THE downgrade of the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) to Category 2 will have limited impact on tourist arrivals in conjunction with Visit Malaysia 2020, says Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik.
The impact could be for local airlines with codeshare agreements with US-based airlines.
“I have checked with a few airlines and they informed me it doesn’t affect them unless there is codesharing, ” he said when answering a supplementary question raised by Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina (BN-Kepala Batas) at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
The regulatory body governing Malaysian skies was downgraded by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) effective Nov 11.
Muhammad Bakhtiar pointed out that about 90% of tourists visiting the country were from regional countries and not from Europe or the United States.
He added that the ministry was optimistic of getting 30 million tourist arrivals and RM100bil in tourism receipts next year.
He told lawmakers that tourist spending increased by 6.8% to RM41.69bil for the six months of this year from RM39bil in the same period last year.
He noted that 35.3% of tourist expenditure was in the retail industry.
Earlier, to a question by Yamani Hafez Musa (PH-Sipitang), Muhammad Bakhtiar said the tourism industry contributed RM220.6bil or 15.2% to the gross domestic product compared to 2017, which was RM200.4bil or 14.6%.
He added that 3.5 million jobs or 25.3% of the country’s workforce were related to the tourism industry.