Malaysia’s tourism receipts recorded a drop of 71.2 per cent to record RM52.4 billion in 2020 compared to RM182.1 billion in 2019, according to Chief Statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin. (pix)
He said 2020 is the second year that domestic tourism receipts exceeded the inbound tourism receipts with a contribution of 73.8 per cent or RM38.6 billion.
“Simultaneously, outbound expenditure for last year recorded a decrease of 61.7 per cent amounting to RM17.1 billion,” he said in a statement in response to the Tourism Satellite Account 2020 findings announced by the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM).
Throughout 2020, Mohd Uzir said the tourism industry had generated RM199.4 billion of Gross Value Added of Tourism Industry (GVATI) by contributing 14.1 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“In terms of value, this shrinkage matches the performance shown in 2015, as a consequence of the government’s restriction in economic activities to curb the spread of Covid-19. The GVATI shrank 17.1 per cent in 2020 compared to 9.1 per cent growth in the previous year,” he said.
On the prospects of the tourism sector, the Chief Statistician said Malaysia’s tourism industry should continue to focus on digitalisation and expansion of smart products and infrastructure as an initiative to develop a more resilient and sustainable future in the country as recommended by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA).
He said the National Tourism Policy (NTP) 2020-2030 launched on Dec 23, 2020, by the government would ensure the viability of the country’s tourism industry and make Malaysia a preferred tourism destination worldwide.
Among the Transformation Strategies outlined in the NTP is to implement ‘Smart Tourism’ which aims to take the industry to the next level by taking advantage of opportunities in the digital age.
“Digital technology has influenced the way people travel and the tourism industry players are changing the ways they operate.
“Moreover, this will rebuild the tourist’s confidence through rebranding and developing communication plans to deliver messages where Malaysia is a safe and trusted travel destination,” he said.
According to the statement, the implementation of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme since February 2021 has enabled the government to open up the social and economic sectors in stages with the implementation of a comprehensive National Recovery Plan throughout the country.
Subsequently, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) has shifted to the domestic market to drive tourism activities by implementing the travel bubble with detailed standard operating procedures (SOPs), starting with Langkawi as a pilot destination to fully vaccinated local tourists beginning Sept 16.
Mohd Uzir said at a global level, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) predicts that the tourism sector will return to pre-pandemic performance in 2024, largely driven by domestic tourism activities.