Malaysia’s 2020 domestic tourism spending drops for the first time in 13 years

By TIN Media | Tourism Malaysia Published 2 years ago on 1 July 2021
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Domestic tourism spending in Malaysia fell 60.8 percent to RM40.4 billion in 2020 from RM103.2 billion a year earlier, as domestic visitor arrivals fell owing to Covid-19-driven movement restrictions in the country to halt the pandemic's spread, according to the Malaysian Department of Statistics (DOSM).

DOSM head statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said in a statement today that the 2020 domestic tourist spending figure was the first dip since DOSM began compiling its domestic tourism survey statistics in 2008.

“Movement limitations imposed as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak had an impact on domestic tourist activities in Malaysia in 2020. Overall, domestic visitor arrivals fell by 44.9 percent to 131.7 million in 2019, compared to 239.1 million the previous year, resulting in a 60.8 percent drop in total expenditure to RM40.4 billion, down from RM103.2 billion the previous year.

“With 19.7 million tourists in 2020, Selangor was the most visited state by domestic visitors, followed by Perak (13.2 million), Kuala Lumpur (12.4 million), Sabah (10.3 million), and Kedah (10.1 million),” Mohd Uzir added.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) said in a joint statement today that the Covid-19 pandemic's direct impact on tourism could result in a combined loss of more than US$4 trillion (about RM16.61 trillion) in global gross domestic product in 2020 and 2021.

The joint statement from UNCTAD and the UNWTO was released today in connection with a report co-authored by UNCTAD and the UNWTO.

UNCTAD and UNWTO said in a joint statement that the report "Covid-19 and Tourism — An Update" found that international tourism and its closely related sectors will lose an estimated US$2.4 trillion in 2020 as a result of the direct and indirect effects of a sharp drop in international tourist arrivals.

Despite the fact that international travel is likely to improve in the second half of 2021, the analysis predicts a loss of between US$1.7 trillion and US$2.4 trillion in 2021, compared to 2019 levels, according to the statement.

"A similar loss could occur this year (2021)," the research predicts, saying that the tourism industry's recovery will be heavily reliant on the global uptake of Covid-19 vaccinations. According to the paper, tourism losses are minimized in most industrialized countries but deteriorated in poor ones as a result of Covid-19 vaccines being more widespread in some countries than others.

"Countries with high vaccination rates, such as France, Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, are projected to recover faster," according to the research.

"However, according to UNWTO, experts do not foresee a recovery to pre-Covid-19 foreign visitor arrival levels until 2023 or later." Travel restrictions, sluggish virus containment, low traveler confidence, and a weak economic environment are the key obstacles, according to the statement.

According to the UNWTO, worldwide visitor arrivals fell by almost one billion people, or 73 percent, from January to December 2020 compared to the same period the previous year.

According to the statement, the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer predicts an 88 percent drop in the first quarter of 2021.

"Developing countries have taken the brunt of the pandemic's tourist impact. They will see the greatest drop in tourist arrivals in 2020, with estimates ranging from 60% to 80%.

North East Asia, South East Asia, Oceania, North Africa, and South Asia are the most afflicted regions, while North America, Western Europe, and the Caribbean are the least affected, according to the statement.


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