Malaysia is generally very keen to promote itself as one of the most dynamic tourism countries within the ASEAN. And it is true that in the past, the country has been enjoying amazing growth rates in its international tourist arrivals. In 2004, Malaysia international visitors arrivals topped 15.70 million; in 2014, just within a decade, the country almost doubled that number to reach an all-time record of 27.44 million. Malaysia claimed to be Southeast Asia top destination…
But 2015 brought a severe- and probably most unexpected- correction to tourism irresistible rise. Last year, Malaysia tourism experienced one of its most severe downturn for two decades. International tourist arrivals declined by 15.7%. In total, 22.81 million visitors came in Malaysia, a number similar to total arrivals of year… 2008!
They are many explanations to Malaysia tourism unfortunate evolution: the two Malaysia Airlines crashes in 2014 had severe repercussions in tourist arrivals all across 2015 and was followed by a boycott of the destination Malaysia by Chinese; the corruption accusations against Malaysian Prime Minister tarnished the country’s image despite Nasjib Razak claiming to be innocent. The economic crisis in Asia depressed most travel markets in the region while some Europeans decided last year to avoid Malaysia fearing insecurity in the country.
Consequently: the majority of Malaysia’s incoming sources of travellers were down in 2015, particularly from Japan, Singapore, Western Europe, Australia and the USA. Arrivals from Singapore alone -Malaysia largest market- declined by 16.5%- This translated into the loss of 2.3 million travellers in just one year time!
Over 100,000 Chinese did not make the trip to Malaysia last year, due to the trauma surrounding the MH crash. Malaysia recorded 13.4% less Indonesians in 2015 than the year before. France declined by 16.5% last year-one of the worst results among Western countries. However, the Minister recently released forecasts hoping for over 30 million visitors this year. Real dream or dreamed reality. To be followed!