MALAYSIA'S tourism industry is expected to remain positive and intact despite the adverse impact from the recent global events like the US-Iraq war, the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak and the recent Jakarta bombing.
The August 2003 issue of the Public Bank Economic Review on the tourism industry said the government's efforts and policies would continue to focus on developing a more vibrant tourism industry in the country.
Malaysia's tourism industry was significantly affected by the SARS outbreak as there was a sharp drop in tourist arrivals between March and May.
However, the review said it was not unreasonable to expect Malaysia's tourism sector to return to sustainable growth sooner rather than later.
This is because the SARS outbreak had been successfully contained, travel warnings issued by World Health Organisation uplifted, and the US-Iraq war ended.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) projects that East Asia would grow by 5.6% this year and rise to 6.3% in 2004.
The report said the positive outlook for East Asia and the optimism in the US and other developed economies would also have favourable spillover to the Malaysian tourism industry.
The improved prospects of the regional economies, particularly in the second half of this year, would have a positive impact on the tourism sector.
In addition, the report said there had also been optimism of a firmer recovery in the US and other major developed economies such s Europe and Japan, despite some downside risks.
With the exception of job data, most of these economies have shown a gradual recovery in business spending.
All of these would contribute to further recovery of the travel and tourism-related industries in the global economy, including Malaysia, it added.
Malaysia's tourism sector is expected to further gain from the government's coordinated approach to maintain the competitiveness of the industry by developing attractive tourism products to stimulate domestic and international demands.
The government had also been focusing on efforts to broaden Malaysia's tourism destination in non-conventional markets such as the Middle East.
On average, tourist arrivals increased by 8.6% per year during the period 1995 to 2002, with more than 70% of the tourist arrivals from Asean, mainly Singapore, supported by fast growing tourist arrivals from China and India. Bernama
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