With the Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign currently in the works, Malaysia’s Ministry for Tourism and Culture recently announced that it has set a target of 30 million tourist arrivals come 2020, as well as tourist receipts of RM100 billion (US$24.6 billion).
“I believe Malaysia’s cultural uniqueness is a big draw for the European market,” explained Mohamaddin Bin Haji Ketapi, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture for Malaysia, adding, “As you may know, Malaysia is a melting pot of cultures with influences from Malay, Chinese and Indian ethnicities, as well as from Europe, Arab and the Malay Archipelago. This has resulted in a mixed yet harmonious legacy that manifests itself in Malaysia’s architecture, clothing, language, cuisine and other aspects.”
Malaysia’s target is not as unattainable as it seems. In fact, economic contribution of tourism to Malaysia has been increasing over the years. For example, the number of employees involved in Malaysia’s tourism sector rose to 3.4 million in 2017 from 1.5 million in 2005. Employment in the tourism industry, too, contributed 23.2% to total employment in 2017.
Elsewhere, tourism has also helped to empower the local community. For example, the Malaysia Homestay Programme offers the local village-folk to take part in offering authentic homestay experiences to tourists. In 2017, the revenue generated from the programmed reached RM27.6 million.
In a recent statement, Mohamaddin also gave a heads up on upcoming developments, such as Desaru Coast in Johor, and Impression City Melaka, both of which should bring renewed interest in Malaysia.