Tourism Ambassadors talk up recovery

KUALA LUMPUR, 26 May 2022: Malaysia’s three Tourism & Culture Ambassadors, appointed in June 2021 for a two-year term, remain optimistic, sharing their plans to jump-start Malaysia’s tourism industry.

Dato’ Haji Chef Ismail Ahmad covers the gastronomy segment, Datuk Lee Jin Bok the South Korean market and Kabir Khan Mohamad Reaz the UK and US markets.

During a recent meeting with the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, YB Dato’ Sri Hajah Nancy Shukri in Kuala Lumpur, the ambassadors elaborated on their plans to promote Malaysia in the post-pandemic era.

Photo Credit: Tourism Malaysia. Malaysia’s three Tourism Ambassadors meet with Malaysia’s Minister of Tourism, Art and Culture (fourth from left).

Dato’ Haji Chef Ismail Ahmad

Malaysia’s famed celebrity chef, Dato’ Chef Ismail Ahmad has been actively promoting Malaysia’s authentic cuisine globally through various efforts during the recent pandemic, including a collaboration with a Korean YouTube channel, Blimey, as well as personal cooking classes with the Association of Spouses of Heads of Diplomatic Missions Malaysia (SOHOM).

“The idea of working closely with SOHOM came to me three years ago, and I’m truly grateful that we managed to resume the gastro diplomacy programme this year. Due to the encouraging response by the members, the association has also agreed to make it an annual event. In the meantime, I am preparing for a five-country roadshow across Europe, where I will be working closely with embassies in Germany, Serbia, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Hungary”.

Datuk Lee Jin Bok

Datuk Lee Jin Bok, Chairman of Technology Infotech Lee Sdn Bhd, Vice Chairman of the World Federation of Korean Chambers of Commerce, and Executive Advisor for the Overseas Business Division of Daemyung Group, acts as a go-between connecting South Korea and Malaysia to promote events or the travel sector known as  Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, & Exhibitions (MICE).

Datuk Lee forecasts an increase in international arrivals, particularly from South Koreans, in 2023, after border restrictions eased mainly business travel and golf tours while promoting recovery in the MICE sector.

Kabir Khan Mohamad Reaz

A Penang-born, world-renowned magician, who performs shows in Europe, the UK, and the US, Kabir says he reaches out to audiences to create awareness of Malaysia.

“You can see that show audiences are very much interested to know about Malaysia. However, certain markets listen differently; hence the correct strategies need to be in place to promote Malaysia internationally. I plan to attract these long-haul tourists by creating value-for-money packages, where they get to enjoy several destinations for the price of one,” he explained.

“We are coming out of a pandemic. It’s a reset in tourism that gives us opportunities to develop new approaches. As a co-owner of the Atmosphere 360 Restaurant in KL Tower, 90% of our customers were tourists during the pre-pandemic. Tourists will return and enjoy the culinary experience while creating long-lasting bonds and friendships through our hospitality,” he added.

Commenting on the ambassadors’ achievements, the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Dato’ Seri Nancy said: “Despite the limitations caused by the pandemic, our ambassadors have still managed to continue with their promotional efforts through various means. I hope that this will continue as we move forward and develop more creative efforts that can capture the hearts of our prospective visitors while showcasing Malaysia to the world.”

(Source: Tourism Malaysia)

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