Indian arrivals drives boost for Malaysia tourism revenue

A steep growth in Indian arrivals helped Indian Malaysia’s tourism industry record a 16.9 per cent increase in tourist income in the first quarter of this year. RM21.4 billion (US$5.1 billion) in receipts were received as tourist arrivals totalled nearly 6.7 million compared with 6.5 million in the same period in 2018, according to Tourism Malaysia. Arrivals from South-east Asia continued to dominate as the key contributor of tourist arrivals with a share of 68.3 per cent. For medium-haul markets, India topped at 6.8 nights, followed by Japan at 6.4 nights, South Korea at 6.2 nights and China at 6.1 nights.

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 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).

Isham Ishak, secretary-general, Malaysia’s ministry of international trade and industry said 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 was 22 per cent, with an 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 from 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.