KUALA LUMPUR – The tourism sector saw a strong recovery last year, with 26.7 million arrivals recorded compared to 25.7 million in 2015, moving closer towards achieving the 2020 target of 36 million tourist arrivals.
According to the National Transformation Programme Annual Report 2016 released by the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) today, receipts also registered an increase of RM13 billion, reaching RM82.1 billion in total, 49 per cent of the RM168 billion revenue targeted by 2020.
“The Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MOTAC)’s efforts in facilitating the Tourism National Key Economic Areas (NKEA) have borne strong results with the Ministry achieving 112 percent of its Key Performance Indicators (KPI), last year.
“It also contributed to RM73.3 billion in Gross National Income (GNI), driven by the Shopping, Ecotourism, Cruise and Business Events,” the report said.
It said the government’s decision to enable eVisa applications from China, including a visa-free option (eNTRI) saw immediate results with 26.7 per cent increase in Chinese visitors last year, and this facility was subsequently extended to India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar.
With a view of evaluating the progress of this NKEA towards its targets for 2020, MOTAC held a Tourism & Culture Lab 2.0 (Lab 2.0) to review existing tourism initiatives and to expand the areas of focus comprising culture, arts and heritage, crafts, birding, diving and homestay.
“The inclusion of culture, arts and heritage and crafts represents an opportunity for Malaysia to tap into the inherent strengths of its cultural diversity and also the National Recreational Scuba Diving Council (NDC) has been established,” it said.
Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz in the report said this effort has stimulated the industry to diversify its offerings and capitalise on its numerous local products and experiences.
In line with the National Ecotourism Plan 2016-2025 by MOTAC, ecotourism efforts will be focused on developing ecotourism clusters with set up for the Taiping-Batu Kurau area, besides Sabah and Sarawak.
Meanwhile, for business tourism, Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) continues to build on Malaysia’s prominence as one the region’s leading business destinations which saw a total of 341 business events, comprising corporate meetings, incentive travel conventions and exhibitions attracted more than 127,849 international delegates and delivered an estimated RM1.5 billion in economic impacts.
The reports said Malaysia looks set to build on these achievements in business tourism with new facilities including the expansion of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) and the Kota Kinabalu Convention Centre, which is scheduled for completion next year. – BERNAMA