Semporna a big hit in Matta Fair 2024

Khairul (third from right, wearing songkok) and federal tourism officials visit the Sabah Tourism Board booth, with Bangkuai (second right) briefing on offerings.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s east coast Semporna district was the most sought-after destination at the recent Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Fair in Kuala Lumpur.

Tour companies and hotels from the state raked in almost RM3mil in sales at the fair from March 22 to 24.

Sabah Tourism, Culture, and Environment Assistant Minister Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said there was also strong interest in nature-based attractions in the Sandakan and Lahad Datu districts.

Bangkuai, who is also Sabah Tourism Board (STB) chairman, also said there were solid bookings on the Danum Valley excursion – one of the world’s oldest rainforests.

He noted that Sabah's image as a "healing destination" appealed to visitors as it reflected the state's close connection to natural beauty, tranquil islands, and thrilling adventures.

“It is essential that all key tourism players maintain momentum and foster creativity and innovation in promoting Sabah to domestic tourists,” he said in a statement on Tuesday (March 26).

"Attracting domestic tourists requires continuous evolution in strategies to keep Sabah as top-of-mind for travellers," he added.

The fair's success also demonstrated Sabah's versatility in catering to various leisure preferences, as seen by the selling of golf packages by tour operators.

With a strong presence of 26 Sabah tour operators, including one at the Tourism Malaysia pavilion and two participating hotels, the MATTA Fair was an excellent opportunity to showcase Sabah's diverse tourism products to a large audience.

Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac) Deputy Minister Khairul Firdaus Akbar Khan, accompanied by tourism officials, also stopped by the Sabah Tourism booth to check out its offerings.

In the event, STB led the Sabah zone with 10 booths, offering rebates called “Token Rehat Minda” worth up to RM150 for each purchase made in a single receipt for any Sabah tour package.

Present at the Matta Fair were the Sabah tourism ministry’s permanent secretary, Josie Lai and STB chief executive officer Julinus Jeffrey Jimit.

Jimit also met with airlines and key tourism players from the peninsula at the sidelines of the travel fair.

The engagement highlighted Sabah Tourism’s ongoing commitment to fostering strategic partnerships and enhancing opportunities for growth and collaboration.

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Matta Fair 2024 , Tourism , Semporna , Getaway , Vacation


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