FOR a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) fair was a good platform to get better deals for holiday destinations.
Lt Col (Rtd) Zulkifli Ismail, 58, said he visited the MATTA travel fair to select a holiday package for his family.
“I bought a return flight ticket for four people to Auckland worth RM11,400,” he said.
He said he planned to visit New Zealand for 11 days together with his wife and two sons.
“It is a good deal, and I plan to go back to the next MATTA fair in September to choose our next holiday deal, which will probably be in South Africa,” said Zulkifli, who is also a member of the Film Censorship Board.
Former secretary Lim Kwee Sien, 62, said she would visit the MATTA fair annually with her close friends to look for good deals.
“It is fun to go with friends and check on available tour packages offered at the travel fair,” she said.
Lim said they have bought two tour packages during their visit on the second day.
“It is to visit Hainan Island in China in May, which was priced at RM2,538 per person and another tour package to go to Italy in October worth about RM10,000 each person,” she added.
Senior executive Nur Afzan Abdul Adziz, 35, said she bought a flight ticket to London and Amsterdam worth RM2,300 for herself when she visited on the first day of the fair.
“It is very cheap, you can’t get this deal anywhere else,” she said.
“I will definitely visit the fair again in September to get school holiday promotions for my children, such as visits to national parks and other tourist attractions in the country.”
These visitors were among the tens of thousands who thronged Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) in Kuala Lumpur for the much-anticipated MATTA Fair March 2019.
The three-day event saw visitors searching for the best deals for holiday packages with families and friends at 1,369 booths.
There were attractive promotions for domestic and international tour and travel packages from 268 participating MATTA members and organisations.
Halls 1,2,3 and the Linkway featured international destinations with Halls 4 and 5 allocated for domestic destinations, while Hall 1M provided umrah packages with 88 booths.
Legoland Malaysia sales and marketing director Thila Munusamy said they had received good response from visitors for their promotions held during the MATTA fair, saying it has always been a good platform to reach out to the Malaysian market.
“We had 10% better sales than the September 2018 fair because visitors were grabbing room rates at good prices,” she said.
Meanwhile, KL Hop-On Hop-Off marketing manager Shah Nizam Salleh said they sold 2,000 tickets to families, students, businessmen and foreign tourists during the travel fair.
Visitors can use the tickets at over 50 major local attractions, including the Museum of Illusions which was introduced last year, throughout 27 designated stops in the city.
“We sold the tickets to locals at a flat rate of RM15 each compared to RM25 on normal days, while tickets sold to foreign tourists were at RM45 each compared to the regular RM55 rate.
“In addition, for foreigners who have worked in Malaysia for a certain period of time and are iCard holders, they get a discounted rate of RM35 each,” he said.
He said they successfully sold 50% of the tickets to families, 20% to students and the remainder to other groups at the travel fair.
Desaru Coast senior sales and marketing vice-president Olivia Ooi said MATTA fair sales for its water theme parks and Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast were 10% higher compared with MATTA Fair September 2018.
“We’re happy with the sales in our third participation at the fair,” Ooi said.
MATTA chief executive officer Phua Tai Neng said MATTA Fair March 2019 was a pleasant success, attracting 113,685 visitors to its booths this year with an estimated sales of RM220mil.
Phua said MATTA Fair September 2018 had attracted 93,084 visitors and generated RM210mil in sales.
The 47th edition of the travel fair occupied seven halls and was abuzz with activity as exhibitors held activities, games and performances to attract visitors to their booths encompassing 29,000sq m of exhibition space.
Some exhibitors brought in their ambassadors for a meet-and-greet session with fans, enticing visitors to check out specially curated holiday packages.
Goodie bags, attractive freebies as well as prizes were given to visitors who won booth contests.
Many also hoped to win the MATTA Fair Buyers’ Contest, where every RM100 spent on domestic travel packages entitled customers to one entry for the Domestic category while every RM300 spent on international packages entitled one to an entry for the International Category.
The travel fair was endorsed by the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry.
Sabah was named “Malaysia’s Favourite Destination” while Taiwan was selected as Asia’s Favourite Destination and Malaysia Airlines was the official airline at the fair.
Royal Caribbean Cruises (Asia) Pte Ltd was the official cruise and Top Media Resources Sdn Bhd was MATTA Fair’s Official AR guide.
Desaru Coast and Legoland were chosen as Malaysia’s Favourite Theme Park, while Sunway Putra Mall was selected as the official shopping mall.
Star Media Group Bhd was one of the four media partners for the fair.
Admission for MATTA fair was RM4 per person and free for children aged below 12.