SHAH ALAM, Oct 27 — The strong influence wielded by animated characters ‘Upin and Ipin’ as Malaysian Tourism Ambassadors in several Asean countries will further boost tourist arrivals in the future, says Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.
He said the acceptance of the animated characters by various age groups is relied on to ‘steal’ the attention of tourists from various countries, particularly China and India following the move by intellectual property rights holders Les’ Copaque Production Sdn Bhd (Les’ Copaque) which is expected to extend its influence to the two locations next year.
“Due to the fact that the animated characters have captivated most of the people in the country, so for the domestic tourism sector, Upin and Ipin will play an important role encouraging more people to continue to visit places of interest in the country.
“In fact, the same effect achieved in existing markets such as Indonesia, Brunei and Singapore will be used to attract potential tourists from other countries as well,” he told reporters after a working visit to the production office here, yesterday.
During the visit, Mohamed Nazri presented certificates of appointment for the animated characters ‘Upin and Ipin’ as Malaysian Tourism Ambassadors to Les’ Copaque managing director Burhanuddin Md Radzi after the announcement was made last July.
The twin animated characters are the latest or the 12th tourism ambassador appointed after several celebrities previously including Prof Datuk Dr Jimmy Choo, singer Yunalis Mat Zara’ai and prominent chef, Datuk Ismail Ahmad.
According to Mohamed Nazri, this is the first time that the ministry has appointed an animated character as a tourism ambassador and the selection was based on the positive impact ‘Upin and Ipin’ wielded abroad.
He said Les’ Copaque’s long-term plan to build its own theme park to attract fans of the twins from various countries to Malaysia would also have a significant impact on the country’s tourism industry.
Commenting on the number of tourist arrivals to date, Mohamed Nazri said overall records showed a 24 per cent increase in the first six months of this year compared to the same period last year.
He said last year the expenditure of tourists visiting the country was RM82 billion, with 73 per cent of tourist arrivals from Asean countries.
“So far, tourists from Asean countries have only increased by two per cent bringing the total to 75 per cent and this group is targeted to continue contributing to the country’s tourism industry,” he said. — Bernama
Source : Malay Mail Online