PUTRAJAYA – The Visit Malaysia Year 2020 (VMY2020) is a national mission that will become a catalyst and a major driver of the country’s tourism industry, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said.
He said VMY2020, themed ‘Travel.Enjoy.Respect’, is also a key agenda in achieving targets under the Malaysia Tourism Transformation Plan (MTTP) to ensure Malaysia remains competitive in the tourism industry.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said the VMY2020 Secretariat was set up under Tourism Malaysia to coordinate and implement all programmes and activities related to the Visit Malaysia campaign.
“All the ministries and agencies and departments involved are ready to give full commitment to realise the VMY2020 campaign,” he said in a statement issued after chairing the first Tourism Cabinet Committee Meeting this year.
The meeting was also attended by Malaysian Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz to coordinate all ministries and agencies for the development of the national tourism industry.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had announced the year 2020 as the Visit Malaysia Year when tabling the 2018 Budget where the country will host several international conferences including the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Meeting (APEC).
Commenting further, Ahmad Zahid said the tourism industry was one of the major contributors to the national services sector with a Gross Domestic Product contribution of 14.8 per cent or RM182.4 billion.
He said in the National Key Economic Areas (NKEA), the tourism industry became the third largest contributor with a contribution of RM73.3 billion to Gross National Income.
“The tourism industry manpower use has also registered the highest record of 3.2 million people or 22.7 per cent of total employment in 2016,” he said.
The Deputy Prime Minister said the arrival of foreign tourists to Malaysia last year stood at 25.94 million, down three per cent from 2016.
According to Ahmad Zahid, the main cause of decline was the reduction of tourist arrivals from the ASEAN countries by 3.9 per cent.
“This is because the market continues to dominate the country’s tourism market with 75.1 per cent of the total number of tourists arriving in Malaysia,” he explained.
Malaysia has received numerous world-wide recognitions over the past year, including offering the world’s best healthcare, the world’s best destination in terms of Islamic tourism, and ranked the sixth best in the world to spend one’s retirement.
The meeting also discussed three consideration papers on the issue of Iran’s citizens to participate in the Second Home Programme, handing over the handling of umrah and visit packages to the Prime Minister’s Department and visa extension of Saudi Arabian tourists to Malaysia. – BERNAMA