KUALA LUMPUR: Over 50 travel agents will be offering “special interest” packages on local destinations to promote domestic tourism during the inaugural MATTA Fair Cuti-Cuti Malaysia.
The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) is hosting the first ever domestic version of the popular travel fair at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) for two days from April 4.
This fair is exclusively for domestic travel and tourism allowing Malaysian holidaymakers to enjoy the many attractions within the country and for service providers to focus on domestic tourism to generate more traction on Visit Malaysia Year 2020 (VM2020) campaign initiatives.
MATTA honorary secretary-general Nigel Wong said travel agents would be providing various “undiscovered holiday and experiential packages”, incorporating new and exciting activities.
He said visitors would be spoilt for choice with the 200 booths set up by their travel agents, tour operators, hoteliers, theme parks and related service providers during the fair.
“The best of Malaysia will be assembled under one roof for their selection.
“Don’t let the virus ruin your holiday plans as there are a lot of places which are not discovered in the country,” he told a press conference here yesterday.
Exhibitors, he said, would be giving out their best deals with value-added services at special rates and bargain prices, adding that they were looking forward to sales of up to RM40mil during the fair.
“We trust that the fair will increase domestic visits, which will in turn stimulate the growth of the domestic tourism industry,” he said.
Wong said they had also partnered with the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) to boost their promotional efforts.
“The promotional room rates will make hotel stays much more affordable and encourage guests to stay longer and enjoy a complete rest for those who are tired or prolonged fun for those who enjoy being more active,” he added.
MAH president Kamaruddin Baharin said their 1,061 operators would be giving out discounts of up to 50% for hotel stays nationwide.
“It is safe to stay at hotels while enjoying the domestic holidays as we have enough masks, thermometers and sanitisers at various places.
“We are prepared and we follow the guidelines and standard operating procedures given by the Health Ministry,” he said.
Kamaruddin added that they would also intensify their strategies to increase domestic tourists’ arrivals at various places of interest with attractive room rates.
“We want them to visit not only during school holidays,” he said.
MAH chief executive officer Yap Lip Seng said 157,525 hotel room bookings had been cancelled so far, amounting to over RM66mil in revenue losses since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak.
“Although the cancellations reported so far are mainly from the China market, we have also received reports of cancellations from the domestic market, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam and Europe,” he said.
“Cancellations from South Korea increased since its government issued a travel advisory against Malaysia.”
MATTA president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said their focus on domestic tourism was in line with statements by the government.
“MATTA is appreciative and thankful to the Finance Ministry for its concerns and efforts in stimulating our nation’s economy, including crafting recovery measures for the tourism industry by gathering input from all stakeholders,” he said.
Kamaruddin said MAH, along with other tourism players had submitted over 10 proposals on Feb 10 to the Finance Ministry, including 14 items for consideration in the stimulus package.
“We have requested that the tourism tax (the flat rate of RM10 per room per night charged on foreign tourists) be abolished or reduced from RM10 to RM1 per night,” he said.
Kamaruddin said among others, they had also asked to be given discounts on electricity tariffs imposed on hotels and soft loans.
“If the Prime Minister agrees to our proposals, then it will have a positive effect on consumers due to attractive incentives for them,” he said, adding that the announcement was expected to be made on Feb 27.
At the event, MAH also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Global Doctors Malaysia (GDM), a private healthcare provider, to provide a series of medical advisory and healthcare support to its member hotels across the country.
The MOU will take immediate effect with GDM extending health, preparedness and community health advisory to hoteliers, with an added option of a complete corporate health solution.
Global Doctors Malaysia executive chairman Datuk Dr Sharifah Fauziah Alhabshi said: “We advocate and adopt the policy of prevention is better than cure for hotel employees, its guests and stakeholders.
“We are delighted to collaborate with MAH, taking the initiative to mitigate health situations and minimise or even avoid negative impact on the tourism industry.”
MATTA Fair Cuti-Cuti Malaysia is open from 10am to 9pm, and admission is free.