Matta Fair 2021 expects RM25m in sales for domestic tourism

Malaysians are urged to take this opportunity to discover their own backyard as international borders are still close

by HARIZAH KAMEL / pic by BERNAMA

THE Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said this year’s Matta Fair is expected to attract 20,000 visitors and generate RM25 million in sales for domestic tourism.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, domestic tourism will be the main push, not only in Malaysia but globally”.

For this Matta Fair, we are looking at a crowd of about 20,000 visitors for the two-day event,” he said in a virtual press conference yesterday.

In terms of sales, he said they are setting a very cautious estimation of about RM25 million for domestic tourism, adding that during the last fair in September 2019, Matta recorded sales for domestic tourism at about RM50 million.

Tan said the fair will be a hit for all states that are participating and that to date, about 80% of the booths have been taken up.

He urged Malaysians to take this opportunity to discover their own backyard as international borders are still close. Matta has announced Sabah as Malaysia’s Favourite Destination for Matta Fair 2021 — the third time the state received the honour — previously in 2015 and 2019.

As the largest local state government tourism office with 12 booths at the Matta Fair 2021, Sabah Tourism Board (STB) will promote a wide variety of Sabah tourism products to visitors ranging from heritage and culture, scenic island visits, scuba diving, jungle trekking, birdwatching, adventure and attractions that are top-notch and of good value.

Matta CEO Phua Tai Neng said its partnership with STB is part of a drive to get more local and international visitors to holiday in Sabah.

“STB has been very proactive in attracting more visitors including collaborating with Matta Sabah Chapter and its members in putting together tour and travel packages promoting Sabah for sustainable and consistent domestic and inbound tourism growth.

“Such a strategic collaboration through the Matta Fair will contribute significantly to the revival of tourism in Malaysia and provide business opportunities for its members to meet the demand of travellers.

“Through the fair, Matta continues to provide business opportunities for its members and meet the demand of the consumers,” he said.

STB chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said as the nation opens its door to interstate travel, STB is shifting into high gear by returning to Matta Fair as Malaysia’s Favourite Destination.

“Recently, we have launched the #MansauSabahBoostku campaign with one of Malaysia’s e-wallet providers. The response has been tremendous, that in less than 15 hours all available vouchers were fully redeemed. This shows that many Malaysians cannot wait to explore our own backyard.

“Consumers who have successfully redeemed the voucher can take this opportunity to get more value for their money through this initiative on top of the offers on Sabah packages available during the Matta Fair,” he added.

Joining the fair with STB are 20 tour operators, hoteliers and diving operators, the majority of them representing travel associations from Sandakan.

In addition, Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor is expected to grace the opening ceremony of the Matta Fair on Nov 20.