According to Maybank Investment Bank Bhd Reseach (Maybank IB Reseach), the 2018 tourism receipts per capita also hit a record high of RM3,300, up 3% from the previous year.
“The achievement was thanks to a weaker ringgit and partially due to more Chinese visitors whereby the average Chinese visitor to Malaysia spent RM4,200, more than any other major source of visitors,” it said in its 2019 Asean Tourism Report released here on Friday.
The report also said that last year's tourism performance showed visitor arrivals and tourism receipts were not necessarily perfectly correlated.
Last year, total visitor arrivals to Malaysia eased 0.4% year-on-year to 25.8 million, mainly due to the fewer visitor arrivals from Singapore and the recovering of the ringgit against the Singapore dollar.
“The decline in Singaporean visitors was mainly caused by the increased congestion at land checkpoints due to the new biometric system,” it said.
Currently, S$1 is quoted at around RM3.04 compared with S$1 versus RM3.17 in April 2017.
Commenting on the overall drop in tourism sector last year, regional head of institutional research Wong Chew Hann said the lack of promotion over the past few months partly contributed to the decline.
“That is something that the government needs to do...step up its efforts,” she said while presenting the report here, today.
Meanwhile, regional gaming analyst Samuel Yin suggested the government could consider adopting e-visa for visitors from Singapore to counter the land checkpoints issue.
Despite the overall ease of tourist arrivals last year, tourist arrivals from China hit a record high of 2.9 million in 2018, a growth of 29 per cent from 2017.
“Diplomatic ties rewarmed after Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's April 25-28, 2019 visit to China for the second Belt and Road Summit,” it added.
On domestic tourism, the report said the sector remained fantastic, with the East Coast Rail Line project expected to greatly improve accessibility to east coast islands such as Pulau Redang and Pulau Perhentian. - Bernama
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