Kuala Lumpur can become travel hub

Exciting partner: International Tourism Promotion director Nia Niscaya (third from left) and MATTA president Hamzah Rahmat holding up signed documents approving Indonesia as the favourite destination partner. With them are (from left) MATTA adviser Datuk Mohd Khalid Harun, Indonesian Vice-Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Dr Sapta Nirwandar, Hasan and Indonesia Tourism Marketing director-general Esthy Reko Astuty.

KUALA LUMPUR - Kuala Lumpur has the potential to become the travel hub of the region if all tourism players work together to enhance the industry, said Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Hasan Malek.

He noted that Malaysia should be more focused on enticing tourists to stay longer and spend more.

"In 2012, 24.7 million tourists arrived here and stayed for an average of three to five days.

"With Visit Malaysia Year 2014 just around the corner, we must work harder to improve," he said before launching the WITM-MATTA Fair 2013 yesterday.

Hasan said Malaysia must attract investors, upgrade tourist facilities and develop new tourism products to remain an attractive tourist destination.

About 120,000 people are expected to throng the fair at the Putra World Trade Centre which occupies eight halls with more than 1,250 booths and 200 exhibitors offering value-for-money deals, cheap airline packages and various travel and tour packages.

For the first time, the three-day fair, which ends tomorrow, also features a trade segment, where the travel and tourism sectors can network, discuss and expand market share.

WITM-MATTA Fair organising chairman Jeffri Sulaiman advised visitors to download the fair's mobile app so that they could refer to it.

"They can also use the touch screen browsing machines we have here to find what they are looking for," he said.

Indonesia has been named the favourite destination partner, with special offers for travel and tour packages there.

Media partners for the fair are Star Publications (M) Bhd, Nanyang Press Holdings Bhd, The China Press Bhd, Aswaq Press, Regent Media Sdn Bhd and AmLeisure Media Sdn Bhd.