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KUALA LUMPUR: The MATTA Fair March 2018 is expected to clinch more sales than the fair held in September last year, says the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA).

As many as 110,000 visitors with RM210mil in sales are expected for the current fair, said its president Datuk Tan Kok Liang during his speech at the fair opening ceremony at the Putra World Trade Centre here yesterday. Later at a press conference, Tan said the total sales for MATTA Fair September 2017 was about RM205mil. “Globally, the outbound tourism industry is expected to grow at 5% (a year). Considering the general election, which is coming soon, we expect to achieve RM210mil in sales,” he said.

The three-day fair, which began on Friday, is expected to be the biggest in its 27-year history. A total of 26,377 tickets were sold on the first day, according to Tan. In his speech, Tan said MATTA has started working towards Visit Malaysia Year 2020. “Foundations are being laid and we are looking into aggressive overseas promotion, hosting overseas travel agents to do packaging and online marketing to create awareness on local destinations,” he said. He said MATTA has set up its first MATTA Pavilion at ITB Berlin 2018, the world’s largest travel trade show to promote Malaysia on a global scale.

It will also engage in sales missions to China, India, Britain, and Europe, he said. Tan said MATTA is working closely with the Malaysia Association of Hotels and the National ICT Association of Malaysia to set up a technology platform for members to use and compete in the market. It has recently developed a collaborative framework with the Asso­ciation of Indonesian Tours and Travel Agencies to promote both countries as a single destination for long-haul markets. Discussions were also underway with Grab for it to integrate MATTA members’ vehicles into its services, he said.

Meanwhile, the Tourism and Culture Ministry is targeting 33 million tourist arrivals in 2018, with a receipt of RM118bil, said its secretary-­general Datuk Rashidi Hasbullah. The ministry hopes to increase the figures to 36 million tourist arrivals and RM168bil in tourism receipts by 2020, which is the Visit Malaysia Year, he said at a press conference after the MATTA Fair March 2018 launch.  “Last year, 75% of our arrivals were from Asean countries. We will continue to focus on the region, besides China, India and Japan,” he said.  Last year, Malaysia recorded 25.9 million tourist arrivals and RM82.1bil in tourism receipts.

Rashidi said Malaysia will collaborate with other Asean countries to promote the region as a single destination. He said the initiative encourages foreigners outside of Asean to visit several countries when they travel to the region, instead of just a single country. Read more at

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