KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is poised to become a tourism development centre for Asean, the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) and the Commonwealth, said Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister Datuk Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir.
Aseanta, an association of all travel agents in the Asean region has already set up its head office here. The OIC, whether through the public or private sector, is planning to make Malaysia its headquarters.
After the Commonwealth meeting of tourism ministers in March next year, we will offer Malaysia as a secretariat for tourism development in the region, he told reporters after opening the 16th Matta International Travel Fair here.
He added that with all these arrangements, Malaysia had positioned itself well to attain greater heights in world tourism.
Kadir commended Matta for organising the fair and keeping the tourism industry bustling with activities.
He said Matta had made tremendous changes and initiated several incentives to encourage domestic and overseas markets.
We recognise Matta as the official body representing the travel industry, he added.
Visitors to the fair can expect some good bargains such as return tickets to London at about RM1,600 compared to the normal fare of RM2,400.
Genting Bhd has also joined in the fray with a special package called Genting Perfect 10 in which rooms are sold at RM10 per person.
To attract visitors to its booth, it is giving free tickets to the Cuban Salsa dance show now performing at Genting Hotel.
Matta president Tunku Iskandar Tunku Abdullah said the organisations proactive role in promoting domestic tourism, complementing the Governments effort at regional and international levels, had helped the industry to considerably strengthen travel and tourism businesses.
The travel industry remains a fragile one with lessons with SARS and the Iraq war. Through such experiences, we are now better prepared to cope with crisis and manage communications in a more effective way.
He said Matta had started a hospitality bank to collate data on transportation and other facilities for special promotions and activities by the Government and the tourism industry.
Deputy Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister Datuk Fu Ah Kiow said since the launching of Malaysia: My Second Home in 1996, the programme had attracted some 2,500 participants.
The Government is confident that the target of 5,000 foreigners will be achieved under the Eighth Malaysia Plan, Fu said.
Did you find this article insightful?