KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 12): Malaysia was ranked first in the Global Muslim Travel Index last year, according to the latest global survey carried out by CrescentRating.
Meanwhile, Euromonitor International identified Kuala Lumpur as one of the Top 100 Cities Destinations.
United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) placed Malaysia at 15th position in terms of tourist arrivals and 21st for tourism receipt last year.
Among factors attracting tourists to Malaysia include rising middle-income populations, particularly in Asia; lower inflations; and short-haul destinations.
According to the Economic Outlook 2020 report released by the Ministry of Finance yesterday, the number of tourist arrivals and receipts were expected to expand following the launch of Visit Malaysia 2020 (VM2020).
An estimated 28.1 million tourist arrivals and total receipts of RM92.2 billion are projected for this year.
However, the report noted that high dependence on tourist arrivals from Singapore, lack of new tourism products, limited air routes and concerns over safety and security, are among issues and challenges facing by Malaysia's tourism industry.
In line with VM2020, there is a need to increase flight frequencies, air travel rights to long and medium-haul countries and flight seat capacity to bring in more tourists to Malaysia.
Cruise tourism also has the potential, particularly in Langkawi, Melaka and Penang that can be home ports for international cruises, as well the Islamic tourism that will continue to develop including issued the first in the world Muslim Friendly Hospitality Services standard which recognises Syariah-compliant accommodation.
Meanwhile, as the health tourism industry is growing rapidly and in conjunction with the Malaysia Year of Healthcare Travel 2020 campaign to establish Malaysia as a leading global destination for healthcare, the government is targeting total revenue of RM2.2 billion in 2020.
The tourism industry has great potential to boost further, following the abundance of natural resources, well-diversified cultural and cuisines, modern infrastructure, and strategic location, added by the intensified efforts to improve safety and security in the country, including measures to curb intrusion and other threats.
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