Updated on June 10, 2022 by Axel Hernborg

Axel Hernborg

Malaysia has a very pleasant and tropical climate to enjoy travel and tourism throughout the year. Malaysia’s beaches and islands with year-round sunshine, cultural diversity, and friendly people are fascinating and have the greatest strength to increase visitors and travellers from all over the world. visitors can enjoy Malaysian diversified tourism resources, such as beautiful beaches, cities, culture, heritage, jungles, food, resorts, health, and business and shopping, which make Malaysia one of the unique places with unique characteristics.

Covid-19 and Tourism Industry

Like many other industries, the Covid-19 outbreak in the early months of 2020 imposed a significant threat to the tourism industry in Malaysia. Malaysia’s economy due to travel and tourism has been severely impacted by the emergence of this virus. In 2021, the Malaysian government was estimated to have lost Malaysian Ringgit (RM) 3.37 billion.

Hence, still, the tourism industry suffered a huge loss, especially the airline and hotel industries. For instance, more than 120 hotels were closed either temporarily or permanently due to the pandemic. There was a massive drop in visitors from Singapore and China as many countries were already imposing travel restrictions to curb the spread of the virus. Although tourism in Malaysia is slowly coming back to life, resorts, hotels, bars, and restaurants are opening again. Malaysian government intends to continue implementing support measures in the future to ensure that the tourism industry will eventually recover and be additionally improved.

Pre- and Post-Pandemic Trends

  1. Tourist arrivals dwindled in 2020 due to closed Malaysian borders for international visitors and restricted entry for non-residents.
  2. There was a significant decrease in earnings from tourism-related businesses as tourism receipts all but dried up.
  3. Malaysia imposed several lockdowns, called Movement Control Orders (MCO), which restricted travel within the country.
  4. As of the third quarter of 2021, Malaysia was in a state of ‘total lockdown’, with only essential businesses allowed to open.
  5. Non-essential inter-state travel, such as shopping or visiting friends and relatives, remained prohibited, essentially putting a stop to domestic tourism.
  6. Travel prohibitions and falling demand worldwide have put the Malaysian airline industry at risk of bankruptcy.
  7. As a result of the falling demand for Airlines, AirAsia, Malindo Air, and Malaysia Airlines, which are Malaysia’s three largest airlines, had implemented wage cuts as well as unpaid leave, depending on the income range and position.
  8. Many tour guides also struggled to cope with unemployment due to the coronavirus due to no tourists and tours.
  9. Prior to the pandemic, Malaysia received more than 600 ship calls and 900,000 cruise passengers.
  10. Malaysia has welcomed well-known cruise liners in the industry from Celebrity Cruises, Regal Cruises, Star Cruises, Seabourn, Royal Caribbean, TUI Cruises, Holland America, and others over the years before this pandemic.
  11. Street vendors and local businesses that depend on tourism are also affected.
  12. Ipoh’s Kampung Kacang Putih, which sells savoury snacks popular with tourists, cited that their sales were reduced by 80% due to the pandemic.
  13. From April 2022, Malaysia opened its borders to international travel, ending restrictions that have been in place since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020.
  14. Starting 1 May 2022, fully-vaccinated inbound travellers are no longer required to undergo pre-departure and on-arrival COVID-19 tests, including children aged 12 and below as well as for those who have been infected with COVID-19 within six to 60 days before departure to Malaysia.
  15. Travel insurance will also not be a prerequisite for foreigners entering the country.
  16. the number of women working in the Malaysian tourism industry dropped by more than 2% to 48.3% in 2020, compared to 50.3% in 2019.
  17. The Malaysian government has announced that the 2022 gender-balanced budget will benefit women in tourism equally.

