The promotion of the year 2014 as Visit Malaysia Year and the investments made in publicity and promotions had certainly paid off. Despite the series of incidents last year, which had negative impact on travel and tourism, the increase of promotion of Malaysia ensured the continued growth of the country’s tourist arrivals and receipts.
Tourist arrivals to Malaysia for 2014 continued to increase, registering a hike of 6.7%. The country received 27.4 million (27,437,315) tourists from January to December compared to 25.7 million (25,715,460) tourists in 2013.
Correspondingly, tourist receipts rose by 10.0%, contributing RM72 billion to the country’s revenue against RM65.4 billion in 2013.
The top 10 tourist generating markets to Malaysia in 2014 were Singapore (13,932,967), Indonesia (2,827,533), China (1,613,355), Thailand (1,299,298), Brunei (1,213,110), India (770,108), Australia (571,328), Japan (553,106), the United Kingdom (445,789) and South Korea (385,769).
The ASEAN region continued to be the largest contributor of tourist arrivals with 74.3% share (20.4 million) of the total arrivals.
Vietnam registered the highest growth of 21.2%, followed by Cambodia (+14.2%), Thailand (+12.4%), Indonesia (+11.0%), the Philippines (+11.0%), Singapore (+7.5%) and Myanmar (+5.1%).
Participation in various tourism events in ASEAN countries, such as Vietnam International Travel 2014 and Thailand Travel Mart Plus 2014 contributed to the increase of tourists arrivals from ASEAN. Apart from this, better connectivity and increased flight frequencies among ASEAN countries also contributed to the growth of tourist arrivals from these markets.
The medium-haul markets contributed 18.7% or 5.1 million tourists to Malaysia’s total arrivals.
Markets that registered double-digit growth include South Korea (+40.5%), Oman (+29.8), Saudi Arabia (+19.9) and India (+18.3%). Australia, Japan, and New Zealand rose by 8.5%, 7.8%, and 6.8% respectively. China and Taiwan registered a decline of 9.9% and 4.1% respectively in tourist arrivals for 2014 due to the impact of the MH370 aviation incident. Nevertheless, despite a decline, China is still the largest contributor to Malaysia from the medium-haul markets, with 1,613,355 arrivals.
Tourist arrivals from the long-haul markets reached 1.9 million in 2014, constituting 7% of the total arrivals to Malaysia.
Countries that recorded growth include Spain (+35.3%), Turkey (+29.1%), Egypt (+24.6%), Italy (+22.0%), France (+17.1%), Russia (+16.2%), the Netherlands (+16.7%), Germany (+15.9%), Belgium (15.2%), the United Kingdom (+7.8%), USA (+6.1%) and Canada (+4.3%).
Better accessibility, promotions offered by airlines and the wide coverage on Visit Malaysia Year 2014 contributed to the increase of tourist arrivals from these markets.
Besides that, collaborations with airlines to organise familiarisation trips, effective advertising and promotional campaigns, and trade seminars, also contributed to the increase of tourist arrivals from the long-haul markets in 2014.