The first quarter of 2019 has been a positive time for Malaysia’s tourism industry. According to the Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister, Datuk Mohamaddin, between January and March 2019 Malaysia registered an increase of 16.9% in tourist receipts; a total of RM21.4 billion, compared to RM18.3 billion in the same period last year. Per capita expenditure was also up by 13.8% to RM3,201.
At a briefing on the Tourism Performance Report, Datuk Mohamaddin also confirmed that the highest per capita expenditure so far this year came from Saudi Arabia, (RM11,069) followed by the United Kingdom (RM5,212), India (RM4,712) and the USA (RM4,506). He also stated that the highest tourist expenditure based on distance is Singapore at RM6.2 billion (short-haul market), China at RM3.7 billion (medium-haul market) and the UK at RM483.6 million (long-haul market).
The data shows that ASEAN arrivals were the biggest contributor for Malaysia’s short-haul market, producing positive growth with a share of 68.3%, fuelled by countries such as Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. Growth was also seen in the share of the medium-haul market (21.9%), driven mainly by China, South Korea, Japan, India and Pakistan. However, the long-haul market recorded a decrease with 9.7% share, down by 3.6% compared to last year.
Based on the January-March 2019 Tourism Performance Report, popular activities among tourists were shopping (87.4%), followed by sightseeing in the cities (87%), visiting island beaches (48.7%), swimming activities (41.7%), visiting museums (29%), visiting historical places (28.3%), snorkelling (27.3%), visiting villages (26.5%) and visiting theme parks (22%).Â It listed Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Putrajaya as the most popular destinations visited by tourists followed by Johor, Melaka, Sabah, Pahang, Sarawak, Penang and Kedah.