RM40mil in sales targeted for MATTA Fair Penang this month

Wong (fourth from left), Leong (on his left) and tourism industry stakeholders after the press conference to announce MATTA Fair Penang 2024 to be held from April 27 to 28.

SOME 35,000 visitors are expected to throng the upcoming MATTA Fair Penang 2024 at Setia SPICE Arena on April 27 and 28.

This target marks a significant increase from the 29,000 people who visited the fair last year.

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Penang Chapter chairman Carolyn Leong said they expected to hit RM40mil in sales revenue at this year’s fair compared to RM33mil recorded last year.

“We have set our sights on accommodating up to 300 booths, at the arena and concourse area, featuring both domestic and international travel packages.

“So far, 260 booths have been taken up,” she said in a press conference.

The exhibitors represent a diverse range from the travel industry including airlines, financial institutions, travel agents, hoteliers, associations, theme parks, wellness spas and other small businesses.

Leong said that with the support of the state government, MATTA would subsidise 50% of the booth price for local domestic industry players to promote the state’s tourism.

She said that MATTA would also give back to society by providing some space for charitable homes to showcase and sell their products.

“To ensure that every customer buying travel packages during the fair receives a genuine deal, the inbound and outbound travel exhibitors have been requested to display their licence by the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry,” she said.

Penang tourism and creative economy committee chairman Wong Hon Wai said the state’s tourism had shown promising growth this year.

He said the number of visitors to Penang via air travel increased by 26.93% in January and February this year, from 454,839 visitors in 2023 to 577,329 visitors this year.

“Penang also recorded 303 international flights in February this year compared to 204 in the same corresponding month last year,” he said.

Wong said the Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT) welcomed a total of 131,208 passengers from January to February this year, compared to 100,803 passengers during the same period last year.

He said the increase in visitor arrivals via flights and cruises could be due to the Chinese New Year celebration and the visa-free policy between Malaysia and China.

He also noted that direct flights between Penang and destinations like Shanghai (China), Dubai (UAE) and Chennai (India) would be launched this year.

“With these additional direct flights, we are well on our way in reaching our target of 15 direct flights, facilitating smoother travel experiences for tourists from around the world,” he added.

Wong said with the expansion of Penang International Airport (PIA) approved by the government, the passenger capacity would increase from 6.5 million to 12 million – making Penang the second largest airport in Malaysia.

“To cope with the increasing number of direct flights and the passenger arrivals, PIA has also introduced a waiting zone on the second floor to cope with and assist in passenger movement especially during peak times,” he said.

“Once the airport expansion is completed and with new hotels expected between now and 2026, as well as the Penang Light Rail Transit project and the Penang Hill cable car project which is scheduled for completion in 2026 – Penang’s tourism industry is looking at a promising growth indeed.”

He urged stakeholders not to lose sight of their responsibility and to prioritise the preservation of natural resources, cultural heritage and local communities to elevate Penang as a competitive tourism destination, not only in Asia but also on the global stage.

Also present at the press conference were representatives from Malaysia Airlines, RHB Bank, Tourism Malaysia northern region and travel agents.

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