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Malaysia Shares Its 2020 Tourist Arrivals Data

News Last year was hard for tourism around the world, and the latest data revealed by Malaysia only proves this. After the record year of 2019 and the total number of arrivals exceeding 26 million, Malaysia experienced a rapid drop to only 4.3 million tourist arrivals. Hotels in Kuala Lumpur and other popular destinations had to deal with a huge drop in guests and, of course, revenues.

Malaysia is not the only country that suffered from such a drastic drop in arrivals last year. According to the information published by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the decrease in arrivals in Asia and the Pacific reached 84% in 2020. ASEAN countries had a similar result. The arrivals in Singapore dropped by 85.7%, in Thailand – by 83.2%, in Vietnam and Indonesia - by 78.7% and 75% respectively.

Naturally, such a drastic drop in arrivals had a negative impact on the revenues generated by tourism. If in 2019 total tourist receipts accounted for RM86.14 billion, the 2020 tourist receipts decreased to just RM12.69 billion, featuring a decline of 85.3%. This is slightly more than the decrease in tourist arrivals (-83.4%). Furthermore, the individual per capita expenditures were falling in 2020 compared to 2019. Two years ago the average tourist spending was RM3,300 falling to RM2,928 a year later. This is a decline of 11.3%, which signifies that people are trying to save while traveling and have strict control over their expenditures. This fact is easy to understand as people had their earnings cut as well during the pandemic period.

All markets posted declines in 2020. This is true about the short-haul market where the decline in arrivals reached (83.5%), the medium-haul market (-84.7%), and the long-haul market (-79.7%). International tourists couldn’t visit Malaysia during most of 2020 even if they wanted to do this because the country’s borders closed on 18 March in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

ASEAN countries (short-haul market) were the biggest source market for Malaysia, accounting for 68.1% of tourist arrivals (2.9 million). East Asia and South Asia (medium-haul market) had a share of 20.1% or 870 thousand arrivals, and the long-haul market had the smallest share of 11.8% or 512 thousand arrivals. The top ten source countries for Malaysia are the following: Singapore, Indonesia, China, Thailand, India, Brunei, South Korea, Japan, Australia, and Vietnam.

16.03.2021

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