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Tourism and Culture Ministry secretary-general Datuk Ab Ghaffar A. Thambi (7th right) with The Melium Group president Datuk Farah Khan (5th right) and Pavilion KL chief executive officer-retail Datuk Joyce Yap during the launch of Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival-Luxury Shopping Experience event at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur. Pix by OWEE AH CHUN.

KUALA LUMPUR: Tourists spend 43 per cent of their expenditure on luxury items such as watches and jewellery while visiting Malaysia.

Tourism and Culture Ministry secretary-general Datuk Ab Ghaffar A. Thambi said based on the Tourism Refund Scheme report, Chinese tourists are the largest spenders on luxury items.

"Also big spenders are the Singaporeans, Indonesians, Indians and Bangladeshis.

"All this gives an indication of the growth and potential of luxury shopping and tourism in the country," he said.

He said last year, tourists spent RM26.03 billion on shopping alone, an increase of 20.3 per cent from RM21.63 billion in 2015.

Ghaffar was speaking during the launching of Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival-Luxury Shopping Experience event at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur here today.

He said over the years, there has been a big development in the retail sector that has created a positive impact on tourism.

"Shopping became the main tourist expenditure at 31.3 per cent in 2015, overtaking the share for spending on accommodation.

"The trend continued last year with 31.7 per cent. This clearly shows that high-end shopping could be a strong driving force for tourism," he said.

The inaugural Luxury Shopping Experience starts today and will end on Aug 31, coinciding with the dates of the national sale season.

"These are the months where tourist arrivals and spending is at its peaks," he said.

The Luxury Shopping Experience is driven by The Melium Group in collaboration with Tourism Malaysia Shopping Secretariat.

Ghaffar said to ensure the success of the initiative, campaigns also run concurrently in targeted markets overseas such as Southeast Asian countries, China, Hong Kong, India and Bangladesh.

"The campaigns will emphasise on the message that Malaysia is not only an exciting, fun-filled and entertaining destination, but also value for money."

Meanwhile The Melium Group president Datuk Farah Khan said with the country’s duty-free status, it can capitalise on the luxury tourist shoppers market.

"Luxury brands\

prices in the country are 25 per cent lower on average compared to other countries.

"With GST tax refund, our luxury brands prices are more attractive.

"Thus, we hope to be able to position Malaysia as a luxury brands shopping destination among tourist shoppers," she said.

Also present at the event was Pavilion KL chief executive officer-retail Datuk Joyce Yap.

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