Sunday, March 18, 2007

Asian Destinations Most Popular at Matta Fair

KUALA LUMPUR: Pensioners and parents, business people and students — they are flocking in the thousands to the Matta Fair 2007 to look for travel bargains.

College student Then Mee Yoke did a double-take when she saw her favourite actor Jackie Chan, then realised that it was only a life-like wax figure brought in for the occasion by the Hong Kong Tourism Board from Madame Tussaud’s in Hong Kong.

"The chance of meeting the real Jackie Chan is almost zero, so it’s still exciting to be photographed alongside the wax figure," said 22-year-old Ipoh lass.

Che Rohana Zulkifli, a 46-year-old bank manager from Gombak is a Matta Fair regular.

"My husband and I never miss a chance to grab inexpensive holiday packages and air tickets. This time, we bought tickets for two of our children to visit their sister studying in Plymouth, England."

Best friends P. Selvarajah, 64, and 72-year-old K.S.K. Mennon have been travelling around the region on their Matta bargains.

"We’ve been to Cambodia, Chiangmai and Bali, so this time we’re going to Vietnam," said Selvarajah.

The annual three-day travel fair opened at the Putra World Trade Centre on Friday, and members of the public have until 9pm tonight to snap up cut-price holidays.

On Friday, 23,000 people turned up, and by 6pm yesterday 27,000 had visited the convention centre.

Matta Fair deputy organising chairman Joseph Xavier said they were pushing local destinations this time in view of Visit Malaysia Year, but package tours of places in Asia were proving to be the most popular.

"One of the two grand prizes is reserved for those who buy domestic holiday packages or plane tickets," said Xavier.

"They stand to win a Proton Gen-2, while those who purchase both domestic and international tickets could win a Proton Waja."

Suziana Kamaruddin was looking at domestic holidays for her company’s family day. The 31-year-old said she got a real bargain on packages in Port Dickson.

"Two days and one night at Port Dickson with meal vouchers, horseback riding and a fireworks display thrown in only cost me RM111 per person. Normally it would be RM100 more," she said.

And if there were a contest for the most eye-catching booth, then Apple Vacations & Conventions Sdn Bhd’s booth, adorned with blossoming cherry trees, would win hands down.

"It’s spring in Japan right now," said Apple deputy managing director Koh Yock Heng. "That’s what inspired us."

The fair is supported by Tourism Malaysia, while New Straits Times and Nanyang Siang Pau are the official newspapers. Adults pay RM3 to enter. The under-12 enter free.

Source : NST
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