MATTA Fair to spotlight sustainable practices within tourism industry

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KUALA LUMPUR: The upcoming Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Fair in March 2024 promises to unveil its Sustainable Tourism booth, aiming to spotlight a variety of innovative projects geared towards fostering sustainable practices within the tourism industry.

MATTA president Nigel Wong said that at the heart of this endeavour lies the launch of the Green Circle Initiative, a collaborative effort involving key stakeholders from diverse sectors such as Climate Governance Malaysia, Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG), RHB banking group, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), government agencies at both federal and state levels, Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) and the Malaysian Association of Convention & Exhibition Organisers & Suppliers (Maceos) and MATTA members.

"This initiative is to emphasise our goals of empowering local tourism stakeholders, raising awareness, and more importantly, contributing to the conversation with the government in terms of how policy is made regarding the national sustainability agenda and how tourism plays an important role," he said during a press conference on Tuesday (March 19).

In addition to the Green Circle Initiative, Wong mentioned MATTA's collaboration with renowned British wildlife artist Rachel Gray, AmLeisure Group Media, Tourism Perak, and Tourism Selangor.

Together, they will implement projects focused on conserving natural assets and enhancing local community livelihoods, showcasing a commitment to sustainable environmental practices and community well-being.

One significant project highlighted is the collaboration with Perak State Parks Corporation at Royal Belum State Park, the second-largest protected area in Peninsular Malaysia.

Tourism Selangor Promotion Manager Khuzaimah Jamaluddin said Tourism Selangor would showcase the Jungle School Gombak, an empowerment programme involving indigenous people in Gombak, at the upcoming MATTA fair.

"This initiative aims to raise awareness about indigenous people's survival skills, rainforest sustainability, and cultural practices, offering the public opportunities to participate in workshops and programmes, including a five-level survival course," she added.

Additionally, through the Selangor Community Hosts Programme, Tourism Selangor has been promoting community-based tourism, particularly in Sabak Bernam and Kuala Selangor.

Furthermore, Tourism Selangor manages the Gombak Hulu Langat Geopark, which comprises 31 geoparks in Selangor. The state aims to achieve global recognition from Unesco by 2027 for its efforts in geopark conservation and promotion.

The 54th edition of the MATTA Fair will be held from March 22 to March 24 at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (Mitec).

Visitors to the Sustainable Tourism booth can expect to learn about various projects and initiatives spearheaded by MATTA and its partners, engage in interactive activities, and participate in discussions aimed at promoting sustainability within the tourism industry.

The MATTA Fair, offering free admission, will be open from 10am to 9pm for three days, from Friday to Sunday. It targets 150,000 visitors and RM250mil in sales. Complimentary shuttle services to Mitec from KL Sentral and Sunway Putra Mall will be provided.

While addressing concerns about visitor turnout during Ramadan, Wong remarked that previous MATTA Fairs held during Ramadan did not witness significant changes in visitor numbers. He anticipated a similar trend for the upcoming fair, particularly with the improved facilities and comfort at Mitec, which encourage visitors to spend more time shopping.

To accommodate Muslim visitors during Ramadan, dedicated F&B facilities for "berbuka puasa" and prayer halls will be available throughout the venue.

Also present were Tourism Perak chief executive officer Nurmalis Musa, AmLeisure Group Media managing director Datuk Ada Poon, Jungle School Gombak Malaysia founder assistant Professor Norzalifa Zainal Abidin, and Perak State Parks Corporation acting director Lau Chin Fong.

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