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PUTRAJAYA, 8 SEPTEMBER 2016: Malaysia’s tourism industry is indicating signs of recovery in the first half of 2016 with latest figures showing more tourists after the slowdown in 2015.
Correspondingly, tourist receipts rose by 10.7%, contributing RM37.4 billion to the country’s revenue against RM33.8 billion in 2015, which translates to an average per capita expenditure of RM2.869.6. Total receipts in shopping also recorded positive growth, with RM11.7 billion in 2016 compared to RM10 billion in 2015, an increase of 17.1%. The average length of stay of a tourist was 5.8 nights.
The top 10 tourist generating markets to Malaysia in 2016 were Singapore (6,596,452), Indonesia (1,378,699), China (992,463), Thailand (864,453), Brunei (637,369), India (359,853), South Korea (228,023), the Philippines (220,163), the United Kingdom (206,313) and Japan (198,693).
The ASEAN region continued to be the largest contributor of tourist arrivals with 75.7% share (9.87 million) of the total arrivals.
Thailand registered the highest growth of 32.1%, followed by Laos (+26.8%), Brunei (+15.2%), Indonesia (+4.9%) and Singapore (+3.2%).
Improvements in Thailand economy in the first quarter of 2016 as well as the strengthening of Baht against the dollar contributed to the growth of tourists from Thailand. Besides, the strengthening of Singapore and Brunei Dollars against Malaysian Ringgit encouraged tourists from both countries to travelto Malaysia in preparation for Ramadhan and Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
The medium-haul markets contributed 18.3% or 2.3 million tourists to Malaysia's total arrivals.
Markets that registered positive growth included China (+32.1%), South Korea (+11.2%), Saudi Arabia (+6.9%) and Taiwan (+3.7%). Australia and New Zealand registered a decline of 22.1% and 15.1% respectively in tourist arrivals for the first six months due to the negative travel advisory against Malaysia with regards to the kidnappings in Sabah and IS activities in Malaysia. Besides, the cancellation of seven flights a week from Australia resulted in 8.5% decline of seat capacity offerings from 35,359 seats in 2015 to 32,339 seats in 2016.
Tourist arrivals from the long-haul markets reached 776,673 in 2016, constituting 6% of the total arrivals to Malaysia.
Some of the factors that influenced the arrivals trend included early effects of Brexit campaigns, travel advisories against Malaysia issued by the United States, Canada and United Kingdom with regards to the bombing incident in Puchong in June 2016 related to IS activity in Malaysia. Europeans preferred to travel domestically or to neighbouring countries due to fear of terrorist attacks as well as the weakening of the Pound Sterling for the first time in 30 years due to Brexit.