Malaysians Catch Travel Bug despite Depreciation of Ringgit

If the sales of overseas destinations during the recent three-day MATTA Fair held at the Ipoh Parade is any indication, the depreciation of the Malaysian Ringgit has not stopped Malaysians, particularly those in Perak, from the lure of tourist attractions abroad.

“Over RM35 million worth of tour destinations were sold,” said chairman of the fair’s organising committee, David Chong. “This is an all time record for Perak. Last year, we managed to sell just about RM30 million tour packages.”

According to Chong, top on the list of popular destinations is Japan. Next are South Korea and Taiwan. He said that cruises of Asian countries were also gaining popularity.

Over 30,000 people visited the fair, which had 88 booths set up by domestic and overseas tour agencies.

He attributed the increase in Malaysians keen to tour abroad to the change of attitude of senior citizens. “The old folk are no longer thinking of saving only for their children’s education, but also felt that they deserve to tour abroad,” Chong added.

On the other hand, the depreciation of our currency had also resulted in a 20 per cent increase in inbound tourists compared to last year. It also allows foreign visitors to stay another day or two in Malaysia. This, he said, was especially true as Singaporeans were noted to spend an extra day in Ipoh.

The fair also introduced eight agro-tourism products to the list of Perak’s tourist attractions which are aimed at encouraging visitors to get hands-on experience of agricultural life. They are the Sahom Farm Valley (Kampar), Gaharu Tea Valley (Gopeng), iGROW (Institut Agro Usahawan, Kampung Gajah), Refarm (Kampar), Trong Leisure Farm (Taiping), Pink Guava Sime Darby (Sitiawan), Syamille Agro Farm (Kuala Kangsar) and Sahabat Hutan Bakau Lekir (Sitiawan).

Jerry Francis

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