in the sporting arena" said Paul Pennicook, Jamaica's Director of Tourism.

"The dominance of our athletes, including sprinters, cricketers, netballers, swimmers and footballers has been tremendous, but it is this achievement in combination with the 'can-do' attitude of our bobsledders that defines a sporting culture found only in Jamaica."

Jamaica Tourist Board announced a series of events through 2015, including a number of road races such as the internationally known Reggae Marathon in December, Kingston City Run and Jake's off-road Triathlon.

Mountain biking, tennis, and track and field events are also planned this year.

The inaugural event in the Jamaican sporting calendar is the Pineapple Cup from February 6.

This ocean racing classic dating back to 1961 sets sail from Fort Lauderdale for the 800 nautical miles to Montego Bay.

During the race there is a full timetable of cocktail parties, steel band shows, limbo dancing, before ending with prize-giving ceremony on February 15. (TravelMole)


Mark Spitz to host Windstar's first Island Experience program

SINT MAARTEN/BVI - Small ship cruise line Windstar's new Island Experiences program will feature Olympic legend Mark Spitz during its January 31 Caribbean sailing. 

Windstar’s vessels call at Port St. Maarten weekly with the Wind Surf in port last Saturday.

Spitz, who famously won seven swimming gold medals at the 1972 Munich Games, will serve as host during the ship's stop at Prickly Pear Beach, a secluded nature reserve in the British Virgin Islands.

He will conduct an on-board lecture on the Yachtsman's Caribbean and join guests for dinner as well as taking swimming classes during the day.

"We are thrilled to have a renowned athlete like Mark Spitz join us for the launch of our new Island Experience," said Hans Birkholz, Windstar Cruises' chief executive officer.

"Our Private Events were designed for our guests to really experience the local culture in an exclusive way. The new Island Experience will allow them to feel like they are on their own slice of paradise for the day."

The Island Experience Private Events program will all feature beach and sporting activities such as volleyball, snorkeling, and bocce ball, along with a beach barbeque.

Besides BVI, Island Experience Private Events are also scheduled for “Mayreau Private Beach Getaway,” “St. Lucia Getaways in Paradise,” and “Isla de Coiba: Tropical Beach Delights,” Panama.

The cruise line said more celebrity hosts will be announced in the coming months.

Windstar Cruises operates a fleet of small luxury cruise ships known for its intimate yacht style experience and unique voyages to the world’s best small ports and hidden harbors.

Its three recently renovated sailing yachts carry just 148 to 310 guests and cruise to 50 nations, calling at 150 ports throughout Europe, the South Pacific, the Caribbean, and Central America.

In May of 2014, Windstar launched Star Pride, the first of three newly acquired power yachts. In May of 2015 the company will launch Star Breeze and Star Legend. The power yachts, with a capacity of 212 guests each, will double the size of Windstar’s fleet, making the company the market leader in small ship cruising with 300 or fewer passengers, with a total of 1,242 berths.

The additional capacity will open up new itineraries such as voyages to Southeast Asia, Arabia, Iceland, and beyond.

Windstar was recently listed on Condé Nast Traveler’s prestigious Gold List, coming in as the #3 cruise line in the world.


Malaysia Tourism promotes cycling travel packages

MALAYSIA - Tourism leaders in Malaysia are peddling the country's eco-tourism credentials with the recent roll out of a raft of new tour packages for cyclists.

To kick off the 2015 programme, Tourism Malaysia will promote a new guide book 'Discover Malaysia by Bicycle' at the ASEAN Tourism Forum on January 22.

The packages focus mainly on cycling enthusiasts from Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand and include three-day tours of Kuching, Kota Bharu and a four-day Taman Negara cycling package.

"Through these packages, domestic and international tourists will be able to explore more destinations in Malaysia through cycling," said Tourism Malaysia's deputy director-general of promotions, Azizan Noordin.

The packages are being marketed through 32 local tour agencies.

Tourism Malaysia has been promoting cycling tours since 2011 and sold over 5,000 packages during 2013. (TravelMole)

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