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

KUALA LUMPUR (SIN CHEW DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Singaporeans who used to be the largest group of tourists to Malaysia reduced 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, during a dialogue with Penang tour operators on Feb 15, said 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) 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. Both have dragged down the percentage of Asean tourists to Malaysia.

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

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