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LATest e-bulletin March '24

In this issue: ① Quote of the month ② LAT New Centralized Customer Service ③ Sabah Imbak Canyon ④ So Many Good Reasons to Work with LAT ⑤ A Halved Sentence for Najib ⑥ Singapore Greener Fuel (and higher fares) ⑦ Singapore Airport E-Gates ⑧ Malaysia ATF 2025 ⑨ Bali Tourist Tax.

Travel can sometimes bring out the worst version of ourselves while convincing us that we're at our best.

LAT New Centralized Customer Service

We are delighted to introduce our Customer Assistance Service, crafted to enhance your customers’ journey with unparalleled support and convenience. As your dedicated Destination Management Company, we are committed to delivering seamless experiences. In line with our goal of becoming an ever more sustainable and paperless organization, we prioritize the timely receipt of all necessary documentation and support to all passengers.

Our revamped service now revolves around a single, easily accessible number for all our destinations introducing a Multilingual IVR Telephone System, a cutting-edge Interactive Voice Response (IVR) telephone system, now available in four languages to guide passengers through inquiries, ensuring language is never a barrier. The new number for IVR Service, which will be effective April 1, 2024, is: +62 21 508 896 86.

In addition to our voice services, we are introducing a dedicated text based IVR line via WhatsApp. This innovative feature empowers your customers to conveniently seek assistance and information via text message, providing another efficient communication channel to address their needs promptly. The new number for Text-Based IVR Service, which will be effective April 1, 2024, is: +62 811 390 390 88.

Be reminded that all other existing numbers will be disabled by April 30, 2024.

We have also developed a Travel Application (LAT Lotus Asia Tours), the ultimate companion for comprehensive destination information and real-time updates. From up-to-date travel notifications, air/sea tickets and vouchers downloading to advisories to local attractions, dining recommendations, and transportation options, our application ensures passengers have all essential documentation and information at their fingertips. Furthermore, real-time notifications keep passengers informed of any relevant changes or developments during their journey.

Access the Travel Application (Effective April 1, 2024): The LAT Lotus Asia Tours Application is conveniently available for download on both Apple and Play stores. Passengers can log in with their relevant data, making it accessible seven days prior to their arrival in any of our destinations.

Should you have any questions or require further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are dedicated to continuing our partnership and serving you with excellence.


The LAT Team

Sabah Imbak Canyon

Nestled within the Sabah state, IMBAK Canyon stands as a testament to nature's pristine beauty, often overlooked amidst its more renowned counterparts. Yet, this hidden gem promises an unparalleled adventure, tranquility, and a profound communion with the natural world.

Encompassing approximately 30,000 hectares of untouched rainforest, the Imbak Canyon Conservation Area is flanked by the Danum Valley and the Maliau Basin, forming the Heart of Borneo—an ecological marvel celebrated for its unparalleled biodiversity.

Shielded by its remoteness, Imbak Canyon serves as a sanctuary for a plethora of flora and fauna, its seclusion safeguarding a myriad of plant and animal species.

The landscape captivates with its majestic limestone cliffs, lush jungles, and pristine rivers, offering a picturesque backdrop for explorers and nature enthusiasts alike. A network of rivers and streams crisscross the canyon, forming enchanting waterfalls and natural pools that beckon tourists to revel in the tropical paradise.

Imbak Canyon emerges as a hotspot of biodiversity, boasting a rich tapestry of plant life, including rare orchids, pitcher plants, and towering hardwoods. Birdwatchers will find delight in the diverse avian population, from the striking Bornean Bristlehead to the elusive Oriental Bay Owl, while the fortunate may encounter elusive creatures like the clouded leopard, Bornean pygmy elephant, and orangutans.

Beyond its ecological significance, Imbak Canyon holds cultural importance for indigenous communities like the Dusun and Murut tribes, who have coexisted with the jungle for millennia, weaving its resources into their livelihoods and traditions.

A visit to Imbak Canyon offers a window into their ancestral knowledge, folklore, and sustainable practices that have nurtured the area's ecological balance for generations. For adventurers, the canyon presents an array of activities catering to all levels of experience. From scenic hikes offering panoramic vistas and encounters with diverse wildlife to immersive camping experiences under the star-strewn sky, Imbak Canyon invites exploration and connection with the rhythms of the forest.

As a testament to Borneo's breathtaking beauty and ecological significance, Imbak Canyon stands as an undiscovered treasure, inviting exploration, cultural enrichment, and a deeper appreciation for the wonders of the natural world.

