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Published on : Thursday, April 28, 2016
Tourist arrivals recorded a decline of 6.3 per cent from 27.4 million in 2014 to 25.7 million last year, according to the National Transformation Programme Annual Report 2015. The report further stated that the tourist receipts decreased by 4 per cent from RM72 billion to RM 69.1 billion in 2015.
It said Malaysia’s competitiveness as a leading tourism destination in the region was recognised via numerous awards in 2015: Best Golf Destination in Asia for the second year running by the World Golf Awards 2015; Best International Destination – Food and Drink 2014 in April 2015 by Travel & Leisure magazine; second most popular shopping city in the world for Muslim tourists by the Muslim Travel Shopping Index 2015 and Top 10 Best Travel Destinations for 2016 by the Lonely Planet.
Several factors can be attributed to the drop in tourist arrivals and receipts such as the global economic slowdown and challenges, worst floods in 30 years which affected several states in Malaysia in early 2015 and the earthquake in Ranau, Sabah, in June 2015, regional travel advisory for the coastal areas of the south-eastern coast of Sabah as well as the lingering effects of the MH370 and MH17 incidents.
The report said government incentives and programmes continued to play a major role in developing the tourism industry, for example the Investment Tax Allowance had encouraged the opening of more 4- and 5-star hotels in 2015 including the luxury Kempinski-branded 5-star hotel which will commence construction in 2016.