MATTA: Don’t miss out on local deals

PETALING JAYA: In view of the upcoming festivities, the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) has urged Malaysians to make plans for a local holiday and take advantage of good deals in the market.

“Malaysia has lots to offer. People can explore the hidden gems of the country. We now also have community-based tourism with new places offering a fresh and exciting experience.“I’m sure Malaysians can spare some time to explore and get to know more about the country’s history and culture, ” MATTA president Datuk Tan Kok Liang (pic) said in an interview.

With more people travelling, he said it would benefit and kick-start the economy again.

He hoped that numerous campaigns by tourism stakeholders, as well as industry players, would help domestic tourism to bounce back.

With the new norm, Tan said business models need to be open such as having a flexible cancellation policy and allowing easy changes to cut-off dates, adding that more attractive packages could also be offered to entice customers to return.

“During the boom time, there was a high occupancy rate, so hotels were a bit rigid but now, let’s work together for a win-win situation for travel agents, hoteliers and consumers to begin to travel again, ” he said.

Tan urged Malaysians to travel safe and to continue to observe standard operating procedure (SOP).Apple Vacations group managing director Datuk Seri Koh Yock Heng said while waiting for the country’s border to reopen and the lifting of overseas travel restrictions, the company had started “Go Apple Cuti-Cuti campaign“ to help boost domestic tourism.

“Among the packages include trips to popular places like Langkawi, Sandakan, Mulu cave trekking and orang utan sightseeing tour.

“We believe people can’t wait to travel again since the movement control order (MCO) was enforced in mid-March, ” he said.

Lexis Hotel Group senior communications manager Nabil Jamil said its resorts in Port Dickson and Penang received a high number of enquiries and bookings for the upcoming Hari Raya Haji holidays.

“Because of this, we have taken measures to tighten SOP compliance to ensure the safety and health of our guests.

“The compulsory requirement to wear face masks from Aug 1 in all public areas is a positive move and we encourage all our guests to adhere to it, ” he said.

He added that posters had been put up and a dedicated team had been formed to remind guests about the SOP.

Nabil said the promotion on their website with offers of up to 40% discount had contributed to a higher number of bookings.

Swiss Garden Beach Resort Kuantan director of sales and marketing Linda Evelyn Wong said room bookings for the coming weekends were picking up and very encouraging.

“In fact, most long weekends are already full. Kuantan is a popular drive-through destination and this is a good opportunity for many locals to enjoy all the fantastic deals.

“We are optimistic that holidaymakers will come out again for a getaway and spend some quality time with their families, ” she said.

Bukit Gambang Resort City general manager Arman Ramli said its hotel and water park bookings had also seen an increase over the past week.“We foresee the number of walk-in visitors to the park to be encouraging too.

“Let’s hope the trend for the long weekends and holidays will stimulate the domestic tourism industry, ” he said.

In Johor, Legoland Malaysia Resort divisional director CS Lim said since its reopening last month, the response had been positive.

“With the upcoming holidays, we are expecting the momentum to continue on an upward trend.

“We believe the value and flexibility through our ongoing promotions and stringent health and safety measures contributed to this, ” he said.Lim urged holidaymakers to take full advantage of the flexible offerings and continue the spirit of #CutiCutiMalaysia.

Separately, avid traveller Chris Chin, 55, is planning to travel to Penang with her three children during the Hari Raya Haji holidays as she missed the beach.

“Besides the sea, I really miss real Penang hawker food.

“I can’t wait to get a bite of char kuay teow, asam laksa, hokkien mee, kueh kak, nasi kandar and mee goreng.

“That’s why I’m in great need to go for a holiday – to chill, relax and give thanks for the freedom to just breathe in fresh air, ” the financial consultant said.

Real estate consultant Adam Tan, 33, said he had recently gone to Ipoh for a three-day, two-night break when the MCO was lifted.

“I went there to visit my 92-year-old grandaunt. She is single and cooped up in her apartment all alone. I was worried about her, so I drove to Ipoh to surprise her.

“I took her out to roam the city, and even brought her to a nice restaurant. She was so happy to be out again, ” he said.

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