Malaysia has been making efforts to enhance its already diverse attractions by improving shopping areas, adding new attractions and organizing events of interest to tourists. Apparently those efforts are beginning to pay off.
The country, which is located partly on a peninsula of the Asian mainland and partly on the northern third of the island of Borneo, posted an impressive overall tourism growth in 2012, capping off a string of tourism accolades that placed the nation in the global limelight. Tourist arrivals rose to 25,032,708 compared to 24,714,324 in 2011, registering a growth of 1.3 percent. Meanwhile, receipts climbed to RM60.6 billion compared to RM58.3 billion the previous year, which was an increase of RM2.3 billion or 3.9 percent.
“I am extremely happy that the tourism industry has consistently registered growth year after year. I believe this is largely due to the government’s strong support in recognizing tourism as an important economic driver, as well as the concerted efforts of our trade and media partners to market and brand Malaysia as the most-preferred tourist destination,” said Minister of Tourism Dato’ Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen.
Tourist arrivals from the United States rose to 240,134 compared to 216,755 in 2011, registering a growth of 10.8 percent. Tourist arrivals from Canada posted a growth of 1.1 percent, from 86,015 in 2011 to 86,931 in 2012.
Under Malaysia’s Economic Transformation Program (ETP), tourism was identified as one of the 12 National Key Economic Areas (NKEA) to drive the nation’s economic growth. Since then, a number of tourism-development projects have been put in place to achieve 36 million tourist arrivals and RM168 billion tourism receipts by 2020.
Among the tourism initiatives undertaken last year were the physical transformation of the Bukit Bintang-Kuala Lumpur City Centre to improve the shopping experience, the opening of several new tourist attractions, including Asia’s first Legoland, as well as the hosting of several business and international events.
To further capitalize on Malaysia’s consistent tourism growth, as well as the expected surge of tourists to the Asia Pacific area over the next few years, Malaysia is embarking on an intensive promotional campaign this year that will culminate in the Visit Malaysia Year 2014 (VMY 2014) when the nation welcomes 28 million tourists.
“We are on track towards meeting our long-term targets, and we hope that the VMY 2014 and the promotional campaign this year will significantly boost our tourism performance,” said Dato’ Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen.