KUALA LUMPUR – The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) expects the recently-imposed departure levy to have no impact on the sales of its upcoming MATTA Fair September 2019, said chief executive officer Phua Tai Neng.

“We had been hoping the government would defer it until at least after the Visit Truly Asia Malaysia 2020 campaign, but now the government has decided,” said Phua.

“Nevertheless, we feel it would not have an impact as people still need a break,” he told press conference after announcing Malaysia Airlines as the official airline for MATTA Fair September 2019 here today.

Phua said the September edition, to be held from 6 to 8 Sept, would likely attract 110,000 visitors and generate sales of between RM 210 million and RM 220 million.

The March 2019 fair had recorded 113,685 visitors and secured RM 220 million in sales, he said.

On 23 Aug, Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook announced that the Cabinet had decided to proceed with the departure levy, which would be collected from outbound travellers, starting 1 Sept onwards.

Travellers flying out of the country in economy class to ASEAN countries will have to pay RM 20 while those in business and first class will have to fork out RM150.

For passengers flying to non-ASEAN countries, they will have to pay RM40.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB) group chief marketing and customer experience officer Lau Yin May said the airline is in full compliance with the government’s regulation and believes the new rule would not have a substantial impact to travellers flying to ASEAN countries.

She also expects there would be a shift in terms of travel destinations from international to the ASEAN region among Malaysians, following the implementation of the new regulation.

On the event, Lau said Malaysia Airlines is offering great deals with 45 per cent off for both business and economy seats to all destinations, with fares from as low as RM 79 one-way for domestic routes and RM 139 one-way for international travels.

Customers will also have more options to choose from as Firely, a subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines, will also be offering discounts of up to 60 per cent of its fares.

Meanwhile, she said MAB has begun installing WiFi service onboard across its A330 fleet with the target to have all 15 aircraft WiFi-enabled by mid-2020.

“At present, all our A350 are WiFi-enabled and we are starting to install it on our A330-200 and A330-300 aircraft as well. All of them are for long-haul and regional bound,” she added.