Malaysia only welcomed about four million tourists between January and September this year due to the spread of Covid-19 which has negatively affected the global tourism sector.
Only 4,299,419 tourists were recorded, a marked decrease of 78.6% compared to 2019. The latest figures pales in comparison to the 20.1 million tourist arrival the country received last year.
For the same period, Malaysia received a total of RM12.6bil in tourism receipts, a decrease of 80.9% compared to RM66.1bil received last year. Similarly, the per capita expenditure showed a decline of 10.7% 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,” said Tourism Malaysia in a statement.
The top 10 tourist generating markets continue to be dominated by Singapore (1,543,627), Indonesia (710,118), China (403,055), Thailand (372,075), India (155,448), Brunei (135,848), South Korea (119,364), Japan (73,891), Australia (72,369) and the Philippines (65,601).
In terms of the number of excursionists, or the daily visitors to the country, Malaysia recorded a total of 1,733,101 arrivals from January to September, a decrease of 74.9% compared to 6,905,378 excursionists who visited Malaysia in the same period last year.
The figures came following the relaxation of the conditional MCO, which lifted interstate and inter-district travel bans nationwide.
Travel operators have lauded the decision to allow interstate travel as this would help to revive the local tourism sector.
Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri, in a statement, encouraged Malaysians to travel domestically and see the country.
“Let us prove that we can combat Covid-19 and travel responsibly to rebuild our tourism sector which has gone through a challenging time this year,” she said.