The New Straits Times Thursday February 18, 1999

'Cyber warriors' to promote Malaysia abroad
By Izatun Hanim Shari

KUALA LUMPUR, Wed. - The Visit Malaysia CyberCampaign tourism promotion drive has attracted 178 volunteers and 80 link partners nationwide.

The campaign, which encourages local Internet users to e-mail their friends overseas to visit Malaysia, has so far seen 200,000 e-mail sent to users in 100 countries.

The campaign was initiated by Malaysians who call themselves Pahlawan (warrior) on Dec 1, last year.

To become a volunteer, all the Internet user has to do is join the Pahlawan eGroup.

The names of users would be listed at the "Pahlawan" homepage.

Volunteers then spread the word by e-mailing friends by forwarding an attached letter downloaded from the Pahlawan website.

Link partners include NTV7, Hitz FM, Digital Postcards of Malaysia, Eco Tourism Malaysia and Borneo Online.

Group member Pat Lu said response had been so overwhelming that some foreigners even promised to promote the country to their family, friends and business partners.

In an interview at Balai Berita recently, Lu said to further expand the campaign, the group would hold a competition on the Internet with Tourism Malaysia.

Themed Think Holiday, Think Malaysia!, Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Sabbaruddin Chik will launch the competition at the Pan Pacific Hotel on March 4.

The competition is divided into three categories - Tourism Malaysia Creativity Awards, Most E-mail Sent and Drive Traffic to Visit Malaysia CyberCampaign Site.

The Tourism Malaysia Creativity Awards is further divided into three sub-categories. These include Promote Malaysia on a Shoestring Budget, Travel Malaysia on A Shoestring Budget and Most impactful and Creative Think Holiday, Think Malaysia! Message.

Participants are required to do the following:

  • promote Malaysia on a Shoestring Budget - produce a sample of a business plan to promote Malaysia on a tight budget;
  • travel Malaysia on a Shoestring Budget - produce a travel log sample on how many places a tourist could possibly visit with US$400 (RM1,520), inclusive of accommodation and transport; and,
  • most impactful and Creative Think Holiday, Think Malaysia! Message - produce practical messages in essays or cards transmitted on the Internet.
The organisers are working out with sponsors to offer attractive prizes for the top three winners, including a shopping lot unit, a house and a van.

Other prizes being worked out are a condominium, a car, a computer laptop and various cruises and trips to local destinations.

Participants for "Most e-mail Sent" under the school category will win a variety of prizes, including personal computers and trips to local destinations.

Trips are sponsored by Tourism Malaysia. The group is seeking sponsorships for the other prizes. The competition will run until Aug 31.

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