Mohamaddin: It could be a hazy VM2020 if smog returns

The recent haze situation in Malaysia and neighbouring countries had slowed down the momentum of tourist arrivals in 9M19


MALAYSIA’S annual smog season could be one of the major roadblocks to the success of the country’s Visit Malaysia 2020 (VM2020) campaign.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi (picture; left) said Malaysia is confident in recording 30 million tourist arrivals and RM100 billion tourist receipts as targeted under VM2020, unless problems occur, like the haze or other natural disasters.

“As it is, we are currently campaigning hard here and there to make the VM2020 a success,” Mohamaddin said after announcing Malaysia’s tourism performance for the January-September 2019 (9M19) period in Putrajaya yesterday.

For this year’s 9M19 period, he said the recent haze situation in Malaysia and neighbouring countries had slowed down the momentum of tourist arrivals in Malaysia.

“I believe the performance of tourist arrivals could have been better if there was no haze,” he added.

Overall, the country’s tourism industry 9M19 showed positive development.

As of September 2019, international tourist arrivals rose by 3.7% to 20.11 million from 19.39 million for the same period last year.

The top 10 country origins were Singapore with 7.87 million tourists, followed by Indonesia (2.79 million), China (2.41 million), Thailand (1.44 million), Brunei (930,000), India (540,000), South Korea (510,000), while Vietnam, Japan and the Philippines at 320,000 each.

Among the top 10 nations, Brunei was the only country which had registered a contraction of tourists to Malaysia by 11.9% from 1.06 million to 0.93 million tourists achieved in 9M19.

Tourism Malaysia DG Datuk Musa Yusof said the reduced number of tourists from Brunei was due to several local policy factors.

Musa said the slowing economy has not impacted tourist arrivals from China because Chinese tourism operators have largely done business-to-business contracting with Malaysian inbound operators in yuan currency.

For the nine months, the shorthaul market retained its position as the largest contributor of tourists to Malaysia with a market share of 68.7%, ahead of the medium-haul market at 21.6% and long-haul market at 9.7%.

Tourist expenditure grew 6.9% from RM61.85 billion to RM66.14 billion, mainly contributed by tourists from Singapore with a total expenditure of RM16.3 billion, China (RM12.8 billion), Indonesia (RM8.8 bi l l ion), Thailand (RM2.8 billion) and India (RM2.5 billion).

Expenditure per capita increased by 3.1% from RM3,190.50 to RM3,289.30 during the period under review.

Tourists from Saudi Arabia topped the chart with an average expenditure per capita of RM11,394.40, followed by China (RM5,301.50), the UK (RM5,245.70), Canada (RM4,839.80) and Taiwan (RM4,760.70).

Malaysia also saw the average length of stay increase by 0.1 night to 7.3 nights, led by Saudi Arabian tourists for a stay of 10.7 nights.