Singaporean tourists to Malaysia down 14% last year; non-Asean tourists increased 20%

Tourists taking pictures of the city skyline from the observation deck of the Kuala Lumpur Tower in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Feb 14, 2019.
Tourists taking pictures of the city skyline from the observation deck of the Kuala Lumpur Tower in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Feb 14, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (SIN CHEW DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Visits by Singaporeans, who used to be the largest group of tourists to Malaysia, were lower by 14 per cent last year while tourists from non-Asean countries increased by 20 per cent.

Mr Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, said during a dialogue with Penang tour operators on Friday (Feb 15) that the ministry would release the figures soon.

Despite changes in tourism market, he is confident that the target of 30 million tourists to visit Malaysia this year and RM10 billion (S$3.32 billion) in tourism revenue can be achieved.

Due to congestion at checkpoints and tour promotions carried out by Singapore Airlines, the number of tourists from Singapore dipped by 14 per cent last year. The number of tourists from Brunei also declined by 17 per cent.

Mr Muhammad Bakhtiar said Malaysia faces stiff competition from other members of Asean as all are promoting tourism to their own countries.