KUALA LUMPUR: The inaugural MATTA Awards saw Tunku Dato' Seri Iskandar Tunku Tan Sri Abdullah being presented the MATTA Tourism Icon Award.
The veteran travel industry player and member of Negri Sembilan royal family was one of the nine winners at the presentation ceremony and gala dinner on Sunday (June 30).
The MATTA Awards 2019 was organised by Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) as way to recognise the achievements of its members and their contribution to the Malaysian tourism industry.
Held at the Hilton Kuala Lumpur Hotel here, the nominees were suggested by MATTA members themselves.
MATTA president Datuk Tan Kok Liang, who came out with the idea of the Awards, said that the event was also held to recognise the resilience of travel and tour operators in the country, especially in the face of disruptive technology.
"For the past few years (as technology changes travel) there have been many opinions on whether tour and travel agencies will go bust, but they (the agencies) have only been going stronger," he said in his speech, adding that one of the factors for their staying power was being innovative by embracing technology.
Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik, who was a special guest at the event, praised MATTA for organising the Awards.
Bakhtiar in his speech also said that he hoped that the winners will serve as a benchmark of quality for their peers in Malaysia's travel industry.
Other winners of the night were Asian Overland Services Tour and Travel Sdn Bhd (Best Tour Operator - Inbound); Apple Vacations and Conventions (Best Tour Operator - Outbound); Borneo Eco Tours Sdn Bhd (Best Tour Operator - Responsible Tourism); Hwajing Travel and Tours (Best Travel Agency - Cruise); Toranj Tour and Travel Sdn Bhd (Best Travel Agency - Startup); Andalusia Travel and Tours Sdn Bhd (Best Travel Agency - Umrah and Hajj); Ice Holidays Sdn Bhd (Most Creative Marketing Campaign), and Naam World Travel and Tours Sdn Bhd (Most Creative Tour Packages).
Platinum sponsors for the event were Malaysia Airlines, Hong Leong Bank and Boost.
Other sponsors included Sunway Putra Mall, Ice Holidays Sdn Bhd, Petronas and Sarawak Tourism Board.