An exciting year has come to a close bringing with it momentous change; a new government bringing with it the promise of new opportunities. However we must be cognizant of the fact that change will also bring with it new challenges - challenges that the government, working hand-in-hand with the private sector, must tackle quickly and decisively!
That being said, MATTA has moved strategically and decisively to position ourselves as the voice of the industry to the government, representing not only the Members' interests, but of Malaysia as a whole. Our engagement with the government over the last few months at national and state level has already yielded results; some which are immediately evident and some which will become clear in the coming months ahead.
With a bleak worldwide economic forecast next year, my key focus in 2019 is to ensure that we will be well prepared to weather the coming financial turbulence by investing in technology and forging closer business ties with both regional and international markets.
As many of you already know, MATTA has been working closely with the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) and the National ICT Association of Malaysia (PIKOM) to develop a platform that will give MATTA Members a distinct competitive edge and access to many more global markets. This project has already hit the ground running and we are targeting to launch in Q1 2019.
We have also taken the initiative to engage and to turn 'disruptive' technologies to our advantage. Our work with many Fintech companies has already borne fruit for many of our Members and we are looking forward to coming to an agreement with Grab that will enable Members to leverage on the reach and potential of Asia's largest e-hailing platform.
I have also had the pleasure of meeting many Members in my monthly 'Meet the President' sessions across the country. I have listened to them as they expressed their opinions, hopes and grievances for our industry.
Foremost amongst them is how we can mitigate the threat of illegal operators. Our engagement with the Ministry of Transport directly through Minister YB Anthony Loke to address the issue of touts has already resulted in positive action and we will continue to work closely with the ministry to address this problem. Similar efforts are being discussed with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) on how we can fight the problem of illegal online operations, scammers and cheats more effectively.
Whilst we push for better enforcement, MATTA will continue to champion the need for a more level playing field for licensed industry players through business incentivisation and the modernisation of the Tourism Industry Act 1992 to ensure we can compete effectively in an increasingly aggressive and ever-changing global business landscape.
We have also started to look into ways of how we can assist our Members especially those who are doing Outbound and Umrah & Hajj and who are badly affected by changes to government and industry regulations.
MATTA is prepared to take a far more aggressive legal stance with IATA and, together with with our Asian and European counterparts, will seek to counter what we see as unfair and monopolistic market practices.
Last but not least, we have positioned MATTA as a key strategic partner with various international organisations which includes the Federation of ASEAN Travel Associations (FATA), the European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Associations (ECTAA), the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and the World Travel Alliance (WTA); giving MATTA Members access to markets across the globe and resources not currently available in Malaysia.
In closing I would like to urge you, my esteemed industry colleagues, to leverage on the benefits of being a MATTA member. Although there is still a lot to be done, rest assured that the MATTA Executive Council Term 2017-2019 will continue to build for your future.
DATUK TAN KOK LIANG
Term 2017 - 2019