PUTRAJAYA: The tourism industry continues to contribute significantly to the country’s economy despite a drop in tourist arrivals last year, says Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi (pic).
The Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister said tourist expenditure saw an increase despite a slight drop in international tourist arrivals.
“Tourist receipts for last year stood at RM84.1bil, a 2.4% increase from RM82.2bil in 2017.
“The biggest contributor came from the short-haul market in Asean countries,” he said, adding that although there was a drop in the number of Asean tourists, the region remained the biggest contributor, with RM48.5bil in tourist receipts,” he said.
Overall, he said international tourist arrivals dropped 0.4% to 25.8 million (25,833,354) last year from 25.9 million (25,948,459) in 2017.
Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Musa Yusof attributed the drop to the lack of airline connectivity.
“Connectivity is something that we are looking to improve. We are working with MAHB (Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd) to get airlines to fly to the country.
“We want to increase long-haul flights as these are the markets that usually spend more during their stay,” said Musa.
Shopping remained the biggest component of tourist expenditure, followed by accommodation and food and beverages.
The average length of stay increased to 6.5 nights last year, compared to 5.7 nights in 2017.