Malaysian Travel Fair to proceed despite virus outbreak

The Malaysian Travel Fair hopes to encourage Malaysians to travel and explore the country, boosting domestic tourism. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Despite facing uncertainties due to the threat of the Covid-19 infection, the Malaysia Association Tour Agency (Mata) will continue to promote the Malaysian Travel Fair (MTF), which will be held from March 13 to 15 at the World Trade Centre here.

Its president, Mohd Khalid Harun, said Mata was aware of the frustrations faced by its members following cancellation of tour packages and bookings after the spread of the coronavirus.

As such, he said the event was organised to help them market their tourism products.

“It is safe to travel around Malaysia because the situation here is not serious and the people should not panic.

“In conjunction with Visit Malaysia 2020 (VM2020), we hope that MTF will help encourage Malaysians to travel and explore the country, thus boosting domestic tourism,” he told reporters at the 2020 MTF press conference today.

Khalid said MTF was expected to attract 110,000 visitors and achieve RM220 million in sales.

“With over 1,500 booths, we provide opportunities for any travel agency and individual to join the MTF.

“We are also introducing the #MalaysiaIsSafe hashtag to convince local and foreign tourists to book the various exciting packages at MTF,” he said.

Tourism Malaysia central region deputy director Khairul Hilmi Abdul Manap said the spread of the virus had not dampened efforts to promote VM2020 domestically and abroad.

“In addition to the MTF, we are also taking part in the ITB (Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin) in Berlin from March 6 to 10 to promote VM2020,” he said.

Asked about the plan by the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) to take legal action against Mata over its use of the similar-sounding acronym, Khalid said he was leaving the matter to them.

“We have registered with the RoS (Registrar of Societies) and there is no issue if we are using a similar sounding acronym.

“We should help each other in an effort to boost the country’s tourism industry. If they still want to proceed with the legal action, we will let our lawyers handle it,” he said.

Matta honorary secretary Nigel Wong, in a statement issued on Jan 5, said Matta had issued a letter of demand claiming Mata had infringed on its trademark and demanded that the association cease using the acronym.