by LYDIA NATHAN / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
INTERNATIONAL tourists’ arrival fell 56% from January to March this year compared to the corresponding period in the previous year with very little signs of improvement expected in the months to come.
According to the United Nation’s World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), international tourism was cut by half by the relentless Covid-19 pandemic, which has forced most countries to close their borders to foreign travellers.
A UNWTO report revealed that international travel in Asia Pacific saw a 60% decrease while Europe saw a 58% drop.
Tourism in the Middle East region fell 52%, while America and Africa saw a 47% decline.
“With the recent uptick in new infections in the US and across Europe proving a major setback in efforts to reanimate the ailing tourism sector, millions of people are fearing for their livelihood, especially in regions heavily dependent on the influx of international tourists,” the report read.
Meanwhile, Malaysia recorded a 68.2% drop in international arrivals for the first half of 2020 (1H20), with 4.3 million tourists’ arrival compared to 13.3 million in the same period last year.
According to reports, tourism expenditure was only RM12.5 billion in that period, decreasing 69.8% compared to RM41.6 billion in the previous year’s corresponding period.
The top 10 tourist-generating markets are Singapore (1.54 million), Indonesia (702,082), China (401,285), Thailand (348,133), India (153,873), Brunei (135,593), South Korea (118,594), Japan (73,201), Australia (72,103) and the Philippines (64,311).
Growth was seen to be negative from every regional market, namely the short-haul market (-69.1%), medium-haul market (-69%) and long-haul market (-58.8%) from January until June 2020.
For daily visitors to the country, Malaysia saw 1.71 million arrivals for the 1H20, a decline of 64.2% compared to 4.78 million for the 1H19.
The drop was solely attributed to the closing of international borders to prevent the spread of Covid-19.