KUALA LUMPUR: Thousands of people turned up in droves yesterday for the opening of the three-day 15th Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) International Travel Fair.
They lined up as early as 9am at the visitors' registration counters at the Putra World Trade Centre.
An estimated crowd of about 40,000 checked out the attractive tour packages offered by airlines and travel and tour operators. Sri Sutra Travel general manager (operations) Gerard Pereira said the present world events did not stop travellers from taking a break or going on a holiday as local or Asian destinations were just as attractive as Western tours.
The warm weather could appeal to those who come from a country with cold climate, he said yesterday.
Fal Resorts and Tours Sdn Bhd information and marketing officer Hassan Harun said Malaysia's peaceful environment was an attraction in itself as tourists could choose to travel here safely rather than to Europe or the United States.
Sime Darby Travel Sdn Bhd tour co-ordinator Ivin Chiam said operators must know how to package the beautiful islands and resorts in Malaysia so as to attract local and foreign tourists.
Malaysians are also now more informed about world issues and will take the necessary precautions when travelling abroad, he added.
Malaysia Airlines (MAS) regional assistant general manager Datuk Rashid Khan said in the event of a war, the airlines would follow directives issued by the Civil Aviation Authority on detours or diversion of flight routes.
In addition to that, the airline is looking to increase flights to China to improve accessibility to the market, he said, adding that MAS had already doubled the number of flights to Shanghai and increased its flights to Xiamen.
Deputy Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen, who officially launched the fair, said the ministry's survey on Chinese tourists had shown that they enjoyed the attractions offered by Sabah and Sarawak.
We have to aggressively promote East Malaysia, as Chinese tourists are showing interest in diving, golfing and nature travel, she said.
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