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Bank Islam Bids For The Lucrative Tourism Sector


Targets Middle-East and China markets with its Tourist Friend Mastercard prepaid card

KUALA LUMPUR, 17 May 2007: Bank Islam Malaysia Berhad (Bank Islam) is well positioned to make a strong bid to the fast growing tourist dollar, especially those from the Middle-East and within Asia Pacific, with its new shariah-compliant MasterCard prepaid card.

Launched today by Minister of Tourism Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, the Bank Islam Tourist Friend MasterCard Unembossed Prepaid card is designed as a convenient alternative to the credit card, which comes with all the privileges, and more.

Bank Islam’s Managing Director Dato’ Zukri Samat said this MasterCard prepaid card complements the Bank’s existing product range, and is targeted at the fast growing and lucrative new market segment resulting from the Government’s efforts to promote Malaysia as a tourist destination.

“We are confident that the Bank Islam Tourist Friend MasterCard Unembossed Prepaid card will be welcomed by tourists, especially those from the Middle-east, who, incidentally would be planning for their summer breaks at this time of the year. We are also confident that the card will be well received by travelers from China, the United States and Europe, where Malaysia is fast becoming one of the top holiday and shopping destinations.”

The Bank Islam Tourist Friend MasterCard Unembossed Prepaid card was jointly developed together with MasterCard Worldwide as well as S-MarketForce Sdn Bhd, a marketing consultancy specializing in brand loyalty. It is aimed at enhancing Bank Islam’s range of superior and customer friendly products as well as promoting the growth of the local tourism industry.

“The launch of the Bank Islam Tourist Friend MasterCard Unembossed Prepaid card reflects the innovative spirit, foresight and commitment of Bank Islam in bringing value and convenience to not only their local customers, but also to foreign guests who will walk through our doors during Tourism Ministry’s Visit Malaysia Year 2007 program,” said Jim Cheah, Vice President and Senior Country Manager, Malaysia and Brunei, MasterCard Worldwide.

“The launch also reiterates our commitment to the tourism industry as it will encourage foreigners to visit Malaysia by offering them rewarding experiences when they use their MasterCard prepaid card for shopping, dining, personal grooming, car rental, and wellness treatments,” added Cheah.

Tourism is a fast growing economic sector and is one of the major foreign exchange earners for the country. Tourism receipts which contributed RM22.1 billion to Malaysia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2003 rose to RM34 billion in 2005.

The Tourism Ministry estimates that more than 20 million inbound visitors are expected to visit Malaysia and they will contribute more than RM 44 billion to the overall revenue this year. Currently, shopping spend in Malaysia accounts for only 22% of total tourist spend.

Dato Zukri said the launch of the Bank Islam Tourist Friend MasterCard Unembossed Prepaid card during the Visit Malaysia Year 2007 would allow it to also leverage on all the promotional activities being undertaken by Tourism Malaysia worldwide.

“We expect the Bank Islam Tourist Friend MasterCard Unembossed Prepaid card to contribute meaningfully to earnings of the card products division even after the Visit Malaysia Year 2007, because of its VERY attractive features,” he added.

As the Bank Islam Tourist Friend MasterCard Unembossed Prepaid card is based on the pre-paid concept, cardholders will have to upload and re-load funds into their card before it can be used. The card which carries the globally recognized MasterCard brand mark is also accepted at over 24 million acceptance locations worldwide.

The Bank Islam Tourist Friend MasterCard Unembossed Prepaid card functions as a cashless privilege card. Cardholders are entitled to enjoy discounts of up to 70% at more than 400 Tourist Friend merchants as well as over 20 retail chains nationwide participating in the MasterCard Visit Malaysia Year 2007/2008 Privileges Program.

ENDS.

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