THE Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association’s (MITA) second MITA Travel Fair from Feb 24 to 26 is expected to be bigger and better now that travels within Asean is considered inbound.
Organising chairman Adam Kamal Ahmad Kamil said the main aim of the fair, to be held at MINES International Exhibition & Convention Centre (MIECC) in Seri Kembangan, was to encourage Malaysians to travel around their home country as well as in Asean.
“MITA Travel Fair is going to be the largest local travel fair to promote tourism products in Malaysia.
“There are many travel fairs around Kuala Lumpur. However, those fairs concentrate only on outbound tourism rather than inbound,” he said.
MITA president Uzaidi Udanis said destinations within Asean were now considered inbound.
“Asean is a common market now and Malaysia is currently a hub for tourists from other countries who are travelling to Thailand, Singapore or Indonesia.
“Having booths selling Asean packages will benefit our country’s tourism, as well as those of other Asean countries,” said Izaidi.
“This year is Visit Asean Year; therefore, we have taken the initiative to promote Asean,” Adam added.
“We invited all 10 Asean countries to participate in the event. So apart from domestic products, customers will also be able to purchase packages to other Asean countries,” he said.
Adam promised that this year’s fair would be much larger than the previous one.
He said it would also be the first travel fair to feature a special section dedicated to authentic Malaysian delicacies.
“We are going to have a section called the Malaysian Food Festival Hall. All the states who are taking part will be asked to open their own food stalls and sell their signature delicacies.
“We are not selling these booths to just anyone because we want the states themselves to appoint (suitable operators) and to make sure that the quality and the authenticity of the food is guaranteed,” said Adam.
The three-day fair will see 650 booths offering travel packages, attractive fares and discounts.
There will be a domestic hall, as well as an Asean hall.
Performances and lucky draws will be held to add to the atmosphere.
According to Adam, a business networking session would also be held with 100 international buyers invited by MITA.
“We will be flying in travel agents from around the world, mainly from China.
“We have about 40 agents coming in from China, and the rest are from all Asean countries, as well as some European and Middle-Eastern countries,” he elaborated.
If the event proved a success, 200 agents would be invited for next year’s travel fair, Adam said.
Admission to the fair is free, and there will also be free shuttle service to the venue.
“We will also be working with companies like Uber and GrabCar to offer special fare for those who are coming to the fair,” said Adam.
MITA’s new mascot, an artificial intelligence developed by Aero Minda Sdn Bhd called e-Mas, will also be launched during the fair.
MITA and Tourism Malaysia are also promoting Visit Perak Year, Visit Pahang Year and Visit Terengganu Year.
Perak has been included in Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Regions to visit in 2017, placing ninth.
It is the only Asian region in the list.