Agent Siti to take Malaysia to the world

WITH her big eyes, sweet face and huge fan base, Siti Nurhaliza appears to have inspired the perfect cartoon ambassador for Malaysia.


Tourism Malaysia has introduced an online female cartoon character named Siti who will provide basic information on Malaysia to travellers via the Internet, reported The Star.

Tourists who add as their MSN contact will be able to ‘chat’ with Siti about attractive tourist destinations through MSN messenger.

The move to put Siti online comes after the success of a 2005 advertising campaign in Japan featuring the pop princess, said tourism director-general Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab.

Then, the singer appeared only in conventional media, such as television commercials, fliers and pamphlets.

‘Riding on our success today, we want to move forward and reach more target audience,’ Datuk Mirza told reporters at the launch of Malaysia Windows Live Agent – Siti in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.

‘In Japan, Siti was well received as the Japanese are fond of cartoon characters. This is the first time we are introducing Siti online.’

Asked whether the cartoon character was named after Siti Nurhaliza, Datuk Mirza said: ‘Siti is a familiar name. It was not specifically named after her, but it did take into account Siti Nurhaliza’s popularity in Japan.’

He said there had been a slight growth in travellers from Japan since the campaign was launched. Japanese tourists visiting Malaysia have increased by 4.2 per cent from 340,027 in 2005 to 354,213 the next year.

However, Siti will only be able to communicate in English at the moment.

Said Datuk Mirza: ‘If it can attract more people from other foreign countries, we will consider adding other languages.’

He added that travellers may also get information on Malaysia in their own languages through their respective countries’ tourism satellite site links.