Indonesia and South Korea to Headline Travel Fair

Indonesia has been designated the top ASEAN travel destination to be highlighted during the upcoming MATTA Travel Fair in Kuala Lumpur from September 4–6.

The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) holds this biannual event to attract tourism in the region by showcasing airlines, tour operators, tourism authorities, and other businesses in the industry.

At a press conference on Tuesday, MATTA president Hamzah Rahmat said, “The number one tourist arrivals in ASEAN countries are those from other ASEAN countries. In Malaysia, 75% of tourist arrivals are from ASEAN countries.”

Promoting Indonesia as a “favorite destination” is seen as a move to help Malaysia partner up with their neighbor, in anticipation of big increases in tourist numbers and overall development in the industry for both nations.

The Indonesia pavilion at the fair will have booths promoting a variety of destinations throughout the archipelago: Bali, Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara, and Papua.

(In addition to the travel fair, there will also be an Indonesian Food Festival at the Seri Pacific Hotel from September 4–11.)

The MATTA fair is not just limited to the Southeast Asia region. Countries from around the world will have a variety of booths set up at the event, with notable mentions being the Hong Kong Tourism Board and the Korean Tourism Organization (KTO). South Korea looks like it may be quite the feature country as well, as they have snapped up 24 booths and have big-name K-Pop stars scheduled to perform.

As for promoting more tourism in Malaysia itself, Rahmat stressed the importance of making changes in the visa application process—particularly, allowing online application and approval. Additionally, MATTA hopes the government will do away with the Goods and Services Tax (GST) for domestic tourists.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak says that the country’s low costs (and great value) should be emphasized more than ever as part of tourism promotion.

Malaysia experienced a bit of a dip in tourist arrivals earlier in 2015, which Razak attributed to airline tragedies and floods.

It may take more than great deals to boost tourist numbers, though. Talk of easing visa requirements and fees needs to be backed up with more action, especially if Malaysia wants to attract more Chinese tourists.

H/T: The Star