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Malaysia’s Tourism Growth Continues into 2024
03 May 2024 | Written by Chris Alexander

Malaysia is on track to surpass its pre-pandemic tourism levels, according to the latest data revealed by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.  

Malaysia welcomed a total of 20.1 million foreign arrivals in 2023, which generated 71.3 billion ringgit (US$14.9 billion) for the local economy. In 2019, these figures were 26.1 million and 86.1 billion ringgit (US$18 billion), respectively.  

Now, Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister, Khairul Firdaus Akbar Khan, has confirmed the government is targeting of 27.3 million international arrivals in 2024, with 102.7 billion ringgit (US$22 billion) expected for the nation’s coffers.  

Speaking at the APG Network Annual General Meeting 2024, the Deputy Minister highlighted a number of high-profile promotional initiatives and events designed to support this development, including state-focused campaigns in Melaka, Kelantan, Perak and Perlis.  

Buoyed by recent success, the government continues to adjust its future plans upwards, as Malaysia’s tourism sector continues to defy expectations and outstrip projections. The mid-range target has been set at 31.4 million visitors in 2025, with revenue of 125.5 billion ringgit (US$26 billion).  

Driving these projections is the Malaysian government’s Visit Malaysia 2026 campaign, which lays out a series of stepwise promotions, partnerships and developments, ultimately geared towards delivering an ambitious goal of 35.6 million tourists in 2026, with an anticipated tourism revenue of 147.1 billion ringgit (US$31 billion). 

To facilitate this development, Tourism Malaysia is setting up new partnerships with local airlines flying on international routes, promoting stopover programmes and converting transit passengers at Kuala Lumpur International Airport into tourists, thereby helping to maximise additional, hitherto-untapped tourism potential. 

Shahrin Mokhtar is the Director of Strategic Planning at Tourism Malaysia. He believes strategic partnerships will be central to success on the road to 2026, citing recent alliances with Middle Eastern airlines which have helped attract European tourists, and partnerships with Singaporean airlines that have facilitated more Chinese arrivals. 

These partnerships have been pivotal to Malaysia’s growth in recent times, diversifying and expanding Malaysia’s tourism base, delivering access into key source markets and fostering sustainable growth in the industry.