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MTPB Seoul Throws Year-end Party 2006 on Han River Cruise Boat
Malaysian Ambassador to Seoul Dato' M. Santhananaban (fourth from right) and Director Abdul Mutalib Awang (fourth from left) of MTPB (Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board) Korea join a cake-cutting ceremony during the year-end party of MTPB held on a Han River ferry on Dec. 15, 2006.

The Malaysia Truly Asia Year-End Party 2006, hosted by Director Abdul Mutalib Awang of Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board (MTPB), was held on Dec. 15, 2006 on board of a Han River cruise boat overlooking the magnificent night view of Seoul.

With only a couple of weeks to go before the end of the eventful year of 2006, it was a perfect event for those who are in travel trade profession looking for something special to wrap up their years.

Joining the traditional Malaysian style buffer dinner extravaganza were more than 150 invited guests and friends of Malaysia including H.E. Dato' M. Santhananaban,Malaysian Ambassador to Korea, Jon Kim, president of Friends of Malaysia Club and concurrently vice president of Korea Tourism Association and Hong Ki-Chung, vice president of Mode Tour.

Director Abdul Mutalib Awang of MTPB (Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board) Korea croons during MTPB's year-end cruise party in Seoul on Dec. 15, 2006.

"The year 2006 was a memorable year for Tourism Malaysia Seoul when we have achieved some of our targets that we set the year before," Mr. Abdul Mutalib said disclosing that Korean arrivals in Malaysia at the end of August came to 123,000, up 19 percent from a year earlier.

"The final tally is likely to end up in the neighborhood of 200,000 or so,"he observed.

Saying that travel business in the year 2007 is supposed to be more challenging, Mr. Abdul Mutalib cited a devastating killer flu pandemic or bird flu and other similar diseases, threat of terrorism, unexpected natural dissaster and oil price hike as among the challenges that could dampen tourism and so forth.

MTPB Korea Director Abdul Mutalib Awang (left) poses with Malaysian Ambassador to Seoul Dato' M. Santhananaban during MTPB's annual year-end party in Seoul on Dec. 15, 2006.

"On the brither note, he went on to say, outbound travel from Korea is exceed 11 million this year and Korea;s outbound market is considered as oen of the world's most explosive in terms of growth."

During the buffet dinner MTPB Director Awang explained in details what his country is doing to make Malaysia a perfect leisure destination for South Korean people during the year of "Visit Malaysia Year 2007."

‘To make the year 2007 coincide with the 50th anniversary of the national independent, 50 major events have been planned to offer Korean travelers with various programs during their visit to the country," he said.

Mr. Jon Kim, vice president of Korea Tourism Association sings his favorite tune at MTPB Korea year-end party held in Seoul on Dec. 15, 2006.

In order to increase and sustain the market growth, he went on to say that MTPB intends to carry out more aggressive promotional campaign in the media such as TV, radio print media, on line promotion, having more familiarization trips for agents and media and etc.

During the gathering, a variety of tasty Malaysian dishes, music and other entertainment programs including lucky draws were offered to the enjoyment of the guests who braved chilly rainfalls to join the year-end dinner party on a pleasure boat which left Yoido quay at 6:15 p.m. for about three-hour cruise on the Han River.

The occasion was especially valuable as they served one of Malaysia's traditional cuisines — Sate — which is not easy to come by at a Korean restaurant in Seoul.

MTPB Korea Director Abdul Mutalib Awang (third from right) poses with Malaysian Ambassador to Seoul Dato' M. Santhananaban (center), and other VIPs.

Pop music by a group of expatriate Malaysian students now studying at Korean universities in Seoul added flavor to the year-end party on a pleasure boat in the center of Korea's largest river.

Malaysia is expecting to earn $12.2 billion from at least 20 million tourists during the Visit Malaysia Year 2007(VMY2007). The various exciting promotions and marketing strategies went into high gear on Aug. 21 as part of VMY 2007 campaigns to make Malaysia a top-of-the-mind tourist destination, Abdul Mutalib Awang, director of Tourism Malaysia Seoul said.

Pointing out that Malaysia is peaceful, politically stable and its people are hospitable and friendly, Mutalib expressed confident in achieving the target of 20.1 million tourists in Visit Malaysia Year 2007.

Mr. Hong Ki-Chung (second from right), vice president of Mode Tour, proposes a toast at MTPB Korea year-end party held on a Han River cruise on Dec. 15, 2006 in Seoul.

The figure is comparable to 7.4 million tourists Malaysia attracted in 1990 when it launched Visit Year Malaysia 1990. In the latest activity carried out by the Ministry of Tourism and Tourism Malaysia in collaboration with its industry partners, Kuala Lumpur International Airport Limo operators have joined in the campaign by displaying the VMY 2007 logo on their vehicles to create awareness among domestic and foreign travelers.

Beginning on August 21, 2006 the airport limousines and taxis comprising a total of 170 minivans and 30 Mercedes Benz limousines started to publicize VMY 2007, Mutalib said. "Tourism is a people-pleasing business. Nothing impresses tourists more than a broad friendly smile.

The thought of feeling welcomed the moment they step into the airport and as they pass through immigration and customs checkpoints and catch the taxi makes a lot of difference," he added.

Mr. Gene K. Jung, representative of Shangri-LaHotels and Resorts, sings at MTPB year-end party on Dec. 15, 2006 in Seoul.

Key segments promoted for the Malaysian market include; leisure holidays, shopping, dining, eco-tourism, MICE packages, while the special interest promotions showcase; education, honeymoon and retirement programs known as Malaysia My Second Home program, all of which are based on well-organized travel packages coupled with the high standard quality services and products.

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