Malaysia will stage the Global Indian Film Awards (GIFA) 2006

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A Bollywood extravaganza, for three days from Aug 31.

Malaysia won the hosting rights by beating six other countries for the franchise.

The wife of the Deputy Prime Minister, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, said that with a global reach of over 2.6 billion television viewers, the event would put Malaysia on the map as one of the world’s most favoured destinations for international entertainment.

“We need to find new and creative ways of marketing Malaysia so as to raise our profile as a major tourist destination.

“One of the ways to do this is to bring in celebrities from all over the world to experience Malaysia, be it for work or for leisure,” said Rosmah, who is patron of GIFA 2006, at the official launch of the event, here Tuesday.

She witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Popcorn Entertainment Pvt Ltd of India, the company owned by Bollywood actor Suniel Shetty who created GIFA, and its Malaysian partner One Big Option Sdn Bhd.

Also present was Minister of Tourism Datuk Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, Malaysian diva Siti Nurhaliza and another Bollywood actor Johnny Lever.

Siti Nurhaliza and Mawi, who will also perform at the show, have been chosen as the ambassadors for GIFA Kuala Lumpur 2006. However, Mawi was not present at Tuesday’s launch.

Rosmah said she hoped the event would be able to spark viewers’ interest in Malaysia and create greater awareness about Malaysia.

“It will encourage them to discover Malaysia’s scenic spots, natural wonders, wildlife sanctuaries, hill resorts, coastal paradise, the charm and hospitality of our people and a host of other wonderful things Malaysia has to offer to visitors from all over the world,” she said.

She said in terms of projected revenues from GIFA 2006, Malaysia stood to earn an estimated RM6.8 billion from the spillover effects of the show from tourist receipts, advertising revenue and foreign exchange inflows.