With a total of 25.8 million international tourists arriving in Malaysia in 2018, nation’s ambitious growth plans still call for boosting visitor numbers to this exotic, exciting and welcoming destination even more in the near future.
With the Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign in the works, Malaysia’s Ministry for Tourism and Culture is targeting arrival figures 30-million and tourist receipts of RM100 billion (€21.66 billion) by 2020.
“I believe Malaysia’s cultural uniqueness is a big draw for the European market,” explained Mohamaddin Bin Haji Ketapi, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture for Malaysia, adding, “As you may know, Malaysia is a melting pot of cultures with influences from Malay, Chinese and Indian ethnicities, as well as from Europe, Arab and the Malay Archipelago. This has resulted in a mixed yet harmonious legacy that manifests itself in Malaysia’s architecture, clothing, language, cuisine and other aspects.”
Economic Contribution of Tourism in Malaysia
The number of employees involved in Malaysia’s tourism sector rose to 3.4 million in 2017 from 1.5 million in 2005. Employment in the tourism industry contributed 23.2% to total employment in 2017 (2005: 15%). Most of the jobs in the tourism industry were in the retail trade industry (33.7%) and food & beverage serving services (32.3%) respectively.
Tourism is also important to Malaysia as it helps to empower the local community economically. Taking the Malaysia Homestay Program as an example, it offers the local village-folk to take part in offering authentic homestay experiences to tourists. In 2017, the revenue generated from the program reached RM27.6 million (eds: €5.98m).
Statistics show that in 2018, a total of 372,475 tourists (local and foreign) participated in the homestay program across the nation.
Malaysia is a diverse tourism destination that offers world-class attractions, including nature, shopping, adventure, islands and beaches, as well as many international events, offering visitors a plethora of interesting choices. Besides that, the country is also a major destination for health tourism and MICE events.
“The ‘Malaysia, Truly Asia’ tagline has worked wonders to position our destination’s diversity”, explains the Minister. “It gets the message across that Malaysia is a kaleidoscope of customs, religions, traditions, festivals, heritage, arts and crafts, and cuisines of Malays, Chinese, Indians, and various ethnic group that continues to fascinate visitors from all over the world.” This “Malaysia, Truly Asia” branding continues till today to position Malaysia’s uniqueness.
New Developments Under Way
Upcoming developments such as Desaru Coast in Johor, and Impression City Melaka, once completed, will bring renewed interest in Malaysia.
“We are seeing the industry invigorated by the opening of renowned hotel property brands here,” explains the Minister, adding, “Several established hotel brands have ventured into Malaysia for the first time recently, while some of them are poised to enter the market in the near future. We are pleased that brands such as Double Tree, Hilton, Marriot, Anantara, Westin, Mercure, Sheraton, W, St. Regis, Four Seasons, Hyatt and others see the value of Malaysia for their business expansion and investments.”