Malaysia broke all records last year, registering 17.54 million visitors, according to the country’s immigration department.
This was slightly over the target of 17.5 million and constituted an overall increase of 6.8 per cent over the previous year’s 16.43 million.
Total tourist receipts for 2006 were RM36.2 billion ($10.35 billion), an increase of about 13 per cent compared to 2005. This is, however, RM1.4 billion less than the targeted figure of RM37.6 billion.
The month of December 2006 alone registered an overwhelming increase of 8.6 per cent in tourist arrivals with 1.53 million visitors over the previous year’s 1.41 million in the same period.
The trend continued into 2007 with January numbers at 1.58 million, an increase of 8.9 per cent over the previous year. Much of this can be attributed to the government’s marketing efforts for Visit Malaysia Year 2007.
In terms of overall markets, Asia contributed 89.4 per cent of all tourist arrivals in 2006. The ASEAN region remains the most lucrative market with Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Brunei supplying 77.22 per cent of all arrivals. China, India, Japan and the UK were the other important markets.
However, West Asia showed double digit growth for 2006, at 22.2 per cent.
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