The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Fair is a bi-annual travel fair that ran from March 15-17, 2019 in Kuala Lumpur. Over 1,300 booths took up about 95,000 feet of exhibition space in seven halls at the Putra World Trade Centre. Guam was among the 272 organizations that were present to include travel and tour agencies, national tourism organizations, hotels, resorts, theme parks, cruises and other businesses. Organizers estimated this year’s fair to exceed over 110,000 visitors and sales of over $51 million. This is Guam’s second time having a presence at the event.
Mayor Robert Hofmann, committee chairman of the Guam Visitors Bureau’s North America and Pacific Market, noted that as an emerging market for Guam, Malaysian visitors are intrigued they can travel to the island visa-free.
A culture at the forefront
Fairgoers witnessed multiple performances from Guma Taotao Tano at the three-day event as they shared Guam’s unique CHamoru culture through song and dance.
“Malaysia is a very rich cultural place,” said Guma Taotao Tano musician Vince San Nicolas. “I believe that our 4,000-year-old history is vital to share with them in person. Bringing out the re-identification and resurgence of the CHamoru culture is very important to share with the rest of the world so that we’re known as the CHamorus from Guam and the Marianas.”
Airline and travel agents create Guam packages
While in Kuala Lumpur, GVB met with Philippine Airlines and other travel agents for a Guam product presentation to further develop the Malaysia market.
Philippine Air offered special fares from Malaysia to Guam via Manila during the MATTA Fair. Travel agents, such as Apple Vacations and Golden Tourworld Travel, have also been promoting six-day packages to Guam. The agents have already confirmed Guam is scheduled to welcome group travelers from Malaysia in the coming months.
“We’ve been making great leads and strides in promoting Guam in the region,” said GVB North America and Pacific Marketing Manager Mark Manglona. “We’ve developed key partnerships with travel agents who have put up all-inclusive travel packages and we also have a very good relationship with Philippine Airlines. They’ve been very supportive and connected us with travel agents. There is a tremendous opportunity to promote Guam in Malaysia and we look forward to growing and developing this new market.”
The next MATTA Fair will be in September 2019.