KUALA LUMPUR: In a bid to foster rapport between the tourism industries of Malaysia and the Philippines, the archipelagic country will be featured heavily in the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) fair next month.

Returning as a gold sponsor for the MATTA fair, the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines (TPBP) in Malaysia aims to woo over 200,000 Malaysians to visit.

It has taken up a 110sqm booth in the coming fair from March 17-19, one of the biggest exhibitors.

Visitors will not only be able to get good travel deals to the Philippines, but also take part in activities to stand a chance of winning prizes or travel packages to the Philippines, said TPBP marketing director Datuk Melissa Ong.

She said this was part of the Philippines’ goal to reintroduce itself as a world-class destination for travellers, following the lifting of travel restrictions globally.

“Tourists looking for an urban adventure have tonnes of options, from visiting the various different cultural sites, to the vast retail, entertainment and global culinary experiences in Metro Manila, Cebu, Davao, Palawan and many others.

“Those looking for a more nature-centric experience can visit the popular beach and dive destinations across the country such as those in Boracay, Davao, Palawan and many others.

“Beyond the beaches and diving, the Philippines is also home to a majestic collection of waterfalls across the islands, from the Asik-Asik Falls in Cotabato, to the Maria Cristina Falls in northern Mindanao.

“Thrill-seekers can get their fix by traversing one of the longest zip lines in Asia in Bukidnon; surfing at Baler, one of the oldest and largest surfing communities in the Philippines; and even canyoneering at the recently developed Badian trail in Cebu,” she told a press conference at the MATTA headquarters.

Noting the importance of Malaysia as among the top 10 markets for the Philippines, MATTA fair organising chairman Rocky Kho said the collaboration would help to accelerate the rejuvenation of both country’s travel industries.

“Through this cooperation, we can continue to boost the growth of inbound and outbound tourism in both countries,” he added.

This year’s MATTA fair will be held at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC) in Kuala Lumpur and will feature 220 tourism-related organisations’ booths including 109 tour and travel agencies.

The fair will encompass nine halls from Halls 2 to 4 on Level 1, Halls 6 to 8 on Level 2 and Halls 9-11 on Level 3 of MITEC, with Level 1 halls focusing on domestic travel while Level 2 and 3 halls will showcase international travel.

The fair is free for all to enter and will run from 10am to 9pm, with free frequent shuttle services to MITEC from KL Sentral and Sunway Putra Mall being provided throughout the three-day event.