PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia saw positive growth in the tourism sector in the first half of this year, boosted by stronger international tourist arrivals.
International tourist arrivals stood at 20,109,203 tourists between January and September, an increase of 3.7 per cent, compared to 19,386,115 visitors during the same period last year.
Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi said the top 10 countries with the highest contribution of tourist arrivals was Singapore with 7,868,755 visitors, followed by Indonesia (2,792,776); China (2,413,956); Thailand (1,442,224); Brunei (929,789); India (539,167); South Korea (508,080); Vietnam (323,393); Japan (321,283) and the Philippines (317,294).
“Tourist receipts for the same period in 2019 reached RM66.14 billion compared to RM61.85 billion for the same period in 2018, indicating an increase of 6.9 per cent.
“The main contributors to the tourist expenditure were Singapore (RM16.3 billion), China (RM12.8 billion), Indonesia (RM8.8 billion), Thailand (RM2.8 billion) and India (RM2.5 billion).
“Per capita expenditure for the period of January to September also grew by 3.1 per cent from RM3,190.5 to RM3,289.3,” he said today in announcing the third quarter performance of the tourism sector.
The short haul market, Mohamaddin said, had retained its position as the largest contributor of tourists to Malaysia with a share of 68.7 per cent.
The contribution of tourists from the medium haul market was 21.6 per cent, while the share of tourists from the long haul market was 9.7 per cent, he added.
“The highest per capita according to market distance saw Saudi Arabia recording the most for long haul at RM11,394.4; China at RM5,301.5 for medium haul and Vietnam at RM3,356.3 for short haul.”
The minister also said the haze which had shrouded Malaysia and neighbouring countries such as Singapore, Thailand and Brunei had affected the momentum of tourist arrivals.
“I believe the tourist arrivals could be better without the haze.”
Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Musa Yusof said he believed that Malaysia would be able to achieve this year’s tourist arrival target of 28 million.
He said there would be a significant number of tourist arrivals towards the year end, especially in December from countries experiencing winter.
Malaysia normally records about 2.5 million tourist arrivals in Dec.
On tourist arrivals from China, Musa said Malaysia was still favoured by visitors from the country.