Tourism receipts in Malaysia are picking up but things are still not at pre-pandemic levels, says Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri.
She said although tourism expenditure is growing, it is not easy to achieve the same numbers that were generated in 2019, before the pandemic.
“We cannot say it’s better than (the tourism receipt of) 2019. Of course it’s picking up quite fast but it’s not easy for us to beat (2019’s figures) at the moment,” she said at the launch of the Tourism Recovery Plan 2022.
Nancy, however, did not reveal any official figures on the country’s latest tourism receipt.
“I'm not saying it’s low but because of the situation where some countries are still not opening their borders, that hampers the increase in the numbers,” she said.
Nancy expects the country to receive two million international arrivals this year with RM8.6bil in tourism receipts, following the full reopening of the country's borders and the relaxation of entry rules.
In terms of domestic tourism growth, Nancy said response has been very encouraging.
She said locals are responding very well to domestic tourism campaigns and are taking the time to holiday within the country.
Malaysia welcomed 26,100,784 international tourists in 2019, contributing a total of RM86.14bil in tourist receipts to the country’s economy.
The numbers drastically dropped in 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Tourism Recovery Plan 2022 will further encourage domestic tourism through the introduction of discounts, rebates and vouchers.
The ministry has partnered with transport providers, tour agencies and other relevant stakeholders for the initiative.
A new Cuti-Cuti Malaysia song was also unveiled at the event.