In the current weak economic climate, it is becoming more vital than ever for Malaysian inbound operators to maximise their returns at overseas B2B travel trade shows and undertake creative measures to milk major events taking place on homegrounds, highlighted the half-day seminar organised by Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents (MATTA) last week.
The association's vice president for inbound, KL Tan, said: “This seminar was organised to help members cope with rising tradeshow costs and a weakening ringgit, as well as to encourage them to capitalise on Tourism Malaysia’s marketing efforts to drive business to Malaysia.”
Calling for the “close partnership between the public and private sector", Tourism Malaysia’s senior director, International promotion division, Asia/ Africa, Musa Yusof, stressed that sellers should not only concentrate on business sessions but also attend conferences, dialogues and forums organised during international travel marts, as well as networking events and pre-/post-tours arranged by the organisers.
At these shows, they should also seek opportunities to work with the press to promote their new products and offerings, he added.
Another speaker, Henry Lee, certified professional trainer by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia and the Ministry of Human Resources, also urged sellers to consider attending smaller international trade shows which are not well represented by other sellers from Malaysia. “The business is yours as you are the only one there,” he remarked.
As well, tour operators can also drive sales by creating tour packages aligned with Tourism Malaysia’s marketing activities, Musa pointed out. One way to do so is to target Malaysian events such as the CIMB Classic, the only PGA gold tournament outside of the US, and the inaugural One Belt One Road Marathon – expected to attract 10,000 Chinese participants – as there exists a market gap in pre- and post-travel packages to entice attendees at these events.
Other major events that should be on inbound tour operators' radar for pre- and post-event packages include the Rainforest World Music Festival, MotoGP Malaysia and Malaysian Grand Prix, he added.