Malaysian tourism industry achieves exemplary growth

Malaysia recorded a 5.1 per cent increase in tourist arrivals to
22,052,488 last year compared to 20,972,822 in 2007, Tourism Minister
Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said today.

“Despite the current global economic meltdown,
the Malaysian tourism industry has managed to achieve exemplary growth
due to intensification of the ministry’s promotional efforts,” she told
reporters on the second day of the 29th Asean Tourism Forum here.

She said that because of the global economic challenges, the target set
by the Special Cabinet Committee on Tourism was 20 million tourists.

Last month, she said, tourist arrivals were the highest compared to the
rest of 2008. For December, 2,058,684 tourists arrived in Malaysia
which was an increase of 9.2 per cent compared to 1,866,022 in December
2007, she said.

Azalina also revealed that last year, long-haul markets showed the highest percentage increase compared to 2007.

“Canada showed an increase of 65.6 per cent followed by
Netherlands 63.3 per cent, Russia 56 per cent, France 44.4 per cent,
Norway 43.9 per cent and Germany 41.9 per cent,” she said.

Asked whether figures for these countries could be maintained this year
despite the global economic challenges, Azalina said a directive had
been issued for a new strategy on advertisements and promotional

“The ministry will focus on China, Middle East and
the Indian market to compensate whatever shortage from the long-haul
market,” she said.

She also said Singapore retained its
position as the largest tourist generating market last year. “A total
of 11,003,492 tourists visited Malaysia last year,” she said.

She said Malaysia also attracted 2,428,605 tourists from Indonesia, 1,493,789 from Thailand and 1,172,154 from Brunei.

To draw more tourists from the Asean region, Azalina said the
intensified “Zoom! Malaysia” promotional campaign would be extended to
these countries.

“We have extended the campaign to Singapore on Jan 1, and it will be followed by Indonesia and Brunei,” she said.

She also said about RM50 million to RM60 million would be utilised for
promotional purposes including through print and electronic media
advertising campaigns in Asean countries.