Malaysia’s tourism industry recorded a 16.9 per cent increase in tourist expenditure, earning RM21.4 billion (US$5.1 billion) in receipts as a result of increased tourist arrivals in 1Q2019.
Tourist arrivals to Malaysia in the first quarter totalled nearly 6.7 million compared with 6.5 million in the same period in 2018, shared Tourism Malaysia in a press release.
Arrivals from South-east Asia continued to dominate as the key contributor of tourist arrivals with a share of 68.3 per cent, which is a 1.9 per cent increase over 1Q2018 to 4.6 million arrivals.
The top five arrival markets from South-east Asia were Singapore (2.6 million), Indonesia (924,916), Thailand (489,351), Brunei (319,024) and the Philippines (98,774). Meanwhile, the top five countries from South-east Asia that recorded the biggest growth over 1Q2018 were Cambodia (24.8 per cent), Indonesia (17.1 per cent), Laos (10 per cent), the Philippines (4.4 per cent) and Thailand (3.3 per cent).
Arrivals from Singapore declined slightly by 1.5 per cent over 1Q2017 to 2.6 million, due to the congestion at both Causeway and the Second Link checkpoints, which deterred overland travel from Singapore to Malaysia.
Malaysia ministry of international trade and industry’s secretary-general, Isham Ishak shared at a press conference that traffic would be eased in October when the government opens more immigration lanes for tourists at the Causeway checkpoint.
The medium-haul market share in 1Q2019 was 21.9 per cent, with a 8.6 per cent increase in arrivals over the same period in 2018, to almost 1.5 million tourists. This was driven mainly by visitors rom China, South Korea, Japan, India and Pakistan.
However, arrivals from major Middle East markets such as Saudi Arabia and UAE showed a decline of 20.5 per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively.
Musa Yusof, director-general, Tourism Malaysia attributed the drop in arrivals from the Middle East as a result of non-key travel period of the market as well as stiff competition from other destinations.
Musa further shared that in 2H2019 arrivals from the Middle East are expected to improve, once Air Arabia commences its direct daily flights between Sharjah and Kuala Lumpur on July 1, 2019.
The longhaul market, which recorded a 9.7 per cent of total market share, posted a decrease of 3.6 per cent in arrivals to 652,032 tourists in 1Q2019.
The average length of stay in Malaysia for 1Q2019 saw an improvement of 1.8 nights, up from 4.2 nights in 2018 to six nights in 2019. For longhaul markets, Saudi Arabia topped the average length of stay at 10.1 nights, followed by France at 8.9 nights, and UK and Germany at 8.5 nights.
For medium-haul markets, India came out tops at 6.8 nights, followed by Japan at 6.4 nights, South Korea at 6.2 nights and China at 6.1 nights.
For regional markets, Indonesian tourists in 1Q2019 spent an average of 5.5 nights in Malaysia, followed by Vietnamese at 5.2 nights and Thais at 4.1 nights.