The 53rd MATTA Fair, held in September 2023, provided a platform for YB Dato Sri Tiong King Sing, Minister of Tourism, Arts, and Culture, to share his vision for the country’s tourism industry. Although unable to attend in person, his message resounded throughout the event. Here are the key highlights from his significant keynote speech.
YB Dato Sri Tiong King Sing began by extending a warm welcome to all attendees and conveying his congratulations to the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) for organising another eagerly anticipated MATTA Fair. He acknowledged the remarkable success of the previous edition, the 52nd MATTA Fair held in March 2023, which attracted over 180,000 visitors and recorded sales exceeding RM 300 million. These numbers underscored MATTA Fair’s pivotal role in promoting Malaysia’s tourism industry and international brands.
Appreciation for MATTA’s Resilience
The Minister commended MATTA President Mr. Nigel Wong and his dedicated team for their unwavering commitment and resilience. An impressive feat was achieved as they managed to organise the current fair just five months after the previous one. This accomplishment underlines the determination of industry players to persevere and innovate, even when faced with challenging times.
The keynote address emphasised the pivotal role played by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture (MOTAC) in supporting the tourism and related industries. The Minister shared that MOTAC had allocated RM 25 million through the Tourism Sector Support Grant, sending a clear message of the government’s commitment to rejuvenating the tourism sector in Malaysia.
Statistics provided during the speech revealed a promising outlook for tourism in the country. By the second week of August 2023, Malaysia had already welcomed an impressive 817,460 foreign tourists. The highlight was July 2023, which witnessed a remarkable 69.3% increase in foreign tourist arrivals compared to the same period in 2022. These numbers underscored the government’s unwavering efforts to breathe new life into the tourism sector.
Adapting to Travel Trends
Recognising the impact of travel trends on the industry, YB Dato Sri Tiong King Sing highlighted the growing popularity of “pay-cations” and remote work among employees, who now enjoyed unprecedented flexibility. While MATTA Fair traditionally focused on the outbound market, the Minister encouraged MATTA to remain attuned to these evolving trends. Collaborating with MOTAC and Tourism Malaysia, he believed, would enable MATTA to attract tourists who align with these emerging trends.
In a significant announcement, the Minister revealed that MOTAC would manage the promotion and marketing of the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) program. He suggested that MATTA Fair provide a prominent platform for promoting MM2H, aiming to attract high net worth applicants whose participation could significantly contribute to Malaysia’s economic growth.
In his concluding remarks, YB Dato Sri Tiong King Sing called for unity in promoting the Tourism Malaysia brand. He urged the nation to showcase its unique attractions, warm hospitality, rich cultural heritage, and delectable culinary offerings. Additionally, he encouraged the development of innovative tourism products and services that would reflect the very best of Malaysia.
YB Dato Sri Tiong King Sing’s keynote speech at the 53rd MATTA Fair 2023 Opening Ceremony provided insight into the significance of MATTA Fair, the government’s unwavering support for the tourism industry, positive trends in tourism growth, adapting to evolving travel trends, and the promotion of Malaysia’s distinctive offerings. It served as a powerful reminder of the collective commitment to fostering a vibrant and prosperous tourism sector in Malaysia.