Malaysia had been experiencing negative year-on-year growth in visitor arrivals since 2017, which coincided with a stagnation of the tourism receipts between the years 2016 to 2018. This was mostly due to a decrease in visitor arrival numbers from Singapore, which remained Malaysia’s top tourist market. Even so, Malaysia’s capital city Kuala Lumpur ranked amongst the top ten most popular city destinations for overnight travelers worldwide in 2018. In that year, the international visitor spending in Kuala Lumpur also reached a nine-year high.
In 2019, Malaysia launched the Malaysian Tourism Promotion matching grant fund, aimed at marketing Malaysia as a top tourist destination in the global market. As part of the efforts to woo international visitors, it was suggested that flight connectivity to Malaysia be improved. In 2018, the highest volume of flights per week from Malaysia was to Singapore. In order to diversify their visitor profile, more flights could be created to high-yield markets, such as China, India and Germany. However, to ensure a robust tourism sector, domestic tourism should not be neglected. This was especially since Malaysia’s domestic tourism sector has been experiencing year-on-year growth in both expenditure and visitor numbers since 2011.
Malaysia has much to offer to both international and domestic tourists. It is a melting pot of different cultures, religions and ethnicities, with diverse natural tourist attractions from white sand beaches and coral reefs, to rainforests and mountains. It is thus well-positioned to capitalize on the trend of eco- and sustainable tourism. This was evidenced by the spike in visitor numbers to the Terengganu National Park between 2016 and 2017, indicating increasing visitor interest in its natural wonders. Malaysia is also politically and economically stable, as well as already having good infrastructure. This makes it an attractive destination for all spectrum of travelers, from families to adventure-seeking backpackers.