BERLIN: The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) has signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with three European Tour and Travel Agency Associations here at ITB Berlin 2023, marking a new level of cooperation between Malaysian tourism stakeholders and their European counterparts.

The Memorandums were signed on March 7 by MATTA President Datuk Tan Kok Liang and the Presidents of the following European associations:

• Anne Marjut, President of the Association of Finnish Travel Industry (SMAL)

• Pawel Niewiadomski, President of the Polish Chamber of Tourism (PIT)

• Kulli Karing, President of the Estonian Travel and Tourism Association (ETFL)

The signing was witnessed by:

• H.E. Dr Adina Kamarudin (Ambassador of Malaysia to the German Republic)

• Datuk Christina Liew (Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Sabah)

• Mr Loh Tze Yee (Perak State Executive Council of Tourism, Industry, Investment and Corridor Development)

• Mr Hee Loy Sian (Selangor State Executive Council of Tourism & Environment)

Liew commended Matta for its initiative, saying the move will tap into the European travel market, and pave the way for more Europeans to visit Sabah in particular.

Tan and Pawel at the MoU signing ceremony, witnessed by Liew, Dr Adina, Joniston, Mohd Yusrie and others.

“We look forward to a surge in the number of tourists and visitors from Finland, Poland and Estonia, among other destinations,” she said.

Also present were Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Joniston Bangkuai and the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Datuk Mohd Yusrie Abdullah.

According to Tan, the memorandums, which place sustainable tourism as the centre of future growth, also focus on enhancing consumer awareness of Malaysia as a safe and attractive holiday destination to the Polish, Finnish and Estonian markets.

“This agreement with the global travel agency associations builds on and deepens the existing collaboration between the organisations to keep geared towards restoring travel to consumers.

“I am excited at the prospect of working very closely with our European counterparts to further develop inbound travel potential into Malaysia.

“We will be developing new marketing and communication strategies to meet the demands for high-value tourism products,” said the Matta President.

Southeast-Asia is inexpensive for European travellers, but costly and excessive airfares and limited connectivity are the biggest obstacles for those looking to travel to the region, he pointed out.

“As such, we hope this renewed interest in Malaysia and the region will encourage airlines to establish more direct routes,” Tan said.

MATTA, which has participated independently at ITB Berlin since 2018, has negotiated several Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with counterparts from high-potential source markets, and is a member of the European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Associations (ECTAA).

“Our participation in ITB Berlin and our commitment to the European market strongly underlines our sustainable tourism strategy, which we believe will be key to the future of our nation, its people and our economy in the long term,” Tan added.

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