Visit Malaysia 2020’s target remains

Tourism Malaysia is intensifying campaigns in other markets such as West Asia and Eastern Europe, besides boosting domestic travel

by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by TMR FILE PIX

TOURISM Malaysia is maintaining its target for the Visit Malaysia 2020 (VM2020) campaign, despite the industry’s sluggish performance in the first quarter (1Q20) with figures adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tourism Malaysia DG Datuk Musa Yusof said no revision has been made at this point to VM2020’s target of achieving 30 million tourist arrivals and RM100 billion in tourist receipts.

“At the moment, we are retaining the same targets for VM2020. We do not have the official figures since the outbreak. However, we predict the figures will reflect a reduction in the number of foreign tourists to Malaysia.

“Judging from the global travel trend that has plummeted based on hotel and tour cancellations following the outbreak, we expect that the figures for 1Q20 may not be as per our expectations,” Musa told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) in an email recently.

He said fears stemming from negative sentiments on travelling, particularly among tourists from affected countries, have contributed to the drop in arrivals of foreign visitors.

Musa also said the lockdown of many cities in China and Italy, as well as various travel restrictions imposed by other nations, have affected tourism in Malaysia.

Malaysia received 6.7 million tourist arrivals in 1Q19, up 2.7% year-on-year (YoY) from the same quarter in 2018, according to Tourism Malaysia data. Total tourist expenditure grew 16.9% YoY to RM21.4 billion in the January to March 2019 period.

The full-year performance in 2019 is not yet available, but for the nine months, international tourist arrivals rose by 3.7% YoY to 20.1 million and tourist expenditure climbed 6.9% from to RM66.1 billion.

TMR reported that hotels have registered RM67 million in losses between Jan 22 and March 9, or just 46 days, according to the Malaysian Association of Hotels CEO Yap Lip Seng.

The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) forecast revenues to drop as much as RM150 million during the current school holidays.

The school break period typically provides a booster to the industry previously.

Matta deputy president Mohd Akil Yusof said the total amount included an estimated RM52.5 million worth of potential losses in the Umrah travel segment as most locals tend to travel during the school holidays for their pilgrimage.

Major events have been called off including the Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta and 17th edition of Powerman Malaysia, while others were postponed.

Tourism Malaysia is intensifying campaigns in other markets such as West Asia and Eastern Europe to offset declining demand from China, besides boosting domestic travel.