Saturday March 16, 2013
GE: Travellers put polls first before snapping up deals at MATTA fair
By WONG PEK MEI and JASON YU
KUALA LUMPUR: The duty to vote is taking precedence for many Malaysians who are putting their vacation plans on hold until after the 13th general election.
Thereafter, however, they will be well into travel mode, if the response at the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Fair 2013 is anything to go by.
The fair which opened at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) here yesterday was packed with both locals and foreigners scouring the multitude of offers and packages available.
Manager William Chow, 41, planned his holiday after the middle of the year as he intended to be around to exercise his democratic right.
“It would be troublesome if my holidays clashed with the election and I would have to cancel it,” he said.
General manager V. Vicki, 28, was postponing her visit to India until after the election, which is due to be announced very soon.
“As Malaysians, it is our right to vote. Therefore we must fully utilise it,” she said.
Energy Holidays Sdn Bhd general manager Lilian Choi said that while they had received many enquiries for travel before or during April, there were questions on whether they could get refunds or change their travel arrangements if the election was to take place that month.
“Most decided to take up travel packages after April as they want to be in the country during the election,” she said.
She added that most of their customers wanted to travel between May and June to Europe, Russia and Hong Kong.
“So far, most of our customers want to travel from May onwards.”
MATTA president Datuk Mohd Khalid Harun said the general election would not affect their sales this year.
“Even today (yesterday), the crowd turnout is impressive as usually it would not be as busy on a weekday,” he said.
He pointed out that in 2004, the MATTA fair was held during the general election.
“It drew a good crowd. So, it is not a factor,” he said.
The MATTA Fair 2013, which started yesterday, will end tomorrow.