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 planned itineraries as booking online would need travellers to organise every detail themselves.
The steady turnout of visitors at the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (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 platform 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-ended MATTA September 2017 is expected to attract 120,000 visitors and achieve RM220mil in sales,” said Tan.
He 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 has increased, particularly from China with a growth of 7.8% this year from January to May compared to last year of the same period.
“According to the Statistics Department, the number of domestic tourists grew by 7% to 189.3 million last year compared to 176.9 million in 2015 while domestic tourism expenditure saw an increase of 10.2% to RM74,773mil compared to RM67,842mil.
“While still travelling abroad, Malaysian travellers now opt for vacations within the Asean region instead as they have become more cost-conscious,” said Tan.
He added that Matta was working closely with Tourism Malaysia and national associates 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 on developing and strengthening our capacity building, infrastructure and service standards to serve both new and return tourists,” said Tan, adding that tourism was one of the key foreign exchange revenue earners to the Malaysian economy.