KUALA LUMPUR: The inaugural Malaysia Airlines Travel Fair got off to a flying start with over 60,000 people packing the MidValley Exhibition Centre to catch unbeatable bargains.
The crowd had trickled in as early as 7.45am to wait for the doors to open at 10am yesterday.
The organisers, sensing a huge turnout, put up barriers to allow people to enter the exhibition halls in an orderly manner.
By 2pm, cars were lining up over several kilometres, waiting to enter the centre's car park.
By evening, the anticipated 50,000 visitors had packed the main exhibition halls.
The fair closes at 10.30pm.
The two-day fair opened to the sounds of an airplane taking off and the beating of the rebana, a traditional Malay drum.
Those who managed to get in quickly got down to business.
They checked out the flyers and discussed the prices.
The queues at the ticket counters were never-ending.
Apart from the national carrier, 75 of its travel agents, 22 airlines, 11 local and foreign tourist organisations, two five-star hotels and major sponsors participated in the event.
There were many other attractions a Guilin Cultural performance, Grads DJ Showdown hosted by Paula Malai Ali, a showcase of MAS in-flight shopping, Temptations, and a Saturday Night Fever Dance contest, in conjunction with the staging of the musical here in May.
There were also a Golden Holidays contest for members and a Travel Fair contest to take part in.
Families made up most of the crowd and those who were tired from the bargain-hunting sat down at any available space, including the main stage area, for a rest.
MAS regional manager for Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore, Germal Singh, who opened the fair, said it was timely as international air traffic was showing strong recovery, especially in Asia.
There is a general consensus that there is global economic recovery and it is the right moment to refocus on the tourism industry.
Business is dependent on the customer experience. Something that is profitable for both parties will be repeated in the future, he said in his speech.
For engineer Lit Moon Kai, who found the fares reasonable, choosing a holiday destination was quite difficult.
I have been visiting the Matta (Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents) International Travel Fair. And I find this as good as the Matta fairs. We will probably be buying tickets to go to Australia,'' he said.
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