IT’S time to plan your next holidays as the MATTA Fair returns to Penang with more attractive travel deals for destinations both locally and abroad.
To be held at the Straits Quay Convention Centre from March 30 to April 1, it has everything one needs for a hassle-free getaway.
There will be 46 exhibitors taking up 134 booths spread across 25,300sq ft of floorspace, including 27 travel and tour agencies.
They are joined by five state government tourism offices, six travel-related services, as well as five hotels, resorts and theme parks.
Completing the list are three national tourism organisations, including the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO).
Veron Ng, trade promotion manager for the MGTO’s Malaysian representative office, said the 31 sq km destination is full of vibrant attractions, shows and nightlife.
The autonomous territory of China, located on the western side of the Pearl River estuary, is more than just a city of casinos and heritage.
“Most people associate it with Hong Kong, but it’s a great stand-alone destination ideally enjoyed over a three-day, two-night visit.
“There are lots of events throughout the year, among them music festivals, dragon boat races, fireworks competitions, the F3 Grand Prix and marathons.
“2018 has also been promoted as the Macao Year of Gastronomy to celebrate its recognition as a Creative City of Gastronomy by Unesco last year,” said Ng at a press conference in Straits Quay yesterday.
She said those who book trips for a minimum of one-night stay in Macao during the fair, be it a full board package, accommodation or flight only stand to receive free gifts such as a travel pillow, leather luggage tag and tote bag.
Visitors would also get to sample Macanese delicacies and take part in a souvenir workshop at their booths.
“It is a popular destination among Malaysians with about 220,000 of them visiting the territory last year. About 64% of the visitors also stayed overnight.
“Penangites are the second biggest market outside Kuala Lumpur,” said Ng.
MATTA honorary secretary general Nigel Wong said Macanese and Penangites share many things in common — among them a love for good food and having fun.
“Due to its small size, everything is within easy reach. It is worth a visit and should appeal to a broad spectrum of travellers,” he said.
Wong said they expected some 20,000 visitors and a sales turnover of RM20mil at this year’s fair.
“By comparison, the edition last year drew 17,775 visitors, generating RM17mil.
“The travel industry is in a healthy state with increasing inbound, outbound and domestic travellers.
“We expect Penangites to travel a lot more this year due to the reduction in air fares and the emergence of many exciting destinations,” he added.
The fair also sees the return of its buyers’ contest, with even more attractive prizes. Details will be announced in the coming days.
In conjunction with the event, Straits Quay is also having a Market Street Bazaar with 130 booths at its Straits Court on March 31 and Apr 1.
The first 150 visitors to the travel fair on these days stand to receive discount vouchers to the bazaar.
The MATTA Fair is open from 10am to 9pm daily. Admission is free.
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