Malaysia has recorded RM41.7 billion (US$13.7 billion) in tourist receipts in 1H2019, a growth of 6.8 per cent from the corresponding period in 2018.
Speaking at a press conference on the performance of Malaysia’s tourism sector, minister of tourism, arts and culture Malaysia Mohamaddin Ketapi said that the number of foreign visitors to the country rose 4.9 per cent to 13.4 million in the first six months this year, up from 12.7 million in the corresponding period last year.
Asia-Pacific continues to dominate Malaysia’s foreign arrivals at 70 per cent, he revealed, accounting for six of the top 10 international tourist source markets in 1H2019. Arrivals from Singapore topped the list with 5.4 million tourists, followed by Indonesia (1.9 million), China (1.6 million), Thailand (990,565), Brunei (627,112), India (354,486), South Korea (323,952), the Philippines (210,974), Vietnam (200,314) and Japan (196,561).
Overall, the short-haul, medium-haul and long-haul markets registered positive growth at 4.7 per cent, 7.2 per cent and 1.8 per cent respectively, compared with the first half of 2018.
The top five countries with the highest expenditure per capita were Saudi Arabia at RM11,376 (US$2,715), the UK at RM5,241, Canada at RM4,593, China at RM4,546 and the US at RM4,537.
With steady growth recorded for the tourism sector in the first half, Mohamaddin is confident that Malaysia would meet its target of 28.1 million tourist arrivals for 2019 as the third quarter is also the peak summer travel season for the Indian, Middle East and European markets.
“We recorded over 13 million tourists in the first half of 2019. It is not the peak travel time for tourists from some countries yet. We have several more months (to) achieve our target,” he said.
Tourism Malaysia’s director general, Musa Yusof, who was also present at the press conference, said that he was optimistic that arrivals from China will continue to grow positively in 2H2019, despite China’s economic slowdown.
“Tourism Malaysia will be participating at the upcoming China (Guangdong) International Tourism Industry Expo from August 30. It will be great if we can capture 10 per cent of the Chinese population of Guangdong, which is around 111 million,” he said.
Apart from incentives such as the Joint International Tourism Development Program, Tourism Malaysia is also in discussion with China-based airlines and top Chinese outbound operators to attract more charter and scheduled flights from China to fly to Malaysia.
Next year also marks the Malaysia-China Cultural Tourism Year, which Musa believes will attract more Chinese tourists to Malaysia.