Malaysia forecasts 60% increase in visitor numbers

Malaysia is set to increase its visitor numbers in 2023 by 60% versus last year.

The destination is forecasting 18 million international arrivals by the end of the year having attracted 9.1 million in the first half, of which 174,000 were from the UK.

Visit Malaysia deputy director Noran Ujang credited an increase in airline frequency, expansion of chartered flights and growing demand for travel in the shoulder seasons for the country’s tourism rebound.

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Malaysia had set a target of 16.1 million arrivals for 2023, exceeding 10 million in 2022, and Ujang said he is “very confident” this number will be surpassed.

The destination’s “main focus” for its growth plan is to enhance its eco-tourism and sustainability strategy, he added, which will see it launch two niche packages aimed at encouraging visitors to engage and learn more about local communities.

Ujang is targeting a return to pre-pandemic visitor numbers of 26 million, achieved in 2019, in 2026 when the next Visit Malaysia Year will take place.

“We are projecting a 26.1 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2026, reaching our pre-pandemic number of 26 million in 2019,” said Ujang.

“The government has allocated extended funding to boost tourism promotions and activities to make Malaysia a top tourist destination again, including a number of exclusive fam trips.”

Malaysia also wants to enhance its reputation as a destination for food lovers as part of its Visit Malaysia Year and has announced a partnership with Syabira Yusoff, winner of the Great British Bake Off 2022.

Malaysia will welcome three new hotels next year, including the country’s first Kimpton property in Kuala Lumpur.

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