Friday August 31, 2012
Tourism revenue up by RM1bil
PUTRAJAYA: Tourist spending in the country increased by 4% in the first half of 2012, generating RM26.8bil in revenue.
This was about RM1bil more than that earned in the same period last year, revealed the Tourism Ministry in its latest report.
Its minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said there was steady growth in the sector over the last six months, registering 2.4% increase in tourist arrivals with 11,632,483 entering the country compared with 11,362,862 last year.
She said the Asean region continued to be the largest contributor with 73.8% share of total arrivals.
Dr Ng attributed the growth to the support from trade partners and increased air connectivity from key destinations like Beijing in China, Hong Kong and Kansai in Japan.
“Key international-level tourism events such as the Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix, 1Malaysia International Shoe Festival and Citrawarna are also contributors to the continued growth,” said Dr Ng during a press conference at the ministry's offices here yesterday.
According to data from the Immigration Department, the three highest growers year on year in the region were the Philippines (45.3%), followed by China (34.2%) and Japan (32.5%).
This was despite a change in recording arrivals based on nationality instead of country of residence, resulting in expatriates working in Asean countries not being regarded as travellers.
Overall, Asean saw a 1% decrease in arrivals, with the most affected countries being arrivals from Thailand (-11.5%), Singapore (-4.8%), Cambodia (-4.2%) and Brunei (-1.2%).
Dr Ng said the change also affected Australian arrivals, which declined by 10.4%, since many Australian permanent residents were nationals of other countries like New Zealand, India and China.
She also attributed the decrease to Malaysia Airlines' withdrawal of its Perth-Kota Kinabalu route from January this year.
Other countries to register a decrease year on year included Sweden (-22.4%), New Zealand (-16.3%) and South Africa (10.7%).
Long-haul markets showed slower growth, with the top three nations being Oman (33.2%), Russia (28.2%) and France (20.6%).
Dr Ng said that more direct flights from Malaysia to long-haul destinations like Russia would be necessary to make travel from those countries to Malaysia more convenient and encourage tourism.