Muscat: Omanis got a taste of Malaysian culture as the Southeast Asian nation launched its "Visit Malaysia Year 2014" campaign in Oman on Sunday night.
His Excellency Dato' Rustam Yahaya, the Ambassador of Malaysia to the Sultanate of Oman, hosted the event at the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa, which featured a presentation on the developments of tourism in Malaysia, and several music and dance performances.
H.E. Yahaya said Malaysia has been very active in promoting tourism, which is now the third biggest contributor to the national economy. He described his homeland as one that is multicultural, multilingual and multicoloured, and encouraged Omanis to see it for themselves.
"If you don't go, you won't know. Most importantly, tourism opens Malaysia to the rest of the world," he said.
Last year over 25 million people visited Malaysia, which offers a variety of sites and activities. From ancient rainforests to world-class shopping, there is something for everyone, as the 26,000 Omanis who visited in 2012 would have discovered.
"In fact, Malaysia is the number one destination for Omani honeymooners. So I guess that means there will be new Omanis made in Malaysia," the Malaysian ambassador joked.
The "Visit Malaysia Year 2014" is a new campaign to promote tourism in 2014 with many special events and activities planned for the year, added Dato' Haji Azizan Noordin, Deputy Director General of the Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board. It will include sporting events like the Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia and the 4x4 International Beach Challenge, cultural events like Chinese New Year, the Borneo Jazz Festival and the Colours of 1Malaysia, and shopping events like the Malaysia International Shoe Festival.
Tourists can also visit the many new hotels and parks, including a new Legoland Malaysia amusement park, made primarily out of the children's building blocks.
"This is what we are proud of. It's the only Legoland in Asia," Noordin said of the park, which opened last year.
He also encouraged visitors to enjoy all the diverse cuisine the country has to offer. Because of the many cultural influences on the country, from Chinese to Indian to Middle Eastern, each meal is to be savoured.
"At breakfast we eat like kings…at lunch we eat like kings…and at dinner we eat like super-kings," Noordin said.
Three lucky guests at the launch also won great prizes to visit Malaysia. Two people won a selection of free hotel stays, while another won a return ticket as well as accommodations.
For more information about traveling to Malaysia, visit www.tourismmalaysia.gov.my.