KUALA LUMPUR: Top K-Pop stars and other Korean artists will add spice and flavour at the MATTA (Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents) Fair here in September.
MATTA president Hamzah Rahmat said the Korean Tourism Organisation (KTO) and the Hong Kong Tourism Board will also be making a return to the fair.
“KTO has asked for slots for Korean drama hours to be staged, which is something new and interesting,” he said after the balloting for booths at PWTC yesterday.
The fair will be held at PWTC from Sept 4 to 6.
Hamzah said KTO would be spending a huge amount at the fair to promote South Korea’s tourism industry, which was hit hard by the now contained outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
KTO has taken up 24 booths and the Hong Kong board 12.
“We expect to cross the 100,000 visitor threshold for the first time,” he said.
Hamzah said Indonesia was the favourite Asean destination, South Korea the top choice for Asia and Turkey the most picked destination in Europe.
Hamzah said the international booths at Halls 1 and 2 were “over subscribed” again with a long waiting list among participants.
He said he did not expect the Goods and Services Tax (GST) or the depreciating value of the ringgit to impact sales.
“But we hope to meet Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in August before the tabling of the Budget 2016 to raise concerns of the travel industry, which is down by between 30% and 40%.
“We want domestic tourism to be exempted from the GST or be zero-rated,” he said.
Hamzah said it did not make sense for those holidaying locally to pay consumption tax which is not applicable for overseas travel.
MATTA, he added, also wanted the Government to implement online visa applications and approvals for visitors, similar to Australia’s facilities.
“On one hand, the Tourism Ministry is spending millions to promote the country, while on the other, different ministries are hindering visitors with their red tape,” he said.
The Star is the official English newspaper for the MATTA Fair.