Wednesday, March 25, 2009

MATTA fair and Malaysian Travel Agencies

The latest MATTA fair has just come and gone. There was the usual crowd and according to the organisers, the number of visitors is even greater than that of the previous fair so what recession are we talking about? The truth is maybe more people are going on local tours rather than on overseas tour because of the economic downturn but nevertheless there are still plenty of people at the travel agencies organising overseas tours.

Since there are so many travel agencies organising basically the same tour to the major tourist destinations overseas, how can a typical consumer decide which agency gives the best value for his money? It would be good if one can just look up a travel agency and get comments and feedback from previous customers on both the good and bad points of that agency. Hopefully, this blog can be a starting point but it will depends on the response generated.

To start off, here's an overall picture of the Malaysian tour agencies as I see it and readers could expend on it. I'll limit it to European tours first so as to be a little more focus. First the major players and they are GTT (Golden Tourworld Travel), Reliance, Parlo Tours and Chan's World. The rest would include Pearl Travel, Malaysia Harmony, Sedunia, Udara and so on. Readers may not agree to this classification but they are free to give their favourite travel agency and their comments.

I do not have first hand experience with any of these agencies as I shall be travelling with Parlo to Turkey only later in May. My past experience was with Excellence Holidays who has now gone burst. Based on the brochures available, I find in general, the most expensive to be GTT but they are also reputed to be the most reliable. The itinerary of Relieance tour appears to be the least comprehensive. Parlo seems to be less expensive and the itinerary good so it appears to be good value, hence I picked them for my next tour. Chan's Travel is also OK but a little inconvenient since the tour starts and ends in Singapore though they can include the flights between KLIA and Singapore if so desired. The price difference between tours may be due to the quality of the hotels and the food arranged but we are normally looking for reasonable accommodation and food since we usually do not have much time to spend inside the hotel and only need it for a good night's rest.

So what are your views on these travel agencies? Do you have some very good or some very bad experiences that you would like to share with the others? Please share your experience here so that other fellow travellers will benefit from your feedback.

Ronald Kwok