KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 11): The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) is offering as low as 40% booth discounts specially for its members at the inaugural MATTA Fair Cuti-Cuti Malaysia from April 4 to April 5 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.
MATTA president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said the fair would help the local tourism industry recover, after being hit by the recent cancellations by travellers from China due to the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak.
“It is now the best time to hold a new MATTA fair exclusively for domestic tourism that facilitates Malaysian holidaymakers to enjoy many attractions and safe havens within the country, and for the service providers to switch focus from inbound to domestic market,” he said at a press conference on the announcement of the domestic travel fair, here, today.
The association is hoping to garner about RM20 million to RM30 million in sales at the fair which will be jointly supported by Tourism Malaysia, the airlines especially Malaysia Airlines Bhd, hotels, major attractions and others, with over 200 booths available.
MATTA has also invited the ASEAN region’s travel agencies — including from Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Brunei — to the exhibition, as 69% of foreign tourists to Malaysia are from Southeast Asia.
Meanwhile, Tan confirmed the recent claim by a social media user that 95,000 hotel bookings had been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, saying that the majority of the cancellations were made by travellers from China.
He said the suspension of flights from China would impact the tourism industry as 13% of the total number of visitors to Malaysia were from China.
Tan is also concerned that negative social media postings have made things worse for the travel industry.
“Regrettably, those fixated only on the negative have been successful in spreading doom and gloom, and fear spreads faster than the coronavirus. MATTA is very concerned about the comments made and the fear that other nations will think that Malaysia is not safe,” he added.
Tan also urged the government to implement a stimulus package as soon as possible to rejuvenate the tourism industry at this crucial time.
“If you look at the towns and cities, there are less tourists. Hotels have received numerous booking cancellations. MATTA hopes the matter no longer be studied but to make a decision fast (to implement a stimulus package), so that we can concentrate on what we do best to promote Malaysia,” he said.