It is anticipated that the tourism industry will grow considerably in 2019 and surpass pre-pandemic levels in terms of foreign visitor arrivals.
According to Datuk Musa Yusof, deputy director general for tourism promotion, this is because of improved flight connectivity and a possible rise in tourists from China and India.
He continued by saying that since the pandemic, there has been an increase in demand for ecotourism, immersive travel, and cultural excursions.
He told reporters yesterday following the 16th Bursa-HLIB Stratum Focus Series, Tourism: Welcoming a new dawn, that "travel is no longer a luxury but a necessity."
Because of the declining value of the ringgit relative to other regional currencies, Malaysia is regarded as a "value for money" travel destination. A significant proportion of Asian tourists also favored visiting neighboring nations.
With 9.16 million foreign visitors in the first half of this year, the nation is ranked second in Southeast Asia, behind Thailand.
Between January and September, the nation documented 14 million visits from tourists. The government has updated the tourism target, which was originally set at 16.1 million, to 19.1 million by year-end 2023 in light of the increase in arrivals.
"To map out our strategic direction, we are collaborating with the public and private sectors to understand the current demands and travel behaviors," Musa stated.
Through its Malaysia Truly Asia and Cuti-cuti Malaysia brands, Tourism Malaysia sought to establish the nation as the top travel destination.
He continued by saying that to increase demand for Malaysia's tourism offerings, it would also continue to promote astute alliances and partnerships with players in the local and global markets.
The government's goal of surpassing 26.1 million foreign tourist arrivals in the upcoming years, according to head of research at Hong Leong Investment Bank (HLIB) Bhd Jeremy Goh, is "extremely conservative."
There has already been a 92% recovery to pre-pandemic levels if we compare tourist arrivals in December 2022 after the pandemic to December 2019 before the pandemic.
Speaking outside the forum, he stated, "And this is without Chinese tourists coming in because they have not reopened their border in December last year."
He continued by saying that more tourists would probably arrive than the government had anticipated.
"Year-to-date, the ringgit has been among the weakest-performing currencies in the region. Although this may be concerning for us, it is advantageous for the tourism industry," the speaker said.
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