Tourism Malaysia, a leading organization under the Malaysian Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture that is responsible for promoting the country as a preferred destination for travellers, outlined its ambitious plans for growth today during a well-attended media event at Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2019 in Dubai.
Tourism Malaysia’s participation at ATM, the Middle East’s leading annual travel and tourism event, is designed to support the objectives of the Visit Malaysia 2020 initiative, which aims to attract more than 30 million tourists and around AED 89 billion in tourist receipts. More than 50 representatives from key stakeholders in Malaysia’s travel and hospitality sectors have travelled to the UAE for the event, where they showcased the latest news and updates on the country’s tourism offerings.
The GCC remains a key market for inbound tourism to Malaysia, with total arrivals from West Asia standing at 315,733 during 2018, an increase of 25% on the previous year. The number of visitors from Saudi Arabia increased by 11.7%, while UAE travellers increased by 9.7%. Oman recorded the biggest rise in visitor numbers, at 36.9%.
During the same period, visitors from the region contributed more than around AED 2.7 billion to Malaysia’s economy, with tourism receipts rising by 33% compared to 2017. Travellers from GCC countries also recorded the highest average expenditure per person, with visitors from Saudi Arabia spending around AED 10,300, United Arab Emirates around AED 8,300, Oman around AED 7,500, and Kuwait around AED 7,400.
Y.B. Datuk Mohamaddin bin Ketapi, Malaysia’s Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, commented: “It’s a pleasure to be here in the UAE, a nation with which we enjoy strong cultural ties and a long history of close cooperation. It is particularly relevant for us to be here during the national Year of Tolerance, which highlights the common values of our two countries by emphasising the importance of diversity and harmonious coexistence. We look forward to further building on our shared legacy of cultural exchange and extend a warm invitation to travellers from the Middle East to visit our beautiful country and discover what makes Malaysia ‘truly Asia’.”
Malaysia was recently named the number one destination for Muslim travellers for the ninth consecutive year by Singapore-based CrescentRating, the world's leading authority on Halal Travel, making the Southeast Asian nation an attractive option for visitors from the Middle East. The country is also easily accessible to travellers, with the majority of airline companies in the region running regular direct flights to and from Malaysia’s main airports.
YBHG. Datuk Musa HJ. Yusof, Director General of Tourism Malaysia, added: “Malaysia has so much to offer for tourists from the region, and in particular Muslim travellers seeking a safe, family-friendly destination. From rich cultural excursions to outdoor adventure and world-class leisure attractions, we are delighted to showcase the best of Malaysia here in Dubai. We are confident that our participation in this year’s ATM will allow us to forge new connections, further strengthen the travel and tourism industry and inspire more people to explore our wonderful country.”
This week, visitors to Tourism Malaysia’s booth at ATM 2019 can find out more about the country’s most popular destinations and latest tourist attractions. These include Desaru Coast, a new integrated resort that features a portfolio of globally renowned hotels and spans more than 3,900 acres along a pristine 17km beachfront. The resort is also home to one of the world’s biggest waterparks, a fully equipped conference facility, two golf clubs, and a 23-acre waterfront landscaped retail and lifestyle village.
Other destinations showcased include Genting Highlands, which has been refreshed with a new indoor theme park, Skytropolis, and shopping opportunities at Genting Highlands Premium Outlets and Sky Avenue Mall; Melaka, which is located two and a half hours drive from Kuala Lumpur and offers a variety of attractions for Arab tourists interested to learn Malaysia’s rich history; Johor Bahru, a family destination renowned as the country’s new theme park hub; and Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, which offers exceptional attractions for nature lovers and soft adventurers.
Malaysia also enjoys an outstanding international reputation as a healthcare and wellness destination, having been consistently recognised in industry programmes including the Medical Travel Journal (IMTJ) Medical Travel Awards. Malaysia Healthcare will be leading the Malaysia Year of Healthcare Travel 2020 campaign to run in tandem with Visit Malaysia 2020. Celebrating health and an active lifestyle, the initiative is expected to play an important role in achieving the country’s ambitious visitor targets.