PUTRAJAYA, Dec 7 — Malaysia suffered a 78.6 per cent drop in tourist arrivals between January and September this year compared to the corresponding period last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The country only recorded 4.29 million tourist arrivals in that period this year compared to 20.1 million in 2019, the Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board (Tourism Malaysia) said in a statement today.

It said the lower number of tourist arrivals also saw the receipts from tourism drop by 80.9 per cent to RM12.6 billion during the period this year from RM66.1 billion in 2019, with the per capita expenditure registering a decline of 10.7 per cent, from RM3,289.30 in 2019 to RM2,938.40 this year.

“The continued decline in the number of arrivals is due to the closure of international borders since March 18, which is a part of the government’s proactive decision in its efforts to curb the spread of the pandemic in Malaysia,” Tourism Malaysia said.

Malaysia’s top 10 tourist-generating markets continued to be dominated by Singapore (1,543,627);  Indonesia (710,118); China (403,055); Thailand (372,075); India (155,448); Brunei Darussalam (135,848); South Korea (119,364); Japan (73,891); Australia (72,369) and the Philippines (65,601), it said.

Tourism Malaysia said negative growth has been observed for tourists from every regional market, namely the short-haul market (-78.8 per cent), medium-haul market (-80.0 per cent) and long-haul market (-74.0 per cent).

In terms of the number of excursionists or daily visitors to the country, it said Malaysia recorded a total of 1.73 million arrivals from January to September 2020, a decrease of 74.9 per cent compared to 6.90 million excursionists who visited Malaysia in the corresponding period last year.

“As a result of the huge impact of the pandemic on the global community, other countries too are not spared from the effects on their tourism performance,” Tourism Malaysia said.

According to data from the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), neighbouring ASEAN countries like Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia recorded a similar decrease of more than 70 per cent in tourist arrivals due to certain travel restrictions imposed to combat the pandemic in the respective countries, it said. 


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