While international arrivals stagnated in 2018 with a slight decrease of 0.4% over 2017 (25.83 million international visitors), Tourism Malaysia revealed in a recent press conference that domestic tourism continues to thrive with double-digit growth rates in 2018.
According to Malaysia tourism, the total number of domestic tourists showed a double-digit growth of 10.9% in 2018, recording a total of 78.2 million domestic tourists as compared to 70.5 million domestic tourists in 2017. The weak Ringgit compared to other currencies was certainly a major factor for the excellent domestic performance.
Total expenditure by domestic tourists also registered a double-digit growth of 11.7%, recording a total of US$14.43 billion (RM60.4 billion) as compared to US$12.9 billion (RM54.1 billion) in 2017. Average per capita expenditure rose by 0.7% to US$184.50 (RM772) as compared to US$183.50 (RM767) in 2017. The average length of stay showed an increase of 3.8% to 2.44 nights in 2018 from 2.35 nights in 2017.
Expenditure for shopping activities recorded the highest percentage share of the total expenditure at 26.8%. This was followed by expenditure on fuel (15.4%), food and beverages (13.9%), expenditure for visited households (13.7%), accommodation (13.0%), transportation (8.4%), other activities (4.9%), and expenditure prior to the trip -such as packages, entrance fees or tickets (3.9%).
The state which received the highest number of domestic tourists was Pahang with 9.2 million arrivals due to the presence of numerous national parks such as Taman Negara, integrated resorts and theme park such as Genting Highlands and Colmar Tropical or old hill resorts such as Cameron Highlands and Fraser’s Hill. Pahang was followed by Johor (7.8 million), Perak (7.6 million), Selangor (6.8 million) and Negeri Sembilan (6.1 million).
Domestic tourists preferred unpaid accommodation provided by relatives and friends as the main choice of accommodation. It recorded the highest percentage of 68.2%, followed by hotels (20.4%), apartments (4.4%), homestays/vacation homes (3.0%), chalets (2.3%) and rest houses (1.7%).
Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mohamaddin bin Ketapi declared that “domestic tourism continues to play an important role in enhancing the national economy, and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture will continue to work closely with Tourism Malaysia to support domestic tourism promotion.”
He added, “the encouraging growth of domestic tourism in 2018 inspires and motivates the ministry to make the Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign a success. It is a national mission to ensure Malaysia remains competitive in the global tourism industry.”
“We hope that all Malaysian citizens will embrace this mission and continue to support the Malaysian tourism industry,” he stressed.