Tourism performance a mixed bag in 2018, but M’sia on track to 2020 target


Despite marginal decline in arrivals in 2018, Malaysia’s tourism sector is optimistic that intensified promotions this year could bring the country closer to its 2020 target.

The country saw a 2.9 per cent increase in tourist receipts from RM82.2 billion (US$20.2 billion) in 2017 to RM84.1 billion in 2018. Per capita expenditure of tourists also saw a small increase of 2.9 per cent over 2017, recording RM3,257 in 2018.

No big change in arrivals, tourism spend in Malaysia last year

Musa Yusof, director-general, Tourism Malaysia, shared: “For the third consecutive year, shopping receipts overtook accommodation.”

Last year, shopping contributed 33.4 per cent of tourism receipts, followed by accommodation at 25.7 per cent and F&B at 13.4 per cent. Shopping receipts exceeded accommodation, growing from 32.7 per cent share in 2017 to 33.4 per cent share in 2018.

Meanwhile, despite a 0.4 per cent dip in tourist arrivals over the preceding year to 24.8 million, the average length of stay of tourists increased by 0.8 nights to 6.5 nights, Malaysia’s tourism, arts and culture minister, Mohamaddin Ketapi, announced at the press conference on Wednesday.

Arrival growth was seen in Central Asia (+81.9 per cent), Africa (+49.1 per cent), Americas (+26.3 per cent), West Asia (+25.3 per cent), East Asia (+24.3 per cent), South Asia (+13.4 per cent) and Europe (+7.8 per cent) while declines were recorded for Oceania (-0.8 per cent) and South-east Asia (-7.0 per cent) markets.

Overall, the medium-haul and longhaul markets made good recovery with a 19.3 per cent growth from 2017, thus positively impacting upon the average length of stay and tourism receipts.

Mohamaddin shared that Malaysia’s inbound tourism sector will get a big boost at the upcoming ITB Berlin where Malaysia is the partner country. He said: “Based on previous records, countries that had been ITB partner country had generated an increase of tourist arrivals of between 8 to 20 per cent within one to three years after becoming ITB partner.

This augurs well for Visit Malaysia 2020, where the government hopes to attract 30 million tourists and RM100 billion in tourism receipts, from this year’s target of 28.1 million tourists and RM92.2 billion receipts.

ITB Berlin will also be the platform for the launch of Visit Malaysia 2020 and publicity campaign in Europe.

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