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Sunday, 28 May 2017

More US tourists coming to our shores soon

NEW YORK: Tourism Malaysia expects tourist arrivals from the United States to Malaysia to register a growth revival in the second quarter of this year.

Its New York office vice-president Ahmad Johanif Mohd Ali said based on the air-bookings manifest for June until August, arrivals from the US are forecast to grow by 14% over the first quarter.

“This suggests that we will make a turnaround in the second quarter of this year. The April figures for arrivals from the US have already showed the downward trend had been arrested with a 9.5% growth over April 2016,” he said.

Based on data received from Tourism Malaysia’s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, he said arrivals from the US in the first quarter of 2017 declined by 12.9% to 52,237 from the previous quarter. Tourist arrivals from the US ranked 14th among the top 15 nationalities visiting Malaysia in the first quarter of this year.

The top 10 nations were Singapore, Indonesia, China, Thailand, Brunei, South Korea, India, Japan, Britain and Australia.

According to David Andrews, an east coast tourism consultant, a number of factors contributed to the decline in arrivals from the US to Malaysia during the first quarter.

“Global political uncertainties and the outbreak of extremist violence in a number of regions may have generally dampened the mood of Americans to travel abroad.

“However, in Malaysia’s case, the real problem is associated with the non-availability of direct flights bet­ween the US and Malaysia,” he said.

Malaysia Airlines discontinued its direct flights to both the east and west coast a few years ago, while American visitors prefer to take direct flights.

Andrews, who regularly compiles tourism trends, said passengers taking carriers that offer flights to Malaysia via their home hubs had to spend layover time there.

Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Qatar are some of the airlines that regularly fly to Kuala Lumpur via their home hubs.

Johanif, who is expected to return to Kuala Lumpur on completion of his posting here, said the New York office was being shut down as a cost-cutting measure but the one in Los Angeles would continue to function. — Bernama

Tags / Keywords: tourism , Malaysia , United States

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