Malaysia offers a wide range of attractions to international visitors, from spectacular urban architecture to untouched rainforests and charming island escapes. According to recent polls, one of the most popular draws for foreign travellers is Malaysia’s beaches. In 2024, Tourism Malaysia is working to promote and develop several of the nation’s top coastal destinations, as part of wider plans to elevate nature tourism nationwide.
According to a survey conducted by Malaysia’s Statistics Department, beach holidays continue to be a major driver of tourism around Malaysia, with coastal occupancy rates on the rise throughout 2023. Tourism Malaysia is working to capitalise on this popularity and attract more arrivals from around the world with the promise of idyllic coastal getaways in 2024.
“There is a strong preference for sun and beach destinations,” explains Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Dr Ammar Abd Ghapar, who attributes the recent beach boom to families and couples returning belatedly to the post-pandemic travel landscape. He insists this particular segment has plenty more to give.
“Despite the diversification of the tourism market and the growing importance of niche tourism, beach tourism is still one of the dominant segments in terms of number of tourists,” says Ammar. “Hence, Tourism Malaysia continues to promote beach tourism as part of its marketing efforts online and offline to lure more tourists from around the globe to choose Malaysia as a preferred travel destination.”
The move is supported by government legislation allowing citizens of China and India to enjoy 30-day visa-free entry. Indeed, these locations continue to be a major focal point for Tourism Malaysia. “We have seen a total of 1,037,600 Chinese travellers, as of September 2023,” says Ammar. “It’s a tremendous increase compared to 108,067 in the same period in 2022. Indian tourists recorded 472,858 arrivals from January to September 2023 compared to 187,037 in the same period in 2022,” added the director-general.
Ammar also noted that AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines are planning to open new routes to India and China, increasing flight capacity and boosting arrival numbers. In parallel, Tourism Malaysia will continue to step up its marketing efforts in the months ahead, collaborating with travel trade partners around the world and especially in strategic locations such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou in China; and New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai in India.