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Malaysia Banking on New Tourism Developments to Boost 2018 Arrivals

January 30, 2018 Visit ASEAN No Comments Email Email

Malaysia is eyeing a total of 33.1 million tourists and RM134 billion receipts for 2018 on the back of new tourism developments expected for this year.

Speaking to a room full of international media attending the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) in Chiang Mai Exhibition & Convention Centre, Thailand, today, Datuk Seri Mirza Mohammad Taiyab, Director General of Tourism Malaysia, anticipated that the roll-out of new attractions such as Desaru Coast Malaysia, a premium integrated destination resort, and the 20th Century Fox World Malaysia theme park, would help boost the appeal of the country as a holiday destination.

Desaru Coast is one of Malaysia’s first integrated premium resort and the most anticipated new tourism developments with the initial phase to open from June 2018.

It offers a themed water park, known as Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark, where visitors can experience the largest wave pool in Southeast Asia, as well as the region’s first water coaster. The fully-integrated beach-front destination will encompass globally renowned hotels and resorts namely The Westin Desaru Coast Resort, Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast and Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas.

Adding to the vast array of leisure and holistic offerings is Desaru Coast Riverside, a retail and lifestyle village located in the heart of Desaru Coast that delivers an all-inclusive leisure experience, including a range of retail, eateries and entertainment outlets.

The Desaru Coast Conference Centre completes the unique blend of experiences with an equipped multipurpose venue, furnished with meeting and breakout rooms, VIP lounges, a pre-function area, and courtyard to cater to MICE events, corporate functions and entertainment events.

The new attractions complement the country’s existing theme parks and shopping attractions such as Perak’s Movie Animation Park Studios, Lost World of Tambun (the only theme park that operates day and night) and various Premium Outlet malls around the country.

Datuk Seri Mirza also listed out new hotels expected to open in 2018/2019 which included Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur with 270 private residences; Movenpick Resort & Spa in Terengganu with 207 guest rooms; W Hotels with 150 rooms; and DoubleTree by Hilton with 300 rooms and an 11,000 sq. ft. function space.

Malaysia’s visibility in Europe is also expected to be enhanced with newly-signed brand partnerships with ITB Berlin for 2019 and as ECTAA Preferred Destination Partner for 2018.

ECTAA is the European Travel Agents and Tour Operators Association, and they consist of 36 travel agent and tour operator associations from 30 European countries. The partnership is expected to give Malaysia wider global publicity as well as access and opportunities to work closely with industry members in Europe.

Meanwhile, Malaysia’s Official Partner Country titleship at ITB 2019 will entail publicity opportunities globally as well as the potential to reach out to key decision makers and top industry players.

Malaysia’s branding will be further enhanced in the year 2019 with Malaysia hosting UNWTO’s 5th World Tourism Conference in Kuching, Sarawak. This follows the success of the 4th World Tourism Conference in Penang in 2016 and the 6th Global Summit on Urban Tourism in Kuala Lumpur last year, which saw an overwhelming response due to the good cooperation and coordination between Malaysia and UNWTO. Malaysia will continue to support UNWTO’s 2030 sustainable development goals as it moves towards becoming a high income nation.

Datuk Seri Mirza also said that Tourism Malaysia is now focused on increasing accessibility to Malaysia via various airline partnerships for scheduled and charter flights. The latest news is the launching of the winter season flights by Germany’s Condor Air which will see Frankfurt-KL connections beginning November this year.

Other airline partnerships are with Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Malindo Air, KLM and Singapore Airlines.

All these efforts are a lead up to the scheduled Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2020 campaign which is expected to bring in 36 million tourists and RM168 billion in tourist receipts. The objective is to promote Malaysia as a top-of-mind destination by highlighting the “Travel, Enjoy and Respect” tagline, in line with the National Eco-Tourism Plan 2016-2025.

In conjunction with ATF 2018 and to kickstart the VMY 2020 promotion, AirAsia is running a regional promotion with up to 70% off to all Malaysian destinations. The booking period is from 22 to 28 January for travel between 1 August and 22 November 2018.

The latest routes served by AirAsia are Davao-Kuala Lumpur; Nha Trang-Kuala Lumpur; Jeju-Kuala Lumpur; Shenzhen-Kuching; Singapore-Bintulu; and Macao-Johor Bahru. Meanwhile, the Jaipur-Kuala Lumpur route will commence on 5 February.

The annual ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF), from 22 until 26 January, is an annual tourism gathering of ASEAN countries. Malaysia’s delegation is led by YB Minister of Tourism and Culture, Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.

Among the key events of ATF is the TRAVEX where industry players network and solicit for new business. This year, 23 Malaysia sellers comprising hotels and resorts, tour agencies and state tourism boards are participating in the TRAVEX. It is an opportunity for them to meet some 244 international buyers invited to ATF TRAVEX, taking place at the Chiang Mai Exhibition & Convention Centre, from 24 to 26 January 2018.

Malaysia’s tourism performance

Malaysia recorded a total of 21,504,930 tourist arrivals from January to October 2017, indicating a decrease of -2.5% compared to 22,056,417 for the same period in 2016.

The ASEAN region continued to be the largest contributor of tourist arrivals with 74.9% share (16,101,825) of Malaysia’s total arrivals. Among ASEAN countries, Laos registered the highest growth of 30.6%, followed by Brunei (26.6%), Vietnam (16.7%) and Thailand (4.2%).

Tourist arrivals from Indonesia registered a decline of -5.9%, followed by Singapore (-6.6%), Myanmar (-12.6%), Philippines (-12.6%) and Cambodia (-32.8%).

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