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New Straits Times, Malaysia • News

KOTA KINABALU : The people's confidence in travelling is back, as reflected in the RM16 million sales generated from the recently-ended Malaysia Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Sabah Fair 2022 held during the weekend.

The two-day travel fair held on July 9-10 at the International Technology Convention Centre (ITCC), Penampang recorded 8,000 visitors despite strong winds and heavy rain that hit the west coast.

"The sales were very good, considering the fact that we are still in the Covid-19 infection period.

"Despite the report of Covid-19 cases on the rise, we believe that people's confidence is back in travelling.

"This is due to the travel industry practising travel safe programmes and following the standard operating procedures," said MATTA Sabah Chapter chairman Lawrence Chin.

He said the holiday makers were mainly families and friends travelling together after being locked up for more than two years.

"Now they are allowed to cross borders to South Korea following the resumption of several airlines and Europe, particularly to Turkey and Switzerland by air and sea cruises.

"Another popular destination is Saudi Arabia for umrah," he said.

For Kuala Lumpur-based hotel manager Vivian Chu, the travel fair had given awareness to hotels that just opened on April 1, 2022, after the government announced the reopening of the country's international borders.

"It's an encouragement for travellers to look for new destinations for domestic travel.

"However our price for domestic flights are still high which is a burden for a family of five, compared to the single or young adult couples who can purchase tickets and travel easily," she said.

She said they managed to sell several hundred vouchers which was considered a good start and their presence was also an opportunity for locals to get to know them.

For the Sabah market, she said there was still a lot of unlocked potential to be tapped in the state.

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