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Thursday September 12, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Thursday September 12, 2013 MYT 10:19:27 AM
by rahimy rahim
The WITM-MATTA Fair received an overwhelming response from people from all walks of life.
ATTENDANCE was high at the three-day WITM-MATTA 2013 Fair, with holiday lovers and travellers
taking advantage of the good travel deals.
Despite the weakening of the ringgit, thousands of visitors were at Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) from Sept 6 to 8, with Japan and Europe being the top travel favourite destinations among visitors.
Starting this year, the MATTA
Fair and the World Islamic Tourism (WITM) have merged under one roof.
WITM-MATTA Fair adviser Datuk Mohd Khalid Harun emphasised on the huge potential of the Islamic tourism market and the revenue it could bring to the country.
He added that the fair was different this year, “catering to customers and business-to-business prospects as well.”
Among the unique features of the fair was the special Muslim-friendly deals offered by some travel operators.
Among them was Malaysia Halal Corporation director Razib Saurani, who is based in Tokyo.
He said Japan was prepared to have Muslim travellers following the growth of the halal market in Japan.
“It includes syariah-compliant hotels and resorts in Hokkaido, Tokyo and Kyoto as well as many halal restaurants in those areas,” he said.
Blogger Jess Lee, 24, said the visa waiver by the Japanese government had made it easier for Malaysians to travel to the “land of the rising sun”.
Pensioner Mohd Salman Khan, 65, who came with his family, said he also took the chance to purchase
tickets to Tokyo.
“We have been planning to go on a holiday since early this year, and I think it is the right time to take my family to Tokyo,” he said.
Solution specialist Mohd Basir Radzali, 28, said he went to the fair to get the best deals for his honeymoon.
“It is a surprise gift for my wife and I bought two tickets to Hong Kong,” he said.
Visitors were also entertained by various cultural performances.
MATTA chairman Jeffri Sulaiman said some 500,000 MATTAKads were distributed to the visitors.
“This has been a good fair compared to the previous ones.
“Many local package deals, especially to Sabah and Sarawak, were popular among visitors.
“This could be because of the careful attitude adopted by consumers. They have not been spending as much as we want,” he said.
Among other highlights at the event were the appearances made by local artistes, including singer-songwriter Yuna and actor Aaron Aziz, who were seen greeting fans.
Yuna also appeared at the MAS social media booth and took time to greet and take photos with some of her fans.
Student, Nurisha Hani, 18, who was first in the line, said she felt blessed for the chance to meet her idol for the first time.
“I wanted to go to her concert at Istana Budaya but the tickets were sold out. I heard she would be coming to the WITM-MATTA fair so I forced my mother to bring my sister and me here,” she said.
The three-day fair occupied eight halls with more than 1,250 booths and more than 200 exhibitors offering various value-for-money deals, cheap airline packages and various travel and tour packages.
Media partners for the fair are Star Publications (M) Bhd, Nanyang Press Holdings Bhd, The China Press Bhd, Aswaq Press, Regent Media Sdn Bhd and AmLeisure Media Sdn Bhd.
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