Tourism industry Insight

  1. Malaysia has been recognized as the best tourism country in the world.
  2. Malaysia is recognized as the best tourism country because of its good services and facilities in the health field at the international level.
  3. Medical cost in Malaysia, either government health center or private, is considered affordable and reasonable compared to other countries.
  4. Many outsiders come to Malaysia to be treated especially from neighboring countries such as Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Thailand.
  5. In December 2020, the Government has launched the National Tourism Policy (NTP) 2020-2030 to ensure the continuity of the country’s tourism industry and make Malaysia a preferred tourist destination globally.
  6. Among the Transformation Strategies outlined in the NTP is to embrace ‘Smart Tourism’.
  7. Advances in digital technology have influenced the way people travel, causing tourism-related businesses to change the way they operate.
  8. The Malaysia Smart Tourism 4.0 initiative was launched by Tourism Malaysia in 2018 with the aim to take the industry to the next level by taking advantage of opportunities in the digital age. 
  9. The ultimate aim of smart tourism is to improve resource management efficiency, enhance tourism experiences, maximize competitiveness, and enhance sustainability through technological innovation and practices.

Contribution of Tourism in Malaysia

  1. Tourism is the third biggest contributor to Malaysia’s GDP, after manufacturing and commodities.
  2. The tourism industry in Malaysia is the second-largest source of income from foreign exchange and affects the economy positively.
  3. Tourism is one of the largest industries in Malaysia, contributing 5.9 percent to its gross domestic product (GDP), and employing close to a quarter of the total workforce in Malaysia. 
  4. In 2018, the tourism industry has contributed RM84.1 billion to this country.
  5. This has shown a significant rise of as much as 2.4% which is in 2017 has been recorded income as much as RM8.2 billion.
  6. The number of international touristsin 2018 which is 25.8 million showed a decrease from 2017 which was 25.9 million.
  7. The total expenses per capita of the international tourist rise up to RM3,257 in 2018 from RM3,266 in 2017 with a percentage of the rising is 2.9%.
  8. The amount was from shopping (33.4%), accommodation (25.7%), and food and beverages (13.4%).
  9. In 2019, tourism contributed RM 86.14 billion to Malaysia’s economy with 26.1 million tourists.
  10. In tandem with small positive growth of tourist arrivals by +1.0% compared to 2018, the total tourist receipts contribution recorded a growth of +2.4%.
  11. Tourism performance also saw growth in terms of per capita expenditure, rising by +1.3% to RM3,300.
  12. The Average Length of Stay (ALOS) climbed by +0.9 nights to 7.4 nights in 2019.
  13. Top ten international tourist arrivals for 2019 were from Singapore (10,163,882), Indonesia (3,623,277), China (3,114,257), Thailand (1,884,306), Brunei (1,216,123), India (735,309), South Korea (673,065), Japan (424,694), The Philippines (421,908) and Vietnam (400,346).

Other Tourist Trends

  1. Malaysia food is awesome in taste and it has a combination of different types of flavors like Indian, Chinese, Thai, and Malay. Visitors’ must-try dish is roti canai which is bread eaten with a spicy curry. Visitors try this dining option with a cheap Malaysia tour package.
  2. This southeast country offers so many options for scuba diving and snorkeling for visitors.
  3. Cultural diversity (multitudes of Asian ethnicities) and religious variety (Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist influence) are two major factors to attract visitors to visit Malaysia.
  4. Visitors should know that the official religion in Malaysia is Islam although other religions and beliefs are practiced freely.
  5. Malaysian people are aware of Western traditions and therefore, handshakes are accepted but less likely with women.
  6. Giving gifts to hosts, friends, or people whilst traveling in Malaysia is welcomed and is a good way of expressing appreciation.
  7. Malaysian culture welcomes gifts but visitors should note that when they areinvited for dinner, chocolate or pastries are common gifts.
  8. The yellow colour represents royalty.
  9. Malay is the official language, but there are more than 112 indigenous languages spoken throughout the country. English is spoken widely in Malaysia
  10. With many modern aspects of life in Malaysia, there are still things travelers may not be used to, such as squat toilets.
  11. The Mulu Caves on the Borneo side of Malaysia is one of the largest cave systems in the world. 
  12. Malaysia is also the home to the Malayan tiger, which is the national animal of Malaysia
  13. While in Kuala Lumpur, visitors like to take a trip to the Batu Caves, a Hindu site of cave networks and cave temples.
  14. Cameron Highlands is a great place in Malaysia where tourists experience the rainforest climate.