Citrawarna Mega Fam Dinner
DINNER SPEECH BY
YB DATO’ SRI AZALINA DATO’ OTHMAN SAID
MINISTER OF TOURISM, MALAYSIA
CITRAWARNA MEGA FAM DINNER
23 MAY 2008
It is my pleasure to extend to each and every one of you a very warm Selamat Datang or welcome to Malaysia.
We are indeed honoured to see so many distinguished members of the media and captains of the industry at the Citrawarna Malaysia 2008 Mega Fam Programme. I understand we have with us here more than 700 Mega Fam participants comprising journalists and travel agents from all over the world.
Again I would like to thank you for participating in this programme which is one of the main and successful efforts by the Tourism Ministry to promote Malaysia to the rest of the world. We are happy to host your visit to our country. I hope that you will make full use of your time here to see as much as you can of Malaysia and return home to regale your readers and clients with fascinating stories about us.
Last year, we brought in 4,790 Mega Fam participants from all over the world in conjunction with various tourism events. In return, they provided us with more than RM60 million publicity value in terms of print and media visibility.
This exposure has been greatly beneficial in letting the rest of the world know about Malaysia as a value-for-money, safe and exciting tourist destination. This year, it is even more critical for us to have this positive exposure as we are aiming for 22.5 million tourist arrivals.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Your visit under the Mega Fam programme is in conjunction with Citrawarna Malaysia 2006 or “Colours of Malaysia.” It is a month-long national event held yearly to showcase Malaysia’s kaleidoscope of arts, culture and tradition. This year’s celebration, appropriately themed “Celebrating 50 Years of Nationhood – One Golden Celebration,” runs in conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year and marks the 10th anniversary of the event since it was first introduced in 1999. It is just one of many exciting things to do and see in Malaysia.
You could say that visiting Malaysia is like visiting several different countries in one go. There are the peaceful islands where you can rent a basic beach-fronting chalet for as little as USD10 and enjoy diving and snorkelling activities. There are jungles where you can trek for days into the interior and enjoy being at one with nature. We have some amazing wildlife in Malaysia, including elephants, orangutans, proboscis monkeys and rhinoceros.
In the city, you can have the pleasure of sampling international cuisines or shop for branded goods, clothes, electrical and electronic items at relatively affordable prices. For a more authentic Malaysian experience, you can participate in the homestay programme where you will live with a Malaysian host family in their house in the countryside.
Tourists can escape the warm weather by going to any of our highland destinations, most of which used to be hill resort getaways for the British before the Independence.
For the more adventurous, there are jungles and caves to explore – we have the world’s biggest cave chamber, the Sarawak Chamber in Mulu National Park. To demonstrate the vastness of this space, it is said that the chamber can accommodate 10 jumbo jets parked end to end. The chamber is located deep inside the mountain and the only way to reach it is by half-swimming and half-climbing a 1 km long narrow limestone tunnel. In fact, the Mulu National Park was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001.
A visit to Malaysia is made all the more sweeter and memorable with the warm hospitality that Malaysians are known for. I would like to quote from a French traveller who fell so much in love with Malaysia that she decided to make Malaysia her home and in fact has married a Malaysian. She said that the reason she found it so fascinating here is because of our warm hospitality and sincerity. Having been brought up in Europe, she admits that Westerners have an open mind, but Malaysians have something far more priceless — an open heart. I am sure that as you travel within Malaysia for your programme, you too will meet your fair share of “open-hearted” Malaysians.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Let me conclude by thanking all of you again for having accepted our invitation to visit Malaysia. I sincerely hope you will have an enjoyable and memorable experience during your sojourn in our country. You will be doing us a great favour by telling your friends, how fascinated you were with Malaysia.
Please enjoy the rest of the evening. Thank you.