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Thursday, July 4, 2013
120,000 expected at WITM, MATTA fairs to be held in September
For travel bugs: Mirza (right) and Razali sharing a light moment after the WITM launch in Kuala Lumpur.
KUALA LUMPUR: Over 120,000 visitors are expected to flock to the World Islamic Tourism Mart travel fair and MATTA fair this September, said WITM chairman Razali Mohd Sham.
Razali said this year’s WITM was extra special as it would be held concurrently with the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) fair at the Putra World Trade Centre.
“There is vast potential for both WITM and MATTA fair. There will be 180 booths for the WITM and 1,200 others for the MATTA fair,” he said during the launch at the Islamic Arts Museum here yesterday.
The WITM would have separate events, mainly a two-day travel exchange networking session between buyers and sellers beginning Sept 6, a travel fair on Sept 8 and an international conference on Muslim tourism, haj and umrah on Sept 4 and 5 at Hotel Istana.
MATTA fair is from Sept 6 to 8.
The networking session includes both local and international buyers and sellers including from United Kingdom, Turkey, China, and Uzbekistan.
“It will be a good avenue for buyers and sellers in the industry to trade and network with one another,” he said.
Last year’s inaugural event saw 704 buyers from over 40 countries transacting business with local and international sellers.
Meanwhile, Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab said the Muslim tourism market had vast potential given its over 1.7 billion population worldwide.
“Muslim travellers are very assertive and affluent. The market has huge potential but is yet to be fully explored. WITM is timely and appropriate for the industry.”
Malaysia, he added, was listed as among the top 10 countries with the highest tourism arrivals last year but said more needed to be done to draw tourists in, especially from the Muslim market.
“There were 25 million tourists last year, which is a 1.3% increase compared to 2011. We were the only other Muslim country in the top 10 besides Turkey.
“We want tourists to stay longer, shop more and enjoy themselves for lengthier periods here,” he added.