KOTA KINABALU: Travel has become a lot easier for Malaysians as it is just a few clicks away, thanks to digital advances.
However, most people still prefer going to physical fairs and talking to travel consultants who can make holiday recommendations and propose itineraries as booking online wmeans travellers have to organise every detail themselves.
The steady turnout of visitors at the Malaysia Association of Tour and Travel Afents (Matta) Fair is testament to the popularity of such events.
Matta president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said the twice-yearly fair had established itself as a one-stop planform for value-for-money travel packages which
appeal not only to Malaysians, but also expatriates in the country.
“Purchasing through licensed operators physically also gives travellers the flexibility to negotiate as well as manage travelling matters such as cancellations with the assistance of travel consultants.
“The just concluded Matta September 2017 Fair pulled more than 120,000 visitors and achieved more than RM220 million in sales,” he revealed.
Tan added that the tourism industry in Malaysia was still thriving, despite the fluctuating ringgit.
“People still travel for business or leisure, be it domestic or international.
Foreign arrivals into the country had increased, particularly from China with a growth of 7.8 per cent this year from January to May compared to last year.
The president said according to the Statistics Department, the number of domestic tourists grew by 7 per cent to 189.3 million in 2015 while domestic tourism expenditure saw an increase of 10.2 per cent.
“While still travelling abroad, Malaysian travellers now opt for vacations within the Asean region as they have become more cost-conscious,” Tan said.
He added that Matta was working closely with Tourism Malaysia and national associations of various countries in marketing and promotion activities to boost the country’s tourism industry, with business networking trips and consumer fair participations.
“Tourism in Malaysia continues to be bright as long as we keep developing and strengthening our capacity building, infrastructure and service standards to serve both new and return tourists,” he said, adding that tourism was one of the key foreign exchange revenue earners for the Malaysian economy.