International tourist arrivals drop 36.8 per cent to 4.23 mln in Q1 2020

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PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia recorded 4.23 million tourist arrivals in the first quarter of this year, a drop of 36.8 per cent compared to the same period in 2019, said the Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board (Tourism Malaysia).

In a statement today, it said tourist expenditure in the first quarter totalled RM12.5 billion, a 41.5 per cent decrease from the RM21.4 billion registered in the same period last year, while per capita expenditure also dropped 7.4 per cent, from RM3,201.80 in 2019 to RM2,964.50 this year.

“From January to March 2020, Malaysia received fewer tourists each month compared to the corresponding month of the previous year,” it added.

Tourism Malaysia said the average length of stay (ALOS) of tourists decreased by 1.9 nights, from 6.0 nights in 2019 to 4.1 nights.

Negative growth had been observed for tourists from every regional market, namely short-haul market (-37.3 per cent), medium-haul market (-41.4 per cent) and long-haul market (-22.5 per cent) in the first quarter, it added.

The top 10 tourist generating markets were Singapore (1.54 million), Indonesia (701,142), China (401,067), Thailand (331,417), India (153,727), Brunei (135,412), South Korea (118,571), Japan (73,154), Australia (72,047) and Philippines (64,257).

“ASEAN countries remain as Malaysia’s top contributors in tourist arrivals with a share of 67.8 per cent or 2.87 million tourists.

“However, this is a stark contrast compared to 2019, where Malaysia received 4.58 million tourists from ASEAN for the first quarter of the year, which translates to a decrease of 37.3 per cent from this region,” it said.

Malaysia’s medium-haul market, which includes East Asia (China, South Korea and Japan) and South Asia (India and Pakistan), contributed 20.3 per cent or 859,273 tourists, it said.

“Last year, Malaysia received 1.47 million tourist arrivals from this market for the same period,” it said.

Tourism Malaysia said 505,307 tourists from the long-haul market visited Malaysia in the first quarter of this year.

“In comparison, the number of tourists from this segment who visited Malaysia last year was 652,032, marking a decrease of 22.5 per cent. The long-haul market includes West Asia, Central Asia, the Americas, Oceania, Europe and Africa,” it said.

In terms of the number of excursionists or daily visitors to the country, it said there were 1.69 million arrivals from January to March 2020, a decrease of 27.1 per cent compared to 2.32 million excursionists in the same period last year.

“Malaysia is not alone in registering negative growth in the number of tourist arrivals,” it said, adding that data from the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) showed that other ASEAN countries also recorded a significant decline.

“The spread of COVID-19 which prompted countries to impose a ban on international travel was cited as the cause of the severe decline,” it said.