KUALA LUMPUR (July 10): Tourist arrivals fell 36.8% to 4.23 million for the first quarter of 2020 (1Q) from the same period in 2019, according to statistics from Tourism Malaysia.

In a statement today, the agency under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture said between January and March of 2020, Malaysia received fewer tourists each month compared with the corresponding months of the previous year.

The agency observed negative growth for tourists from every regional market, namely the short-haul market which saw a 37.3% decrease, the medium-haul market with a 41.4% decline and the long-haul market with a 22.5% decrease in the three months.

Tourism Malaysia also said tourism expenditure for the first quarter stood at RM12.5 billion, a decrease of 41.5% from the RM21.4 billion registered for the same period last year.

Per capita expenditure also showed a decline of 7.4% from RM3,201.8 in 2019 to RM2,964.5 this year.

The average length of stay in Malaysia saw a decrease of 1.9 nights to 4.1 nights this year, from six nights in 2019.

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

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

Malaysia’s medium-haul market, which include East Asia (China, South Korea and Japan) and South Asia (India and Pakistan) contributed a share of 20.3% or 859,273 tourists.

Last year, Malaysia received 1.47 million tourist arrivals from this market during the same period.

Up to 505,307 tourists from the long-haul market (West Asia, Central Asia, Oceania, Europe and Africa) visited Malaysia from January until March 2020, making up the remaining 11.9% share of total tourist arrivals in Malaysia throughout the three months.

Last year the number was 652,032, indicating a 22.5% drop.

Malaysia also recorded a total of 1.69 million excursionist arrivals between the first quarter of 2020, marking a 27.1% decrease from last year’s 2.31 million in the same period.

“Malaysia is not alone in registering negative growth in the number of tourist arrivals. According to the data from the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), Malaysia’s neighbouring ASEAN countries also recorded a significant decline in the number of tourists including Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia” the agency added.

Tourism Malaysia cited the imposed bans on international travel by countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic as the cause for the severe decline in travel numbers.

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