So Many Good Reasons to Work with LAT

Established in 1991

Independently owned and operated

Purely B2B with travel industry partners

Online booking engine with immediate

confirmation of hotels, tours and transfers

Skilful Contents Provider and Technology user

Knowledgeable and efficient reservations personnel

Long and proud association with the MICE industry in all Lotus destinations

Fully committed to Sustainability and CSR

Climate Contribution for all packages and services on offer

Extensive selection of scheduled group departures and innovative product lines

Direct access to a vast pool of local professional contributors

Owns small boutique island hotels strategically located

LAT Indochina subsidiary operating in Thailand and Vietnam

Multilingual guides in all destinations

Operations offices throughout its destinations

Centralised bookings and payments for multi destination tours

Assistance in language


A Halved Sentence for Najib

The pardons board of Malaysia announced on Friday its decision to reduce former Prime Minister Najib Razak's 12-year sentence for corruption and money laundering charges related to the 1MDB scandal. The panel, chaired by Malaysia's former king, has decided to halve Najib's sentence and reduce the fine imposed on him from 210 million ringgit to 50 million ringgit ($10.6 million). Failure to pay the fine would result in an additional year of imprisonment.

The board did not provide a specific reason for the reduction in the fine or the shortened release date, now expected in August 2028.

Speculation about a possible pardon circulated on social media earlier in the week following a meeting of the board on Monday. However, a local media report suggesting Najib had been granted a full pardon was later retracted. Pardons and sentence reductions in Malaysia are at the discretion of the country's king.

In 2022, the Federal Court upheld Najib's conviction for misappropriating funds from SRC International, a former subsidiary of Malaysia's sovereign wealth fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). He began serving his jail sentence in mid-2022 and applied for a royal pardon the same year.

Najib is also facing three other trials related to the 1MDB scandal, which is considered one of the world's largest corruption cases. Investigators estimate that around $4.5 billion was embezzled, with over $1 billion directed to accounts linked to Najib. He maintains that he was misled by fugitive financier Jho Low and other 1MDB officials regarding the source of the funds.

Najib's wife, Rosmah Mansor, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined 970 million ringgit for corruption charges related to a project to supply solar hybrid energy to rural schools.

The 1MDB scandal, first uncovered by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2015, led to Najib's government's downfall in the 2018 general election. His Barisan Nasional coalition, which had been in power since Malaysia's independence in 1957, lost to the opposition Pakatan Harapan alliance.


Singapore Greener Fuel (and higher fares)

From 2026, travellers flying out of Singapore will pay higher airfares because of a levy the Government will impose as part of a move to require flights departing from the city-state to use environmentally sustainable jet fuel. The money collected from the passenger levy will go towards the bulk purchase of sustainable aviation fuel that airlines here will need to use, to kick-start its adoption.

Singapore Airport E-Gates

Singapore will soon allow foreign visitors to enter the country via its automated immigration turnstiles at all checkpoints, as it tries to ease the immigration process for tourists. The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on Tuesday said it will allow all arrivals to scan their passports under a new automated border control system from the second half of this year. To exit, they will be subject to biometric assessments but will not have to show their passports again.

Malaysia ATF 2025

Malaysia has been announced as the host for the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2025 following a recent handover at Landmark Hotel, Vientiane, Laos, in conjunction with ATF 2024. The last ATF in Malaysia was hosted in Kuching, Sarawak in 2014.

Bali Tourist Tax

Effective from the 14th of February 2024, all foreign travellers are required to pay the Bali Tourism Tax of 150,000 IDR ($10.00, €9.00, £7.70). Tourists may conveniently settle this fee through the Love Bali website or upon arrival. Tourists will receive a receipt and a QR code, which must be scanned at the point of departure from Bali.

Our whole product for free and independent travellers, groups and MICE are based on a Climate Contribution programme. This means that part of the greenhouse gas emissions that will be generated are offset by projects in collaboration with Climate Partner, one of the leading climate protection solution providers for companies.

The arising emissions are being compensated by supporting a third-party certified geothermal energy project in Darajat, Java (Indonesia). ​The project helps to meet the growing demand for electricity in Indonesia. By increasing the share of renewable energy, the dependence on fossil fuel-based electricity decreases, and about 705,390 tonnes of CO2 emissions are saved per year.

For over thirty years, Lotus Asia Tours Group has provided services and assistance to travellers the world over, specialising in the design and implementation of corporate events, activities, incentive tours and motivational travel, targeted at FIT, GIT and MICE markets, in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indochina. The group also operates four boutique island hotels in Indonesia, in Lombok, Bali, Sulawesi and Papua. To learn more about our brand please head to our website, or contact us directly; we look forward to hearing how we could help make your next trip, tour or event memorable and successful. Corporate Office D-5-4 Megan Avenue 1, 189 Jalan Tun Razak, 50400 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia T: +60 (0)3 21617075 · F: +60 (0)3 21617084 · E:


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