THE unmistakable circular, brightly-coloured icons caught the eyes of children and adults alike as they walked past the Angry Birds Activity Park booth at the MATTA Fair.
Siblings Muhammad Aliuddin Akmal Mohd Nazrol, 12, and Nur Wani Syahirah Mohd Nazrol, 11, were among those seen stopping for a photo opportunity with the giant Angry Birds plushies.
Their father Mohd Nazrol Kamrudin, 39, said the family made the trip to MATTA Fair to shop for deals for local destinations, particularly those featuring theme parks.
“My children love theme parks. We’ve also bought passes to Kidzania and Berjaya Times Square Theme Park in Kuala Lumpur.
“Besides the Angry Birds Activity Park, we are planning to look for passes to other theme parks in Johor as those are nearer to us,” said the civil servant who lives in Kempas, Johor.
Abdullah Rahim Saun, who planned to travel to Terengganu, said the current economic situation in Malaysia had influenced his family’s travel plans.
PWTC’s halls were packed to the brim throughout the three-day fair, which is estimated to have recorded a 120,000-strong crowd. — Photos: RAJA FAISAL HISHAN/The Star PWTC’s halls were packed to the brim throughout the three-day fair, which is estimated to have recorded a 120,000-strong crowd. — Photos: RAJA FAISAL HISHAN/The Star
“Things such as GST are in the back of my mind,” he said.
A group of students shared similar sentiments, with Serene Liew saying she and her friends would only visiting only Penang this year.
Khairul Amizan Abdul Rahman from Bangi said his travelling plans were influenced by the current economic situation.
“Package prices play an important role when I plan for trips. The cheaper the package, the better it is for us consumers,” he said.
Besides price, safety is a priority for Iris Woon Lee Lee and Pamela Lee Peng Peng.
Lee said, “Despite the increased costs and safety concerns, I still believe in travelling.
“Life is too short. We just have to enjoy travelling no matter the offer — time away from work and a getaway with friends.”
Many visitors were seen shopping for various packages and deals. Many visitors were seen shopping for various packages and deals.
Woon also brought up how Malaysia’s currency strength influenced her destination choices.
On umrah packages, Faisal Kassim observed that there were fewer visitors at the fair’s umrah hall this year.
“It may be caused by the current economic situation in our country.
“I brought only my parents to survey package prices. We don’t intend to buy or sign up for anything today,” said the Petaling Jaya resident.
Hazali Shamsudin, who purchased a package in the umrah hall, said his family would be visiting Mecca only this time because of time constraints.
MATTA president Datuk Hamzah Rahmat was optimistic that the three-day fair which ended on Sunday would attract a 120,000-strong crowd, which is the highest number of visitors ever.
“Considering the current challenging economic situation, 120,000 visitors is a very good figure as our target was set at 90,000,” he said, adding that the previous record was 110,000 visitors in 2003.
(From left) Ain Nur Arasyie Mohd Sabri, Uzzy Zafriena Zafria, Racheal Divya Joseph and Sit Maisarah Mohd Zamree promoting various Langkawi attractions at the Bin Ali Holidays booth. (Left) (From left) Ain Nur Arasyie Mohd Sabri, Uzzy Zafriena Zafria, Racheal Divya Joseph and Sit Maisarah Mohd Zamree promoting various Langkawi attractions at the Bin Ali Holidays booth.
Hamzah attributed the high visitor count to the aggressive promotion of domestic tourism as well as marketing tactics by destination partners such as Japan and Indonesia.
“We started encouraging Malaysians to travel domestically since last year due to the global uncertainties.
“We now have dedicated halls for domestic tourism, with one hall just for Malaysian destinations and another for both Malaysian and Asean destinations. It is also more organised in terms of traffic flow.
“We picked one state to profile at the more recent editions of MATTA Fair. We are highlighting Johor this round, and this serves as an opportunity for the state to sell its travel and tourism products,” he said.
Hamzah said another element that was fairly new to the fair was the umrah hall, which served as a dedicated venue for those wanting to make enquiries about umrah packages.
“The umrah hall is a permanent feature since the September 2015 fair. This section was started to provide peace of mind to travellers, as the deals are offered by licensed travel agents.
Angry Bird booth promoters explaining the packages available at the park to (from right) Nur Wani Syahirah, Nureen Adveanna and Muhammad Aliuddin Akmal. Angry Bird booth promoters explaining the packages available at the park to (from right) Nur Wani Syahirah, Nureen Adveanna and Muhammad Aliuddin Akmal.
“These agents are members of MATTA and have to abide by a certain code of ethics, as we don’t want the MATTA brand to be tarnished,” he said.
“We also support the efforts of the government and non-governmental organisations by providing some space for them to highlight what they do.
“These include a blood donation campaign by the National Blood Bank and awareness campaigns for the National Cancer Council and Traffic wildlife trade monitoring network.”
Hamzah said the three-day fair was estimated to see RM150mil in sales, with some 40% of visitors shopping for domestic tourism deals.
The 41st edition of the MATTA Fair featured a total of 1,214 booths occupying a 27,400sq m of exhibition space.
The event included activities such as cultural shows, blogger sharing sessions and career talk by MATTA Academy, as well as contests for buyers offering air tickets, hotel stays and theme park passes as prizes.