The way to someone's hear is through the stomach is the adage. And Tourism Malaysia is using that to lure the Japanese to our shores.
With the help of Japanese food celebrity, Kentetsu Koh, the Malaysian nasi lemak made its way into Japanese tummies in an effort to introduce Malaysian food, culture and holiday destinations to the Japanese market.
It is part of the Tourism Malaysia "Sudah Makan?" campaign launched on Sep 25 in Tokyo, Japan, where the fiery nasi lemak was selected as the icon dish of Malaysia, and Koh, a Japanese food specialist, as its Malaysian Food Advisor.
The campaign will follow through with several food promotions being held in Japan, including a Malaysian Jazzy Night and Food from Oct 17 to 31 at Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo.
Several Malaysian restaurants already operating in Japan will also be featured at a restaurant carnival at Kai Jyo Row in Chubu Centrair Airport in Nagoya from Nov 7 to 16.
A similar restaurant promotion will also be held in Japan from Nov 1 to Jan 31 next year where some 15 Malaysian restaurants are taking part to showcase Malaysia's delicious cuisine to the Japanese public.
The campaign gained ground with Tourism Malaysia's participation in the JATA Tourism Expo 2014 for the 36th time from Sep 25 to 28. The JATA Opening Ceremony was held on Sep 26, followed by JATA Tourism Award.
Malaysia's presence at this year's expo was with a total of 17 organisations comprising Tourism Malaysia, Malaysia Airlines, Sarawak Tourism Board, Sabah Tourism Board, hotels and travel agencies, under the Malaysia Pavilion, themed "Year of Festivals 2015".
The Pavilion was opened by Tourism Malaysia's international promotion division director (North & East Asia) Nor Aznan Sulaiman. Tourism Malaysia also hosted a JATA Luncheon and organised a "Malaysia Year of Festivals (MyFest) 2015 Seminar".
The Malaysia Pavilion, dressed up in a "Festival and Culture" theme, is appropriate for the launch of the Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015 in Japan.
At the international food pavilion, Malaysia also had two booths to promote a selection of Malaysian favourites such as roti canai and curry, nasi lemak, mee goreng, ais kacang, teh tarik, mango juice and more.
Japan has been a major tourist market for Malaysia with 513,000 arrivals from Japan in 2013.